In This Turning Red Exclusive Clip, Watch How Mei's Panda Form Was Brought to Life

Pixar animators walk through the process as part of the special features for its home release.

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A side-by-side of the animated red panda from Turning Red, from digital conception to completion.
Photo: Disney/Pixar

Check out io9's exclusive clip from Disney and Pixar’s Turning Red just in time for its home media release. Domee Shi’s funny and heartfelt coming-of-age film captures not only the relatable angst of being in a teen in the early 2000s, but also crafts a transformative tale of magical realism.

A huge part of that was due to the amazing work animators did to bring the movie’s panda—which main character Mei transforms into, reflecting the big changes young teens go through—to adorable life. Learn more about in the clip below!

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“We wanted her to feel like she’s a cute but messy monster,” Rona Liu, Turning Red’s production designer, says in the clip, in which she and fellow animators show each step in the process of bringing the powerful cuteness to life. And yes, Mei’s internet sensation bestie Abby is a part of the breakdown, too. Groom lead (as in “hair grooming”) Christopher Boleyn explains that Mei’s friends were in fact a huge part of what inspired the panda look. “The more we ended up seeing her friends hug her and grab her and squeeze her and play with her, the more we realized, oh yeah, we do need [her hair to be] longer,” he says of taking the panda’s original short red hair and giving it more length for character interaction. “There’s a point where you’re like ‘I think this groom looks awesome, I think this is going to tell the story,’ and then, you know, you keep working on it ... making it better.”

Abby hugs Panda Mei
Screenshot: Disney Pixar/YouTube

While Turning Red is streaming on Disney+, its home video release features three exclusive physical media discs for collectors at Best Buy, Walmart, and Target—each with its own set of special bonus content. The film is now available on digital and will be released on 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD on May 3.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.