In honor of the release of the live action Mulan today on Disney+, I thought it would be a good time to share a few words on my Disney husband. Of course, I’m talking about my barrel-chested, bisexual king, General Li Shang.
General Shang is a character in the original animated version of Mulan. He meets Mulan when she — disguised as a man — joins the misfit group of soldiers that Shang eventually helps lead to victory against the bad guys. While technically not a Disney “prince,” it’s almost too easy to argue how thoroughly Shang exceeds — both in looks and character — the mundane cadre of foppish Disney men (many of whom share a disturbing penchant for kissing unconscious women).
Shang is known as “pretty boy” for obvious reasons, and I won’t spend much time arguing that he’s the hottest Disney man because that goes without saying. I will say a few words about his size, which is what I like to call “climbable.” His exact height is unclear, but he appears to stand around seven-foot-two, outstripping his colleagues (with the exception of Beast) who otherwise appear to be pushing a willowy five-foot-seven. And unlike the majority of the Disney fellows, Shang isn’t interested in using his strength and bulk to (a) imprison women, or (b) “save” them.
Which brings me to his perfect personality. According to disney.fandom.com, Shang hates “threats to China, failing, and disorganization” and loves “getting his way, schedules, and mild food” (all same!). He also doesn’t talk much, which is yet another asset.
And then there is also the fact that Shang almost definitely fell for Mulan when she was still masquerading as “Ping,” a male soldier, a fact that has led commentators across the internet to refer to Mulan as “the most bisexual cartoon ever,” and Shang himself as a bisexual king:
Unfortunately, Li Shang doesn’t appear in the live-action Mulan, apparently because filmmakers took issue with the power dynamic between himself and Mulan, given that he’s her commanding officer. (Real Shang fans will know that he didn’t pursue Mulan until after she leaves the Chinese army, but whatever.) Instead, he’s been split into two characters: Commander Tung, who serves as Mulan’s mentor figure, and Honghui, a love interest who is of equal rank to her. Sadly, neither is anywhere near as hot as the hulking cartoon prince — but then again, who could be? Perhaps it’s for the best that Li Shang was never re-created in the flesh. Why mess with perfection, in all its enormous, animated, bisexual glory?