Warning! This article may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.
"Ancient legend speaks of twelve talismans, one for each animal of the Chinese zodiac. Each possessing a different magic."
The Twelve Talismans are a duodenary set of magically powerful artifacts, each represented by an animal of the Chinese zodiac.
The Talismans were originally created by the Sacred Warrior Lo Pei when he cast a powerful chi spell to defeat the Demon Sorcerer Shendu by imprisoning him in stone whilst dividing and encasing his powers derived from the Noble Animals into the form of twelve magical talismans, effectively ending the Fire Demon's reign over ancient China. Intending to keep Shendu from ever returning to power, Lo Pei proceeded to scatter the Talismans to the four corners of the globe, with the hunt to retrieve them centuries later serving as the primary focus of Season 1.
Each Talisman contains a different magical power, allowing one to utilize its respective power upon holding and activating the Talisman. Shendu is known to be particularly possessive of the Talismans, as they allow him to attain a higher level of power which he deems his "complete" state.
In The Powers Unleashed, Uncle revealed that the original and rightful owners of the powers that would later be encased in the Talismans were the original twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, although it is unknown how or when Shendu obtained these powers.
When Shendu was overthrown by his subjects in ancient China nine-hundred years before the events of the show, the Sacred Warrior Lo Pei cast a powerful chi spell to imprison the Demon Sorcerer into stone whilst extracting and encasing his Noble Animal-derived powers into the form of the Twelve Talismans. To ensure that "the ultimate evil" would never again rise to power, Lo Pei proceeded to scatter the Talismans to the four corners of the globe.
The Talisman Hunt
Nine centuries after his imprisonment, Shendu managed to forge an alliance with the Dark Hand, a criminal syndicate headed by the crime lord Valmont, enlisting his assistance in recovering the Talismans in exchange for the Lost Treasure of Ching Xi Hung. Thwarted by their adversary, Jackie Chan, Valmont's Enforcers only managed to retrieve two of the Twelve Talismans (the Sheep and Dragon), with the remaining ten being recovered by Jackie, who had them deposited into the Section 13 vault.
Shortly before the advent of Chinese New Year, Shendu expressed his insistence on returning to power in time to exact his prophesied revenge at the stroke of midnight, prompting the Dark Hand to abduct Jackie after launching an assault on his uncle's shop. Intent on ascertaining the location of Section 13, the Dark Hand proceeded to interrogate Jackie. Unbeknown to Valmont and his Enforcers, however, Jackie had been divided after inadvertently activating the Tiger Talisman. As soon as it became apparent that the Dark Hand had abducted Jackie's Yang counterpart, Valmont offered to make him rich in exchange for the Talismans, upon which he happily obliged. Reunited at last with the Talismans, Shendu triumphantly came to life after shedding his petrified form.
Upon returning to resurrect his palace near Hong Kong, Shendu proceeded to open a portal in order to unleash an army of dragon minions to exact his revenge on the descendants of his rebellious subjects. When the Chans arrived to confront the Demon Sorcerer, Uncle provided Jackie with a magical balm that would allow him to extract the Talismans from Shendu. Uncle inferred that by simply removing the Rat Talisman, Shendu would revert back to being a statue. Amidst the ensuing showdown, Jackie plucked various Talismans from Shendu until eventually extracting the Rat, effectively reverting Shendu back to his statue form. Having also lost the Dog Talisman, Shendu's physical form was destroyed when the statue was blasted into smithereens by Jade Chan with the Dragon Talisman. Whilst escaping the subsequent collapse of Shendu's Palace, however, Jackie and Jade were forced to abandon the Talismans in order to save themselves, unknowingly leaving them to be claimed by Valmont and his Enforcers.
The Demon Crisis
Assuming them to be buried along with Shendu and his palace, Jackie found solace in his belief that the Talismans had been lost for good. On the contrary, the Talismans were now in the possession of the Dark Hand, who intended to use them to commit robberies. Valmont and his Enforcers were interrupted, however, by the untimely arrival of Shendu, who had returned from the Netherworld as a disembodied spirit after being tasked by his seven demon siblings with locating and unlocking their respective portals. Upon immediately enlisting their service, Valmont's Enforcers sheepishly offered to surrender the Talismans to Shendu, but because they were of no use to him in his spiritual form, the Demon Sorcerer insisted that they might as well keep them. Whilst attempting to secure the Pan'ku Box, however, Shendu and the Dark Hand were confronted by the newly assembled J-Team, who managed to recover each of the Talismans amidst the ensuing confrontation.
With all Twelve Talismans finally secured in the vault at Section 13, the Chans focused their attention on the impending demon threat. Although the Talismans took a backseat amidst the J-Team's quest to prevent Shendu from releasing his demon siblings, they did offer assistance in the banishment of at least half of the Demon Sorcerers (specifically Xiao Fung, Tso Lan, Dai Gui and Hsi Wu).
