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Top 23 Most Popular Turning Red Characters
Aishwarya-Posted Dec 16, 2022
Turning Red is an animated film from Pixar Studios and is the 25th animation from Pixar. The story is a fantasy comedy created by Julia Cho and Domee Shi, with Domee Shi directing the film.
The plot revolves around a Chinese-Canadian family that follows strong cultural values and traditions. The Lee family consists of parents Jin Lee and Ming Lee with their 13-year-old daughter Meilin Lee.
As all Asian children are, Mei aspires to be the perfect little daughter that her parents desire. She is a straight A+ student who considers an ‘A’ as a failure.
Her friends are equally ambitious. However, the Lee family has a secret blessing/curse that gets passed on to Mei.
She turns into a Red Panda when she is emotionally agitated. This rocks her perfect world and her mother’s as well.
As much as Mei aspires to be perfect, it is Ming who pushes Mei to be perfect. Once Mei starts to turn red, she is forced to reconsider her priorities, hopes, and aspirations in life.
Mei has to separate her dreams from her mother’s and gather the courage to stand up for her beliefs.
Supporting her all the way is her intrepid and loving set of friends. To find out more about the wonderful characters of this animated film, ENTOIN brings you this list of the most interesting characters of Turning Red.
1. Meilin "Mei" Lee
Meilin Lee is the protagonist of the movie. She is an over-achieving preteen who wants to be everything that her mother wishes her to be.
Meilin is lovingly called Mei by her loved ones. She is a dutiful daughter who excels in her studies and also does all the household chores.
At school, she has fun with her friends and loves the boy-band 4*Town. Despite being bullied by her classmate Tyler, she befriends him as he loves 4*Town too.
This seemingly perfect life is overturned when Mei inherits her family curse and turns into a red panda. Every time Mei gets upset, she spouts red fur and a tail and becomes a panda.
Understandably, this overturns her life, but it also helps her find the perfect balance between her wishes and the expectations of her parents.
Rosalie Chiang, who plays Mei, explains that the Red Panda is like the teenage angst that needs to be balanced out with the love of family and friends.
2. Ming Lee
Ming Lee is the deuteragonist of the movie Turning Red. She can be described, in some ways, as a Tiger Mom.
She wants her child to be the best at studies, competitive, and perfect, but also value traditions and culture.
However, she is also a loving, over-protective, controlling, and stubborn woman. Ming Lee is the primary caretaker of the Lee family temple and an upstanding local entrepreneur.
She takes pride in doing all her duties perfectly and demands the same perfection from her daughter. When she becomes aware of the Red Panda transformation of her daughter, she views it as an uncontrollable aberration.
She immediately decides to cure the curse without consulting Mei. Sandra Oh portrayed Ming Lee and views her as a typical Asian mother.
3. Miriam Mendelsohn
Miriam Mendelsohn is one of the best friends of Mei Lee. At first sight, Miriam or Mir, as she is lovingly called, is a tomboy.
She wears a predominantly green outfit that has leaf green trousers, a light green t-shirt, and a plaid green shirt.
Her auburn hair is tied up in two braids. Upon closer inspection, Mir is the most nurturing and caring member of the group of friends.
She is the first one to notice the rising stress levels, and she cracks up a joke or two to lighten the mood.
She is particularly affectionate towards Mei once she turns into a red panda. Ava Morse, an American actress from Chicago, portrays Miriam Mendelsohn.
4. Priya Mangal
Priya Mangal is one of the other best friends of Mei. She is an Indian-Canadian teenager with a penchant for macabre.
In her introduction scene, we can see Priya reading a vampire novel. She also follows the lore surrounding werewolves.
When Mei’s friends see her as a red panda for the first time, Priya mistakes her for a werewolf.
Despite her goth tastes, Priya dresses up in the plainest clothing. She wears a yellow striped shirt with beige baggy pants.
Her right hand has a grayish-yellow watch, with gray sneakers on her feet. Her curly brown hair is left open, but her standout feature is her gold nose ring.
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan plays Priya as a deadpan, mellow, and chilled girl. Yet, she makes an effort to be excited for her friends.
5. Abby Park
Abby Park is the third best friend of Mei. She is a Korean-Canadian girl who makes up the last member of the quartet of friends.
She is short and chubby, with an attitude to go with it. Abby can only be described as aggressive, moody, and excited.
She is always ready for a good fight and doesn’t pull her punches. But she loves to have fun just as much.
Another feature of Abby Park is her love for purple and glitter. Her clothes are pink and purple, with shiny dangling earrings and a glitter headband.
She can be a girly girl and loves Mei as a red panda, as she is fluffy and soft.
She is voiced by Hyein Park, a Korean-Canadian artist. Of the group, Abby Park is the most fun-loving, outspoken, and aggressive among her friends.
