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Tear Jerker / The Lion Guard

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Season 1

  • The pilot's scene with Mufasa can't get around the fact that Kion has to be introduced to his grandfather, who never got to meet him in person.
  • The Fate of the original Lion Guard under Scar's command: They refused to listen to Scar when he wanted to attack Mufasa and they were murdered for it. We never knew their names, but we know that Nala's father might have been one of them, as he was nowhere to be seen in film one. Sure, Scar lost the Roar after this, but it is still rather saddening to see that these four lions were killed for their loyalty to the king.
  • The most prominent example so far is in "Can't Wait to be Queen". In a rather somber scene in which Simba, Nala and Zazu arrive at an elephant funeral to see the herd members laying flowers over the body of someone who was, apparently, dearly loved and respected in life. Yes - a dead body appears in a Disney Junior cartoon; it could possibly affect today's children a similar way The Lion King made us feel seeing Mufasa's body for the first time.
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    • The music playing during the scene doesn't help either.
    • How about this little moment in the same episode: After getting into an argument with his sister, Mufasa tells Kion that, as a brother, he should be there for her. Then, when Kion goes to apologize/talk to her, he finds out she went to see Janja alone. He likely felt that his sister was in a lot of trouble and, given how fast he got angry and defensive, felt it was his fault. Mufasa's advice is all the more poignant considering that what ultimately caused his tragic death was the fact that he loved Scar no matter how difficult he was - and still holds to that creed even in death.
  • "Janja's New Crew" puts Cheezi and Chungu in sympathetic light after the two are exiled from of the Outlands by Janja and their replacements. Made in even worse with this line in Chungu's lament:
    Chungu: Why? Why did he tell us to go? The only family we know.
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  • At the end of "Baboons!" Fuli says "baboons" in a sad tone, clearly indicating that she misses the infant, and given her previous annoyance with them, you can tell that Fuli saw it as leaving her own family. Its an even bigger Tearjerker if you realize that Fuli had to leave her own mother, so she likely was remembering leaving her only person she loved.

Season 2

  • Any time Simba is shown during "The Scorpion Sting". Kion for a brief second completely loses it in the hunt for the scorpion, and there is a very tragic tone due to the thought of losing Simba. While it's obvious to the audience who have seen Simba's Pride will know Simba lives, the characters don't know that, not to mention the very real belief for a moment that Simba is actually dead.
  • In "The Kilio Valley Fire", the elephants briefly decide to leave the Pride Lands when none of the other herds accept their presence after Kilio Valley burned down. What really hits home is when Mtoto sadly says goodbye to Beshte, his role model and older brother figure.
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  • In a way, the ending of "The Hyena Resistance". When Janja angrily turned down Jasiri's offer to make a Heel–Face Turn.
  • A couple different aspects of "The Fall of Mizimu Grove".
    • For the first time in the series, the Lion Guard suffers a pyrrhic victory at the hands of Scar and his forces in front of a large crowd of key Pride Lands residents, losing a sacred space and the trust of their friends, family, and subjects in the process.
    • Simba's entire demeanor as he brushes away the burn mark left behind by Scar after seeing him "in the flesh" for the first time, in addition to his subsequent despondency when the herds openly discuss leaving the Pride Lands. It's evident that Simba feels like a failure to his kingdom and lineage once again, and it's hard not to feel sorry for him here, as much as some folks haven't been on-board with his overall portrayal in the series.
    Simba: "No... Not this time."
    • We see Makini briefly weeping to herself among the smoldering grove, and the music at this moment doesn't help.
    • There are several moments throughout the latter part of the episode during which the hippos openly deliberate on leaving the Pride Lands where Beshte is briefly featured looking on. It's a subtle angle that's never explicitly addressed, but when you think about it, the poor guy is faced with the impending choice of either abandoning his pod to stay and help the Guard fight Scar or leaving with them and loosing his friends and home in the process.
    • The ending of the episode, with Fuli singing a somber orchestra-backed reprise of Timon and Pumbaa's "Tujiinue"note  while Makini completes her tree-planting ceremony in front of all of the Pride Landers. The clouds even part to let the sun's rays shine onto the plant, just like in the iconic "Circle of Life" sequence.

Season 3

  • The Season 3 trailer shows that this will not be a good season for Kion. He is given a scar identical to Scar out of petty spite, and he begins to struggle with his darker impulses, at one point using the Roar on Bunga by accident. And given that this struggle will go on through the entire season, it is highly likely that Kion will either die or retire at the end of the season.
    • Furthermore, the fact that Kion openly begins to wonder whether he is evil or not. For much of the first two seasons, Kion has been shown having self esteem issues and a precise fear of becoming like his uncle. The fact that he is now openly voicing his fears that he could indeed be like his uncle indicates he will be struggling with Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.
      • Furthermore, if you watch the trailer closely, you see Anga has a Mark of the Guard and seems to take Ono's place as keenest of sight. While Ono is not blind, because he is also mentioned as being injured seems to imply that his eyesight gets reduced, which mandates Anga becoming his replacement.
  • "Battle for the Pride Lands":
    • The horror on Simba and Nala's faces when they hear that there is not a cure for Usahri's poison in the Pride Lands is Adult Fear at its finest. For a moment, they feared they would watch their son slowly go insane, losing all of his morals, and being unable to do a thing about it.
    • The farewell scene is gut-wrenching for any fan who has seen Simba's Pride, as the optimism that Kion will return in time for Kiara's first hunt will not happen. While there is still possibility the Guard will come back after the film, this just as likely could be the last time that Kion sees his family again.
    • A brief one, but take a look at Janja's face after he and Jasiri say their final goodbyes to Kion. Having recently pulled a Heel–Face Turn, it's quite likely Janja feels remorseful for everything he did that lead to Kion being scarred.
    • Without knowing it will be moot by that evening, "New Way To Go" is a pretty heartbreaking song. Most tragic love songs are sad song because the singer is singing about someone who doesn't love them back or who they don't think they could ever be with. Here, the singer is singing about someone who would love nothing more than for him to join her, whom he desperately wants to be with and could be if he just "said yes instead of no," but... he refuses to accept it. He just can't accept what he really wants and keeps holding himself back. Janja's body language throughout his entire fantasy, always taking one step back as the seductive Jasiri of his imagination approaches him, just makes you want to yell at the screen, "Dude, just kiss her already! You know you want to!" But the scene ends with him saying, "Never mind," insisting it doesn't matter.

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