Secrets of the Furious Five is an Annie Award-winning animated short that takes place some time after the events in Kung Fu Panda. It appeared on a companion disc of the film's deluxe DVD release and was later broadcast on NBC on February 26th, 2009. It became available as a separate DVD on March 24th, 2009.
"Join the star of Kung Fu Panda as he sets out on a whole new adventure in this sequel to the animated box-office hit featuring the voices of Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman. In the wake of defeating the ferocious Tai Lung, the Dragon Warrior [Po] must draw on the skills of Viper, Tigress, Monkey, Crane, and Mantis in order to face Shifu's greatest challenge to date. Along the way, [the] Dragon Warrior uncovers the ancient 'Secrets of the Furious Five' while discovering that it takes much more than strength and agility to become a true kung fu master."
Po was assigned by Master Shifu to teach an introduction to Kung Fu class for a group of rambunctious rabbit children. Fortunately for Po, it did not take him long to bring the class to order and for the children to calm down, and he began to emphasize to them that combat was only part of what Kung Fu is about, while its true meaning is "excellence of self". To illustrate his point, he used the stories of the Furious Five's individual pasts and the basic philosophical concepts they learned that enabled them to be great Kung Fu masters.
In his youth, Mantis was a petulantly impatient warrior who was prone to jumping to conclusions and making impulsive decisions. When this habit got himself captured, the long wait he was forced to endure in his cage allowed him to find the patience to play dead (using what he calls his "Staying-Still-for-a-Really-Long-Time" Technique) long enough to ambush his captors.
Viper, the daughter of Great Master Viper, was born without venomous fangs. Her father, who relied on his venomous bite (referred to as his "Poison Fang Technique"), was despondent because she could never succeed him as a warrior, making her feel timid. However, when she grew older, her father encountered a bandit who wore armor hard enough to shatter his fangs when he tried to bite him. Seeing her father in peril, Viper found the courage to fight the bandit and defeat him with her ribbon dancing skills.
Crane was an unconfident janitor of a martial arts school until the star pupil, Mei Ling, encouraged him to try seek enrollment in the school. He trained many days to prepare, and although his nerve failed him at the try-outs, he accidentally found himself in the intimidating challenge that determined eligibility. Suddenly, he found the confidence to take the challenge and his skinny body proved to be an asset that enabled him to succeed.
Tigress was an orphan who was feared for her destructive lack of control and her temper, which left her isolated with no hope of finding a family. Master Shifu was called to teach her the discipline she needed to control her movements until she could calmly perform delicate tasks with ease, enough to allay the concerns of the orphanage and the children that lived there. When she was still not adopted by any adults, however, Master Shifu took her in as his student and foster daughter.
Monkey was a troublemaker who tormented his village owing to him being publicly humiliated in his youth. He defied all attempts to force him to leave until Master Oogway confronted and defeated him, but also saved him before Monkey was crushed by a falling pillar. Oogway deduced the cause of his behavior, and rather than making him leave the village as per the challenge, Oogway told him to stay and encourages him to show compassion to others, treating them the way he would want to be treated.
At the end, Shifu returned to see Po's anticipated lack of progress in teaching and was surprised that he underestimated Po's talents yet again, considering how much the panda's students had learned. But when the bunnies asked Po how his first day of Kung Fu was, all the unpleasant memories during the first film flash through his head; he says it was "totally awesome."
The voice of young Monkey, Jaycee Chan, is noted to be the son of Monkey's original voice actor from the films, Jackie Chan. Jaycee Chan is also notable for being Crane's voice actor in the Cantonese version of the original film.