Master Tigress (or just Tigress) is the tritagonist of the Kung Fu Panda franchise. She is Shifu's adoptive daughter, Tai Lung's former adoptive sister, and the leader of the Furious Five. She is a supporting character in the first and third films and the deutagorinst of the second film.
Tigress' parentage remains a mystery, but it was hinted that her parents had no intention of raising their daughter. All that is known about her is that she was left on the doorstep of Bao Gu Orphanage as a cub and taken in by orphanage caretakers, who decided to raise the South Chinese tiger cub as one of their children up for adoption. But due to the fact that Tigress didn't know how strong she was and having a violent temper, everyone was afraid of her and she became an outcast with the other children and caretakers. One night, she escaped from her room and innocently approached the children in an attempt to play. However, her fangs and claws scared them off, and a rejected Tigress once again lost her temper. After being put in an isolated room, she soon began to see herself as a monster, as everyone else did. Unsure of what they should do with, the caretakers summoned the aid of Master Shifu, who taught Tigress how to control her strength and temper and gave her the discipline she needed by using dominoes. After months of training, her hard work payed off and she finally gained the trust and friendship of the other orphans and caretakers. But since all the adults who came to adopt the orphans were still scared of her, she was still unable to find a family to adopt her until Shifu decided to take her in as his very own daughter, making the Jade Palace her new home.
Even when Tigress began to show a natural talent in Kung Fu, Shifu made her still feel unaccepted due to his closed and stern personality, made by a hole in his soul from the betrayal of her adopted brother and his former pupil, Tai Lung. She never even bothered to ask him any questions, since was always ridiculed by others for her childlike curiosity in the past. As the tiger cub grew in age and skill, she became determined and very dedicated in her own abilities, having mastered Tiger Style Kung Fu and advanced techniques such as Chi. Despite her accomplishments, Tigress still strove to gain Shifu's approval by bettering herself in the training she endure, such as punching the iron-wood trees outside the Jade Palace, an exercise that eventually resulted in her having no feeling in her paws.
Despite all the progress she achieved over the years, Tigress still felt the need to prove herself to Shifu, and saw her chance one day when Master Oogway had a vision of Tai Lung breaking out of prison and returning to the Valley to get the Dragon Scroll. Alarmed, Shifu (acting on Oogway's suggestion) announced a tournament to declare who the Dragon Warrior would be out of the Furious Five.
On the day of the tournament, each of the Five publicly exhibited their talents one at a time, with Tigress performing last. Before she had the chance to start, Oogway sensed the presence of the Dragon Warrior, and it was time for the choosing. It appeared that Oogway was about to point at her — until a fat panda named Po seemingly fell out of the sky and landed right in front of Oogway's pointing claw.
Confused, Tigress asked if the old tortoise was pointing at her, but Oogway was convinced that Po had been chosen by the universe, and the panda's appearance was not by accident. He proclaimed the panda as the Dragon Warrior — much to Tigress' and Shifu's horror, and as Po was carried off to the Jade Palace, Tigress apologized to Shifu for failing him. The diminutive red panda stopped her, saying that if he hadn't made the panda quit by the next morning, then it was he who failed his students.
Through the rest of the day, Shifu did his best to discourage Po and try to make him leave. He tried to intimidate him by showing him the Training Hall and allowing the panda to be humiliated in front of the Five. The derision that Shifu felt was echoed by Tigress herself; she was offended that "a fat, flabby panda" like Po would be chosen over a loyal student like herself, and she made sure that Po knew her opinion of him—going as far as to scathingly tell him that night that he was a disgrace to kung fu and that, if he respected the martial arts or the Five at all, he would be gone by morning.
To her dismay, Po didn't leave the next morning, and he still wanted to learn kung fu. Attempts were made throughout the day to discourage Po and make him quit, but he persevered and made it through the second day—even after sparring with most of the Five and literally being thrown out by Shifu and tumbling down the steps of the palace. While most of the Five grew to be impressed at the panda's indefatigable tenacity, Tigress simply conceded that Po was there to stay whether she liked it or not. While Po received acupuncture from Mantis and Viper, Tigress confided to Po the story of Tai Lung and Shifu's role in his life, while also hinting at her own past, that she never received the same love that Shifu once showed for Tai Lung.
