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Left to Right - Pala, Gai, Lonky, Liu, Kuga, Miyo, and Popo
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Presented in this page are the Expy of the Running Man cast based on their Animal Motifs. For the live action casts, visit the tropes page in this link.

For the main page of the animation, visit this page.

There will be spoilers for the readers who did not watch the Korean YouTube version of the Running Man channel.

Unfortunately, all of the episodes of their channel was Region Blocked. Only for someone who is using a VPN and picking Korea that they will able to see the episodes of the animated show.

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The 7 Participants of the 100th Annual Running Man Championship

    Liu 
Liu (리우)

Tribe: Bug
Expy of: Yoo Jae Seok
Voiced by: Kim Seo Young (Korean) ; Rachel Slotky (English)
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/screen_shot_2018_08_28_at_100932_pm.png
Ready! Aim! Fire!


Liu is 16 years old and the new Running Man contender of the Bug tribe and the younger brother of the tribe's former competitor who disappeared for unknown reasons. As Yoo Jae Seok's Animal Motif, Liu has the ability to jump from a far distance or great heights and can sense any signs of occurrence or danger from his antennas.

He is the show's leader as he possesses intelligence when winning a game whether if it's a team or a solo game as well as creating inventions from the pieces he could find. Liu also has a robot companion named 'Mr. Suitcase' (from the Cartoon Network English Dub) that stores his weapon, the Drill-Gun.
In Episode 35, Liu had an untimely reunion with his long-lost sister who became Brainwashed and Crazy.


  • 10-Minute Retirement: It took one episode to get him back after his encounter with Sean.

  • Actually, I Am Him: Played With. Technically, he revealed that the Bug Tribe's champion is his older sister.

  • Adult Fear: Inverted. He was left on his own when Sean was presumed dead. The event still grieves him.

  • All According to Plan: Being the tactician in the show, he is the one who makes plans. This becomes effective in the later episodes, especially when the game requires teamwork and winning against D.V 7 and Charming Gold.

  • All Is Well That Ends Well: In the aftermath of Season 1 and during season 2, Liu still wants his friends to work together even though they had doubts. And this is after they defeated Charming Gold and successfully talked to Ulcus, they got arrested for that and he still remains optimistic about it.

  • Animal Metaphor: Grasshoppers are associated with optimism and good luck.

  • Arm Cannon: After he modified Mr. Suitcase, he is now equipped with this and is still used in season 2.

  • Armor-Piercing Slap: He received this from his supposedly dead sister. This rendered him temporarily immobile for a few seconds from the shock. Even his teammates were surprised by that.

  • Artificial Gravity: Liu manipulated the magnetic force from his handicap to be able to glide freely.

  • Attack Its Weak Point: With the help from Sean and Makhan, he is able to destroy the core that empower's Charming Gold's robot that is located from its midsection.

  • Audible Gleam: His glasses has this sound from the first two trailers.

  • Authority Equals Asskicking: He's the leader, The Smart Guy, and knows how to use long ranged weapons.

  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Most of his plans were illustrated as this. This also shows in Team Change that his field vision before shooting Pala's cane becomes a reticle.

  • Awful Truth: He knows what happened to the Bug Tribe's champion because he is the champion's younger brother. His older sister died from an explosion that causes him to become her replacement even though he is the tribe's second place. The look on his face when confessing it shows that he's still grieving. This worsens when it revealed that she's actually alive.

  • Badass Family: He and Sean are the second place and champion of their tribe.

  • Bait-and-Switch: His method for his plan is to outsmart his enemies.

  • Battle of Wits: He has a high number of wins
    • He used a laser gun to distract Miyo and Kuga (because of their feline traits)
    • Used gravity to his Takjji's advantage
    • Tagged Kuga out while the rest were distracted, while taking the 'advice' from Lonky and Popo
    • Lead his teammates to victory by working together, the enemy team's weakness

  • Berserk Button: While he does had some moments, the destruction of Mr. Suitcase made him shoot D.V 1 in rage until her face was shown.

  • Beware the Nice Ones: Lonky and Popo learned it the hard way when they betrayed Liu twice.

  • Big Sister Worship: Both he and Sean got along, the younger was happy when she created Mr. Suitcase.

  • Big Damn Heroes: Prominently when he carried Miyo to find Pala even though he's injured.

  • Big Guy, Little Guy: With Kuga.

  • Binocular Shot: His point of view when he's about to shoot Pala's cane.

  • Black and Gray Morality: There are times where he lied or just (politely) discarded a team member even though he's a good guy. This bites him when Pala betrayed Liu and teams up with Popo and Lonky over a tripped wire.

  • Blatant Lies: When Pala asked Liu where he had been, the latter answered that he stayed in his room. In reality, he was hiding in Kuga's closet when Lonky and Popo appeared during his infiltration.

  • Break the Motivational Speaker: He joined the game because of his sister, and then he bonded with the rest of the characters. But when Liu saw her alive, he was broken that he became distant and quiet. Popo and the others had to be the ones in bring him back to his optimistic self.

