This list applies only to the film franchise and its respective canon. For the character traits applicable to the The Penguins of Madagascar
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Introduced in Madagascar
Alex the Lion (born Alakay)
Marty the Zebra
Gloria the Hippo
Voiced by: Jada Pinkett Smith
- Acrofatic: And how. Just watch her dancing in the credits of the first film, for starters.
- Annoying Laugh: Melman will disagree with you, though.
- The Big Girl: Even though she is a female, she uses more power than any other character in the group.
- Big Beautiful Woman: According to Smith, she loved Gloria because she was both huge and sexy.
- Big Eater: Hinted. Melman says her favorite breakfast is six loaves of wheat toast, buttered on both sides, no crusts.
- Mostly averted in the first film. The filmmakers acknowledged that fat jokes directed at an animal that's normally several hundred pounds in real life would be too predictable.
- Brown Eyes
- Childhood Friend Romance: With Melman.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic.
- Funny Animal: Always walks on two legs and she is very anthropomorphic.
- Heavy Hippo
- Interspecies Romance: With Melman in the sequel.
- Lightning Bruiser: Despite her massive bulk, she is quite capable of running quickly (as accurate for her species). This is especially true in the video games, where jalapenos can cause to run as much higher speeds than hippos are physically capable of.
- Love Revelation Epiphany: It's not until she finds out Melman is in love with her that she realizes she loves him too.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Masculine Girl to Melman's Feminine Boy.
- Ms. Fanservice: A lot of the time, her butt is clearly visible.
- Official Couple: With Melman.
- Out of Focus: In the third film.
- Sassy Black Woman: Voiced by African American actress Jada Pinkett Smith.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Gloria becomes a couple with Melman, the giraffe who knows everything about her and only wants her happy, instead of Moto-Moto, the hippopotamus who was only interested in her body.
- Stout Strength/ Super Strength: True to species, she is a powerhouse that can smash right through brick walls in a snap.
- Team Mom
Melman the Giraffe
Voiced by: David Schwimmer
Voiced by: Tom McGrath (Skipper), Chris Miller (Kowalski), John DiMaggio
(Rico), Christopher Knights (Private)
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Skipper.
- Ax-Crazy: Rico in particular.
- Big Damn Heroes: In all three movies no less!
- Big Good: Despite their various quirks, they're certainly the most competent out of the cast, always the ones responsible for getting the plot going, generally the ones solving the 'bigger' problems (Stealing the ship in 1, fixing the plane in 2 and actually running the Circus in 3, though the monkeys helped with the latter two), and are always Big Damn Heroes in all three movies (or at least leading the charge).
- Breakout Characters
- Butt Monkey: Private.
- Cargo Ship: Skipper marries a bobble-head doll in Escape 2 Africa.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: Nothing will cause these penguins to loose their cool (except for Private sometimes).
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Private goes through this in Penguins of Madagascar, wanting to be recognized as a meaningful and valued member of the team.
- Everything's Better with Penguins
- Four Man Band:
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Rico. He keeps a lot of items in his mouth which he hurls out when needed.
- Interspecies Romance: In Merry Madagascar, Private falls in love with Cupid the reindeer, while Kowalski develops a crush on Eva the snowy owl in Penguins of Madagascar.
- Killer Rabbits
- The Nicknamer: Skipper.
- Officer and a Gentleman: Skipper.
- Token Good Teammate: Private.
- True Companions: Penguins of Madagascar shows how strong the bond between them is, to the point where they consider themselves "brothers."
- Animal Gender Bender: Lemur colonies are matriarchal. Because of this, Wild Mass Guessing has pegged him as Ambiguously Transsexual.
- Breakout Character: Julien was actually a minor character in the first film. Fans adored him, and his Ear Worm song, and he's since become one of the most popular characters along with the penguins.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: All Hail King Julien shows that the lemurs consider Julien the best king they've had in years, despite his eccentricities and self-centred nature.
- Camp Straight: He was Ambiguously Gay until the third movie, which gave him Sonya the bear as a love interest.
- Fat and Skinny: With Maurice.
- Flanderization: His selfishness, incompetence, ego, stupidity and weird accent (although the last one could be chalked up to Danny Jacobs replacing Sacha Baron Cohen).
- Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: His relationship with Sonya in the third film.
