Again this week we have a Prince who isn’t really a prince. He doesn’t start out royal and doesn’t marry into royalty. Mulan is so awesome, however, that a whole new category for becoming a Disney Princess was added just for her. Shang gets the benefit of her awesomeness. They may be the only couple on the official Disney roster that can claim no ties to any kind of ruling lineage. I sort of love that.
Li Shang and Mulan have the least romantic relationship of any couple on this list. For the majority of the film, Shang believes her to be a man! Because of this, their relationship is based on respect and friendship first. In fact, their romantic relationship was just beginning at the end of the movie. Shang doesn’t fall in love with her beauty, her singing voice, or her dancing. He gets to know her with all her flaws and strengths. He builds trust and relationship over time (not sure how long the training montage lasts, but it’s longer than a day or two). They then begin to build a deeper relationship from there.
His relationship with Mulan is not the only healthy relationship he has. Shang loves his dad. He cares for the troops under his authority and has respect for the emperor. He understands that sometimes rule need to be followed and sometimes they need to be bent. He learns that the traditional way of doing things is not always the best way. More importantly he doesn’t fight the change.
Of course, the real reason we love Shang is that when it comes to the point for him to confess his undying love for Mulan he instead pats her on the shoulder and tells her, ‘You fight good.’ It is awkward and real. Here is news for all the guys out there. We women love awkward and real. That is what lets us see who you really are. Shang is a great role model and says a lot about flexibility and authenticity. He is a great addition to the Disney Princes.