According to commentary on the Mulan DVD, these three essentially represent the entire Chinese Army. They presumably were recruited via conscription notice, similarly to Mulan. As soldiers in the Chinese Army, they are capable of fighting using various methods, including swords, cannons, arrows, and hand to hand combat.
Yao, is the shortest of the trio. He wears a red uniform, and also has one black-eye as well as a mustache. He seems to have a hot temper, which can be cooled by Chien Po. Despite his strength, he seems to be somewhat clumsy. He initially dislikes Mulan, in part due to a perceived insult (which actually came from Mushu), but later becomes her friend.
During training, Yao talks back to Li Shang, and as a result is picked out as the first to try to retrieve the arrow, deliberately humiliated in front of the other recruits. In the second film, he wears purple and falls in love with Princess Mei. He is able to impress the princess using his talent for fighting.
Ling is of medium height and slender build. He is usually seen in a yellow uniform. He appears to the the clown (and de facto leader) of the group, and often has a joke ready. During training he slyly kicks the support from 'Ping's' rocket, resulting in her becoming charred and Chi-Fu's tent (and Chi-Fu) to be incinerated by the wayward rocket. When Mulan proves her worth, he is the first to intend to start over - unfortunately this is during her bathing scene. He nearly discovers her secret, but Mushu bites him on the backside, causing a panic among the trio that allows Mulan to get away.
He is something of a weakling physically, as he knocks himself out during a block breaking task in training (in his lyric of the montage song, he admits its because he used to "cut gym" during the school-hours of his childhood, and as of that moment, he felt like a fool for it). he does grow more capable though, as near the end, he is able to use the move to incapacitate one of the Huns.In the second film, he wears blue and falls in love with Princess Ting-Ting. His talent at telling jokes is able to win over the princess, though it wasn't easy as she hates her pig-like laugh that he claims is adorable when he first hears it. They even share the "Chopstick-nose-trick" (putting the chopsticks up ones nostrils, then wiggling the nose for a tacky mustashe image), though Ling claims he invented that gag originally and calls it his signature.
Chien-Po is the largest, in both height and size, of the trio. However, he is also very gentle, and seems to care a great deal about food. He wears a blue uniform. Some of his character appears to have been taken from Buddhist imagery. At times, he seems to demonstrate super-human strength.
After the camp turns on 'Ping', Chien-Po is the only one of the trio to not try to make life difficult for Mulan, although at no point during the sequence does he show her any support. In the second film, he wears green and falls in love with Princess Su. They bond over their shared love of food.
In Mulan, the trio are first seen in the camp. Their interactions imply that they already know each other. While Mushu's advice to Mulan is initially helpful, Mushu insults Yao, who starts a fight believing Mulan said the insult. Since 'Ping' earns all the recruits a harsh punishment, the trio quickly take a dislike to the disguised Mulan, and continually harass the soldier. Ping is able to win their respect after completing Shang's challenge. One night, they reintroduce themselves, in order to make a new start. However, they do so while bathing, making Mulan very uncomfortable, as she is forced to hide her gender. Due to some quick thinking by Mushu, the three remain unaware that "Ping" is actually Mulan. The trio are able to successfully complete their training, and are called off to war with the rest of Shang's troops.
In order to keep up morale on the long march, Ling encourages everyone to begin dreaming of the girls who are surely waiting for them back home. Ling dreams of a beautiful girl, pale with eyes like stars. Yao dreams of a girl who will admire his physical prowess, while Chien Po doesn't care what his girl looks like, so long as she can cook well. However, the scene comes to a sharp and bitter close when the come upon a village that has been destroyed by the Huns. The soldiers are sent to search for survivors, but they are unsuccessful. However, Chien Po finds the body of Shang's father, General Li, and sadly brings back the general's helmet as proof.
Shang's troops begin pursuing the Hun army, and they are drawn into battle after their position is given away by an exploding cannon. When Mulan runs with the last cannon in an attempt to destroy the army, the trio follow. However, they retreat just as quickly to the safety of a rock formation when they see a large avalanche, started by Mulan's cannon, coming. Yao shoots an arrow, with a rope attached, to save both Shang and Mulan from falling off a cliff with the avalanche. Unfortunately, the rope slips through his fingers. Mulan is able to grab the arrow, and shoot it back into Yao's hands. The troops attempt to pull Shang and Mulan up, but struggle until Chien Po comes and picks up the entire unit and pulls them up.
