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Anime / The Jungle Book

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The Jungle Book anime, known as Jungle Book Shōnen Mowgli, is an anime adaptation of the book of the same name that first aired in 1989.

It is based on the books of the same name with some elements of the Disney movie, though as far as accuracy goes, it leans to the former most often.

This anime contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • In the original story, the first of the tigers unintentionally brought disaster to the jungle, but he initially wanted to kill Fear (man) to restore peace among the animals, then later out of grief for finding that all those who once looked up to him would now run away in terror. In the anime, he simply believed that killing Fear would grant him supreme power over all. The Arabic dub has the tiger attempting to frame a man for a murder he himself committed; not as aspiring a goal as the former but no less despicable.
    • The human owner that cared for Bagheera when he was a kitten. In the novel, Bagheera was part of a collection of exotic animals belonging to a rich rajah where he lived in luxury before escaping on his own. In the anime, the owner planned to kill Bagheera for his pelt when he grew bigger as he abused the panther along the way, the owner's daughter named Linda took care of him at that time. Later she frees Bagheera before her father can shoot him. She took the bullet, and it was unknown is she survived or not.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Luri's name in the book was Raksha.
  • Adult Fear: In the first episode, Mowgli's human parents were frantic when searching for their son. And the fact that they accidentally fell to their deaths without finding their child made it a lot worse.
  • Alpha Bitch: Literally with Lala, but she gets better.
  • Animal Gender-Bender: Downplayed with Tha, who is female in this adaptation; she has very small tusks compared to those of Haithi and the other male elephants, which is somewhat accurate to real life (although said tusks or tushes still shouldn't be noticeable).
  • Arch-Enemy: As usual, Shere Khan is Mowgli's. Even moreso here as Khan killed Mowgli's adoptive wolf father Alexander.
  • Battle Boomerang: Mowgli's weapon of choice, but then it's replaced with a knife.
  • Big Bad: Shere Khan.
  • Big Good: Akela to the wolves, Hathi to the jungle.
  • Canon Foreigner: Jumeirah and her family, Kichi the red panda, and Mowgli's human parents.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kaa in the English dub.
  • Gender Flip: Tha, the first of the elephants, was male in the original story. Here, he was changed to a female.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Shere Khan receives a gash over his left eye after a confrontation with Mowgli.
  • Heinous Hyena: Tabaqui, the striped hyena who serves as Shere Khan's sidekick.
  • Honorable Elephant: Hathi the elephant, like his book counterpart, is the temperate but righteous leader and lawgiver of the jungle.
  • Humans Are Bastards:
    • The villagers after being spurned by Buldeo's lies.
    • Earlier on, Mowgli encountered a trio of grave robbers in the Cold Lair searching for the treasure, only to have the three kill each other out of their own greed.
    • A flashback shows the downfall of said ruins: a once proud kingdom destroyed in a civil war and fueled by greed.
  • Interspecies Romance: One point Lala has developed a crush on Mowgli (despite her earlier antagonism). Bagheera and Baloo talked about this with Bagheera pointing out the obvious barrier. Fortunately it was one-sided, and she eventually settled down with one of the wolf brothers instead.
  • Jerkass: Buldeo.
  • Mythology Gag: One of the scenes involving Mowgli and Jumeirah has the man-cub watching her retrieve water from a nearby stream using a jug. This is almost exactly like the ending of the Disney movie when Mowgli first meets Shanti.
  • Narrator All Along: The first episode begins with a woman's voice introducing our planet, discussing the necessity of animals and man learning to get along and cautioning against despoiling the beautiful jungle for our own advantage. As the woman discusses that last part, we learn that the narration is in fact Mowgli's mother speaking to her baby, and Mowgli's father says this might be a little difficult for baby Mowgli to understand.
  • Noble Bird of Prey: Chil.
  • Passing the Torch: Akela was originally retired before the series began, letting Alexander lead the wolf pack. But Akela took over after Alexander's untimely death. However he returns to retirement and died after Luri takes the helm.
  • Raised by Humans: Bagheera.
  • Raised by Wolves: Mowgli.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Averted with Kaa, who is much more helpful to Mowgli than the Disney version, his characterization being more closely adapted from the books. Unlike the Disney adaptation he is neither weak, nor cowardly; he is in fact the only non-human who Shere Kahn outright fears and it's well justified. The few times they face off, Kaa wipes the floor with him.
  • Savage Wolves: While Akela's pack averts this, Grizzle the rogue wolf and his followers play this straight.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: Kichi the red panda, Tabaqui the striped hyena (in the book he is a jackal), Chil the Brahminy kite, and Rikki-Tikki-Tavi the Indian mongoose. More obscure Indian fauna appear as well, such as sambar deer, langurs, mugger crocodiles, and dholes.
  • Setting Update: If the plane in the first episode is any indication, the show is set sometime in the 20th century.
  • Snakes Are Sinister:
    • Averted with Kaa whose characterization is true to the books.
    • Played straight with Buldeo's pet cobra.
  • Sssnake Talk: Also averted with Kaa, surprisingly.
  • Straying Baby: In the first episode, baby Mowgli wakes up from his nap and follows some deer into the jungle while his parents are busy. This kicks off the plot of the series.
  • You Killed My Father: Shere Khan killed Alexander, Mowgli's adoptive wolf father.