"Your walls and armies have fallen, and now it's your turn. Bow to me!" - Shan Yu to Emperor Zhaodi
Shan Yu is a major antagonist in the Kingdom Hearts Unlimited Saga, first appearing in a minor role for "The Journey" and then making his full debut in "An Empire of Dreams" as one of Maleficent's head generals in the Hellfire Organization's forces. He is the master of the Hun Army, which, as of recently, has included Darkhearts into their ranks.
Before Birth of A New Era
Many years ago, Shan-Yu was born as the only child of two lesser ranking soldiers in the Xiongu-Mongolian Army, and as such was raised to fight for the future. Upon Shan-Yu's coming of age, he began truly brutal training to join the army. Teenagers were often thrown into battle together and forced to fight - in some cases, to the death, to prove their worth to the Mongolian generals. Shan-Yu didn't have the heart to kill any of his fellow soldiers. Try as he might, he couldn't bring himself to take a life. Despite his inability to kill, Shan-Yu was praised for his skill and cunning in the midst of his battles, all of which ended in his victory by knock out.
One night, he had the misfortune of facing a particularly malicious boy of the village. People said the child was a prodigy to be a Hun conqueror. Shan-Yu was beaten, and viciously. He was mere seconds away from death when he was removed from the ring and blacked out. When he came to, something within him had snapped. He cursed his weakness for having been so soft towards his own kind, having nearly lost his life by trusting his heart rather than his baser instincts against an opponent who had no such compunctions like him. From then, Shan-Yu vowed that once he recovered from his injuries, he would have to become even stronger and not let his gentler emotions get the better of him in battle.
Of course, Shan-Yu's life was only going to get worse before it improved. Mongolia at that time was in debt to the Qin Dynasty of Imperial China, who demanded monthly tributes as a show of fealty from the Huns in exchange for protection and security under their reign. Shan-Yu had always hated the fact that his people were forced to serve under the Chinese Emperors, and desired for them to get their revenge and overthrow the empire as their new overlords, but how could he rebel when the newest emperor, Zhang-Di, had ordered the construction of a Great Wall to keep the infidels out and the populace in? Nonetheless, climbing over it once it would be completed would be a great test of his strength and determination.
During one of his meditations in the snowy forests to train his mind and resistance in combat, Shan-Yu discovered an ill hawk chick that had fallen from its nest. For all intents and purposes, he could have left the chick to die out in the cold to prove his peoples' mantra of survival of the fittest, and yet somehow its plaintive peeps reminded Shan-Yu of his own weakness in the face of his failed test. So, taking the only pity he had in his hardened heart, he adopted the hawk chick as his pet, choosing to name it Hayabusa after the Nipponese word for sword, a word he had come to admire all too readily.
Several months passed, and once more the newly named Han Dynasty requested the Mongolian Huns for their tribute. But this time, they were refused. Shan-Yu had decided that now would be the start of their peoples' rebellion against the Empire, and managed to convince the Hun leader at the time to deny offering the ambassador their treasures as a way of sticking it to Zhang-Di from afar. When Zhang-Di heard of the Mongolian uprising, he was livid and demanded his generals do something to quell it before it got out of hand. Despite this, he wanted to prove that he was fair and reasonable, and told his soldiers to resolve the situation peacefully, but an up and coming nobleman in the court, Chi Fu, argued that the Huns, as he had derogatorily named the Mongolian Xiongu, had dealt a great dishonor to the people of China and must be dealt with as decisively as possible.
So it came to pass that the Imperial Army was sent to Mongolia to punish the Hun Leader for his treasonous action and ensure that the Xiongu would never again attempt such a move against China. Shan-Yu was sent with a regiment of the Xiongu's finest warriors to halt the Imperial soldiers at the Tung-shao Pass nearby his home village. The resulting battle allowed for him to finally be able to cut loose and secure his first kills in battle, thereby proving to his fellow Huns that he had what it took to be the ultimate warrior. Unfortunately, his growing bloodlust resulted in him being unaware that the Tung-shao skirmish had only been a distraction to keep the majority of the Hun warriors away from civilian territory...where the remaining Imperial soldiers had been deployed to cut off the head of the rebellion personally, regardless of the numerous innocent lives that were sure to perish in the attack.
When Shan-Yu realized the truth, he ordered his surviving troops to retreat back to the village to try and stop the attack...but it was too late. By the time the Hun warriors returned to the village, there was nothing left but smoke, ash, and burning home foundations covered in cinders. Chi Fu's message to the Xiongu had been sent readily clear. Shan-Yu ordered the other warriors to scour the village to look for survivors, and for countless hours they searched as hard as they could, but none succeeded. Shan-Yu in particular had found that his childhood home, one of the last remnants of his simpler, earlier, happier times, was just as ruined and charred as all the other houses...with no survivors. His resulting cry of anguish could be heard for miles, far to the point where even the regretful Zhang-Di and horrified Chi Fu could hear it from the Imperial Palace.