    Kuga 
Kuga (쿠가)

Tribe: Bars (Tiger)
Expy of: Kim Joong Kook
Voiced by: Um Sang Hyun (Korean) ; Daniel J. Edwards (English)
"This was our strategy. A great one. And we'll fight another day."


https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/screen_shot_2018_08_28_at_100902_pm.png
Looks like Tigress founds a new rival

A 16-year old trained warrior tiger who punches everything he sees in order to win. Kuga wanted to test his own power by joining the competition. While his tough exterior makes him intimidating towards his opponents in the game, he's really a gentle giant.

While his secret is hidden underneath his 'pink' palms, he has the power to generate shockwaves via a Charged Attack punch to increase his level of impact when hitting an obstacle. It would sometimes leave a four-toed paw print on the craters.


  • The Ace: Just like his Expy.

  • Afraid of Their Own Strength: There has to be a reason why he kept on wearing gloves.

  • Barbarian Tribe: His tribe may be isolated from the society, but they are strong warriors that even Charming Gold is afraid of them.

  • Bare-Fisted Monk: He is much skilled in close ranged combat and can use his Super Paw to increase its power.

  • Berserk Button: Lonky.

  • Big Brother Instinct: The other Running Man competitor, Liu, considered his friends as a family including Kuga. Kuga is convinced to save Gai when Liu said this and he is often partnered up with the latter. When Kuga didn't let his anger get the best of him against D.V 2, Liu ran and actually hugged Kuga (even though he wanted to shake Liu off). Evidenced by the other scenes with these two, this could mean that Liu looked up to him as a brother.

  • Character Development: Kuga appears to be a player who has a belief that there is only one winner in the game. And while he's still clever, he doesn't have a clear strategic plan that he and Liu sometimes clashed. However, his fight with the Kuphaman makes him open up to Liu and cooperates to his plan.

  • Deadpan Snarker: When Lonky bragged that he should be the leader, Kuga reminded of his current status in the championship.

  • The Dreaded: From a tribe that has warriors who withdrawn themselves from the world to become stronger, most of the six are scared of him winning. Even the Big Bad Charming Gold seems to be intimidated by Kuga's existence.
    Pala: I want to know more about him! (points to Kuga) Our people almost never compete!

  • Dumb Muscle: Though he's not that stupid, he relies more in going physical instead of making a plan to win. Dr. Mala mocked him with this, which the D.V 7 member got taken out in the match as payback.

  • Establishing Character Moment: From the teaser trailer itself, it shows that Kuga pushed the others away and was able to rip Liu's tag. Then lands on his feet and made a pose while confetti and camera flashes in the scene...only to have his tag taken out by Lonky. The same thing happened in the first episode when he plugs Lonky's flag without any awareness that his flag got switched.

  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Liu warned Kuga not to fight D.V 2 in the Zone Battle because it will ruin his plan.
    Liu: No, Kuga! Don't fall for his trap!

  • I'm Not Here to Make Friends: His attitude whenever he meets his fellow competitors. Thankfully, he gets better.

  • I Will Only Slow You Down: Played for laughs in the Pyramid Pursuit Game when he told Gai to proceed without him after failing to get across the pit. The laughs part was when Kuga thought the shredder pit is stopped completely, only to see that it's working again.
    Kuga: Gai? Gai? Are you still in there? Did he actually go without me?!

  • The Lancer: Kuga is the most feared competitor like his human counterpart. However, Kuga cared more for winning alone and doesn't interact with the others at first. His fighting style is mostly based on martial arts and 'hitting things harder' as opposed to Liu's careful planning.

  • Limit Break: He knew that his opponent, D.V 2, used a move called The Super Paw. An attack that increases the power of the shockwave by opening the user's palms and blasts it towards the target, this is known for making a four-toed paw print like crater.

  • Mighty Glacier: Kuga is the strongest (and the most popular) player. It would take a humongous hammer just to literally knock him out of a match.

  • Move Along, Nothing to See Here: He tried to make the others leave his room in Episode 7. The problem was when he couldn't let anyone see what behind his paws were.

  • Neck Lift: He always snags Lonky by the neck if the Giraf tribe player won't shut up.

  • Please Get Off Me: When Kuga took D.V 2's tag off without fighting, Liu hugged Kuga's paw. Though Kuga tried to pull his paw off, he let Liu cuddle him for a bit.

  • Satchel Switcheroo: The result of unconsciously making Lonky win in the Opening Game.

  • Shockwave Stomp: More like 'Shockwave Punch'. Kuga's true ability is to make shockwaves from his palms, he uses it to make his attack stronger as well as destroying barriers.

  • Unmanly Secret: Kuga hides his 'pink' palms in his glove. And he will freak out if he lost it, which is what Charming Gold intends to do.

  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: To Lonky in the Bell Hunter game. Here's an explanation; because of the fear of getting tagged out, Lonky offers himself to Kuga in getting the other members to trust him so Kuga and tag them out as well as getting the additional marbles from them. However, Kuga knows and tagged Lonky out. Mostly because Kuga wants to be the sole winner and not some traitor who took the easy way out.

