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"Till the Pride Lands end, Lion Guard defend!"
A Disney Junior animated series based on The Lion King franchise that came out January 15, 2016. Prior to release of the series itself, the Pilot Movie The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar aired on November 22, 2015.
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The series stars Simba's son, Kion. The official premise is, as stated: Set in the African Savanna, The Lion Guard follows Kion as he assembles the members of the "Lion Guard". Throughout the movie and the series, the diverse team of young animals will learn how to utilize each of their unique abilities to solve problems and accomplish tasks to maintain balance within the Circle of Life, while also introducing young viewers to the vast array of animals that populate the prodigious African landscape.

For episode recaps, go here.

It was renewed for a third season in March 2017.


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This movie and series provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: Compared to the Lion Guard, a lot of the Pride Lands' older animals in this show are awfully incompetent. For instance, only the Lion Guard bothered to do anything about Makuu usurping the hippo pond in The Rise of Makuu and in Bunga the Wise, every animal eagerly takes Bunga's advice without even questioning it. Even Simba and other older cast members fall into this as they often aren't around when they'd be a huge help. Nala in particular is seen needing her son to save her from Janja's half dozen or so hyenas who have proven to be nowhere near the threat level of Scar's original army. Clearly this is neccesary to make sure the young Lion Guard is effective. Ironically, the most helpful adult on the show has arguably been Mufasa.
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  • Adult Fear: The hyenas cause a gazelle stampede that Kiara becomes trapped in. Besides being flashback inducing for Simba, it could explain why Simba is so protective of her in the second film.
  • Always Chaotic Evil:
    • If "Jackal Style" is anything to go by, all jackals are born to be thieves and swindlers.
    • Subverted with hyenas, crocodiles, and leopards. While more villainous ones have been seen, it's been established they are not evil as a species. "Never Judge a Hyena By Spots" is about Kion learning that not all hyenas are bad when he meets Jasiri.
  • Animal Gender-Bender:
    • The female ostriches are all portrayed as having black and white feathers. Females are a dull brown in real life.
    • The female gazelles are all portrayed as having long horns. Females in real life have short horns.
    • Impalas are all portrayed having horns, but only males possess them.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Kiara certainly views Kion as one, especially early on in "Return of the Roar". She's mellowed out in that way of thinking towards the end, particularly after being saved by Bunga, of whom she had a low opinion as a potential protector beforehand.
  • Anthropomorphic Shift: In stark contrast to the realistic crocodiles in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, the crocodiles in The Lion Guard are cartoonish and can speak. This may have been a Call-Back to their portrayal in "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" from the original film.
  • Arc Words: The characters constantly make reference to "The Circle Of Life," sometimes nonsensically, or at least not bothering to clarify what they mean.
  • Art Evolution: When compared to the previous films. The giraffes, crocodiles, and some other animals are drawn in a different style than in the films. Fuli is very different than the cheetahs shown before, even considering that she's not fully grown. Simba is shorter and has more bushy eyebrows, and other character's sizes have been adjusted as well. Some of the hyenas have stripes in addition to spots. The art style and animation has a more modern and in some ways lower quality feel to it compared to the films, with the characters' awkward walk cycles a common complaint.
  • Art Shift: The ending credits recaps the premiere in cave painting, similar to Simba revealing the origin of the Lion Guard and its initial fall.
  • Artistic License – Biology: See here.
  • Ascended Extra: Nne and Tano had been background members of Janja's clan since Return of the Roar. They developed a prominent role in "Janja's New Crew."
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: The crocodiles determine their leader by fighting. This causes problems for The Pride Lands, because the wise old leader gets booted out by a stronger crocodile that is not near as wise or considerate.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: In a large number of Villain Song’s, the Antagonist (Usually Janja) see themselves as Giants, as they sing?