Suddenly, a familiar shape rose from the ashes. It was Hayabusa, who took refuge on Shan-Yu's shoulder after having been trapped under the ashes for possibly more than an hour. Shan-Yu vowed to keep him as a last memento of his past life, figuring the universe must have let the bird survive for a reason. However, his cry had alerted a few straggling Imperial soldiers, and they were dispatched to arrest the Hun soldiers for their crimes against the crown. But when they arrived, Shan-Yu quickly discovered their presence, and, letting his bloodlust overcome him once more, swiftly put an end to them.
Once more his weakness and lack of foresight had cost him greatly, this time even more than he could possibly had ever imagined. But this time, Shan-Yu vowed that would be the last mistake he would ever commit. He would not let down his people again. The Hun soldiers who had accompanied him throughout the earlier battle; an archer, two brawlers, and a few warriors, pledged their support for him more readily than ever before. With the old Hun leader having been killed in the ambush, it was only natural that Shan-Yu take his place as the new overlord of the Xiongu. With this particularly persuasive killer instinct, Shan-Yu recruited millions to his new army with the promise of getting their revenge on China and ruling over the people as they had over them previously. Soon, all would fear the new Hun leader.
Birth of A New Era
A Year of Misery
Since he decided to bail out at the opportune moment, Shan Yu managed to become one of the few surviving generals to escape the Horned King's subsequent massacre of the Hellfire Organization's leadership. For a while, he laid low in hiding in Midgard-616 while plotting to get back to Imperial China and resume his original plans to conquer the empire with his Hun army and no Darkhearts. However, they would have to wait for a while longer as Pete, who had managed to also escape the mass execution as well as any possible servitude under the Horned King, found his fellow warrior and brought him on board back to the Hellfire Organization's ranks with the promise of restoring his might to the worlds when all was said and done.
The Hun warlord was thus sent to ally himself with Aldrich Killian and his Mandarin Guardian in their plot to get revenge on Tony Stark and conquer the world through the war on terror away from HYDRA's control. To make it seem as though the actual Ten Rings had some involvement in AIM's failed experiments with the brainwashed Extremis soldiers, Shan Yu was accompanied by Killian's film crews to document himself negotiating with Taliban terrorist cells to join with AIM and cause havoc under the Ten Rings' name in the Middle East to keep Captain America and War Machine occupied from the truth.
An Empire of Dreams
Return of the Keyblade
Appearance and Personality
Shan-Yu is a large, muscular Hun with greyish skin, thick, black eyebrows, and a black Fu Manchu mustache. His eyes peculiar colors; the irises are an eerie orange color and his sclera are black. The top of his head is bald, but the hair on the back of his head is quite long and black. He often wears a black hood with grey fur lining and what seem to be two raccoon tails dangling in the front. He wears grey pants and black, knee-high boots with grey soles and a vertical grey stripe up the front. Shan-Yu also wears a coat that is pale yellow on the left side and the front and black on the right side. It has tattered, brown lining and is kept closed by a brown belt. He wears a single black glove on his left hand, presumably for the same reasons falconers use them.
Shan-Yu is a cold-hearted, cruel warrior, ruthless in battle. He cares for himself and his army only. He is aggressive, violent, and rather silent, having no more than five lines in his appearances. He cares greatly about causing chaos and depression. This is shown in Mulan when after an unknown soldier states "Now all of China knows you're here," he gives a cold: "Perfect". Nonetheless, he is also a skilled poet and artist, taking the time to compose Mongolian poetry in his spare time about the beauty of nature which he intends to claim as his own.
He is feared by almost all of China, and makes a point to ensure that everyone knows it. He is also known for his rather dark sense of humor, demonstrated when he shows mercy to two Chinese soldiers and orders them to get the Emperor to prepare his finest for battle, yet immediately afterwards asks his archer the question, "How many men does it take to deliver a message?", to which the archer responds by taking aim and saying, "One.".
Shan - Yu is a skilled military commander with a vast knowledge of battle techniques in sword and hand-to-hand combat. His strength is at an abnormal level compared to a normal human's, allowing him the ability to survive even an avalanche of snow which killed off his Hun soldiers.
Like most high-ranking members of the Hellfire Organization, Shan-Yu can use the powers of darkness to aid him in battle. This allows him the ability to fire dark fireballs as a projectile weapon, propel him into superhuman speeds to charge at opponents, launch him to the sky like a rocket while he slashes his sword, and allow him to open Black Corridors to transport him to different locations of his choosing. Because of his strong heart, Shan - Yu has little to worry about losing his soul from overuse of dark energy.
His primary weapon is a curved sword known as the Rejection of Fate. The ground combo used with this weapon begins with a horizontal slash to the right and ends with a vertical slash upward. The aerial combo is an upward slash from the right leg, followed by a leftward slash, a rightward slash, and ends with a spin.
Boss Music: Vim & Vigor (1st Battle), The 13th Dilemma (2nd Battle)