6. Jin Lee
Jin Lee is the father of Mei. He is the support system that keeps the family grounded amid the strong-willed Ming and the preteen Mei.
Jin Lee is a silent and hardworking type of person who doesn’t express his emotions, but silence provides what is needed.
Jin loves the simple pleasure of life, like cooking for his family, gardening, snacking, etc. He is the calm person who patiently hears out Ming when they discover Mei’s panda transformation.
Even though Ming’s panda scares him, he understands her worry and tries to support and comfort his wife. Jin Lee is voiced by Orion Lee.
In the post-credits scene, we see that Jin is also a fan of 4*Town’s music.
7. Grandma Wu
Grandma Wu is the mother of Ming and the grandmother of Mei. After meeting Ming, one can guess where Ming gets her perfectionist attitude from.
Grandma Wu is a strict disciplinarian, traditionalist, overbearing, and controlling person. She is a perfectionist to the core and will accept nothing less than the best from her family.
As the mother of Ming, she demanded perfection from her and felt that Jin was not worthy of her.
This led to an angry encounter with Ming’s red panda, who took an angry swipe at Grandma Wu, leaving a scar on her forehead.
Grandma Wu considers the red panda a curse and is determined to rid her family of it. However, beneath all this tough exterior, she is a loving and caring mother who does not want her daughters to face the same hardships that she had to face.
8. Tyler Nguyen-Baker
Tyler Nguyen-Baker is a typical preteen boy who is spoiled by his rich parents. He craves popularity and thinks that making fun of and embarrassing Mei and her friends will make him a cool kid.
Tyler is a sports enthusiast and loves basketball, but his talent level is unclear. He is also a driven bully who will go to long lengths to target Mei.
It can be seen when he follows Mei to the shop where Devon works. He films the whole incident and prints posters of it to ridicule Mei.
Yet, underneath this bravado, there is an insecure boy who wants to make friends. He pays Mei $200 to attend his birthday party as a panda.
The best part about Tyler is his love for 4*Town, just like Mei and his friends. He hides his true self and pretends to be a mean guy at school.
Once he meets them at the concert, Tyler shows his friendly side by offering to bring the band to help Mei’s mother calm down.
Tristan Allerick Chen plays Tyler in the movie.
9. Auntie Chen
Auntie Chen is Mei Lee’s aunt and the elder sister of Ming. Just like all the other Lee family ladies, Auntie Chen also has a red panda that is encased in a broach.
She can be recognized by her long face, short black hair, and prominent wart on her forehead. She is also the shortest among all the aunties.
By nature, Auntie Chen is extremely cynical and distrustful. Being a grandmother herself, she feels a sense of duty to question and correct her sister and her family.
This makes her way of handling this appear gruff and undiplomatic. At the same time, her age has brought a level of emotional stability and control over her red panda.
This comes in handy when Ming loses control of her red panda and turns ferocious.
Lily is a part of the extended family of Mei. Technically, she is Mei’s cousin and the daughter of Auntie Ping.
However, she is often clubbed among the aunties because she is quite a bit older than Mei. She has a daughter of her own called Vivian.
Due to being the youngest in the group, Lily is relatively more understanding and supportive of Mei. Lily is the second tallest member of the group and also the most fun-loving.
She is a much more positive member of the aunties group and is more emotionally stable than Ming. She understands Mei’s need to be free and in control of her life due to being in the same generation.
However, it does not mean that Lily has no temper issues because she can get angry and has her own red panda.
11. Helen Lee
Helen is another member of Ming’s extended family. She is the niece of Grandma Wu and the daughter of Ming’s first cousin.
Although Helen is technically a cousin to Mei, she is also called Auntie Helen due to her age. Similar to Lily, she is more emotionally stable than Ming and Mei.
Helen is the second shortest member of the family but she is smartly dressed in black jeans, a bluish-jade shirt, a leather jacket, and Ugg Boots.
Her red panda is encased in a hair comb that she uses to tie up her long black hair.
Helen is most likely the daughter of one of Grandma Wu’s sisters or cousins. Yet, she rushes in to help with the issue of Mei’s red panda, as it is a family secret that needs to be protected.
12. Auntie Ping
Auntie Ping is the eldest daughter of Grandma Wu. She is the elder sister of Chen and Ming and the mother of Lily.
Auntie Ping is also the largest among the group owing to her height. She is the most responsible and nurturing aunt in the group as displayed by her patience and calmness.
Due to the traditional values in the Lee family, Auntie Ping is the eldest after Grandma Wu. Hence, her word carries a lot of weight, and this makes her quite dominant.
Aunt Ping follows her mother, Wu, in the belief that the red panda needs to be encased and is a danger.