    Lonky 
'Giraf Prince' Lonky (롱키)

Tribe: Giraf (Giraffe)
Expy of: Lee Kwang Soo
Voiced by: Kwon Chang Wook (Korean) ; Daniel J. Edwards (English)
"Me?! I'm the Giraf Tribe Prince 49th line in the throne! You can call me Lonky."
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/screen_shot_2018_08_28_at_100837_pm_2.png
Days where he didn't betray anyone - 0

The 15-year old so-called 'Giraf Prince' who is currently on the 49th rank of his own tribe. Therefore, he competes in order to become king. Similar to his Expy, Lonky has the tendency to become allies with his teammates only to backstab them in return.

Lonky has the ability to stretch his arms and neck. In which, he and the others can use the Rubber Man limbs to either restrain an opponent or grab hard to reach objects.
  • Anger Born of Worry: He lightly scolded the infant Popo for sacrificing himself at the cost of his age.

  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: To Popo the most, even if he doesn't admit it.

  • Beauty, Brains and Brawn: Lonky proclaimed himself to be the smartest in Episode 26, this caused arguments from his companion Popo. But in reality, he's the Brawn.

  • Beware the Silly Ones: He won the Opening Game by tricking his opponent, after all.

  • Big Brother Instinct: He saved Popo in the Zone Battle, only for him to get his tag taken off by D.V 4. And in the finale, he became the one who took care of Popo right after the later turned into a baby from his magic.

  • Character Development: Lonky betrays his competitors in order to win a match. Lonky then learns his lesson in the Pyramid Pursuit game when he's teamed up with Popo and Pala in which they seek to survive after getting injured from the obstacles. Gai's Heroic Sacrifice has given Lonky in showing gratitude to his fellow competitors. It's shown that he is willing to fight for them even if he still has the Royal Brat attitude in the Zone Battle when he saved Popo.

  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: This happens a lot because he is the animal motif of Lee Kwang Soo, the Icon of Misfortune.

  • Deadpan Snarker: If he wasn't betraying anybody, he can be this.

  • Determinator: Despite his attitude, all he wants is to win the game and be recognized by his tribe.

  • Establishing Character Moment: The first one was when he struts the gaming platform in high heels. But the crucial one goes when he's the true winner of the championship's Opening Game because Kuga plugged Lonky's flag instead.

  • Flirting Under Fire: A hero versus villain example; his opponent, D.V 4, kept on seducing him during the Zone Game. Unfortunately, Lonky somehow froze and wasn't really himself. And because he wasn't able to fight and take her out, he got his tag removed by her instead.

  • Hypocrite: Lonky whines when the team selection was unfair in Team Blue vs Team Red. This guy is already the person who plays people unfairly.

  • Innocently Insensitive: His way of talking can sometimes tick the characters, mostly by Kuga.

  • Hit Me, Dammit!: Much to Liu's dismay, he and Popo are desperate to have their tags switched to Kuga. This bites them in the end when Liu unexpectedly knocks Kuga out of the match, making him and Pala the two winners of the Team Change Battle Game.

  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's marked as a traitor by some of the members, but he still has some hints when he cared for someone's well being. One of his moments was when Liu collapsed after he succumbs the gas he and Miyo inhaled from the last obstacle the two crossed.

  • Long Neck: He is a giraffe along with the ability to stretch all his limbs.

  • Manipulative Bastard: Lonky first makes himself an ally especially when making a deal to his 'teammate'. But afterward, he discards them. It adds to the insult that he acts all positive while monologues about teamwork.

  • Neck Lift: According to this video, Lonky's neck got snagged by the Running Man members, mostly Kuga, 20 times as of Episode 36.

  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense

  • Royal Brat: And how!

  • Rubber Man: His ability. Though he doesn't use it unless it's necessary for him or his team.

  • Satchel Switcheroo: While being subdued by Kuga, Lonky switched the flags. This made Kuga plugging Lonky's flag without knowing.

  • Those Two Guys: He and Popo are always receiving the Disapproving Look from the others.

  • Throne Made of X: Of all the pieces of furniture, his massage chair is placed as his throne.

  • The Trickster: He manipulates others into getting what he wants.

  • Ungrateful Bastard: This caused Popo to lose his temper during the Team Change Battle.

    Miyo 
Miyo (미요)

Tribe: Nyanya (Cat)
Expy of: Song Ji Hyo
Voiced by: Kim Yeon Woo (Korean) ; Carrie Savage (English)
"That's strange. I feel like he's hiding something..."
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/screen_shot_2018_08_28_at_100601_pm.png
Mirror Universe of Cat Woman plus James Bond equals this girl.


16 years old. She was chosen from the Nyanya tribe to compete in the Running Man championship and the only female contender. With the physique based on a cat, Miyo is applicable in stealth and agility with grace. She is equipped with a grappling hook, a scanner on her belt buckle, and a flash drive used for hacking. Her attire is identical for someone who belonged to a spy agency, which is justified as she entered only for a mission given by her superiors.

In addition, Miyo has the ability to enter a person's memory by applying a Pressure Point to her target. Afterward, she can read the memories of that person. This becomes handy when doing spy work against the Big Bad Charming Gold.


  • Absurdly Sharp Claws: Her claws are retractable and may appear to be small. But they're sharp enough to make a scar on whoever pushes her buttons, all except Kuga learn it the hard way.