- Hot Guy, Ugly Wife: With Sonya.
- Interspecies Romance: With Sonya.
- Large Ham
- Nice Hat: King Julien consistently makes himself bigger and more garish crowns with leaves, small animals, carved wood, flamingo feathers... anything. What he does with the old ones is unknown. In the first movie he has two different crowns and in the second he changes between three different crowns.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: The ending of the first film implies this may be the case for Julien. May. The second film also hints at this, as he cannily manipulates the panicking savannah animals into sacrificing Melman "before [they] come to [their] senses".
- Plucky Comic Relief
- Those Two Guys: With Maurice.
- Upper-Class Twit
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Julien speaks with a sort of Indian-meets-African accent.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: When Jumping Out of a Cake, he wore coconuts and a grass skirt.
- Wolverine Publicity: Has appeared in almost everything from the Madagascar film series.
Voiced by: Cedric the Entertainer
Voiced by: Andy Richter
Mason and Phil
Voiced by: Conrad Vernon (Mason)
- Ascended Extra: Their screentime is fairly minimal throughout the series, but their role becomes more important in the later movies, being responsible for repairing the plane in 2 and pretending to be a human to represent the animals in 3.
- Four-Fingered Hands: Averted for the sake of Phil's sign language.
- Never Learned to Read: Mason is illiterate. Phil, on the other hand, is the penguin's go-to translator for reading things.
- Road Apples: Mason mentions throwing poo in the first Madagascar but is never seen doing it.
- Shown Their Work: Phil's sign language is completely accurate.
- Though they do admit that what he's actually saying is generally more complicated than what Mason translates (resulting in Bilingual Bonus if you know American Sign Language).
- The Speechless: Phil.
- Those Two Guys
- Totem Pole Trench: When they try to buy train tickets in the first movie. In Europe's Most Wanted they dress as the "King of Versailles".
Voiced by: Elisa Gabrielli
Voiced by: Tom McGrath, Eric Darnell
Introduced in Escape 2 Africa
Voiced by: Bernie Mac
Voiced by: Sherri Shepherd
Voiced by: Alec Baldwin
Voiced by: will.i.am
Introduced in Europe's Most Wanted
- Beyond the Impossible: He doesn't jump through hoops, he jumps through rings. As in, too small for all of the daintiest of fingers rings. Everyone constantly comments on how what he does should be physically impossible. For the climax he breaks into Marty's cage by jumping through the keyhole, and breaks Marty out by jumping back out the keyhole while holding Marty.
- Broken Ace
- Commander Contrarian: At first.
- Defrosting Ice King: After Alex helps him overcome his fears with his ring act to become a star again, you couldn't ask for a better male friend outside of the Zoosters for Alex.
- Drowning My Sorrows: On borscht.
- Green-Eyed Monster: A rare example where the eyes do match the trope, and only in retrospect, but after learning from his Backstory that screwing up the ring jump cost him his fur and had it grow back "bristly" instead of soft, it seems evident that his mockery of Alex's glossy fur is a form of Sour Grapes. He's certainly quite happy to get soft fur "like a kitten" again after using the hair conditioner.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: He wears blue briefs and a golden belt. It's less than a half-dressed cartoon animal usually wears, but still beyond being an Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal.
- The Heart: Of the Circus.
- Heroic BSOD: Has gone into a perpetual one ever since screwing up the ring jump. Alex finally helps him snap out of it.
- Heroic Build
- Hot Guy, Ugly Ex-Wife: All we see of his ex-wife (who ran away with a musician) is a single photograph: she basically looks like him with lipstick.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Very jerkish at the outset, and in the end showing a soft heart as big as he is.
- Knife Nut
- The McCoy
- Meaningful Name: Vitaly's name is one letter away from "vital" and he is The Heart of the circus. "As Vitaly goes, so does the circus."
- Mother Russia Makes You Strong
- My Greatest Failure: Screwing up the ring jump.
- Not So Above It All: Joins in on the Afro-Circus dance at the end, even donning a Funny Afro like the rest.
- Papa Wolf: Extremely protective of his circus and his fellow circus animals. If his "I missed" remarks are to be believed, he will kill anyone who threatens the circus.
