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|“||KAI HAS RETURNED! (...Who?) Kai. General Kai. Supreme Warlord of all China. (...Huh?) The Jade-Slayer. The Master of Pain. You may know me as the Beast of Vengeance. Uh... Maker of Widows? (...Eh.) Okay, I used to work with Oogway.||„|
|~ Kai talking to farmers.|
General Kai (simply known as Kai), known to all as "Kai the Collector", is the main antagonist of DreamWorks' 32nd full-length animated feature film Kung Fu Panda 3.
He is a supernatural yak who appears as Po's third enemy and the former brother-in-arms of Master Oogway and (upon his return to the mortal realm) later becomes a powerful evil Spirit Warrior. Thus, he can steal chi from Kung Fu warriors and turn them into Jade Zombies. His scheme is to defeat every Kung Fu master.
He was voiced by J.K. Simmons, who also played Terence Fletcher in Whiplash, Skip in Aliens in The Attic, J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, and Vernon Schillinger from the TV series Oz.
Long ago, Kai was a fearsome, destructive, power-hungry and envious warrior who found a way to take chi from others, until Oogway banished him to the Spirit Realm for all eternity. When Kai returns to Earth, he and his appetite for power and revenge has only grown stronger.
There is currently little known about Kai's personality, though he is described as being an "evil spirit". He hates to be interrupted when he is talking, as seen when he got very annoyed when Po wasn't willing to listen and continuously butted in with "chit-chat".
Kai's voice actor, J.K. Simmons said that Kai will be "not happy about life in general", but will have a sense of humor, "even if it is a little bit dark". He added that Kai is also extremely vengeful and treacherous, and a "bitter, bitter guy".
Kai also holds great hatred for his former friend Oogway, stating that he "loved him like a brother", and believes that Oogway betrayed him. This is demonstrated when he destroyed Oogway's statue. It is implied that he holds the Pandas responsible for turning Oogway against him.
Kai is a light gray anthropomorphic yak with glowing green eyes, long black hair, a helmet, two enormous horns that are shaped like flames and very thick, a green pendant of collected chi, a brown loincloth made of leather, and muscular arms with brown bracers.
|“|| Shifu: I was an ambitious young warrior…|
Oogway: …Leading a great army. Fighting by my side was Kai, my closest friend. One day, we were ambushed. I was badly wounded. My friend carried me for days, looking for help until we came to a secret village high in the mountains. An ancient place of healing. A village of pandas.
Oogway: Yes, Pandas. (*story resumes*) Pandas who used the power of chi to heal me. They taught me how to give chi. But Kai wanted the power all to himself. He saw that what could be given could also be taken. I had to stop him. Our battle shook the earth until finally I banished Kai to the spirit realm. Should he ever return to the mortal realm, he can only be stopped…
Shifu:… by a true master of Chi.
|~ Shifu, Po and the others read about Kai's story as told by Oogway.|
Many years ago, Kai and Oogway fought together as brothers-in-arms, and were close friends. One day, during an ambush, Oogway was gravely wounded, and Kai carried him for days, searching for help, until they came upon a secret panda village, where the pandas used the power of their chi to heal Oogway instantly. Oogway was fascinated by the power and the pandas taught him how to utilize it. However, Kai became extremely jealous, selfish and possessive, and wanted the power all for himself. He decided to take chi from others rather than give it. Seeing the damage Kai's obsession would cause, Oogway confronted his fallen friend in a fierce battle that shook the earth until finally Oogway triumphed, banishing Kai's body and soul to the Spirit realm, forever. However, Oogway feared Kai would somehow return to the mortal world and finish his evil plan and the only one could stop him would have to be a true master of chi.
Kung Fu Panda 3
Rematch with Oogway
500 years after his banishment to the Spirit Realm, Kai has grown much stronger in his power. In the spirit realm, he finds Oogway and challenges him to a rematch. The two of them fight and Oogway tells Kai he's grown stronger. Kai comments that it's because he has taken and absorbed the chi of all the kung fu masters there and now has them on his belt as amulets and says he will soon have Oogway's chi too. Though the two are nearly equal in skill and power, Oogway soon realizes he can't defeat Kai and willingly allows him to take his chi. Kai throws out two jade blade, wraps their chain around Oogway and pulls the turtle over to him so he can steal his chi. Kai says that with Oogway's chi, he can finally return to the mortal and carry out his plans and this time Oogway will not able to stop him. As Kai turns Oogway into amulet, Oogway tells Kai it was never his mission to stop him and that he has somebody else on that path. After Kai has stolen Oogway's chi and turned the turtle into an amulet, he vows to defeat this other warrior and take his chi too, then uses Oogway's chi to return to the mortal world.