  • Bare Your Midriff: Her suit doesn't cover her skin much in the middle.

  • Berserk Button: Try not to push them if you don't want to get scratched by her claws.

  • Combat Stilettos: She wears boots that reaches to her thighs, and there are heels at the bottom that are possibly three inches. Despite that, she can still run and fight without any difficulty.
    • She switches to her new outfit and wears flat boots in episode 49 up to season two

  • Defrosting Ice Queen: At the beginning of the show, Miyo is distant towards her teammates because she's too focused on her mission. But she warms up with the help of Gai who saved him from his brainwashing in return.

  • Difficult, but Awesome: Miyo's primary power is to dive into her targets memory. However, doing so will lead her to be vulnerable towards her opponents note  So she has to have someone to cover her while performing this.

  • Establishing Character Moment: She flips her hair without looking to Liu in her scene. But with Gai, she's the one who ends up being saved by him. Followed by the Love at First Sight scene.

  • Exotic Eye Designs: Miyo's eyes, whenever she's about to enter someone's memory, resembled an alchemy circle with three to four layers of them and four more smaller circles placed outside of the bigger circle.

  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Grappling hook pen, which is her primary weapon. The pen may be small in size and it fits to her Body Pocket, but it's long enough in reaching Charming Gold's tower.

  • Mythology Gag:
    • Miyo only has Ji Hyo's mind-reading ability. The reversal ability is absent in the series.
    • In a rather inverted and ironic way, Ji Hyo attacks Jung Kook by pulling his hair in the original series. An in the animation, Miyo scanned Kuga's memories from behind in the Bell Hunter Game. The irony part was when she didn't bother to fight Kuga in the next episodes because of this.

  • Pressure Point: When reaching a person's memory, Miyo curls her hands into a fist and started applying pressure to the person's back. Once there's enough force, magical symbols started to form on her eyes. This proceeds with the camera zoom as she literally dives into the person's memory.

  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: Inverted. A D.V 7 member from her tribe wears a more conservative outfit than hers. This changes in season 2 where Miyo now wears a jumpsuit.

  • Ship Tease: Miyo is Ji Hyo's Expy. Which means she's also in love with Gary's Animal Motif at some point.

  • Spy Catsuit: No pun intended; but her attire consisted of a black top that exposes her middle part of her body, a cycling that has her scanner attached to it, and black thigh high boots.

  • Stripperiffic: Of the kid-friendly kind. Even though she wears a two piece Spy Catsuit, her private parts were not exposed.
    • This changes when Season Two starts and she now wears a jumpsuit that completely covers her former exposed parts.

  • The Smurfette Principle: She is the only female Running Man contender in the series.

  • Tsundere: Mostly shown when she's partnered up with Gai.
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    Popo 
Popo (포포)

Tribe: Peng (Penguin)
Expy of: Ha Dong Hoon (HaHa)
Voiced by: Kang Si Hyeon (Korean) ; Syndi Szabo (English)
"Bring it on!"
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/screen_shot_2018_08_28_at_100526_pm.png
Playing with Fire through tarot cards


The 15-year old Peng tribe resident who wanted to do anything to win the competition just to get fame and fortune. Throughout the show, he is mostly seen with Lonky. They do have the same interests, but they sometimes clash when things didn't come as well as planned. Whenever he got caught in a dilemma unintentionally, Popo's eyes became large and it sparkles in hopes of not getting tagged out in a match.

He has a belief when it comes to fortunes and Popo's tarot cards are based on the elements such as fire, lightning, and ice. There are times where they worked and there are times where it doesn't.


  • Adorably Precocious Child: Both a gift and a curse due to the cost of using magic that reduces his age.

  • Achilles' Heel: Physically, his height makes it harder to catch up with his teammates even if he runs.

  • Awesome, but Impractical: Popo's tarot cards have different power whenever he conjures an element. But every time he uses it, the tarot cards either falls or the energy wasn't enough as an attack or a defense move. His small stature is also a disadvantage because the other members run faster than him in the Opening Game.
    • And even if he was able to do it right, his age went backwards until he becomes a baby.

  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Popo does look close to Lonky, even if his fellow player is a pain in the neck.

  • Baby's First Words: "Popo?"

  • Baby Morph Episode: The last two episodes had him turning into a baby.

  • Berserk Button: Do not, under any circumstances, call him (or at least anyone who belonged in the Peng tribe) Little.

  • Beauty, Brains and Brawn: He is the Brains to Lonky's Brawn and Pala's Beauty.

  • Bratty Half-Pint: It's no wonder he and Lonky get partnered a lot, they have the same goals.

  • Cartoony Eyes: His normal eye design.

  • Establishing Character Moment: Popo had his arms folded while glaring at Liu before acting cutesy. When he raced towards the ramp, he noticed that his fellow competitors ran faster than him no matter how hard his feet could possibly go in the race.

  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the trailers, Popo uses all of his tarot cards when making a spell. But in the series, he uses one tarot card.
    • Popo chided Liu for being 'Second Place', this could mean that what happened to the first one is crucial in the series.

  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Popo can sometimes have this when something doesn't go according to his plan.