Later on, Po began opening up more to the Five while preparing noodle soup for dinner which, to their delight, was among the most delicious dishes they've ever eaten —— save for Tigress, who remained distant and ate tofu instead. The peaceful atmosphere was shattered, however, when Shifu arrived to bring them terrible news: Tai Lung had indeed escaped prison, and to make things worse, Oogway had just passed away. Tigress begged her master to let the Five and herself stop Tai Lung, stating it was what he had trained them for. Surprisingly, Shifu said that it wasn't her destiny to defeat Tai Lung. He was now convinced that it was Po's job to stop Tai Lung after all, and nothing she could say would change his mind.
However, Po had run away in fear of his upcoming challenge, and she secretly followed Shifu when he chased after him to bring him back. There she overheard Po admitting his own lack of confidence, seeing neither he nor her master had a solution on just how Po could possibly defeat Tai Lung. She decided to try to stop Tai Lung herself, immediately setting out on her own. To her surprise, she found that Viper, Mantis, Monkey, and Crane had followed her, and they stated that they wanted to help her in her endeavor.
Traveling as fast as they could, it took days to intercept Tai Lung at the Thread of Hope, a network of rope bridges that connected the mountain tops, Tigress finally able to meet the snow leopard face to face in combat. When asked where the Dragon Warrior was, she tried to imply that she herself was the Dragon Warrior, but Tai Lung was not fooled, and a battle ensued, which was made difficult by the rope bridge itself as well as Tai Lung's great strength and skill. Tigress worked together with the others, displaying her greatest strength as a team leader/player, and she and her comrades managed to overpower the snow leopard in a stunning show of strength and cunning.
At first, they assumed that they had vanquished him completely, but sure enough, Tai Lung reappeared, swinging back from the opposite peak with the ropes from the now-destroyed bridge, and landing behind the startled team. Taking advantage of their unpreparedness, Tai Lung used a technique that Shifu hadn't taught them: chi blocking. Jabbing each of the Five in vital pressure points, he paralyzed them all—with the exception of Crane, whom he had left unparalyzed so he could carry the defeated warriors back to the Jade Palace as a warning; that he could defeat the strongest warriors in China.
It was with great shame that Tigress faced Po and Shifu when released from the effects of the chi block back at the Jade Palace, feeling that she had failed Shifu. He quietly rebuked her, telling her she could have been killed, but he added that Tai Lung's attempt to strike fear into their hearts wouldn't work: he had been busy training Po while the Five were absent, and he felt that the panda was now ready to receive the Dragon Scroll. Wasting no time, they all assembled in the Palace, where Shifu retrieved the scroll and proceeded to give it to Po. Upon opening it, Po relayed a most surprising bit of information: the legendary scroll, thought to endow the Dragon Warrior with unlimited power, was blank.
There was nothing else that could be done; Shifu ordered the Five and Po to evacuate the Valley in a last ditch effort, while he stayed behind to stall Tai Lung as long as possible. He expected to die during the battle, and his parting words to them were the ones that Tigress had always longed to hear from her master: that he was proud of them and that he was honored to be their master. The dismal feeling that everyone felt as they left had to be pushed aside once they started gathering the villagers. Tigress fell into her role as leader and began to lead the evacuation in spite of her sadness. After leading the populace to the surrounding mountains through the stormy night to morning, she and the Five were stunned as they witnessed a bright wave of light and energy coming from the middle of town.
Deciding to go back, they discovered that Po had fought Tai Lung and defeated him with the legendary Wuxi Finger Hold. Amazed, Tigress finally let go of her pride, realizing that she had been wrong about the panda, and she approached Po and bowed to him with a smile, honoring him for the first time as a kung fu master and the true Dragon Warrior.
Tigress and the others of the Furious Five were first seen in the Jade Palace's Training Hall encouraging and supporting Po in his endeavor to stuff forty bean buns into his mouth, something she would normally have grimaced at or refused to take part of before.