After the Chans sealed the eighth and final portal, Shendu's siblings gave him one last chance to release them. Shendu sought to alter history altogether by writing in the Book of Ages. After doing so, Shendu effectively created an alternate reality where he and his siblings were never banished whilst still retaining their memories and personalities from the reality in which they were banished. As a result, Shendu possessed all Twelve Talismans in this reality. Having torn out a page from the Book of Ages amidst the struggle, Jade likewise managed to retain her memories and personality from the original timeline in "Demon World", which allowed her and Jackie to reassemble the J-Team. After recruiting Uncle, Jade "reminded" him of the spell he once used to extract the Talismans from Shendu's shell. Jackie, Jade and Uncle subsequently managed to pluck six (the Dog, Ox, Rabbit, Rooster, Snake and Dragon) of the Twelve Talismans from Shendu before proceeding to rebanish each of his seven siblings until finally correcting the course of history by reverting his alterations to the Book of Ages.
The Amazing T-Girl
When Captain Black's superiors insisted on removing the Talismans from Section 13, Uncle determined that the Ben-Shui Temple was the best alternative, citing that the Talismans would be safest from dark forces on sacred ground. Whilst journeying to the temple, however, the magic of the Talismans attracted the attention of the Dark Chi Master Daolon Wong, who promptly ordered his Dark Chi Warriors to reclaim them for the forces of darkness. Unbeknown to all, however, Jade had inadvertently absorbed each of the twelve magical powers after the vault's laser defense system came into contact with the Talismans back at Section 13. Upon uncovering her newfound abilities, Jade adopted the moniker "T-Girl". After discovering the Talismans to be powerless, Wong ambushed the Chans before proceeding to paralyze Jade with a spell, effectively allowing him to abduct her. Whilst attempting to extract the powers from Jade, however, Wong inadvertently absorbed his own paralyzing magic, rendering him incapacitated. With the twelve powers seemingly returned to their proper vessels, the Chans made the journey home after Black announced that his request to keep the Talismans in Section 13 had been approved.
The Noble Animals
Seeking to rebuild the Dark Hand, Valmont ordered his Enforcers to infiltrate Section 13 and steal the Talismans. By chance, Daolon Wong had likewise chosen to infiltrate Section 13 that very night with the same purpose of claiming the Talismans. After Jade alerted Jackie to the intrusion, a fight between the three parties over the Talismans ensued. Unwilling to allow either side to escape with the Talismans, Jackie destroyed them with a blast from a laser cannon, intending to prevent their powers from ever falling into the wrong hands. Uncle, however, proceeded to explain that although Talismans can be destroyed, their magical powers cannot, inferring that without vessels to contain them, the powers would seek out new living hosts; the noblest and most worthy descendants of each of their original animal owners, inadvertently starting the Talisman hunt all over again.
Without a suitable host to claim it, the power of the Dragon was believed to be lost. Nevertheless, Daolon Wong struck a deal with Shendu to resurrect him in exchange for the power of combustion. Upon his resurrection, however, Shendu double-crossed Wong and instead claimed the Dragon power for himself before proceeding to strip the Dark Chi Wizard of his Rooster and Pig powers. Seeking to reclaim his remaining Talisman powers, Shendu launched an assault on Section 13. Unable to prevent him from penetrating their defenses, Jackie and Jade attempted to lure Shendu out of the facility using the nine animals as bait, intending to buy Uncle enough time to research a spell to defeat the Demon Sorcerer. After eventually catching up with the animals, Shendu proceeded to extract each of their respective powers until finally possessing all twelve. Before being able to deploy his newly reacquired powers against Jackie and Jade, however, Uncle arrived armed with the same spell originally used to defeat Shendu in ancient times, effectively imprisoning him whilst simultaneously recreating the Twelve Talismans. Along with Shendu's statue form, the newly reforged Talismans were kept safe in the Section 13 vault.
The Final Battle
After Drago absorbed all eight Demon Chi powers, Jade supplied each member of the J-Team with a Talisman in the final battle against the Fire Demon. To further even the odds, Uncle unleashed Shendu on his treacherous son after successfully releasing the Demon Sorcerer with a spell. When Drago began to gain the upper hand in the resulting confrontation, Jade instructed everyone to throw their Talismans to Shendu so that he would stand a better chance. Reunited at last with the Talismans, Shendu and Drago proved evenly matched. Amidst the ensuing standoff, however, Uncle and Tohru deployed a spell to reverse Drago's portal to the Netherworld, effectively banishing both Drago and Shendu in the process. Still in his possession, the Talismans were lost along with Shendu and his son.
