A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Story exposes kids to elements of Chinese mythology and martial arts. Also good illustrations of characters who identify their strengths and use them for good.
Strong messages about embracing individual identity, tapping into your unique abilities. With chi split among the four kung fu warriors, each one channels a dominant characteristic (leadership, patience, etc.) that helps the group. Teamwork and a willingness to learn are paramount to the team's success against bigger and stronger foes. The idea that destiny lights your path but you must put in the work to be successful is a recurrent theme. Violence is the dominant means to an end in the story, and one warrior in particular seems overly eager for battle, though it's mostly to prove to herself that she can hold her own.
Positive Role Models
Po is hesitant to take on the responsibility of mentoring the students, but he does so to safeguard the ancient chi they possess. Once committed, he is always in the mix with them, both in training and in battle. He is brave, enthusiastic, and respectful of the ancient art he teaches his students. Villains manipulate and trick their subordinates into loyalty, whereas Po and his young warriors fight to maintain the balance between good and evil.
Violence & Scariness
Many martial arts-style exchanges with kicking and punching, but also some use of weapons like knives, staffs, swords, and a mace. The battles typically don't involve death, but there are some scenes that imply that a character dies, as when a villain steals another's chi. Otherwise, violence is limited to colliding with walls and hitting hard surfaces. Close-up views of scary animal characters might upset youngsters.
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Multiple uses of "butt." A character's favorite exclamation is "holy underpants!"
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Products & Purchases
The series follows three movies and joins an extensive franchise of merchandise for kids.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny continues the story of unlikely martial arts master Po (which began in Kung Fu Panda) as he transitions to a mentoring role for four young novices who face off with a formidable foe. As with the other titles in the franchise, martial arts play a prominent role in the show's content, and the story's heroes often battle against larger, more powerful enemies. Some exchanges involve weapons like swords, staffs, and knives in addition to traditional hand-to-hand sparring, and it's implied that the occasional character dies. The main villain maintains his underlings' loyalty via fear and force, as well as manipulation. On the upside, the story illustrates the importance of believing in yourself and your abilities, working together as a team, and taking instruction from a mentor.
Is It Any Good?
After three feature films followed Po discovering his destiny as dragon master and town hero, this series shifts the focus to a new batch of youngsters whose hopes of their own kung fu legacies rest with him. Po is every bit as endearing in his new role as teacher as he was learning the craft himself. Those who have followed his evolution will especially enjoy watching him step into the grown-up role and attempt to mold these young whippersnappers, much as his mentors had to channel their patience to shape him. With four students to manage, there are even more moments of chaos and humor as the story plays out and Po learns how to be a role model to this energetic bunch.
The Paws of Destiny mixes lighthearted content with darker moments and a truly sinister ancient villain who will stop at nothing to steal the kids' inherited chi and harness its power for his own gain. Because the protagonists are so young and their adversary and his lackeys so much more experienced, the battles feel that much more lopsided and potentially dangerous, even though things typically work out in the end. It's important for parents to know their kids' sensitivities with regard to this kind of content before giving this series the thumbs up.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.