Later, Tigress learned that a village of musicians was under attack by a pack of wolf bandits set on stealing all the metal they could find. She immediately alerted Po of the matter, also telling him not to take any snack stops, and the six set out to the village to fight off the bandits. When Po was temporarily dazed by the sight of an emblem on one of the wolf assailant's armor, she attempted to intercept the wolf's hammer blow, but was too late and she and Po were knocked aside. As the wolves escaped with most of the town's metal, the concerned Tigress asked Po what had happened to him, but he didn't answer her and instead ran off.
The next day, Shifu informed Po and the Five of Master Thundering Rhino's death at the hands of Lord Shen, and tasked them with traveling to Gongmen City to destroy the weapon responsible — one that he described as being able to "breathe fire and spit metal". They set out to do so, but were stopped by Mr. Ping, who has packed bags for Po's journey. After being slightly amused to see Po's action figures of herself and the rest of the Five, Tigress saw the goose was worried and assured him that Po would soon return before she left with the others.
On the last night of their journey, Tigress was awoken when Po had suffered a nightmare. Concerned, Tigress followed him outside and helped him relieve his frustrations by sparring with him. Tigress told him about her harsh training exercises in her youth, and how her "hardcore" style allowed her to ignore pain. Po then shared with her how he had recently learned that Mr. Ping was his adoptive father (though this hardly surprised Tigress). When Po commented on his slight envy over Tigress' "hardcore" ability to ignore emotional pain, Tigress was taken aback. However, she didn't have time to say anything before arriving at Gongmen City.
Tigress and the others snuck into the city and evaded more of Shen's wolves when they found Masters Storming Ox and Croc in Gongmen Jail. After unsuccessfully trying to convince them to escape and aid them in their mission, they were discovered by Boss Wolf and attempted to intercept him before he could alert Shen. Although Tigress was able to help Po catch up to him, they ended up being ambushed and were quickly captured.
Tigress and the others were brought before Shen himself in his ancestral palace. But while Po was speaking to him, Viper successfully picked the lock on Tigress' cuffs, allowing her to help free the others and destroy Shen's cannon. However, Tigress was surprised when she saw Po once again dazed by the pattern of Shen's feathered tail, allowing the peacock to escape. Now under assault from the rest of Shen's cannons, she took matters into her own hands as she reached the bottom of the tower and quickly scouted the area outside, deftly defending herself and her friends from a hail of fire arrows from the wolves. Deducting an escape route, Tigress led the others to safety by scaling the outside of the falling tower and springing off it over the wall bordering the palace grounds.
Returning to the jail to hide, she angrily confronted Po over why he let Shen escape, as well as almost getting them all killed in the bargain. When he refused to answer, she ordered him to stay in the company of Storming Ox and Croc, thinking that Po was not capable of completing the mission due to his unspoken hindrance. Po was adamant upon going with them however, leading the two to spar once more.
Tigress had swiftly subdued Po and again demanded to know the truth. Po finally admitted how he remembered that Shen was present the night his biological parents abandoned him, and he needed Shen to tell him what happened despite all odds thrown against him, finally commenting that Tigress wouldn't understand due to her being too hardcore. Tigress lunged at Po, supposedly infuriated by his remark, but to the surprise of everyone else, she hugged him and told him that she did understand. Nevertheless, she gently told Po to stay behind, as she didn't want to see him be killed.
Tigress and the rest of the Five made their way over to Shen's refinery where they intended to ignite powder kegs around the factory to destroy it. However, much to her shock, she saw that Po had disobeyed her and was confronting Shen alone. Fearing for Po's safety, she and the others quickly doused the fires to the powder kegs and they began to make her way towards the two in order to protect Po, fending off Shen's elite soldiers along the way. Unable to reach him, she watched in horror as Po was blasted out of the factory and into the river by Shen's largest cannon. The Five were subsequently captured. Fearing that the worst had happened to Po, Tigress felt she had failed him.