- Pride: This is both his Fatal Flaw (as being too convinced of his infallibility is what pushed him to go too far with the ring jump) and how he restores his reputation (by believing in himself again).
- Russian Guy Suffers Most
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: He seems to have taken up knife and sword tricks in place of his ring jump.
- Top Heavy Tiger
- Up, Up and Away!: He assumes this position when leaping through the ring.
- Why Did It Have to Be Fire: Shown off in a very well-done scene in his boxcar. He gets better.
Voiced by: Martin Short
Captain Chantel DuBois
Voiced by: Frances McDormand
- All Animals Are Dogs: A rare human example.
- Authority Equals Ass Kicking
- Big Bad
- Dark Action Girl
- Diabolical Dogcatcher: It's pretty much a given that she didn't get into animal control for the money.
- Evil Redhead
- Implacable Woman: She punches through solid brick walls in order to catch up with the aircraft the Zoosters are escaping in.
- Just Desserts: The end of the third film indicates that she's headed for this fate.
- Knight of Cerebus: She tries to saw Alex's head off during the climax.
- Knight Templar
- Magic Music: Apparently DuBois' singing is so emotional and heartfelt, it heals her injured colleagues instantly, causing them to burst dramatically from their various body casts.
- Psycho for Hire
- Scarily Competent Tracker: To the point that just from smelling and tasting tracks left behind she can not only identify all sorts of impossible things about her quarry (height, weight, what they last ate), but she actually sees ghostly after-images of them showing their last actions.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: A foreign badass woman with a grudge against Alex? Sounds like a certain old lady.
- Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Captain Dubois is out to murder Alex. As in literal, first-degree, premeditated murder. Even after Alex is re-contained in the zoo (at which point her warrant expires, and Alex becomes zoo property), she makes it very clear that she won't be satisfied while Alex still draws breath.
- Even before they arrive at the zoo, as in leaving Monaco entirely, she and her cronies continue to pursue them far beyond the boundaries of where they would legally be allowed to pursue the Zoosters.
- Worthy Opponent: Sees Alex as this.
Introduced in Penguins of Madagascar
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: After the North Wind are captured by Dave's forces and about to be killed, he desperately tries to talk one of Dave's henchmen into letting them go in exchange for a fish.
- Changed My Mind, Kid: He has the North Wind retreat and leave Skipper, Rico and Kowalksi in Dave's clutches, to Privates chagrin. Later on, they arrive just in time to give the penguins a little help during the final battle.
- Jerkass: He has a very low opinion of Skipper's team to begin with, dismissing them as "helpless", taking credit for their accomplishments, and he even has them drugged and carted off to a safehouse rather than let him interfere in the clash against Dave. He would later taunt Skipper over losing Private.
- The Leader
- Noble Wolf
- No Name Given
- Took a Level in Kindness: By the end of the film. He thanks the penguins by giving them jetpacks.
- The Chick
- Interspecies Romance: She is shown to reciprocate Kowalski's feelings once Dave is defeated, kissing him passionately.
- The Owl-Knowing One: She's a snowy owl, and she manages the intelligence of North Wind.
- Smurfette Principle: She's the only major female character.
- The Stoic: The most composed and straight-faced among the North Wind. She even retains the same serious facial expression for most of the film.
- Not So Stoic: Her composure does slip a few times, like when Classified is pelted with the contents of a chemical toilet, or when she kisses Kowalski.
- Accidental Misnaming/My Name Is Not Durwood: Skipper gets his name wrong most of the time, calling him "Debbie", "Dwight", etc.
- Big Bad
- Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: He's an octopus, and so are his minions.
- Evil Is Petty: He acknowledges that turning every penguin on Earth into a monster won't make people like him, but it will make them hate penguins, and he'll enjoy that.
- Freudian Excuse: Every zoo he went to, his spotlight was stolen by penguins, causing him to hate them with a passion.
- Mad Scientist
- Master of Disguise: He can take on the appearance of a human (whom he calls "Dr Octavius Brine"), by squishing and contorting his body, wearing a wig and glasses, and changing color.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Of Dr. Blowhole from the television series: another aquatic animal supervillain with personal vendetta against the penguins.
- Tragic Keepsake: His collection of snowglobes, each one from a zoo that rejected him.
- Vengeance Feels Empty: Feels this way at first... Then decides to fill the emptiness with more revenge!