My fireworks are not flares. They burst with ferocious beauty and then disappear like the lightning.
The Panda King was a pyrotechnician that resided in the Kunlun Mountains. He was initially a member of the Fiendish Five who took part in the murder of Conner Cooper and the theft of the Thievius Raccoonus, but he was later defeated by Sly Cooper and arrested. After his imprisonment, his daughter, Jing King, was abducted by General Tsao. In return for the Cooper Gang helping him rescue his daughter, the Panda King joined them as their demolitions expert for the Cooper Vault heist.
Born into poverty, the Panda King was fascinated by the fireworks set off by rich noblemen every New Year. After spending a decade learning the art, he attempted to offer his fireworks to the noblemen. However the vain and arrogant noblemen could not see past his shabby clothes and drove him away. Enraged and humiliated, the Panda King used the tools of his art for crime, becoming feared by the very people who cast him aside. Subsequently, he was recruited by the Fiendish Five as their demolitions expert.
The Panda King took part in the Fiendish Five's attack that resulted in the death of Sly Cooper's father and the theft of the Thievius Raccoonus. After acquiring the blueprints of Otto Van Cooper, he set up shop in the Kunlun Mountains of western China. Building a massive explosives factory, he disguised it as a large temple-like facility. In order to finance his crimes, the Panda King would pressure local villages to pay him in return for avalanche protection. If they refused to pay, he would use his fireworks to bury the villages in snow.
Ten years after the attack on the Cooper home, the Panda King had developed a new fighting style that blended martial arts with fireworks known as Flame-Fu. He perfected it just as Sly Cooper confronted him in his stronghold. The Panda King knew that Sly had come for revenge and to take back the Thievius Raccoonus, but questioned him as to why he cared about ending his avalanche protection scheme. The Panda King was enraged when, in response, Sly called him a "frustrated firework artist turned homicidal pyromaniac." He attacked Sly, promising to kill him with the majesty of Flame-Fu; however, he was no match for the Cooper and defeated. Once Sly had retrieved the Panda King's section of the Thievius Raccoonus and left, the Panda King was arrested by Inspector Carmelita Fox.
Joining the Cooper Gang
After serving his time in prison, the Panda King returned home. However, he still held a grudge against Sly for humiliating him. When his daughter was abducted by General Tsao, the Panda King was forced into exile. During this time, he became a monk and lived in seclusion.
When the Cooper Gang was in need of a demolitions expert for the Cooper Vault job, they sought out the Panda King to recruit him. Both Sly and the Panda King were against this: Sly because the Panda King had helped the Fiendish Five kill his father, and the Panda King because Sly had humiliated him. However, the Panda King had taken a liking to the Guru, and he decided to make a deal with the Gang: they would help him rescue his daughter, and in return, he would join them for the Cooper Vault heist.
After he had formed an alliance with the Cooper Gang, the Panda King helped Murray recover the Cooper Van by providing cover fire as Murray pulled the van towards the safe house. It was this incident that strengthened the Panda King's resolve to save Jing King, as Murray's love for his van reminded the Panda King of his daughter and him. The Panda King's first job with the Cooper Gang involved helping Sly defeat Tsao's army of hopping vampires. At this time, he came into conflict with his criminal side, a sort of yin-yang split personality that took the part of yang. He reconciled with his other half to save his daughter, despite the other's wishes to kill Sly, by convincing his other side that they could learn humility from Sly (who was willing to work the Panda King despite his role in killing his father). Once Jing King was rescued, the Panda King left her with an aunt while he payed off his debt to Sly and the rest of the gang. He would subsequently help them battle the sea monster Crusher, and utilize his fireworks on Kaine Island to help Sly, Bentley, and Murray access the Cooper Vault.
After the Cooper Vault heist and disbandment of the Cooper Gang, the Panda King returned home and moved in two doors down from his daughter. Fearing another General Tsao incident, she allowed him to screen all her suitors, and as of then was still unmarried, since even the bravest of suitors were scared off by the stony, short-tempered Panda King.
The Panda King was a large, male giant panda who casually wore flame striped, red pants and a blue sash around his waist. While living as a monk, he wore a white gown and grew out his beard and eyebrows. After joining the Gang he wore his regular clothing with fireworks around his torso and back.
The Panda King was very calm, but possessed a short temper. He also takes great pride in his fireworks. When Sly and Panda King must blow up the hopping vampire crypt, Sly shows great reserve on the idea exclaiming loudly "There's gonna be fangs everywhere!". Judging by Sly's concerned and uncharacteristically uncertain tone, its implied in this moment that Sly has begun to open up to the Panda King and show concern for him as if he were a friend despite his role in his parents' death. This endearing quality is the main thing which converts the Panda King over to the Cooper Gang's side, as he states to his evil half that if Sly is willing to put faith in him and forgive him despite his role in killing his parents, than he himself has no business carrying his vendetta over something as trivial as humiliation.
However, Panda King is still the most antisocial of the Cooper Gang. He did not join the gang when Dimitri's scuba gear was unearthed, though this could be explained as him guarding the gang's ship. He also seems to have the least amount of approval for Dimitri. Of the members of the gang, he gets along best with Murray and Guru. Murray's dedication to his van inspired the Panda King to come to his aid, while the Guru seems to have a spiritual connection to him. The Panda King soon begins to accept Sly after various missions of working together, and so does Sly. His connection with Bentley is unknown although he has never shown much sign of disrespect probably due to the fact it was Bentley's genius planning that rescued his daughter and he has never argued with Bentley's planning. He never really socialized with Penelope although he used one of his fireworks up for her to get her RC Car onto the Drone Pipes on Kaine Island.
As a pyrotechnician and demolitions expert, the Panda King was skilled in the effective handling and use of explosives. He used his expertise to develop an original fighting style called Flame-Fu, which he demonstrated during his battle with Sly. While working with the Cooper Gang, he primarily used a fireworks launcher on his back as a weapon, wherein he was capable of engaging roughly half a dozen targets simultaneously. His melee attack was essentially a horizontal karate chop, enhanced by having his hand wreathed in fire. Although preferring to use his fireworks, the Panda King was also very strong, as stated by Bentley. After becoming a monk, he became capable of placing himself in a deep meditative hibernation, apparently not needing food, drink, or sleep (despite physically ageing).
- Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus
- Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves
- The Panda King appears on a billboard in the mission "At the Dog Track". There are also several portraits of the Panda King on display in the Museum of Natural History in Cairo.
- The Panda King's binocucom is red and shaped like a samurai helmet. When zoomed in, it resembles the scope of a sniper rifle.
- The Panda King's signature color is red. Like Sly, it is based off his attire, not off his skin.
- In inFAMOUS, another game developed by Sucker Punch Productions, there are some Chinese Food Boxes with pictures of the Panda King on them.
- In the beginning of "Goodbye My Sweet", a box with a bearpaw on it, full of fireworks, can be seen on a shelf in the hideout. This likely belonged to the Panda King.
- The Panda King is the only Cooper Gang member not referenced in Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time.