Our favorite Disney movie, Mulan, just celebrated its 20th Anniversary! And – in honor of National Best Friend Day (June 8th) – we are taking a look at Mulan’s trusty sidekick, her guardian, and the sassiest best friend any girl could ask for: Mushu!

Mushu initially helped Mulan for his own selfish reasons, but he eventually becomes the epitome of the perfect best friend. He even nicknames Mulan, “Ping”, after his best friend growing up; they were obviously destined to be besties.


Let’s check out all the ways that Mushu taught us a thing or two about being a true friend:

1) Friends Who Eat Together, Stay Together

Mushu knows he may not be able to go out and fight all of Mulan’s battles for her (he is a lizard after all. Er dragon! Sorry, Mushu...) but he can be there for her in another very important way: with food! Mushu sends Mulan off to her first day of training with a full stomach; a true friend understands that life can be hard, but that a late-night pizza party – or maybe some happy porridge –  can make all the difference.


2) A Best Friend Tells You the Truth

A true friend will always tell you the truth, even when it may not all be rainbows and sunshine to hear. And that goes both ways!

A real friend will tell you the truth about yourself, as well as, the hard truth about themselves and – in the process – will keep you both honest.

Mushu confesses:

The truth is, we're both frauds. Your ancestors never sent me, they don't even like me. But you risked your life to help people you love. I risked your life to help myself. At least you had good intentions.

Don’t worry, Mushu! The ancestors may not appreciate you, but we think you’re pretty cool for coming clean.

A distressed graphic shows Mulan, as Ping, practicing martial arts with a kick in the air. Text that reads "Believe You Can Then You Will" in white font can be found above her

3) Best Friends Give the Best Advice

Mushu gives great advice like 1) Listen to your teacher 2) Play nice with the other kids and 3) Don’t talk with your mouth full. All great and noteworthy life lessons! Well...he also recommends that Mulan “kick the other kids’ butt” at some point too...Although, we don’t condone violence, we can appreciate Mushu encouraging Mulan to stand up for herself. Take that, Huns. You don’t stand a chance against Mulan and her feisty best friend.


4) Say that to My Face, You Limp Noodle!

Real friends always have your back, even if they’re the reason you’re in trouble in the first place. Still though, at least you know they’ll be there when the going gets tough.

Mushu is always getting Mulan into trouble (no one calls Mulan a “Chicken Boy” on Mushu’s watch) but he’s also there to help her get out of it.

Plus, you can always count on your bestie to have your back and to be proud of you (even if it’s sort of a weird reason to be proud of).

Mushu holds back tears when Mulan goes off to battle. He sniffs, “My little baby, off to destroy people.”

A real friend can be proud of you no matter what; they’re proud of you for eating more brussels sprouts, for buying a new pair of socks, or just trying out that new crazy hairdo.

movie poster featuring the classic animation of Mulan and her horse, Khan, is printed against a dark red background

5)  Friends Don’t Let Friends Suffer Alone

A real friend will suffer with you through an awkward office party, a trip to the DMV, or a weird double date.

Mushu is the ultimate best friend because he is always there when Mulan needs him. Mushu is there to help Mulan save the Emperor, he stands up against an entire army of Huns, and even bites a few butts to help Mulan get some alone time at the river.

He insists, “I ain't biting no more butts” but we know that a real friend – like Mushu – would bite anyone who bugged his bestie.

Mushu and cricket peeks out from a hole. Cricket looks upset at Mushu, while Mushu looks shocked


So, don’t be fooled by his small stature; Mushu is a fierce and loyal best friend. Celebrate your own best friend today with the perfect Fifth Sun Disney t-shirt!

20th anniversaryChi-fuChien-poChinaChineseDishonor on you dishonor on your cowDisneyEmperorFa zhouFifth sun teesFriendsGrandmotherHunsLingMake a man out of youMulanMushuNational best friend dayPingShangYao

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