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Shan Yu

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Stop me? He invited me! By building his Wall, he challenged my strength. Well, I'm here to play his game. GO! Tell your Emperor to send his strongest armies! I'm ready. How many men does it take to deliver a message?
~ Shan Yu threatening 2 imperial scouts.

Shan Yu is the main antagonist in Disney's 36th full-length animated feature film, Mulan. He is the leader of the Huns and a ruthless warlord hell-bent on invading and conquering China. He also has the falcon named Hayabusa as his pet, and the Elite Huns as his henchmen. He also uses Hayabusa as a messenger and spy.

He was voiced by Miguel Ferrer (who later played Big Boss in Rio 2) in Mulan, Corey Burton in Kingdom Hearts II.

Personality and Appearance

Shan Yu (单于Xiang Yu) is the cruel leader of the Huns who successfully climbs over the Great Wall and invades the land to prove his "superiority" to the Emperor.

Like other characters in the film, he has a Mongoloid-Asiatic texture, having grayish skin, glowing yellow eyes, bared fangs, long black flowing hair, a long mustache, and wears a ragged robe with multiple animal pelts. He is also the only Hun with yellow eyes and is sometimes seen with a hood.

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Shan Yu charging into battle

Like his people, Shan Yu is trained in living off the Earth, possessing heightened senses and a saker falcon as his pet. His strength is demonstrated many times during the course of the film, such as easily breaking down a barricaded door or effortlessly slicing through a massive pillar with his sword, making him easily one of the strongest characters in the film (second perhaps only to Chien-Po). Ruthless and cold-hearted, Shan Yu kills without mercy, remorse and, on occasion, as a joke; for example, after freeing two captured Chinese scouts to carry a message to the Emperor, he then comments to an archer, "How many men does it take to deliver a message?" (The archer replies "one", nocking an arrow.) While clearly heartless to his foes, he is proud of his army, as shown at the beginning when he thought it was "perfect" that all of China knew that he and his army were there after the signal fire was lighted, and when he flatly refused to avoid the Imperial troops and instead opt to take them head on, despite knowing that they are the elite of China's armies.

Mulan

In film's opening scene, Shan Yu scales the Great Wall of China and leading the Huns in an invasion of China, setting the tone for the rest of the film. When one of the Chinese guards of the Great Wall revealed that he lit the torches and that the Emperor will soon know of Shan Yu's presence in an attempt to intimidate him, Shan Yu's only response was to burn one of the Imperial flags on the torch in front of him before giving a satisfied "perfect," revealing that the Emperor receiving the message of Shan Yu and the Huns' invasion was precisely what he had intended to accomplish.

Later on, Shan Yu destroyed yet another village and exposed two spies sent by the Emperor. He ordered them to pass a message to the Emperor telling to send his best men for battle. Before the two were able to leave, he had his head archer murder one.

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After close examination of the doll, Shan Yu deduces that the Imperial Army is waiting for him.

Later, while waiting for the Emperor's armies, Shan Yu's pet falcon, Hayabusa, acquired a doll from a village in the Tung Shao Pass. After close examination of the doll and traces on it by his five main men, Shan Yu deduces that the Imperial Army is waiting for them. Though one of his archers suggested that they simply avoid the soldiers and continue heading towards the Imperial City, Shan Yu insisted on confronting the Imperial army, as the quickest way to the Emperor was through the pass, before adding "And besides...the little girl will be missing her doll. We should return it to her." with a murderous grin.

Ambushing General Li's army, Shan Yu and the Huns fought against the Emperor's best troops, including General Li, and ultimately won the battle, setting the village on fire on the process. The Huns only suffered minimal casualties, leaving hundreds of troops intact. Unfortunately, only the aftermath was seen in the film. No known survivors were discovered by Li Shang's troops. As they headed for the Imperial City, the Hun army noticed them and sneaked up a mountain in the Tung Shao Pass, preparing their fiery arrows. When Mushu accidentally fires a cannon causing their position given away to him and his army, the Huns attacked, casting flaming arrows from the mountains to disintegrate their ammunition.

