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Characters: The Emperor's New Groove

Emperor Kuzco

Voiced by: David Spade

This is Kuzco. Emperor Kuzco. A guy whose groove and style is equaled to only by his ego and inversely proportional to his sense of empathy. Kuzco was born and raised to rule but treats his kingdom as a giant toy, demanding constant pampering, belittling his subjects and callously punishing them for "throwing off his groove". He spends most of his time just admiring himself at the expense of pretty much everyone. Kuzco's flippant attitude finally bite him in the butt after his embittered ex-advisor Yzma tries to kill him, only to accidentally turn him into a llama and lose him, setting off the story of this jerky of an emperor trying to regain his throne, body, and maybe learn a few lesson in humility and friendship along the way.

  • Affably Evil: Pre-Heel-Face Turn, when talking to people Kuzco tends to be casual, generally friendly and even warm at times - despite being callously self-absorbed and uncaring towards others. This makes a lot of sense: rather than the typical villain pretending to be polite Kuzco legitimately believes that the world should revolve around him, so he can be as pleasant (if tactless) as he wants because people will get with the program no matter what. When people don't get with the program even the slightest bit, that's when he starts getting snide and showing how cruel he really is.
  • Ambiguously Gay:
    • For starters, his massive earrings (although Yzma has the exact same ones, so it could be a statement of power).
    • His body language and poise are certainly flamboyant, and at the very least Camp Straight.
    • He is disgusted by the women presented to him as potential brides at the beginning of the movie.
    • To the fans, his relationship with Pacha could be considered this.
      • Ultimately averted in The Emperor's New School TV series, where he is extremely attracted to a girl.
  • Anti-Hero: Starts out as a Nominal Hero, evolves into a Type II.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Essentially every animal transformation he goes through in the movie.
  • Berserk Button: Seriously. DON'T THROW OFF KUZCO'S GROOVE! He'll have you thrown out a window for it.
  • Break the Haughty: Getting turned into a llama is just one step into Kuczo learning to be a better person.
  • The Caligula: Kuzco is a milder version, but he does have an elderly man defenestrated for the crime of "throwing off the emperor's groove".
  • Camp Straight
  • Catch Phrase: "No touchy!"
  • Celibate Hero: He actually seems quite asexual in the movie. Averted in the TV series, however.
  • Conveniently an Orphan
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Demoted to Extra: In the sequel, when Kronk takes the lead.
  • Disney Death: After falling down a waterfall, he seemingly drowned. However, when Pacha was trying to give him CPR, we find out that he was just knocked unconscious.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Done hilariously, where a homeless man accidentally bumps into him during his song number, and gets promptly thrown out of the nearest window.
    Kuzco: You threw off my groove!
    Guard: Sorry, you threw off the Emperor's groove.
    Old Man: [as he is falling through the air] SOOOOOOOORRRRYYYYYYYYY!
  • Eccentric Emperor
  • The Emperor
  • Even Evil Has Standards: After he saves Pacha from falling, Pacha points out that he could have just let him fall. Kuzco responds by saying "Nobody that's heartless!"
  • Genre Savvy
  • Hates Being Touched
  • Heel Realization: By the 2/3 of the movie.
  • Hypocrite: Probably the biggest hypocrite (protagonist) in Disney history, and it's played for laughs. He states, very pointedly, that he was the "victim here" and was so put-upon by everyone who wanted to take him down, and yet sees no problem with endangering hundreds and destroying an entire mountain village for the sake of building his own summer home and water park.
  • Idle Rich
  • It's All About Me: The page image and possible Trope Codifier.
  • Jerkass --> Jerk with a Heart of Gold
  • Keet
  • Lean and Mean
  • Meaningful Name: Kuzco means "the center of the world" it was also the capital of the ancient Incan empire which seems to be where the movie takes place.
  • Mr. Vice Guy
  • Not So Different: Really, the differences between him and Yzma are quite superficial. And as it turns out, Yzma raised him, so that figures.
  • Parental Abandonment: No mention whatsoever is ever made to Kuzco's parents, presumably the previous rulers of the empire. Apparently, he was raised by Yzma: it's easy to see where he got his mean streak from.
    • It's implied in one episode of the series Yzma offed Kuzco's Dad.
  • Pride Before a Fall: His pride sets him up for all the hilarious trauma of the movie.
  • Prince Charmless: To the potential brides in the opening. Subverted in that he was already the Emperor at this point.
  • Riches to Rags: Happens to Kuzco after being turned into a llama. At least most guys will be left with the shirt on their backs, Kuzco doesn't even have hands left! It says a lot about Kuzco that he gets over this pretty quickly under the assumption he can still boss people around and Yzma is still loyal.
  • Royal Brat: He has a tiny, elderly man defenestrated for throwing off his groove, criticizes his potential brides, and it's implied stuff like this happens on a daily basis.
  • Smug Snake: Despite his Emperor position, it's very hard to take him seriously as a threat to anyone.
    • He is at least a head shorter (if not more) than the other three leads of the film.
    • He is very thin and seemingly unfit (though obviously not as bad as Yzma).
  • Spoiled Sweet: In the end.
  • Tsundere: A surprising platonic male version. After saving Pacha's life when he could have let him fall, he claims he was just doing it so that he could still lead him to the Palace. Not because he likes him or anything.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist


Voiced by: John Goodman

This is Pacha, a soft-spoken, roly-poly peasant who helps Kuzco find his way back to his empire.


