July 3, 2022


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The web adores Mei's dad in 'Turning Purple'

Pixar’s Turning Purple, above all, is an ode to girlhood. Director Domee Shi’s animated coming-of-age movie embeds this within the narrative itself, within the complicated bonds between girls of various age teams, and within the touching portrayal of feminine energy and perseverance. As our 13-year-old Chinese language Canadian heroine, Meilin “Mei” Lee, grapples with rising pains that remodel her right into a fluffy, large crimson panda, she continually has girls by her facet: her anxious mom Ming, her woman gang, and her many out-of-town (and principally well-meaning) kin.

Alongside the highly effective, nuanced girls throughout the movie is Jin Lee, Mei’s father. A supporting character, Jin is quiet but affirming even at first look. He is additionally the apple of the web’s eye, the place he is nonetheless being championed on-line as a standout Pixar dad and Turning Purple fan favourite (no disrespect, Robaire).

The web has lengthy declared its adoration for Jin because the launch of Turning Purple in March 2022, making a rising fandom for somebody who is not a primary character by all accounts. Throughout TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter, followers nonetheless reward and rejoice Jin for the daddy, husband, and 4*City fan he’s.

Cooking is a significant a part of Jin’s on-line fandom. Once we are first launched to Jin, he’s concocting a mouth-watering dinner for his household. His glasses are fogged up, giving us a split-second impression of a fearful determine. However this picture rapidly disappears: he wipes his glasses, snaps out of his devoted cooking, and softly smiles as his household watches a Chinese language cleaning soap opera.

First impressions secured, the cooking scene in itself brought about a significant fan frenzy from the get-go, with dozens of TikTok and YouTube edits. One TikTok, which garnered over 2.5 million views, sees chef @albert_cancook replicating Jin’s meal, foggy glasses included. However the character’s culinary abilities are only the start of the Jin-centric fandom.

Videos obsess over Jin’s bewildered and fearful expressions, his secret dumpling-eating, and his mild, fatherly recommendation. Fan edits (which there are many) function feedback like “I am in love with this goofy little man” and “he is my favourite character ngl”. Numerous tweets reward his parenting abilities and his emotionally delicate presence. A credit scene, seen on Turning Purple‘s Blu-Ray and digital launch in Might, featured Jin dancing to 4*City of their basement, additionally rapidly turning into a TikTok craze.

On a Turning Purple fandom web page, Jin’s character profile sees a number of individuals saying him “greatest Pixar dad.” The Pixar dad has all the time had a second. As soon as upon a time, it was Mr. Unbelievable being weirdly applauded though he retains his household from his secret job; the overprotective Marlin garnering reward for finally letting his son develop in Discovering Nemo; or the comforting father in Inside Out gaining consideration.

However Jin’s talents as a father to a daughter — notably one present process large transformation — and his overarching softness have positioned him in excessive stead.

So, why has the web fallen so arduous for Jin?

Orion Lee, who voices Jin within the movie, tells Mashable it comes all the way down to the character’s devotion to his household.

“He is a sort and supporting father and husband. All of his foibles and expressions are very endearing and, actually, he simply needs his spouse and little one to be blissful — though he doesn’t essentially know precisely how to try this typically,” he tells me.

Lee explains that Jin’s character is predicated on the precept of acceptance and embracing all sides of being a human. His “philosophical, accepting” nature enhances his spouse’s opposite traits. Ming (voiced by Sandra Oh) expresses love, Lee says, by means of “self-discipline, confidence, guidelines, certainty.” By this understanding, Lee says he was in a position to type a “deeper connection to [Jin’s] humanity,” and enjoying him rapidly turned a dream come true for the actor.

“For me, there’s a historical past of a man who was shy when he was youthful. He loved cooking and located that was the way in which he expressed his creative self.”

“For me, there’s a historical past of a man who was shy when he was youthful. He loved cooking and located that was the way in which he expressed his creative self. When he discovered Ming, he discovered his reverse, it will seem, however actually he discovered his soulmate. Each Ming and Jin have huge hearts and care quite a bit,” he tells me.


As each a husband and father, Jin certainly provides unparalleled assist, at a time when each the ladies in his life grapple with a wave of adjustments. On the Lee household’s temple, he holds his daughter Mei’s (voiced by Rosalie Chiang) furry paw as she learns concerning the panda inside her; he holds Ming’s hand each time her eyebrows knit collectively (which is usually). He demonstrates religion in Mei: “Possibly we should always belief her,” he tells Ming as Mei begs to see her beloved boyband 4*City carry out. Jin additionally stands by his spouse after Mei runs away from the ritual on the night time of the Purple Moon.

Most of those moments are delicate, glimpses into his fatherhood and personhood, however show to be extra highly effective than spelling it out with a monologue. Jin’s coronary heart, which undeniably belongs to Ming and Mei in its entirety, stands aside in a movie the place there was simply a lot to like.

Turning Red, if I had to summarize in a sentence, is a movie that should be watched by all. (Disclaimer: I’ve watched it five times.) The film is made not only for teenage girls grappling with the wonders and trials of emerging adulthood, but for families, new parents, friends, music-lovers, and anyone yearning for the distinctive aesthetic of the 2000s. For the most part, it’s been largely agreed by critics and audiences that the Pixar film deftly, colorfully, and lovingly handled universal themes, playing in a bright playground of nostalgia and fandom, and leaning on its biggest asset: flawed, earnest, and actually relatable characters.

Jin could also be one among Turning Purple‘s supporting characters, however he’s a testomony to the universality and thoughtfulness of the movie. He shines brightest, I consider, when he speaks to Mei on the night time of the ritual. In only a few moments, we see Jin praising his spouse’s energy and explaining to his daughter, in his soft-spoken method, that individuals are difficult.

“Folks have every kind of sides to them, Mei. And a few sides are messy. The purpose is not to push the dangerous stuff away — it is to make room for it. Reside with it.”

With this, he bestows the ability of acceptance onto his daughter, paving the way in which to Ming doing the identical for each herself and her mom. Jin’s strategy to parenthood and personhood (along with cooking!) is one for statement, and possibly even replication. Social media definitely thinks so.

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