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Mulan fires the remaining cannon at the mountains, wiping out most of the Hun army.

Shan-Yu then led his entire army to wipe out Li Shang's small battalion. Mulan, however, took control of Li Shang's last cannon, aiming it for a nearby mountain.

This maneuver triggered an avalanche that wipes out almost all of Shan-Yu's army and encases Shan Yu in a thick blanket of snow. At first, it seems like a complete victory, thanks to Mulan. However, it is not so. Following the avalanche and the departure of Li Shang's troops, Haybusa screeched the all-clear and Shan Yu rose from the snow, shaken and infuriated at the loss of his army. A loud yell of anger is all it takes for Mulan to realize that there is still a chance for the Huns; Shan Yu's falcon and five of his best troops had survived the assault. With no one to stop him, Shan Yu and his troops head for the Imperial City with Mulan close behind.

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Shan Yu is horrified when he sees a rocket heading straight towards him

While his troops hid within a Chinese lion at the Imperial celebration, Shan Yu lies in wait on top of the roof of the Emperor's palace. At the right moment, Shan Yu's falcon retrieves his sword and his troops sprung into action, locking up the palace and kidnapping the Emperor. As Shan Yu threatens the Emperor to bow to him, Mulan, Li Shang, Yao, Chien-Pao, and Ling infiltrate the palace in an attempt to rescue the Emperor, the latter three being in drag (as a disguise). Mulan, Yao, Chien-Po and Ling defeat Shan Yu's men and his pet falcon is fried by Mushu.

After securing the Emperor, in an attempt to distract Shan Yu from Shang (whom he was about to slaughter) Mulan reveals that it was she who destroyed his army. Pursuing her throughout the palace and onto the roof, Shan Yu's attempts to kill Mulan backfire when Mulan initiates a plan of her own.

Immobilizing the Hun leader by pinning his cape to the roof with his own sword, Mushu aims a large rocket at him. Releasing the rocket, Mushu, Mulan, and Crik-ee escape from the roof as it hits Shan Yu at great speed and propels him through the air into a munitions tower, resulting in a huge colorful explosion which kills him. Mulan is then awarded Shan Yu's sword for her success of ridding China of the Huns forever.

House of Mouse

Shan Yu appeared as minor guest character in the House of Mouse, he made cameos in several episodes of the series.

Kingdom Hearts II

Shan Yu appears in Kingdom Hearts II as one of the first Disney Villains that Sora and company can fight in the game.
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Shan Yu in Kingdom Hearts II

He appears in the Land of Dragons, a Mulan-based world. The game follows much of the movie's storyline, except for the fact that instead of having an army Of Huns, he could summon an army of Heartless. He traps Sora and Mulan in a cave full of Heartless, while he destroys the Imperial Army's village.

When Sora, Mulan, Donald, and Goofy, along with the Imperial army, appears at the summit, the scene plays like a similar mountain scene in the film. He then makes his way into the Emperor's castle, but is stopped by Sora, Mulan, and the others. He fights them, using dark energy to enhance his abilities and working alongside his attack falcon, Hayabusa, and a swarm of Heartless. He tends to favor the Rapid Thruster Heartless, creating an army of them to attack Sora and friends on the mountain pass (in the movie it was his Hun army that attacked the heroes on the pass).

During the boss battle he will send three Nightwalker Heartless to try and take down the door. This swarm of Heartless is resurrected when Sora fights a mysterious cloaked man that is later revealed as Riku on the same pass. He is ultimately slain by Sora. Shan Yu was not associated with Maleficent or Organization XIII, making his role in the game equivalent to that of Clayton from the first game.

The Kingdom Keepers

Shan Yu also appears as "Shan-Yu" in The Kingdom Keepers, where he challenges Finn Whitman and finding that Finn can turn from human to pure light tries to kill him as well as his friend Charlene.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Shan Yu is without a doubt one of the most merciless and cruel Disney villains to exist.
  • Shan Yu never underestimated Mulan, even when he found out she was a woman. This was surprising as in those times, women were second-rate.
  • His death by being blown up was intentional, because the developers wanted to avoid the typical fall to death.



 
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