The Five were shackled securely to the flagship of Shen's veritable armada of cannon-armed ships as they began their traverse down the river to the harbor. Shen mocked them for their sadness over the "death" of Po and bragged about how he would kill them and their "precious kung fu" upon reaching the harbor; Tigress snarled back, but was unable to resist in any way. Monkey was the only one of the chained Five that seemed to retain any fighting spirit and looked to Tigress for support, but she merely responded with a defeated expression. She was further disgusted by Shen's lack of concern for the well-being of the bystanders witnessing the event by blasting away a bridge to clear a path, which led her to call him a coward.
She was perhaps the most astonished when Po revealed himself to be alive and rescued her and the rest of the Five. She and the others managed to fight their way along Shen's fleet with the assistance of Croc and Ox, who were freed and accompanied by Shifu. The nine kung fu masters proceeded to destroy much of the fleet, blocking the way to the harbor with their own boats. Shen fired his cannon at Po, but Tigress managed to knock him aside and was blown into the river along with the other masters.
Wounded and floating on a piece of driftwood, Po waded towards her and gripped her limp paw. She feebly lifted her head, but was too weakened to say anything. Tigress then watched helplessly as Po stood upon the wreckage of an overturned boat, facing the remaining cannon-armed fleet on his own. As the first shot was fired, she, along with every other witness, was astounded when Po deflected the projectile and every other one that Shen fired, even going so far as to knock some back at the fleet. After the flagship's destruction, she witnessed Po's final battle with Shen, and the lord's defeat at the hands of his own work.
After the battle, she helped Po out of the water and onto a dock, commenting his work as "pretty hardcore." She was surprised once more when Po hugged her in a manner similar to how she did in the prison—so much so that she didn't have time to react before he was enthusiastically greeted by the rest of the Five. Along with the rest of Gongmen City, she watched with her arm resting on Po's shoulders as the burning remains of Shen's flagship set off a fireworks display.
In the film, she evades being attacked by Kai in order to warn Po that Kai is coming for the Pandas. Using what she learned from Po and about who she is, Tigress along with Li, Mr. Ping and the pandas are able to use their chi to rescue Po in order for him to defeat Kai once and for all.
Fighting Style and Personality
Master Tigress is a warrior under the Tiger Style of Kung Fu. Her fighting style is direct, powerful, strong, firm, aggressive and unmatched – while adding a bit of Wushu like acrobatic flair to the mix. She’s not afraid to unleash her hard-hitting Kung Fu on anybody, not even the fearsome Tai Lung. She’s usually the one to hit first in a fight. She has little fear in her heart, and can certainly inflict fear in other's hearts with her ferocity. Tigress is a warrior to be feared and admired. Tigress strikes directly without hesitation utilizing speed, agility, and power to shatter opponents’ defences. Like a traditional fighter in Tiger Kung Fu, Tigress stays close to the ground. She is agile, acrobatic, elegant, and fights honorably.
Tigress is a disciplined, by-the-book sort of student. She knows her place and rank, but is not in the least bit selfish. She fights honorably for the protection of others. Her sense of right and wrong is great and uses it in almost everything she does. Although she may seem intimidating, hard, and stoic to most, she does harbor a warm compassion underneath her exterior. She is sometimes shown being playful with children and is unwaveringly polite to all the citizens of the Valley of Peace. What Tigress may lack in social skills, she makes up for it her strong moral code and heroism. Her species is a South China Tiger.
When Tigress was very young, she was taken in by Shifu. As her new master, and possibly the only person unafraid of her and who hadn't regarded her as a monster, she was always eager to please him. But Shifu's stern and bitter personality disheartened her, always making her feel like her efforts weren't enough. She worked hard at her kung fu training to make him proud, and perhaps wished to become the Dragon Warrior herself as a means to do so.
Though she failed in achieving the title, and in defeating Tai Lung, Shifu declared he was proud of all his students, including Tigress, before parting with them on what they thought would be their last meeting.
Tigress obeyed his orders to evacuate the Valley without question, even in knowing her master would likely lose his life. At the end of the first film, however, Shifu finally accepted her after he had attained inner peace due to Po's efforts of defeating Tai Lung.