The Return of Kai
After re-emerging back in the mortal world, Kai encounters a rabbit and goose, who are scared by him. He asks them where he is, and the goose answers his brother's farm. Kai then asks them if they would die if he stepped on them. They answer yes. Kai knows he has returned to the mortal realm and shouts his return to the world. The two animals are confused by who he is. Kai tells them a lot of himself, and they are still confused. Then Kai mentions he used to work with Oogawy, which delights the two animals. Kai then orders them to stop talking and takes his amulets off his back and throws them on the grass where they grow big and become the Kung Fu master Kai defeated in the spirit realm. Kai then orders his minions to find Oogway's students and bring them to him.
The jade statues attack the Valley of Peace and fight against Po, Shifu and the Furious Five. Po notices that some of the jade statues resemble past Kung Fu masters. After Po and his friends defeat the Jade minions, Kai sends a message through them, telling Po and his friends how their chi will soon be his. Mantis and Po think it's the jombies talking till Kai tells them "Idiots! It's not them talking! It's me talking through them, Kai!" The team is confused and Kai summons his minions back to him. After Po and the others learn about Kai and his plan through Oogway's scroll, and that the only way they can defeat Kai is if Po learns to channel chi himself, Po's birth father Li (who has arrived looking for his son) offers to take Po to the secret panda village and teach him.
Kai vs Crane
After Po and Li leave, Shifu sends Crane and Mantis to find Kai but warns them not to engage him. Crane and Mantis join with Master Bear, Master Croc and Master Chicken to confront Kai, but one by one Bear, Croc and Chicken are all easily defeated and have their chi stolen. When Mantis goes to help them, his chi is taken too. When Crane enters, he discovers Kai behind him and sees that he has captured Mantis. When Crane tries to fly away, Kai wraps the jade chains around the Crane, pulls him back in and takes his chi.
Attack on the Jade Palace
Kai then arrives at the Jade Palace where he and his two his minions - The Now Jombified Crane and Mantis - fight Shifu, Monkey, Viper and Tigress. When Tigress kicks Kai, a yellow light echoes out of him. Shifu is about to deliver a punch to Kai when he sees Oogway under his neck. Shifu, shocked seeing an amulet of his former teacher, gives up his defense and Kai knocks him to the ground. Kai then orders Crane and Mantis to bring Monkey and Viper to him. They obey, bring their friends to their new master and Kai steals Monkey and Viper's chi. Afterwards, he wraps his chains around a giant Oogway statue, rips off its stand and hurls it at the Jade Palace and destroys it. He then approaches a defeated Shifu who says that Po will stop him in his plans. However, Kai says he doubts that and takes Shifu's chi while Tigress escapes to find Po.
Arrival at the Village
After a while, Kai arrives at the panda village and sees Po, who had been waiting for him. Kai orders his minions to capture Po and the others and then throws into the air and whack towards Po with the Jade Blade, but the pandas manage to fight back as Po has taught them Kung Fu. This is so they can distract Kai while Po gets close enough to Kai so he can use the Wuxi finger hold on him and send him back to the spirit realm. The plan works at first and Po reaches Kai but when Po tries to use the Wuxi finger hold on Kai, nothing happens (even though it worked when Po used it on Tai Lung in the first movie) Kai tells Po that the Wuxi finger hold can only work on mortals, and that Kai is not a mortal but a spirit warrior. Kai gains the upper hand in their fight and fights Po and kicks him back up to the village. Then he arrives there and prepares to take the chi of Po and the other pandas. However, Po jumps on Kai, grabs him around the neck and uses the Wuxi finger hold again, this time on himself, and sending them both to the spirit realm.