  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the final episode. Popo used his Time card to go back to where Pala is about to insert the fake artifact. As a result, he aged backwards into a baby. He did grows up in the second season.

  • Hit Me, Dammit!: In the Team Change Battle, he begged Miyo and Gai to be in their team. He did the same thing to Lonky after the Giraf tribe player became part of the blue team led by Kuga.

  • Irony: He's a penguin, and (most) penguins live in the cold. However, Popo and D.V 6 are wearing warm clothes. Even Popo is sleeping with a heating lamp on.

  • Magic A Is Magic A: The Peng tribe are magicians using only tarot cards and it seems to be the only source of power when attacking; if it work that is. And according to Popo's profile, his tribe is a modern city with magic as one of the tribe's culture.

  • Mythology Gag: While his Expy doesn't use tarot cards, Popo actually owns a Time Card. Bonus points for saying the similar battle cry: "THE ONE WHO RULES THE CARDS!"

  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: He uses this a lot such as when Kuga is about to use him as a bowling ball or other situations that got him into big trouble.

  • Rapid Aging: Inverted. Instead of aging older, Popo aged backwards into a baby. In season 2, he aged normally again. He mentioned that using his magic would make him 'shorter'.

  • Second Place Is for Losers: Popo mocked Liu as a 'Second Place' when the grasshopper called them out for being a Hero with Bad Publicity in their tribes. This scene became one of the Foreshadowing of what truly happened to Liu's older sister.

  • Squishy Wizard: Liu actually remarks this to Popo being the best wizard he knows. However, Popo's flaws showed more especially in the Zone Battle game.

  • Those Two Guys: With Lonky, most of the Running Man contenders are not amused from their antics.

  • Your Magic's No Good Here: Popo seems to have a problem when conjuring magic from his tarot cards. He did say it took a lot of planning to conjure a spell in Episode 31 - Liu's Plan. The only time it worked was when those tarot cards activated upon accident.

    Gai 
Gai (가이) / Man X

Tribe: Mong (Monkey)
Expy of: Gary Kang
Voiced by: Nam Doh Hyeong (Korean) ; Matthew Shaw (English)
"If someone is a spy, then it would be unbearable for them to do it."
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/screen_shot_2018_08_28_at_100133_pm.png


Gai is 16 years old and is from the Mong tribe who has the history of the residents becoming slaves from the war. His tribe breaks out of their isolation and the leader made him a contestant. Their reason was to get the Family Honor back that was once lost from them because of their past.

He is the Ninja of the seven. Gai’s main ability is creating four until eight clones of himself, and he can sometimes teleport from one place to another.
However in The Reveal, Gai works under Charming Gold. Giving him the name of Man X and was brainwashed against the Running Man. Miyo was able to save him at the end of Episode 35.


  • Already Done for You: Not just for Charming Gold, but to his friends who suffered long enough in the Pyramid Pursuit and sacrificing his win to Popo, Lonky, and Pala as he disables all the traps that he controlled.

  • And You Thought It Was a Game: Knowing the truth of the game itself, Gai doesn't give a damn because of his status as a mole. He even pointed it out to Liu in the Pyramid Pursuit finals.
    Liu: (coughs) Can't we all stop the game for a second to tre-
    Gai: Stop the game? I don't think so.
    Liu: Gai! Miyo is terribly-
    Gai: People get hurt while playing this game. If we stop for everything, it's no longer a game.

  • Beware of the Nice Ones: Mess with any of his friends, especially Miyo, or you'll end up getting chased by him.

  • Brainwashed and Crazy: In Episode 34 and 35. Gai fought Liu, Kuga, and Miyo when the stadium went on an emergency block and wore a mask that Charming Gold forced him to wear ever since Episode 29 note  .

  • Curtains Match the Window: Gai's eyes are brown as well as his hair.

  • Deadly Hug: The way his clones ripped Lonky's tag does this.

  • Establishing Character Moment: Gai was warming up in his platform before the Opening Game starts. When picking a 'handicap', he was lucky enough to obtain the key instead. This is, unfortunately, a Foreshadowing in the next episodes.

  • Face–Heel Turn: Zigzagged.
    • Charming Gold made him a mole in the competition.
    • He turned against Charming Gold in Episode 26 when the game went too far and quit.
    • Gai was kidnapped and is forced to wear a mask that brainwashed him.

  • Fixing the Game: Charming Gold actually rigged the game so Gai can win the Pyramid Pursuit finals. He gave his mole a device in controlling the obstacles of the match. But when he realized Miyo was hurt because of him, he took it upon himself in making Popo, Pala, and Lonky win the match while healing Miyo, Kuga, and the fatally injured Liu. This made Charming Gold vexed on Gai for rebellion.