Tigress' relationship with the Dragon Warrior was initially cold owing to her feeling that he cheated her out of the title that she strove for all her life, and she attempted to discourage him from following his new calling. However, she along with the rest of the Furious Five grew to respect Po's tireless tenacity, his admiration of her and the others never wavering for all his abuse. When Po defeated Tai Lung in single combat, Tigress was duly impressed and allowed herself to bow him with a smile.
In the sequel, Tigress has come to accept Po as a close friend and fellow warrior, and showed a more lighthearted attitude towards him. This was seen when Po stuffed forty bean buns in his mouth, and Tigress encouraged him rather than regarded him with disgust, as she would have in the first film. Furthermore, she fought in sync with Po in battles in a strong comradeship, having grown used to working with him.
Tigress also showed kindness towards Po when she helped relieve his stress about finding out that Mr. Ping wasn't his biological father by sparring with him on the boat ride to Gongmen City. Tigress approached him in a serious but friendly manner and inquired as to what was really troubling him. Through this, he revealed to her what he knew of his parentage and how envious he was of her ability to not feel any pain, even emotional pain, as he had come to believe. This, however, caused Tigress to reflect inwardly on herself and understand how others perceived her.
Tigress also demonstrates unwavering loyalty towards Po, as well as being very protective over him, doing whatever she can to pull him out of danger. Her protective behavior has been shown to be so strong, that at one point she resorts to leaving Po in prison to "keep [him] far away from danger" when he refused to explain the inexplicable hesitation he faced in the middle of capturing Lord Shen (allowing the peacock to escape to his fireworks and destroy the building he was previously in, putting the Five and Po in peril), and even went so far as to fight him off when he adamantly refused to stay. This protective behavior over Po, however, was shown at it most extreme when she went as far as to push him out of firing range of one of Shen's cannons, and taking most of the impact of the explosion from the cannon as a result.
Though she demonstrated her strict nature by ordering (and eventually fighting) Po to stay behind in the prison for refusing to explain his sudden hesitation in catching Shen, she also showed compassion towards him at Po's revelation of his parentage, surprising him and the rest of the Five when she hugged him instead of lunging at him, and saying she did understand Po's troubles, but wanted him to remain in the prison because she couldn't watch her friend be killed, showing him that she wasn't quite as unfeeling as Po thought. Later when she and the other Five found Po in Shen's fireworks factory, Tigress went after Po to prevent him from being hurt, but was too late as Shen blasted Po from the building with a cannon.
When Po seemingly "died" from Lord Shen's cannon, Tigress was seen chained with the others and hanging across a boat, with Monkey being the only one to hold up a fighting spirit and turn to her for support, saying Po would want them to be strong, resulting in nothing but an expression of sorrow from Tigress.
Near the end of the film, after Shen was killed, Po hugged Tigress after she complimented his heroic actions as "pretty hardcore". Tigress was shocked and did not react, but she watched the fireworks with Po and others with a smile on her face, showing that she wasn't angered by Po's attempt to come emotionally close to her.
The Furious Five
As a member of the quintet of warriors, Tigress is a close friend to them all. This friendship paid off when the Five battled Tai Lung in the first film. At first, she thought that she could beat Tai Lung alone, but however, almost lost her life in the process. Her teammates realized that she was in distress, and rushed to her aid. Her fellow comrades understand her strength and power and revere her as their unofficial leader, shown mainly in the both films when they quickly obey any commands she gives them.
Her title is well deserved, though, amongst the Five, as she constantly displays quick reflexes and a mind that can hatch plans and fighting tactics which get her and her team out of impossibly dangerous situations.
While they show respect to Tigress, they have shown to be intimidated by her on occasion, often avoiding the risk of pushing her temper. For example, Mantis slowly crawled away when Tigress began walking into Po's room while the panda was telling them about his knowledge of Tai Lung. Also, in the second film, when Tigress' powerful glare stopped Po in his tracks as he was about to protest in being left behind in the hunt for Shen, the rest of the Five watched in stunned fear, and Monkey covered his mouth. This shows that Tigress' ability to be easily provoked is well known amongst her friends.
Kung Fu Panda Holiday
Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters
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