Fa Mulan is a character, inspired by an actual historic figure, who appears in Walt Disney Pictures' 36th animated feature film Mulan (1998), as well as its sequel Mulan II (2004). Her speaking voice is provided by actress Ming-Na Wen, while singer Lea Salonga provides the character's singing voice. Created by author Robert D. San Souci, Mulan is based on the legendary Chinese warrior Hua Mulan from the poem the Ballad of Mulan. The only child of an aging war veteran, Mulan disregards both tradition and the law by disguising herself as a man in order to enlist herself in the army in lieu of her feeble father. Disney had originally conceived Mulan as an oppressed young Chinese woman who ultimately elopes to Europe to be with a British prince. However, director Tony Bancroft, who was inspired by the well-being of his own daughters, wanted Mulan to be a different, unique kind of Disney heroine – one who is strong and independent, whose fate does not depend upon a male character. Thus, the relationship between Mulan and Captain Li Shang was relegated to that of a minor subplot, while Mulan's bravery and strength were emphasized in order to ensure that she remained the hero of her own story. Mulan's supervising animator was Mark Henn, who deliberately designed the character so that she would appear less feminine than her predecessors. Reception towards Mulan's personality has been generally positive, with critics praising her bravery and heroism. However, some commentators have accused Disney of Westernizing the character, while her romantic relationship with Shang has been widely accused of compromising Mulan's heroism.
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