  • Heroic Sacrifice: Happened five times.
    • The first one was unintentional as he catches the falling Miyo in Episode 2. However, he wasn't able to cross the finish line.
    • The second is in Episode 26 when he is able to corner Pala who is about to activate the Golden Key. But instead of proceeding, he returned the key and took Pala's potion in order to heal the others and get them back to safety while risking Charming Gold's punishment of rebelling against the host.
    • The third one is heartbreaking, because this is the time Charming Gold punished Gai. He saved his brothers when a smoke bomb is about to hit the three, this made Gai unconscious as Charming Gold's hologram appeared. What is tearjerking enough is that his brothers had to watch Gai being taken away in front of them without Charming Gold's remorse.
    • His fourth sacrifice serves as a Call-Back from Episode 2 where he caught Miyo from falling. This time, Miyo experiences her love at first sight. Unfortunately, it was only for a short time when Gai threw her to the portal so she can be safe. Afterward, he destroys the portal and decided to fight against the other D.V 7 even if he got tagged out anyway.
    • For the last episode, Gai didn't let Miyo save him as he falls to where the Death Ray is about to hit him. Knowing that if she followed him, they will die a gruesome death.

  • Hypocrite: In the aftermath of the Pyramid Pursuit Game, he saw the others interrogating Kuga for being a spy. While Kuga proclaimed himself to be innocent, Gai tried to protect his identity without knowing he indirectly admitted how he truly feels for being a mole.

  • The Mole: Gai was acquainted by Charming Gold himself. His codename is "Man X".

  • Mythology Gag: His powers are inspired by the original series' episode which also involved Duplication.

  • Our Clones Are Identical: Gai's clones have similar forms, but different hair color. Still, it's one of his ninja moves. That's until it was revealed in Episode 23, his three 'colored' clones are actually his siblings that he took care of during the competition. He hid them in the secret compartment in his dorm room. Which means if his siblings are added to the roster, the total number of players would be ten.

  • Pinocchio Nose: Technically, when Gai is trying to stop himself from either lying or telling the truth, he hiccups.

  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Gai had enough and told his boss, Charming Gold, that he's done and threw his controller to the ground. Unfortunately, he's punished.
    Charming Gold: This is ALL. YOUR. FAULT! (evil laugh)
  • Ship Tease: In-universe and in real life, Gai and his human Expy are this to Miyo.
  • Take This Job and Shove It: It wasn't his choice to be a spy. He wanted to help his people after their history of being slaves before. Episode 27 is the time where he reaches his breaking point and quit his role. And based on the episode after that, it didn't end up well for Gai at all.
  • The Reveal: Gai was commanded to join by his chief under the orders of Charming Gold himself. And all of the games that the six had played were intended to make Gai win the competition.
  • The Trickster: He uses his ninja abilities to fool his opponents such as his clones and his teleportation technique via smoke bomb.

  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Him quitting being a mole caused a new turn of events such as revealing the D.V 7 in the Running Man championship.

  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In season 2, Gai is nowhere to be seen in the trailers.

    Pala 
Pala (팔라)

Tribe: Empa (Impala)
Expy of: Ji Suk Jin
Voiced by: Jeon Tae Yeol (Korean) ; Mark Szabo (English)
"Uuhhh... Well, nobody in my town would be bothering to compete. I wasn't lucky enough to be selected."
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/screen_shot_2018_08_28_at_100003_pm.png
He's not too old to play this game.


Joining against his will, 38-year old Pala became the representative of the Empa tribe. He first appeared as the only competitor who fell asleep at the beginning of the opening game, only to wake up and catch up with the others.

Armed with a cane that has a glass vial on top, he carries any concoction he mixed through his Alchemy. When it comes to trouble, he's the one who heals his teammates.


  • Absent-Minded Professor: Played with as he is mostly laid back, but he doesn't go down without a fight when he needs to.

  • Beauty, Brains and Brawn: The Beauty to Popo's Brains and Lonky's Brawn.

  • Beware the Silly Ones: Do not underestimate Pala. He can still win a match without having the attention from the others.

  • Black Magic: He ended up using one in Team Change Battle.

  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Before the Team Change Battle begins, Pala appeared to be tired and distant to his teammates. As well as his cane is ominously covered like he's hiding something from the six to the point that he doesn't participate in the match. It revealed that the red crystal Pala picked up had an ominous presence and possessed him, the two teams had to work together and save him.

  • Butt-Monkey: The poor impala had it worse than Lonky himself. He's one of the people to get knocked out the most, the announcer and the audience doesn't seem to be excited to see him in battle, and when he gets the chance to win and is proud of it, the show discarded him. Literally. In a meta way, his profile and bio didn't appear in the Cartoon Network Asia website. The guy couldn't catch a break.

  • Cannibalism Superpower: He ate a ball of Kuga's fur (Bars tribe fur in general) that is supposed to 'help' with anyone's immune system. Kuga is visibly terrified and disgusted.

  • Crack Ow My Back: He said this in the Zone Battle after getting punched too much by his opponent.

  • Determinator: Liu concludes this that despite Pala is the weakest in the team, his potions can make him back on his feet no matter how many times he gets hurt.

  • Establishing Character Moment: Pala fell asleep in the Opening Game. He only wakes up and was able to catch on with the others by Chekhov's Gun.

  • Eyes Always Shut: He didn't open his eyes unless he got possessed.

  • Exhausted Eye Bags: When the red crystal is starting to take over Pala.

