Warning: SPOILERS for blush before.
Pixar blush revolves around the mythology that allows Meiling and her family to transform into red pandas – but do red pandas really have a place in Chinese mythology? blush depicts a Canadian family doing their best to preserve their Chinese heritage in the heart of Toronto by running a shrine dedicated to their ancestors and spiritual protectors, the red panda. The film explains that the red panda has its place in Chinese myths and legends.
blush tells the story of Meiling “Mei” Li, a 13-year-old girl who learns to overcome adversity to become a woman. Mei has always been dedicated to her family and to being the kid they want her to be: she earns aces, participates in every extracurricular program, and spends all of her free time running the family shelter. When her overbearing mother goes over the top and embarrasses her in front of a whole bunch of classmates, including her crush, Mei’s frustration spills over into unforeseen consequences. Mei then learns that her family holds an ancient secret: as each woman in her family comes of age, she discovers the ability to become a red panda whenever she experiences strong emotions.
Till blush has its complex meaning, the red pandas themselves do not play a big role in actual Chinese mythology. In the film, Meiling Song Yi’s ancestor gained the ability to transform into a red panda because she worshiped them, not because the red pandas themselves used mythic abilities. Red pandas are considered to be territorial and protective of their cubs – everything Sun Yi had to embody to protect her family and her descendants after her. Native to Nepal, China, and the eastern Himalayas, the red panda is held in high esteem by the locals – its skin is often used in culturally significant Chinese ceremonies, including weddings – but ultimately, there is very little mention of red pandas in ancient and Chinese myths. popular fairy tales.
This lack of permanent mythology is one of the reasons why the creators blush decided to build their myth around the red panda. Director Domi Shi explained that they chose the red panda because theycontrast space and room to come up with a whole legend and mythology“. (via Insider) Shea is a personal fan of the red panda and thinks it’s the perfect and adorable juxtaposition to a time in girls’ lives that doesn’t seem adorable at all.
While there are not many stories related to red pandas in Chinese mythology, there are many stories of werewolf animals, mostly spirits that take the form of animals, such as foxes and snakes, that have the ability to take on human form. Combining the concept of shapeshifting animals and the practice of honoring ancestors, blush was able to create an entirely new myth that pays homage to his Chinese heritage. If there is a sequel, it will be interesting to see if the story is based on the red panda mythology or if an entirely new legend is introduced.
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