"It's brilliant, brilliant, brrrrilliant, I tell you! Genius, I say!"
Voiced by: Eartha Kitt

Alright gang now check out this piece of work. Now, this is Yzma, the emperor's royal advisory. Living proof that dinosaurs once roamed the Earth. Yzma raised Kuzco from his early childhood, preparing him for the throne while running the empire herself. Kuzco eventually becomes annoyed with her constantly going behind his back and fires her. Enraged at this callous discarding, Yzma concocts a plan to assassinate Kuzco and take the throne for herself.
  • Ax-Crazy: Arguably the craziest Disney Villain to date.
  • The Caligula: Yzma fits this trope during her time of regency.
    Yzma: It is no concern of mine whether or not your family has... what was it again?
    Peasant: Umm... food?
    Yzma: HAH! You really should have thought of that before you became peasants!
  • Catch Phrase: "It's brilliant, brilliant, BRILLIANT!"
  • Chaste Toons: She has twin nephews, Zim and Zam, who were voiced by Dylan and Cole Sprouse.
  • Everybody Knew Already: In the TV series, Yzma's "secret lab" isn't very secret.
    Kuzco: (mockingly imitating Yzma) TO THE NOT-SO-SECRET LAB!
  • Evil Chancellor
  • Evil Is Hammy
  • Excessive Evil Eyeshadow
  • Fan Disservice: Spelled out below (until she becomes a cat).
    • Lampshaded in universe.
    Yzma: I bet you weren't expecting this! (appears to pull up her dress)
    Pacha and Kuzco: *sounds of disgust*
    Yzma: A-HA! (reveals knife that was taped to her leg beneath her dress)
    Pacha and Kuzco: (relieved) Ah, yeah, okay.
  • The Fashionista: She may be scary beyond all reason, but she has a great sense of style. Undoubtedly another trait Kuzco picked up from her.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: The late Eartha Kitt.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: High on the "ineffectual", low on the "sympathetic". But we love her anyway.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Word of God says that her appearance was based on Eartha Kitt herself. They were worried that this would offend her, but it turned out that she actually found it hilarious.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Her teenage self is a cutie.
  • Laughably Evil: She's arguably the most comedic character in the film... even though she wants to assassinate an emperor.
  • Laughing Mad
  • Lean and Mean
  • Mad Scientist: She's pretty decent at making potions.
  • Never My Fault: She often blames the failures of her evil plans on Kronk; while he does hold some of the blame, a lot of it usually has to do with the fact that her plans tend to be either a) too convoluted to actually work, b) doomed to fail from the start, c) irrelevant to what she wants to accomplish in the first place, or d) all of the above.
  • Nice Hat
  • Not So Harmless: At the climax of the movie, she goes from bumbling and ineffectual to threatening enough to send Kuzco and Pacha running for their lives.
  • One-Winged Angel: Hilariously parodied when she gets turned into a fluffy little kitten, doubling this with Sealed Evil in a Teddy Bear.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Her alter-ego of Principal Amzy doesn't really fool Kuzco, but Kronk can never seem to recognize her.
  • Parental Substitute: She actually raised Kuzco since he was a baby; it's implied she was going to pull a The Woman Behind the Man act when he was finally crowned and rule the kingdom through him, but his firing her put a stop to that. (It's also implied that she offed Kuzco's parents in order to do so).
  • Phrase Catcher: Not an episode of the TV series goes by without calling her "scary beyond all reason".
  • Pimped-Out Dress
  • Regent for Life: Attempts this, but when Kuzco fires her she moves to a more direct method and tries to kill him.
  • Sealed Evil in a Teddy Bear: Yzma is transformed into a nearly harmless kitten near the end of the movie.
  • Slapstick Knows no Gender
  • Smug Snake: All of her plans are either too convoluted to actually work or doomed to fail from the start, and yet she's under the assumption that she's an evil genius.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Or rather one idiot, Kronk, but the effect is the same.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Yzma certainly enjoys throwing her weight around, but the notion of actually usurping Kuzco only seems to hit her after he fires her.
  • Unfortunate Names: In the ancient Peruvian language called Quechua, Yzma means "Shit".
  • Vague Age: We know she's old, but we don't know how old.
    • According to "The Emperor's New School Spirit" episode of the TV series, she's 48.
  • Villainous Valor: During the last fight. Not even the risk of dying by falling 100 feet down from a building, or turning into a small cat will stop her.
  • You Gotta Have Purple Hair: Everyone else has black hair. This is one reason why she is 'scary beyond all reason'
    • She actually wears wigs and headpieces... not that that helps in any way.


Yzma's sidekick who has a Heel-Face Turn at the end of the movie, along with Kuzco.


Voiced by Wendie Malick

Pacha's frustrated wife. Throughout the film, she is pregnant with a child, and her newborn baby is born at the film's climax.

TarzanCharacters/Disney Animated CanonAtlantis: The Lost Empire
Disney Animated CanonCharacterSheets/Animated FilmsEpic

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