Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Jumanji: The Animated Series
aka: Jumanji

Go To

The year after Jumanji came out, an Animated Adaptation was made for UPN; it was the first of many by Sony Pictures Television's animation firm Adelaide Productions, which would later create Extreme Ghostbusters, Men in Black, Godzilla: The Series, Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, Dilbert (also for UPN), Jackie Chan Adventures, and The Boondocks, among others.

The series followed its own continuity, separate from that of the movie. Like the movie, it followed Peter and Judy finding the game board. However unlike the movie, they end up sucked into the game where they quickly find out the dangers of it. Luckily along the way they meet Alan, a previous player who also got sucked into the game and can't get out as he didn't read his clue that the board displays after rolling the dice (those little rhymes that tell of the dangers to come; instead of them coming out of the game, you're sucked in and must solve it to leave). So Peter and Judy willingly come into the game throughout the series to try and help Alan either find his missing clue or an alternate way out.


If the character designs look similar to Duckman, there's a good reason: Everett Peck worked on both shows (and continued to do design work for XGB, MIB and Godzilla).

Despite only having 40 episodes, it’s actually one of the few cartoons of the time to have a definitive Series Finale.

The cartoon contains examples of:

  • Alternate Continuity: Yep, for one the way Alan finds the game is different. In the movie, he uncovered it from underground. Here he finds the game in the attic of his house. Since there was no Sarah (Bonnie Hunt's character in the movie) Alan played the game alone and winds up sucked into the game (which does it to all the players). The game does still occasionally invade the outside world but also does restore it to normal after that episode's clue is solved and the twins are sent back.
  • Advertisement:
  • Androcles' Lion: Alan's clue the entire time. The huge, apparently unkillable lion that was chasing after him since day one in the game, was his clue. Showing kindness to the beast concludes his turn. Alan doesn't just feel bad for himself but the animal that was in agony the whole time as well.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Captain Squint's wooden nose, in a nod to Moby-Dick.
  • Ant War: Giant red ants vs. black ants.
  • Axe-Crazy: Pretty much everyone who lives in the jungle except for Alan, but even Alan can be pretty ruthless due to his decades of time living in Jumanji. Special mention goes to Van Pelt.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre: Trader Slick and his shop. He'll sell and buy just about anything — in episode 3 he haggles for 57 pounds of fighting ivy, 1 1/2 leopord spots and a bottle of pollywog juice in exchange for a rope, a basket and a snake catching stick, while in episode 7 he asks for 500 Jumanji mangoes in exchange for saving Alan's life. The things he's sold in the series includes the likes of Jumanji Tracking Fluid (leaks out and creates glowing footsteps), a Get Out of Jumanji Free Card (good for one use only), the Slickomatic Chrono Repeater (rewinds the turn each time it's pressed), and Guunta (an elephant sized bloodhound).
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Compared to Peter and Alan, Judy rarely played The Chew Toy to effects of the game. Even when it was her that broke the rules, Peter was inexplicably punished or transformed for it, something he lampshaded the unfairness of.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Jumanji itself has two. Anyone who cheats will be punished with a Baleful Polymorph transformation. Anyone who even threatens to destroy the game will have The Stalker, Jumanji's version of the Grim Reaper, sent after them to annihilate the threat and anything that gets in its way.
    • In the first episode, Van Pelt gets pissed when Peter and Judy refer to Jumanji as a game and responds with "Jumanji IS NOT A GAME!"
    • The Manji Tribe does not like it when someone steals from or lies to them, as Judy found out the hard way.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The most recurring antagonists are Van Pelt, Slick and Ibsen though Slick is the least pro-actively antagonistic of the three.
  • Bizarro World: The world of "Brantford: The Game", a Jumanji-style game that transports players to a 'Jumanjized' version of the main characters hometown of Brantford. Most objects and buildings are deformed, bullies are Manjis, the Library's books materialize jungle creatures when someone opens them, pets are gigantic and homicidal, and the local equivalents of Officer Bentley and Judy's science teacher behave like Van Pelt and Professor Ibsen, respectively. More humorously, Bizarro!Nora is horrible looking but sickeningly sweet, and she thinks that Peter is the smart one and says that Judy should listen to him.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Jumanji is dangerously unpredictable. It's hard to tell if it's trying to kill you, teach you a life lesson, or both at the same time.