  • I Just Want to Be Special: Despite Pala didn't want to play, he wants to help his fellow teammates. Even offering some of his potions so they could proceed. He even feels upset of being rejected by Liu, of all people, for accidentally tripping the wire when the Bug tribe competitor is trying to make something.
    Pala: (sitting with Popo and Lonky) I was just trying to help!
    Episode 26: (after being cornered by Gai) The finals were right in front of us... IF MY TEAM HAD WON, EVERYONE CAN'T COMPETE IN THE FINALS!

  • Innocently Insensitive: In the aftermath of the Zone Battle, he asked the upset Liu about his sister being a D.V 7. This resulted him from getting thrown away by Kuga.

  • It May Help You on Your Quest: His cane with a vial that carries his potions. He sometimes gave his comrades a sip of it too.

  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: When he is the next player in the Battle for the Highgrounds game, the audience went silent and gave him a Disapproving Look. Even the announcer isn't that enthusiastic by the time Pala emerged in the game platform.
    Announcer: The fourth player has arrived!
    (Pala appears, but the audience doesn't seem to be excited)
    Announcer: Oh, it's Pala.

  • Neck Lift: Once by Kuga.

  • Nerd Glasses: Pala is an alchemist and wears black rimmed square glasses.

  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Popo and Lonky yanked the cover out from Pala's staff, the Empa tribe contestant opens his eyes that turned red. This follows by a thick black smoke emerging behind him.

  • Take That, Audience!: When he won the Hammer Bingo Game, he boasts against the audience who doubted him in the series. Unfortunately, his speech didn't last long because of the screen blacks out.

  • Weak, but Skilled: He's physically the weakest player in the game. However, he makes it up by using the potions he mixed in order to increase his mobility and magic even for a short period of time. He was able to defeat his rival, Dr. Mala.

Other Characters Charming Gold and the D.V 7

    Charming Gold 
Charming Gold (챠밍골드)

Tribe: Pikok (Peacock)
Expy of: None
Voiced by: (Korean) ; Daniel J. Edwards (English)
"Are you ready? Are you ready? It's...RUNNING TIME!"
Charming Gold is the current host of the 100th Running Man championship. While he has the beauty and charm from his own tribe, underneath is a mask of suspicion.
  • A Mistake Is Born: His parents questioned themselves on how their son having the face of a monster.

  • Antagonist Title: His name is one of the episode titles near the end of season 1.

  • Bullying a Dragon: Years before the Running Man was created, Charming Gold was ostracized by his kin because of his ugliness and was mocked as a 'Monster'. His parents thought that he's been cursed by the Gods, they might have treat him negatively. Charming then discovered his powers right after he sucked the lifeforce of the person who bullied him, this power rejuvenates his beauty and looked more young. He had the resolve to extract all of the lifeforce of the Pikok Tribe, killing everyone until he's the last of his kind.

  • The Chessmaster: Charming Gold kept an eye on the contestants and used the game to his advantage. This became the method on finding who are capable of being part of the D.V 7 team.

  • Disc-One Final Boss: Just as when he died from falling. Ulcus appears and the Running Man casts will have to stop the God from resetting the world.

  • Disney Death: He fell off the Soul Tree when it shattered.

  • Madness Mantra: His announcement speech keeps on reverting "Goodbye" over and over. It didn't help when behind him is just a plain purple background with an eerie lighting.

  • Mainlining the Monster: In order for the Running Man team to lose the game and keeping the Soul Tree to himself, he released the D.V 7. The said team who were once the champions of the different tribes that got brainwashed by Dr. Mala and his Amplifier drug.

  • Milking the Monster: He has the D.V 7 as backup when Gai quits being the mole. Of course, the D.V 7 became the main attraction in the Running Man competition so the protagonists won't win the game.

  • Last of His Kind: As evidenced by his true age and his backstory, he might have killed the whole Pikok Tribe

  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Being the game mastermind, he makes the game just to analyze who would win. He even made a game that only Gai could win.

    D.V 1 
Sean
Tribe: Bug
Expy of: None
Voiced by: (Korean) ; (English)
"How did this happen? I thought... I thought I was in the championship..."
She first appeared in the aftermath of the Team Change Battle as one of Charming Gold's evil henchmen. She is mostly known for wearing a black attire along with a veil and a mask that covers her true face. Whenever D.V 1 is present, Mr. Suitcase emerged from Liu's belt and started to chase her much to its owner's dismay.
In Episode 35, Liu discovered that D.V 1 is actually his older sister named Sean. But because she was brainwashed, she hurt Liu and left him afterwards when she retrieved Gai's mask.
Liu told everyone that Sean was supposed to be dead right after he witnessed a red gas explosion inside her room leaving her final invention, Mr. Suitcase, to Liu. Lonky realized that he took her place for this exact reason. Sean had a one on one battle with her younger brother and she was subdued.
  • The Ace: She is the Bug Tribe's famous inventor. Charming Gold kidnapped her for this reason, making Liu as a replacement in the game.

  • Adult Fear: Inverted. She's the one who got kidnapped, leaving her brother behind.

  • The Dragon: As D.V 1, the henchman of Charming Gold. She is also the one who inputs the commands of the other D.V 7 members.

  • Say My Name: By his brother before her kidnapping.