She comes to convince Mei to undergo the ritual to encase her red panda, but Mei thinks otherwise.
4*Town is the fictional boy band from the movie. They are also the central point for all the conflict, the friendship, and the cure in the movie.
Speaking of conflict, Ming Lee dislikes the band and prohibits Mei from going to the concert. This causes her to rebel and speak out against her mother.
The friends Mei, Abby, Priya, Mir, and eventually even Tyler are bound together due to their love for the band.
And speaking of the cure, Tyler convinces the band to help sing at the ritual to help in encasing Ming’s red panda and bringing back peace to the family.
So, let us meet the member of this boy band:
He is the leader of the boy band. He is a black French Canadian from Toronto, and he is talented.
Robaire can sing and dance, as seen from his jams on the tour bus. He is the favorite of Mei.
Robaire plans to go solo one day but also loves being with the band. He is very protective of his friends.
15. Tae Young
He is the favorite member of Abby Park. He is the youngest member of the band and the most sensitive.
He loves animals and always looks for ways to rescue doves and other small creatures. He is a true-blue wildlife enthusiast.
He is a blond guy with silver earrings.
Jesse is the oldest member of the band. He is the most mature and sometimes appears arrogant, but he loves his band and cares for everyone.
Jesse loves playing with his two kids and when the stress gets to him, he takes up pottery. He also takes a course in ceramics. Jesse is the bias of Priya Mangal.
17. Aaron Z
Aaron Z has a big fan in Tyler because both of them are athletic. Aaron Z is a shy guy and silent for the most part.
He is also the best dancer in the group. He coordinates his steps with the rest of the band but shines through with his moves.
He lets his work and performance do the talking most of the time.
18. Aaron T
Aaron T is the opposite of Aaron Z. He is lively, extroverted, and loves attention. He is a fun-loving and jovial member who has a joke for every occasion.
It is very clear why Miriam loves Aaron T because their personalities match each other. Both are energetic pranksters.
19. Mr. Gao
Mr. Gao is a neighbor of the Lee family and lives near the Lee family temple. He is also the gardener, temple caretaker, and shaman.
We can see him often playing chess with the elderly on the grounds of the temple. Mr. Gao is the secret keeper of the Lee family's secret of red pandas.
He is the only one who can open the astral realm to conduct the ritual during the red moon.
Mr. Gao reveres the Lee ancestor, Sun Yee, and dedicated his life to taking care of the temple. Being a genial old man, he guides Mei through the ceremony and watches over the family and tradition.
20. Sun Yee
Sun Yee is the ancestor of the Lee family. During her lifetime, Sun Yee was a scholar and poet, who was dedicated to her family and her animals.
She loved the animals in the forest around her home and red pandas were her favorite. When war ravaged her kingdom, her husband and all the men in her hometown went to war.
As she felt insecure and scared for the safety of her family, Sun Yee prayed to god to give her the power of the red panda to save and protect her daughters.
This ancient gift helped her and her family, but it became a burden to her future generations. As a result, when the Lee family decided to seal their red panda, Sun Yee was benevolent and helped them encase it in a piece of jewelry.
21. Mr. Kieslowski
Mr. Kieslowski is the math teacher at Mei’s middle school. Math being Mei’s favorite subject, we get to see him more than the other teachers in the school.
He is a regular meth teacher who is only interested in his subject and not the troubles of his pupils.
Mr. Kieslowski could be described as a patient and hardworking guy. Being a math teacher must be tiring, but he is never shown to lose his temper.
However, Mr. Kieslowski is also not interested in the antics of children. He sees Mei’s talent with the flute, but he is unimpressed. He even calls her mildly annoying.
Devon is a minor character in the grander scheme of the story in Turning Red. However, he unwittingly becomes the reason for a lot of trouble for Mei.
Devon is a seventeen-year-old who works at Daisy Mart, and he is overworked and tired all the time. Throughout most of the movie, Devon is seen with a bored expression that Ming misunderstands as a stoned look.
Mei and her friends have a small crush on Devon and stop by the store to spy on him.
When Ming finds some of the daydreaming dawdles of Mei and Devon, she goes on a rampage and causes a very embarrassing scene at the Daisy Mart that haunts Mei even in her school.
23. Stacy Frick
Stacy Frick is another minor character in the movie. She is a classmate of Mei and one of the first people outside her friends group to discover the red panda secret.
However, Stacy is very welcoming and accepting of Mei, which relaxes her and calms her. Stacy is a typical fashionable teen who likes cute, pretty, and trendy stuff.
She is kawaii-obsessed and finds the red panda very cute. Her acceptance propels Mei’s popularity in her school and gives her the idea of collecting money to watch the 4*Town concert.
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