  • Bound and Gagged: The Jamazons do this to Nora who in turn does this to Gina upon defeating her.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Not counting pilot episode, where it was used for additional tension, Van Pelt is never again seen reloading his two-shot rifle.
  • Butt-Monkey: Peter who gets to be targeted for all of Jumanji's punishments, particular when it comes to being transformed into something else (which means he got to be a literal example in the first episode). Eventually lampshaded.
  • Cannibal Clan: If the theory of the Manjis being former children who played the game is true.
  • Canon Foreigner: Pretty much anyone outside of Van Pelt who inhabits Jumanji really.
  • Composite Character:
    • Nora and Sarah are combined with the former having the latter's role as Alan's love interest.
    • The episode "Brantford: the Game" features an in-universe example with Van Bentley. He has the physical appearance of Bentley and everything else is Van Pelt.
  • Darkest Africa: More so than the movie, since they actually went into Jumanji every episode.
  • Death World: Jumanji. It's a miracle that the kids survive even one episode. Even Alan who has survived in the place for decades, says he only survives moment after moment by the skin of his teeth.
  • Depending on the Writer: The show couldn't seem to decide if Ibsen created Jumanji itself, or was just simply another pawn to the unknown forces that controlled the game. His debut episode (and Robotic Reveal, which was subsequently ignored) and the existence of the Stalker hint at the latter, but some episodes (including the finale, where Peter actually says something along of the lines of "we're going to defeat your game" in a flashback) implies the former.
  • The Dreaded:
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: It takes 3 seasons, 40 episodes, and a lot of trips into Jumanji, but Judy and Peter finally succeed in helping Alan get out of Jumanji in the final episode.
  • Eldritch Location: Jumanji itself. Such oddities include magical artifacts and pieces of the world secretly being artificial and mechanical. Including Jumanji's sun.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Much more so than the movie as the players are brought inside the game. The first episode clarifies this when Peter comes across a few toys in Alan's hideout which he explains, in a rather grim tone, were from "previous players".
  • The Fair Folk: The Manjis, who can vary between being allies of the gamers and their enemies, all depending on their mood, and who very strange customs and laws. For example, in one episode, Tribal Bob (the Manji leader) happily greets the gamers and ruefully explains they're standing on sacred ground, which means they must be killed. Cue the Manjis circling the three humans with spears raised until they all take a good long step to the left, at which they drop their spears and relax again. Alan explains that this patch of ground isn't sacred, while the other one is. It is also unknown whether the The Manji's are this or whether they may be human Jumanji inhabitants. It's debatable if they're actually inhuman, though. While the Manjis do look like frightening tribal masks with arms and legs, it seems that they can actually adopt humans into their ranks — the third episode has Peter almost join them permanently. The offer is made about 3:45 here, and the actual ceremony is shown at 4 minutes in.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Alan wouldn't get out of the board game until the end. Still better than most cartoons with this trope, as he actually got out in the finale.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: The episode "Who am I?" featured Peter and Judy being flipped in addition to Alan and Van Pelt, a pride of lions and a herd of antelope, a bird and a frog, a herd of warthogs and a flock of birds, a tortoise and a hare, a herd of giraffes and a group of snakes, Trader Slick and a chimp and after that Peter's mind is transferred to Slick's body, Judy's mind ends up in the chimp's body and vice versa and Ibsen's mind ends up in Peter's body with the final switch being Ibsen and a rat.
  • Genius Loci: As Jumanji is a place here as well, it ends up as both a Sentient Phlebotinum and this.
  • Gorgeous Gorgon: One episode has the gang meet a handsome adventurer who takes them all to his castle in the sky, with him trying to seduce Judy. They eventually discover he's actually a cold-hearted monster with a petrifying stare.
