is an animated TV series spun off from the Disney movie The Jungle Book (1967)
. It serves as a prequel
to the movie, starring the child version
of the six main animal characters: Baloo the bear, Bagheera the panther, Louie the ape, Shere Khan the tiger, Hathi the elephant and Kaa the snake.
Jungle Cubs provides examples of:
- Affably Evil: Emphasized even more so with the show, where both Shere Khan and Kaa were friends with Baloo and the others in their early life (if still somewhat antagonistic). This is emphasized in a darkly comic moment in which young Kaa snatches a small bird, seemingly set on devouring it, instead pleasantly greeting it good morning before letting it go, having already had a large meal (revealing a large bulge in his tail as he slithers off).
Kaa: 'Tis good to eat, but 'tis better to have eaten.
- Badass Boast: Shere Khan gets one in "Nice Tiger":
Shere Khan: Don't ever say my name and the word nice in the same sentence! There's not a speck of niceness in my entire body! Nice germs die when they get within a hundred — no, a thousand feet of me!
- Be Careful What You Wish For: After getting a bump on the head in "Shere Bliss", Shere Kahn becomes happy and outgoing. The cubs had wished for him to loosen up at the beginning of the episode, but eventually get tried of his new personality.
- Continuity Nod: Several, including a few in the intro. Most obvious are the ruins where the cubs hang out, which are the same ruins Louie and the monkeys rule over in the movie - the biggest one might be an episode where Louie finds out he's destined to be king of the jungle, and learns he has what it takes to be the just, kind ruler that everyone needs someday. Ironically...
- It should be mentioned that Louie is often referred to as a "Prince" in the first season, which seemed to imply that he was meant to be king from the beginning. However, in the second season this is completely ignored in favor of the whole monkey prophecy thing.
- Everyone Went to School Together: It just so happens that the six most important animals Mowgli encounters after leaving the wolf pack have been a close-knit group of friends when they were young, but went separate ways as adults. Akela the wolf, however, is already an adult, as he was an old wolf in the movie.
- Five-Man Band:
- Flanderization: The characters personalities become more exaggerated in the second season. For example, Hathi goes from just being absentminded to more of a naive klutz, Bagheera is incredibly uptight and freaks out at the slightest bit of disorganization, and Shere Khan becomes more of a stereotypical bully.
- Forbidden Friendship: Kaa the python and Mungo the mongoose.
- Foregone Conclusion: The main characters' friendship peters out and dies - they all end up being not-so-close, while Shere Khan and Kaa take places as more menacing predators in the jungle and become entirely estranged from the rest.
- Foreshadowing: In the episode "Feather Bains" Shere Khan is shown about to pounce on a deer, just like in his introduction scene in The Jungle Book.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Baloo is phlegmatic, Bagheera is melancholic, Shere Khan is choleric, Louie is sanguine. Hathi and Kaa qualify as supine.
- "I Want" Song: "When We Find Our Treasure".
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Shere Khan, depending on the episode.
- Lovable Coward: Kaa is a craven coward in this series. Kind of justified, since the universe seems to have it out for him, and his hypnotic powers aren't developed enough yet to be an effective defense.
- Misplaced Wildlife: Mahra, a baboon, and her children. Also Louie, and orangutan. Neither primates exist in India. To say nothing of the non-Indian fauna that show up in the series such as babirusa, sloths, toucans, warthogs, squirrel monkeys and macaws. Inverted with an ostrich in one episode.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Bagheera, Shere Khan, and Hathi all have American accents in the show. This is made all the more jarring due to "Born To Be Wild" replicating their original British voices for their adult forms.
- Not Now, We're Too Busy Crying over You: There's a surprisingly long sequence of this when Baloo and Kaa were presumed dead.
Louie: I keep thinking they'll turn up around the next bend. I tell you, animal, it's nuts. (blasely says hi to Baloo) Everywhere I look, I see their faces.
Bagheera: Weird, now I'm seeing 'em too.
Baloo: Hey, what's with you Lou? You look like you lost your best friend or something.
Louie: (Looking away) I did...
Baloo: That's terrible! Who?
: You. (Eyes bulge)
WOAH! HANG ON A SEC! BALOO! (shakes him madly) YOU'RE ALIVE!
Baloo: (dazed) Last time I checked.
- Only Sane Man: Bagheera, as the voice of reason possibly even more so than in the movies.
- Running Gag: While he does so once in the first movie, this show really started the "Bagheera falls into a body of water" gag, which happens almost Once an Episode, that was used three times in the sequel.
- The two ever-hungry vultures Arthur and Cecil always end up beaten up, crushed, mauled etc while attempting to make a meal out of the main characters.
- Seldom-Seen Species: Dholes (i.e. Indian wild dogs) appear as villains in one episode. Also, while Mahra and her family are only ever referred to as baboons, she looks specifically like geladas. Other obscure Asian animals such as four-horned antelopes, striped hyenas, and babirusa appear throughout the series.
- Shout-Out: At the end of The Humans Must Be Crazy, Bagheera disposes of a "man thing" (actually a pocket watch) that he found after it indirectly causes a fire. But then a crocodile swallows it by accident.
- Snakes Are Sinister:
- Downplayed and mostly subverted with Kaa, which ironically makes him more in line with his book counterpart.
- Played straight with White Hood the cobra, although it's revealed that his venom are all gone along with his fangs (just like in the book).
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Arthur and Cecil's Leitmotif in the first season is oddly happy and cheerful for the Big Bad Duumvirate that is them. The second season fixes this by adding a slightly more sinister one.
- Spin-Off Babies: Natch.
- Stock Beehive: Averted in one episode. Baloo finds a beehive set on a cliff while sleepwalking, and said hive looks exactly like its Real Life counterpart. Oddly, the swarming bees are dumb enough to let one huge chunk of their honeycombs to fall down and be picked up by him.
- Stop Drowning and Stand Up: At the beginning of "Red Dog", Louie falls into a pool and thrashes frantically that he's going to drown, until Kaa sarcastically asks him "Why don't you try standing up?"
- Token Evil Teammate: Shere Khan, at this point, is a friend of the other jungle animals, but already a Jerkass.
- Villain Episode: "Feather Brains," which focuses on Arthur and Cecil.
- We Want Our Jerk Back: The cubs reaction to Shere Khan becoming energetic and friendly after getting a bump on the head in "Shere Bliss".
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Judging by the episode where Shere Khan's reaction to his (off-screen) parents is shown, Shere Khan is one of these. May also be a Freudian Excuse for some of his later villainy.