    D.V 2 
"The Kuphaman" / Master Makhan
Tribe: Bars (Tiger)
Expy of: None
Voiced by: (Korean) ; (English)
"How disappointing... Sneaking from behind like a coward... I thought all creatures would prefer to fight face to face."
The mysterious character who is known by name because of how he breathes (Khup-hah). Pala had a story about the Kuphaman kidnapping fellow Running Man contestants, this is followed by Miyo and Kuga getting kidnapped sooner or later. Because of the incident, Kuga now has a grudge against to the opponent who outmatched him because of The Super Paw.But with Liu's encouragement and risky strategy, Kuga is able to take him down without fighting in Gaining Grounds.
D.V 2's backstory is revealed. His true name is Makhan. A known warrior from the Bars tribe who was exiled by the higher ups. Charming Gold kidnapped him because he's the strongest in the tribe. Makhan's final moments before he was taken is when his Super Paw left an imprint on the side of the cliff and the red gas explosion that knocked him out.\He was eventually freed from his brainwashing when Kuga destroyed the mask. However, Kuga challenged Makhan without the Amplifier in which he accepts. The fight ends with a draw afterward.
  • The Ace: He was the famous warrior of the Bars Tribe but ended up getting exiled because of his attitude. When he wanders in the forest, Charming Gold's minions attempted to kidnap him. While Makhan was able to hold off, he was still captured.

  • Antagonist Title: Before his true name is revealed, his title was "The Red-Eyed Beast".

  • A Villain Named Khan: Suberted as Makhan became a villain against his will by Charming Gold.

  • Monster of the Week: He is the known 'Kuphaman' from the rumors n the Red-Eyed Beast episode. The reason why he was named as such is the sound of his breathing.

    D.V 3 
Alto
Tribe: Giraf (Giraffe)
Expy of: None
Voiced by: (Korean) ; (English)
"Hmph. You watch your tongue!"
He first appeared in Battle for the Highlands who sneaks Lonky from behind and poked his eye by surprise. Alto is known to have an interaction to Rema as rivals in the episode of Gaining Grounds.
  • Groin Attack: After taunting Kuga, [[the Running Man competitor punched Alto in the groin]].

    D.V 4 
Rema
Tribe: Nyanya (Cat)
Expy of: None
Voiced by: (Korean) ;(English)
"Hey there, little Bug. Looks like an old friend wants to see you."
She is the second player to appear in the Battle for the Highgrounds game and Lonky's opponent in the Zone Battle. Rema is seductive to the point where her opponent froze as she began to flirt him, this ended up having Lonky's tag taken out from her.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: As part of Liu's plan, the remaining Running Man team worked together to defeat her, Alto, Spin, and Gai. Most of the D.V 7 worked alone, this became their downfall in Zone Battle game.

  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: Inverted as she's the brainwashed character while wearing more conservative clothes than Miyo until episode 49.

    D.V 5 
Spin
Tribe: Mong (Monkey)
Expy of: None
Voiced by: (Korean) ; Matthew Shaw (English)
"You thought you could get away from me, huh? Well, I guess I proved you wrong. You kicked me in the face and now you'll pay dearly for it. I'd say that's fair. Don't you agree?"
Spin met Miyo and chased her in the second team game. He has a sadistic attitude towards her and likes to toy her much in the match. He gets mad at her for kicking his mask and that's when he gets serious.

    D.V 6 
Kuku
Tribe: Peng (Penguin)
Expy of: None
Voiced by: (Korean) ; (English)
"WHO YOU CALLIN' LITTLE?!"
While Kuku appears to be... smaller than Popo, his tarot card abilities are more successful in attacking the Running Man competitor. This young penguin floats in midair with a card hovering above his head. And unlike his fellow D.V 7 members, aside from Dr. Mala, he doesn't wear a mask and wore a visor instead. The said visor can be lifted if he's threatened to use his charm to stop his opponents from hurting him.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: During his brainwashing, he was much rude than Popo that he threw the latter when the former was called little.

  • Berserk Button: His fellow kin, Popo, had to deal with Kuku's rage for calling the latter little. And then soon, Popo did the same thing.

    D.V 7 
Dr. Mala
Tribe: Empa (Impala)
Expy of: None
Voiced by: (Korean) ; (English)
"Show some respect! I am your elder, after all."
Dr. Mala is Charming Gold's secret assistant who resembles like Pala from their original tribes. His reason of joining his boss' malicious cause remains unknown.
Pala was able to recognize Dr. Mala as the banished tribe resident for practicing the forbidden magic and only joined Charming Gold is because he desires respect. Dr. Mala is the creator of a drug called the "Amplifier" that he injected to the D.V 7 under Charming Gold's control. Aside from having enhanced abilities; the side effects include the loss of self (evidenced by Gai), unbearable pain from taking it too much, and brainwashing.
  • Black Mage: Before he teamed up with Charming Gold, he was a practitioner of the dark alchemy. This results to Dr. Mala's horn get chopped off and getting banished from the tribe.

  • Black Magic: He is the scientist of the D.V 7 and the one who makes the "Amplifier" for Charming Gold's experiments.
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