  • Grand Finale: Not quite grand, as it was a Clip Show that ended with the magic mirror thing that showed them their own past adventures eventually reaching Alan's own entry into Jumanji, allowing them to see his clue, which he solves in the closing seconds. Still, it was very surprising in that day and age for a kids' show to get a proper ending instead of simply ceasing production once there were enough episodes to show for a while with the Fleeting Demographic Rule keeping it so that it was always new to someone. The show wasn't just not there someday, the good guys won and went home. The Series Goal got accomplished. It's hard to get across just how unthinkable that was then.
  • The Grim Reaper: In the episode "No Dice", Alan decides to screw over Jumanji, ensuring no one will ever play it again, by taking its dice away. Everything in Jumanji, even Van Pelt are now scared senseless by Alan for holding the dice. All except for the Stalker; a disturbing grim reaper, the personification of "Game Over", who starts hunting him down for what he's done.
  • Groin Attack: Subverted, during the fight between Aunt Nora and Queen Gina when she nearly jab a spear right between Nora's legs!
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Though an artificially induced one, via the "Slickomatic Chrono Repeater ", though it is a dark case since the kids only use the device in an attempt to avert Alan's death.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Alan decides in a rather dark episode to finally get rid of Van Pelt once and for all. Unfortunately this backfires horribly. Due to the rules of the game, Peter ends up becoming Van Pelt, and the hunter is not finished. He's attempted to force Alan to kill him again in the boy's body, so the circle becomes complete and Alan becomes Van Pelt forever.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Trader Slick is somewhere between this and a Friend in the Black Market.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The Stalker. Debuting in the episode "No Dice", after being crushed by a piston, leaving behind his robes, boots and hat, he reappears as a blob travelling across lava and resumes his original form right down to the clothes. In the episode "The Gift", The Stalker melts one of Peter's shoes simply by grabbing it.
  • Invincible Villain: You cannot kill Van Pelt. The rules of Jumanji state: "There must always be a Van Pelt". In one episode they did manage to defeat Van Pelt only to discover that if you do defeat him you become him. The Stalker also counts and presumably Professor Ibsen and Trader Slick also count as they do survive quite a lot, though it always takes place off camera so we never see if they survived because they're invincible or if they simply somehow found a way out of their jam.
  • I Shall Taunt You: In "No Dice", Peter and Judy stomp, kick and insult the board to get it to suck them in to help Alan. It seems to be aware of they're attempting, and so does nothing up until Peter gets genuinely mad and throws it into garbage while lamenting that if they don't get the dice back, no one will ever be able to play it again.
  • Mad Scientist: Professor Ibsen. Curiously, instead of doing things For Science!, like most Mad Scientists, he instead creates all sorts of mechanical hazards because the game itself somehow tells him to. He also acts as an anti-cheating measure: in one episode, Peter accidentally brings a laptop computer into Jumanji. When he somehow finds an access point and attempts to use it to retrieve a record of Alan's clue, Ibsen shows up, messes up the attempt and not only steals the computer, but nearly conquers Jumanji with it. The computer is destroyed in the process of stopping this, and they never got a replacement, probably because their guardians decided they were too irresponsible to take care of one.
  • Magitek: Jumanji definitely has a fair amount of magic powering it, but at the same time there's also a lot of machinery making things work: the sun is actually a gigantic light-producing machine, and when Alan used the game's dice to get "backstage" of Jumanji he found machinery there as well. Additionally the Mad Scientist Professor Ibsen reveals in his first appearance that many of the creatures in Jumanji are his creations.
  • Maniac Monkeys: Not necessarily evil, but still a pain for the main characters to deal with.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Even in the one case where Judy cheated, Peter was still the one to get transformed.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Flora and fauna from every jungle and savannah region on Earth can be found in Jumanji, including contributions from South America, Africa, and Asia. Justified as Jumanji is an alternate dimension created by a cursed board game.