The trio are later seen pacing while "Ping" is being treated by the medics, and are visibly shocked when the soldier is revealed to be a woman named Fa Mulan. Nonetheless, the trio, or at least Yao, attempted to halt Shang's attempted execution of Mulan upon this discovery, but were stopped by Chi-Fu. They are forced to march off to the Imperial City, leaving Mulan in the mountains. As they reach the city, they are shown to be saddened about leaving behind Mulan, despite being welcomed as heroes. When Shan Yu reveals himself, Yao leads a charge to stop him. However, the Hun leader is able to kidnap the Emperor. The doors to the palace are barricaded, forcing the army to try to ram the doors down.
Mulan appears, and announces that she has a plan. Ling, Yao, and Chien Po choose to follow her, followed by Shang. Mulan is able to sneak herself and the trio into the palace dressed as concubines. The group is able to take out the Hun guards, as the Huns let down their guard around the "concubines", allowing Shang to rescue the Emperor. Chein Po escapes down a line of lanterns with the Emperor, followed by Ling and Yao. However, they are forced to look on as Mulan becomes trapped with Shan Yu.
After Mulan has defeated Shan Yu, the trio come to protect her from Chi-Fu's rantings. They are among the people who bow to Mulan as the hero of China.
In Mulan 2, the trio reside in the same town as Mulan and visits the Matchmaker in an attempt to find brides that suit their demands. However, the Matchmaker believes this to be impossible because of their sexist view on woman, which is now considered inappropriate after Mulan (a woman) saved China. Meanwhile, Mulan and Shang are given an important peace mission and enlists Yao, Ling, and Chien Po for help. Their mission is to escort the three daughters of the Emperor (Princesses Ting-Ting,Su and Mei) to a kingdom where they are to married to princes in an attempt to bring unity between the two kingdoms.
After an accidental meeting, Yao falls in love with Princess Mei and vise versa. However, Ling and Chien Po remind Yao that Mei is set to be married, thus making their relationship impossible. Eventually, during a rest stop, Ling and Chien Po become smitten with Ting-Ting and Su, creating problems in the mission. Now, each princess feels the arranged marriage to be a huge burden. This prompts Mei to run away but her sisters stop her. Later on, the group is attacked by bandits and a battle follows.
While saving the three princesses, the bridge they are on breaks, and General Shang and Mulan are left dangling off a broken bridge. Since the rope can only support the weight of one person, Shang sacrifices his life to save Mulan and lets go of her hand, falling into the river. The next day, the heartbroken Mulan decides to marry one of the princes in the princesses' place, not wanting them to abandon their true feelings with Yao, Ling, and Chien Po. Yao, Ling, Chien, Po and the princesses reunite with Shang who reveals to be alive. He rushes off to stop the marriage and, with the help of Mushu, Mulan and Shang wed. The princesses are then allowed to marry whomever they please, with the unity between the two kingdoms intact.
TV Show Appearances
House of Mouse
Yao, Ling and Chien Po make numerous cameo appearances in the animated series House of Mouse. They made notable cameos in the episode Humphrey in the House.
Songs sung by Yao,Ling and Chien-Po
Kingdom of Hearts 2
The gang of three play very minor roles in Kingdom Hearts II. The three appear in their home world Land of Dragons. When Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Ping join the army and head in line for food, Yao cuts in with Ling and Chien Po following behind. When Sora begins to complain, Yao punches him in the face. A brawl follows between Sora, Donald, Yao, and Ling. When Shang arrives, they all straighten up. Just then, Heartless appear and the trio retreat while Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Ping battle. At the summit, Yao, Ling, and Chien Po complement Sora and the gang on their battle skills, becoming friends in the process. After Shan Yu's defeat, the trio can be found outside the village.
During the second visit, the trio briefly warn Sora and Mulan about a man in a black hood inside the Emperor's palace. During the credits they are seen spying on Mulan and Shang, when they are discovered.
- Yao doesn't have a belly button.
- In Mandarin, Ling is Ning which means peaceful.
- Chien Po (in Wade-Giles) means gold gem.
- Japanese : Yutaka Oda (Yao), Ryusei Nakao (Ling), Kozo Shioya (Chien-Po)
- English : Harvey Fierstein (Yao), Gedde Watanabe (Ling/speaking), Matthew Wilder (singing), Jerry Tondo (Chien Po)
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