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Characters / Donkey Kong: The Title Character

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This page is about the title character and protagonist of the Donkey Kong franchise, which is a shared part of the Super Mario Bros. series.
Voiced by (English): Soupy Sales (Saturday Supercade), Gary Chalk (Captain N: The Game Master), Chris Sutherland (SNES games), Richard Yearwood (Donkey Kong Country), Sterling Jarvis (singing voice, Donkey Kong Country), Charles Martinet (E3 1995), Grant Kirkhope (video games, 1999-2010)
Voiced by (Japanese): Kōichi Yamadera (Japanese commercials 1994-2004, Donkey Kong Country), Takashi Nagasako (video games, 2004-present)
Voiced by (Latin-American Spanish): Rubén Cerda (Donkey Kong Country)
Voiced by (French): Franck Capillery (Donkey Kong Country)

Donkey Kong ("DK" for short) is the grandson (or son) of Mario's original nemesis in the game that bore his name. He's a big hulking gorilla with a penchant for tossing barrels and eating bananas. He's been pushed out of Mario's #1 spot by Bowser (and gotten his own video game series), but has again challenged the plucky plumber in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong games. According to Donkey Kong Country, the original Arcade Donkey Kong was actually his grandfather (now named "Cranky Kong"), and while this was disputed for a time, later games reconfirmed this.


Tropes associated with Donkey Kong:

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  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Wears a necktie and nothing else.
  • The Ace: Donkey Kong is great at just about anything he does. Fighting bad guys, playing sports, racing, using weapons, and playing instruments.
  • Anthropomorphic Zig-Zag: DK's character can range between dumb animal and tough guy who happens to be an animal, depending on the game. In the Super Smash Bros. series and his Bonus Boss appearance in Punch-Out!! (Wii), he walks and acts like a gorilla. In the Donkey Kong Country games (both the original trilogy and Returns/Tropical Freeze), he shows more human-like intelligence, but still walks around on all fours like a typical gorilla. In the cartoon and Donkey Kong 64, he is bipedal and shows far more human-like mannerisms, though in DK64 he stands on all fours when idle.
  • Anti-Villain: In his antagonist roles, such as Mario vs. Donkey Kong. DK doesn't really have anything against Mario. He just has trouble controlling his impulses and Mario has to rein him in.
  • Author Avatar: If Grant Kirkhope's statements during his guest appearance on Game Grumps are to be beleived, then DK is basically Grant himself.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Messing with DK's precious banana hoard or his friends will have painful consequences for whoever does it.
    • He also really, really wants those Mini Mario toys. When he can't get one, he starts taking notes from his namesake.
  • Big Damn Heroes: During the end of DKC2, he manages to get loose from the rope that K. Rool has tied him with, and uppercuts K. Rool clear through the ceiling. In Mario Party 5, rarely, when a player lands on a Bowser Space, DK will appear and punch Bowser, stopping him from doing what he would normally do and making Bowser leave with just 10 or 20 coins from the player. His bio from Mario Party 2 even stated that he thought he could beat Bowser in a fight.
  • Big Good: In Mario Party 5 through Mario Party 9, he acts as an exact opposite of Bowser, having minigames where everyone always gets coins, and sometimes even gives stars to people. This is particularly shown in Mario Party 6, where DK Spaces are on a board during the day, and Bowser Spaces replace them at night. On Clockwork Castle, DK walks around the board and gives stars during the day, while Bowser walks around and steals them at night.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: He is very boisterous in Jungle Beat, and it carries over to Donkey Kong Country Returns.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: If you succeed at a bonus room puzzle while controlling him, he'll turn to applaud you and give you a thumbs-up for succeeding.
  • Breakout Character: From the Big Bad of the first Mario game to the protagonist of his own franchise.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": The DK on his tie.
  • Catch-Phrase Spouting Duo: DK and Diddy in the DKC cartoon; they also give off this vibe in the games, though they never actually speak besides some brief exclamations.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: He's basically just a really strong ape. That said, he punched the moon out of orbit.
  • Coconut Meets Cranium: Invokable with the coconut gun in 64.
  • Dash Attack: Even as a baby, he had strength to spare — in Yoshi's Island DS, sequel to the original, he lends his burliness to whatever Yoshi is carrying him in a Wario-esque shoulder tackle.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: The end of Mario vs. Donkey Kong, in which Mario beats DK, scolds him good, and gives him a Mini-Mario like he wanted all along.
  • The Determinator: Shigeru Miyamoto called him "Donkey" because he's as stubborn as one. Depending on who you're playing as, this is either a good thing or a bad thing.
  • Distressed Dude: In DKC2 and DKC3. It turns into Damsel out of Distress in DKC2 when the player can't quite finish off K Rool however.
  • The Dreaded: Even Bowser is afraid of him as seen in Mario Party 5, when Donkey Kong rarely appears if someone lands on a Bowser Space:
    Bowser: Do... Donk... Donkey Kong!
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Averted for the Kremlings.
  • Face Palm: He'll do this if you screw up in a bonus room puzzle while controlling him. He also does this on the character select screen when entering a tag barrel in DK64, if you highlight him and then move over to another Kong.
  • Fastball Special: He can throw Diddy Kong in Jungle Climber.
  • Full-Name Basis: He's never referred to as just Donkey. It's always Donkey Kong, DK or D. Kong in Japan. (With the few exceptions being Cranky in Donkey Kong Country 2 during one of his speeches in his monkey museum, Diddy during the ending of Donkey Kong Country 3, and almost the entirety of Donkey Kong 64.)
  • Friendly Enemy: To Mario in the Mario vs Donkey Kong series. He robs his Mini Mario industries and sometimes even kidnaps Pauline, but only because he likes Mario's toys, with a few games ending on Defeat Equals Friendship.
  • Genius Bruiser: Gorillas are highly intelligent animals and in many games Donkey Kong shows that he is pretty smart. He knows how to play instruments and how to use weapons and he can come up with clever solutions to problems sometimes.
  • Gentle Giant: If you are his enemy, then prepare for a world of pain. But if you are his friend, Donkey Kong shows that he has a heart as big as he is. Which is Truth in Television because real-life gorillas are actually very shy and gentle, becoming aggressive only when they or their families are threatened.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: He can race with King K. Rool in Donkey Kong Barrel Blast.
  • Heel–Face Turn: He becomes the protagonist of his own series and becomes friends with Mario and the other characters. However, whether or not Donkey Kong is the original DK or actually the son of Cranky is played with throughout the franchise and spin-offs.note 
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: DK and Diddy again, they're basically inseparable.
  • Hulk Speak: In Donkey Kong 64, DK speaks like this as a way to lampshade the fact that he's stupider than the other Kongs.
  • Idiot Hero: In some games and the TV Series. He’s not the most clever Kong, but certainly one of the bravest. Other games he’s actually smarter than he looks. To his credit, Otacon mentions in a Codec Conversation with Snake that he seems pretty smart by ape standards. He's also skilled at using weaponry and is smart enough to know how to play the drums.
  • Idle Animation: In DKC, he'll beat his chest and roar into the distance. In DK64, he'll swat a fly before eating it. In Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, he pulls out a 3DS and plays a random game.
  • Improbable Weapon User: At the end of Returns, he weaponizes the moon. In the Mario Baseball series, he uses a boxing glove when batting, while his baby self uses a banana.
  • Immune to Mind Control: In Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kalimba attempts to hypnotise Donkey Kong, to no avail.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: In Donkey Kong Barrel Blast, all of his stats are balanced. Ultra Barrel DK however, is an outright Game-Breaker as all of his stats are maxed out.
  • Large Ham: Usually when something awesome happens, but also when riled up (as with real life apes). A good example is right before the final boss in Returns. Donkey Kong and Diddy are pissed.
  • Legacy Character: As mentioned above, Cranky Kong was the first Donkey Kong before giving the title to the current one.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Despite his size, he's actually quicker than one might think, especially in Jungle Beat. This classification is even pointed out in a Super Smash Bros. Melee trophy. And the obvious inferences from the fact that the games are intense platformers, and DK's primary attack is a somersault.
  • Magic Music: In Donkey Kong 64, Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U, played with bongo drums.
  • Meaningful Name: His name is meant to indicate both his stubborn behavior (Donkey), and his massive size (Kong). Likely started out as a bit of an insult, but has since morphed into something between Awesome Mc Coolname and Names to Run Away from Really Fast.
  • Megaton Punch: DK has had this since some of his earliest showings, starting with capping off the climax of Donkey Kong Country 2 by delivering a meaty uppercut to K. Rool through the ceiling of his airship and bringing it back time and again since. Generally speaking, whenever DK whallops you, you're going to be kissing the sky for a good while.
    • At the end of Donkey Kong Country Returns, he punches the moon out of orbit!
    • Not to be outdone, in the Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze DK pays Lord Frederick back for all the trouble caused by launching him out of the volcano, through his island-sized boat, and with such force that the huge walrus' impact with the sea destroys his fleet's remainder.
    • His Giant Punch neutral special in Super Smash Bros. serves as one.
    • In Mario Party 5, he rarely gives one to Bowser when someone lands on the latter's space.
  • Mighty Glacier:
    • In Mario Kart, he falls under the "heavy weight, high top speed, low acceleration" weight class.
    • In the SNES trilogy, he's slower than Diddy, but able to hurt larger enemies that would just laugh off an attack from the smaller primate.
    • He started off as this in Super Smash Bros, but eventually became a Lightning Bruiser from Melee and onwards.