  • Mythology Gag: A subtle one but in "The Law of Jumanji" Alan briefly makes the same pose Van Pelt did in a picture in his home. Some mannerisms are actually inherited from one's parents and Jonathan Hyde played both Alan's father and Van Pelt in the film. A less subtle one appears in "Young Alan" where Alan says his father is a hunter every duck season.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: Alan doesn't want to marry Queen Gina (because he'll be sacrificed afterwards).
  • Race Against the Clock: In "Gift", Alan is bitten by a poisonous centipede and the children must save him before the poison reaches his heart and kills him.
  • Really Gets Around: Implied with Aunt Nora, who's had a string of failed dates and relationships. She ends up hooking up with Alan in the Finale and it's joked by the kids that soon they'll probably be calling him "Uncle Alan".
  • The Rival: Von Richter to Van Pelt
  • Running Gag: Peter is often turned into a different animal for some transgression or other (or just Tempting Fate. Or no reason.).
  • Shout-Out:
    • Professor Ibsen introduces himself as a "master builder".
    • Trader Slick = Trader Vic's, a Polynesian-themed restaurant chain from the '60s and '70s.
    • The Riddle of Alan features a ship called the "Jumanji Queen", a shout out to The African Queen.
  • Someone Has to Do It: In one episode the gang manages to finally get rid of Van Pelt by luring him off a bottomless pit. Unfortunately, with Van Pelt apparently dead, someone has to take his place...
  • Time Stands Still: In "Bargaining for Time", when Judy's wristwatch is broken, everything outside Jumanji is "frozen", even after Judy, Peter and Alan manage to get out of the board game.
  • Toothy Bird: not for comical purposes, but to make them more ferocious
  • Trapped in Another World: Alan is trapped in the game, and the main plot is for Peter and Judy to help him escape.
  • The Unintelligible:
    • The Manjis speak a language basically made up of staccato clicking, raspberries, spitting sounds, whoops and similar random noises. Despite this, the gamers all learn to understand it and Peter actually manages to pick up a working grasp of speaking it, having learned it from Alan, who's been studying it for the last 23 years. Despite its strange nature, it's evidently extremely complex — Peter comments once that they have over 500 different words for pain.
    • Jumaki language, meanwhile, is so alien that they need a Jumaki interpreter to communicate with them. It basically sounds like the occasional screeching noise interspersed with a lot of rasps and rumbles.
  • "What Do They Fear?" Episode: The last season's "Nothing to Fear". Peter's is being seen naked, Judy's is cockroaches, and Alan's is that Peter and Judy's efforts to free him will always be of no avail because he doesn't actually have a clue to be solved.
  • Winged Humanoid: The Jumaki tribe are humanoid birds, with arms, legs and wings on their shoulders, who show up in episode 16.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The main villains to varying degrees, but special mentions goes to Van Pelt, who's implied to do it because he enjoys the hunt.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Downplayed since while the game's threats do target players indiscriminately, Jumanji's rules tend not to like using its Cool And Unusual Punishments (eg. transforming the player into an animal) on Judy, with usually Peter punished in her place, much to his frustrated lampshading. Generally Judy only falls victim to the game's magic symptoms if the plot absolutely demands the whole group be put under this stipulation and it would ruin the challenge to make exception for her.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Every time Alan appears to be freed from Jumanji, he gets a few brief celebratory moments, before realizing that, for one reason or another, he has to go back. Until the last episode, when he gets out permanently.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Since as a child, Alan rolled the dice but was called away by his mom before he could see his clue, he doesn't know what he's supposed to do and is trapped in Jumanji. In the final episode, he's freed for good.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: If you somehow manage to find a way to defeat Van Pelt permanently, you become the new Van Pelt. "There must always be a Van Pelt. It's the rules of the game." When Peter is saved from becoming the new Van Pelt permanently, apparently breaking the rule, moments later the real Van Pelt climbs out of the pit he'd been lured into at the beginning. Was it because the real Van Pelt is that badass, or because "there must always be a Van Pelt?" Yes.

Alternative Title(s): Jumanji