The Final Battle with Po and Death
Po and Kai arrive in the Spirit Realm. Kai is angered that Po has returned him to the Spirit Realm. He then fights Po and gained the upper hand over him again. Kai wraps his chains around Po and begins to steal his chi, but before the process could be completed, Li, Tigress, Mr. Ping, and all the pandas use their own chi to save Po. Po then breaks free of the chains and forms his own chi in the shape of a dragon and fight back against Kai. Po gains the upper hand and destroys one of Kai's blades. After Po drags Kai with the other blade and smashes him against rocks, Kai tells Po that he will have the panda's chi even if it will take him another 500 years. Po just makes fun of his talkativeness, which angered Kai and made him lunge at him. Seeing this as the perfect opportunity for him to attack, Po then willingly infuses all his chi right into Kai. At first, Kai seems happy, having finally obtained the power for himself. However, yellow lights start glowing out of him. Kai then realizes that Po's chi is too powerful for him to control as it is overloading his body against his will, much to his horror. Unable to stop it, the abundance of energy became so great that Kai exploded into a bright golden light, being destroyed by the very same power he sought to obtain. After Kai's death, all the masters he had absorbed over the years were finally released from his control and all the still living ones returned back to the mortal world.
Fighting Styles and Abilities
Kai fights primarily with a set of jade swords attached to long chains. He has also been seen wielding axe-like blades, indicating that he is extremely competent and skillful with multiple weapons. Kai is ancient, thus he is one of the oldest veterans of Kung Fu and also having skills that are far greater than the likes of almost every Kung Fu master in history. The use of one of his chain blade swords takes an average warrior decades to fully master, whereas he has mastered the use of two blades without any flaws, thus providing proof of his superior combat abilities.
Kai is described as a "supernatural villain", which indicates that he possesses supernatural powers. It was later revealed that Kai possesses the ability to "steal the powers from every kung fu master he defeats", particularly their chi. After absorbing the chi of someone, the victim in question is transformed into a small jade ornament that Kai wears on his belt, and when needed, he can summon these figures, turning them into jade, statue-like creatures, and see through their eyes. Since he is a "Spirit Warrior", he cannot die by natural means nor by most Kung Fu Techniques. However, this does not mean he cannot be destroyed.
He also has an advanced amount of supernatural strength, speed, stamina, and durability, as well as enhanced healing powers.
Despite Kai being a seemingly unstoppable force, he is not completely invincible or immortal. Kai is completely invulnerable to age, illness, and even Shen's super-cannons. However, as a supernatural being, a supernatural force can and must be utilized to hurt him. An example would be how Tigress's chi-infused kick broke through his invulnerability and momentarily stunned him. Another example is how Oogway used Chi to weaken Kai, even though Oogway willingly lost the fight. Po utilized a chi-constructed dragon to cause major damage to Kai. When Po gave Kai all of the Chi Kai ever wanted, Kai became seemingly authoritative and all-powerful for a few seconds, before "dying" due to an excessive amount of Chi injected into his body.
- There is a possibility that Kai is partially based on the Bull King from the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, who is also a supernatural bull and a former brother-in-arm of a protagonist 500 years prior to the when the main conflict between him and the main protagonist takes place.
- In Chinese, the name "Kai" most often translates to "victory" (traditional Chinese: 凱 simplified Chinese: 凯; pinyin: kǎi) or "open" (traditional Chinese: 開; simplified Chinese: 开; pinyin: kāi).
- Kai was previously going to be voiced by Mads Mikkelsen. However, he dropped from the film due to unknown scheduling issues.
- His design is similar to Drago Bludvist from the 2014 DreamWorks film How to Train Your Dragon 2.
- Coincidentally, Drago played Kai in the parody Dragons video on the Kung Fu Panda 3 trailer.
- He is one of the few demonic villains who appeared in the Kung Fu Panda franchise, alongside Ke-Pa and his demonic army, Jiang Shi and the Mongolian Fist Demon.
- Kai uses swords on chains like Kratos (the anti-hero from the God of War series).
- Kai and Lord Shen are noticeably the most evil villains in the Kung Fu Panda series due to attempting genocide on pandas, despite the fact that none of them are pure evil due to Shen being honorable and Kai ends up being played for laughs mostly and his insecurity, despite being the films most serious character.
- When Kai says that after "500 years in the spirit realm, you pick up a thing of two". The line "A thing of two" is a reference to the "Farmers" commercials that his voice actor appeared in.
- Kai's theme music incorporates a Chinese remix of the Imagine Dragons song "I'm So Sorry".