  • Nature Hero: He IS the King of The Jungle.
  • No-Sell: A master of this. If you intend to put him down, you should use everything you have at your disposal out of the gate and double-tap to be sure. If you don't...
  • Odd Friendship: He shares good chemistry with Petey Piranha in Mario Superstar Baseball. In Mario Super Sluggers, their chemistry is neutral. He also has a friendly rivalry with Vector the Crocodile in the Mario & Sonic series, despite Vector being not too far off resembling a Kremling. They even share a special victory animation with each other in the Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 olympic games.
  • Primal Chest-Pound: He is a gorilla, so he often pounds his chest, as an Idle Animation, a Victory Pose or a taunting move.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: His blue alternate costume since Super Smash Bros. Brawl gives him a pink tie. Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U gave him an alternate costume with pink fur.
  • The Rival: He's picked up the mantle from his grandad's old feud with Mario, and while the two are on amicable terms, it absolutely doesn't stop them from butting heads every now and again. But the two have been shown to be good friends and unlike Bowser and Wario, Mario is actually very friendly with DK most of the time. In Barrel Blast, his rival is... Kritter.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: This is how most of his adventures come about. Be it due to his bananas, his friends or his home, someone gets it in their head that hammering on the Berserk Button of an eight-foot, eight hundred pound gorilla is a terrible idea. To K. Rool's credit, plenty of the time he at least tries to remove DK as a factor early on, but that's no excuse for the others who've incurred his wrath.
  • Robot Me: The Mini Donkey Kongs and their variants from the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series qualify. Barrel Blast have the Cyber Kongs, who resemble the Terminator.
  • Rolling Attack: In the Donkey Kong Country series. Donkey Kong 64 has him do a swinging kick by default but you can still make DK roll if want. If Diddy is on his back Donkey Kong can roll further too. Rolling became his new Dash Attack in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U.
  • Shock and Awe: In the Mario Strikers series, his Super/Mega Strike has him using the power of lightning to shoot the ball towards the goal. During his Mega Strike in Mario Strikers Charged he gains Glowing Eyes of Doom and does a Death Glare towards the ball before clapping it. One of his custom moves in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U is the Lightning Punch. It takes less time to charge than his standard Giant Punch, but deals less damage and lacks super armor.
  • Shockwave Clap: Donkey's most used action in Jungle Beat. He has a lot of other moves, but most are context sensitive (extra jump when coming up on a wall, pummelling something in your way, snatching bananas).
  • Super Mode: In "Jungle Climber" he can use crystal stars to basically become invincible and to fly
  • Super Strength: He can carry and throw barrels easily, break through entire hordes of enemies with only his fists, and once punched the moon out of the sky (see Megaton Punch). The only characters in the Mario franchise (and spin-offs) who might be stronger, let alone come close, are Bowser and Petey Piranha, and the only Kong to be stronger than him is Chunky Kong. Mind you, this is including the likes of Mario and Wario, who can generally pummel creatures dozens of feet tall or weighing in hundreds of pounds with no issue.
  • Throw a Barrel at It: Trope Codifier. Also provides the page image.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Donkey Kong is a veritable beast in Jungle Beat. Seriously, the guy isn't above fighting dirty and pulls no punches at all.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The cartoon made him more selfish and egomaniacal. The Mario vs Donkey Kong series, for obvious reasons, also has him play the antagonist role to Mario that Cranky once had, usually in a tantrum over not getting a Mini Mario toy.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Bananas .
  • Use Your Head: Against the Rocs in Jungle Beat. His side special from Melee and onwards allows him to bury opponents into the ground. His animation for the Super Duper Simian Slam in Donkey Kong 64 has him slamming his head on the ground. If he loses a bonus game in DK64, he will tap his head with his hand before slamming his head on the ground twice.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Has this relationship with Diddy Kong at the end of the first game.
  • Younger Than They Look: If Cranky is the original DK from the arcade game, and Jr. really is this DK's father, then he's younger than the adult he looks like.

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