Depicted on the front of each talisman is an animal of the Chinese zodiac, while on the back are inscriptions that describe their respective powers. The talismans themselves are octagonal in shape and appear to be made of carved stone.
|Jade Chan||Adorned on a shield within a Bavarian castle in Germany|
|Super Strength||El Toro Fuerte||Embedded on the mask of a professional wrestler in Mexico|
|Invisibility||Viper||Housed within a temple situated along the Amazon River in Brazil|
|Super Speed||Tohru||Embedded on the shell of a tortoise in the Galápagos Islands|
|Astral Projection||Jade Chan||Sealed within a crate onboard a Turkish freight train bound for Istanbul|
|Combustion||Valmont||Nestled along a lava cave beneath a volcano in Hawaii|
|Animation||Gnomekop||Adorned on a lamp at an auction house in San Francisco, California|
|Tohru||Housed within a monastery in the Himalayas|
|Animal Shapeshifting||Jade Chan||Nestled within a set of sunken ruins beneath the ocean of Micronesia|
|Uncle||Buried within the wall of a windmill in the Netherlands|
|Thermal Vision||Hak Foo||Adorned on an automaton at the top of a Bavarian clocktower in Germany|
|Spiritual Balance||Jackie Chan||Concealed within a pie at a county fair in Texas|
Shendu possessed a device capable of locating the Talismans. It consisted of a torch-like handle with four, dragon-like heads; the eyes would glow red from the dragon pointing towards the nearest Talisman whenever used. Shendu created one from his own petrified body in The Power Within for the Dark Hand until it was eventually destroyed in The Dog and Piggy Show. Shendu was later shown to possess another in the alternate timeline in Demon World (Part 2).
- Main article: Seeking Device
Aside from this, there were specific spells used to detect the Talisman and their powers if within a host.
Jade once absorbed all Twelve Talisman powers at once when the vault's laser defense system came into contact with the Talismans. The resulting shock extracted the powers from their respective vessels and merged them with Jade. Upon uncovering her newfound abilities, Jade adopted the moniker "T-Girl". In this instance, she could activate each power using a different finger and body part.
- Left thumb = Rooster
- Left index finger = Ox
- Left middle finger = Snake
- Left ring finger = Rabbit
- Left pinky = Sheep
- Right pinky = Monkey
- Right ring finger = Tiger
- Right middle finger = Dog
- Right index finger = Horse
- Right thumb = Rat
- Eyes = Pig
- Tongue = Dragon
- A regular occurrence in the series is to have a light quickly shine over the Talismans, especially when its power is activated.
- Despite their ultimate fate in the final episode, the Talismans are still shown to be in Section 13's possession in both J2: Rise of the Dragons and J2 Revised which are set in the future.
- Although the Dog Talisman prevents death or major injury, it does not prevent one from feeling pain, which is something the Horse Talisman is capable of. This was demonstrated by Finn in The Stronger Evil, when he flew into a bridge overpass, inferring that "Immortality hurts". Ironically, he had previously said having both healing and immortality would be redundant, and swapped the Horse for a different Talisman shortly before.
- Although the Pig Talisman isn't as strong in its offensive uses as the Dragon Talisman, it can also grant the user thermal imaging in order to counter the effects of the Snake Talisman.
- Jade once commented that the Dog, Ox, Rabbit, Rooster, Snake and Dragon are "the good ones", in that they are the most useful of the twelve.
- Finn considered the Rat, Sheep, and Tiger Talisman the three most useless Talismans due to their non-combative applications. Jackie likewise considered the Sheep Talisman particularly useless in Day of the Dragon.
- The Talismans are often activated by pressing them in one's hand, but the effect can be maintained as long as they are kept on the user's person (for example; worn as necklace, inside a pocket or even contained within the user's body after consumption). When Jade had the Rooster Talisman inside her body after eating it, she could use its power by leaning her stomach forward.
- Dai Gui seemed to dislike the Talismans and Shendu's possession of them, remarking in Demon World (Part 2) after the Rabbit Talisman gave Tohru an advantage against Dai Gui; "Shendu and his accursed Talismans!"
- A common recurring theme with the people using the Talismans is making puns based on their animal or power.
- Only seven of the Twelve Talismans show complete animals on their fronts, while the other five show only a head or half of the animal depicted. The animals depicted as incomplete on the Talismans are the Tiger, Horse, Ox, Dragon and Pig. The animals depicted as whole on the Talismans are the Rooster, Snake, Sheep, Monkey, Rabbit, Rat and Dog.
- The Tiger Talisman is the only one to show more than one animal, though it may "technically" be one, as it represents its ability to balance or split the yin and yang halves of a single user.
- The Ox Talisman is the only one to show the animal looking directly forward, though the Pig is looking mostly forward as well.
- Those looking to the left (from the perspective of someone looking at the Talisman head-on) are the Snake, Dragon, Horse, and Pig. The Tiger is arguably also looking left if its two images are rotated to each be upright.
- Those looking to the right are the Rooster, Rabbit, Sheep, Rat, Monkey, and Dog.