  • Audience Shift: Just like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, this show shifts its target audience from all ages to seven and under. Unlike the former though, plenty of older viewers are attracted as well.
  • Avengers, Assemble!: Simba charges Kion with assembling the Lion Guard, including the bravest (Bunga), the strongest (Besthe), the fastest (Fuli), and the keenest of sight (Ono), with Kion himself being the fiercest.
  • Bat Out of Hell: Averted with the Botswanan long-eared bats that appear throughout the series, which are friendly and harmless towards the Guard. That doesn't stop Ono from being afraid of them.
  • Battlecry: The Lion Guard has one:
    "'Til the Pride Lands end, Lion Guard defend!"
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Jasiri is by far the nicest-looking hyena to appear in the series, and is naturally the nicest period. Her clan members are also pretty nice-looking.
  • Beware the Superman: The Roar of the Elders was never meant to be used for evil. In the backstory, when Scar used it to destroy his Lion Guard for refusing to help him overthrow Mufasa, the Great Kings of the Past immediately stripped him of it.
  • Bee Afraid: In episode 4, most of the main cast is stung by bees. Bunga, however, is unaffected, and even eats a few.
  • Big Bad: Janja, the leader of the rival hyena clan. Though by the end of "The Rise of Scar", Scar reclaims his position as the main villain, but since he's just a spirit, Janja and Ushari still have to do the heavy lifting.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • The Lion Guard driving away the hyenas and saving Kiara from the gazelle stampede.
    • The Lion Guard saving Kiara (again) from the hyenas in "Can't Wait to be Queen".
  • Big Good: Rafiki serves this role for the Lion Guard, providing them the necessary guidance and has a strong connection with the lions of the past.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Beshte and Bunga. They even refer to one another as Big B and Little B, respectively.
  • The Big Guy: Besthe, the strongest of the group, and the largest due to being a hippopotamus.
  • Big Sister Bully: Kiara is a mild case, mocking Kion about how he doesn't know where his life is going and constantly bragging about being the future queen. She mellows out a bit over the course of the pilot movie-special.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Each member of the Lion Guard has a Swahili catchphrase:
    • Special mention goes to "hevi kabisa", Kion's catchphrase. It's a very informal, urban brand of Swahili — the kind that annoys grandparents.
    • Bunga also has his catchphrase, "Zuka Zama!"
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Reirei and her jackal family, who act friendly, and pass off stealing from the Pridelanders as them not understanding how things work in the Pride Lands.
  • Broken Aesop:
    • We're told that the villains of the series are bad because they buck against the Circle of Life by hunting and killing even when they don't need to. Unfortunately there are multiple times when they ARE hunting because they need to, or simply taking an opportunity. Although in the case of certain villains like Janja or Reirei or Makucha, they are presented as intruders hunting outside of their territories and thus they would cause disorder for the Circle of Life. But that's no excuse when the Guard take on Makuu who is a local predator (though to the Guard's credit, he WAS a troublemaker at that point).
    • The team spends a lot of time saving prey animals, often from predators, when two out of five members of the team are active predatory carnivores. Presumably believing in the Circle of Life means Kion's steak dinner love him back.
    • In "Never Judge A Hyena By Its Spots" Kion stops believing that all hyenas are bad and it's just Janja and his crew. But it's really only okay as long as they're scavenging the remains of other predators' kills, when throughout the series it's obvious that Janja and his Clan are capable hunters. It's cemented in "Janja's New Crew" where Cheezi and Chungu stop being evil the very instant they stop being competition for dinner.
    • The Imaginary Okapi episode's song is Beshte reassuring said Okapi that he will be safe in the Pride Lands, where all animals "graze in peace, unafraid of harm." Beshte is glossing over how two of his pals - plus their families - are predatory carnivores. Not to mention Okapi is now also in danger of the hyena clan that sneaks in every once and a while to hunt — and as a jungle animal, lacks the ability to hide in the open grasslands.
  • Catchphrase: The snooty-sounding zebra has "Panic and run, panic and run!"
  • Cats Are Mean: Makucha, a ruthless and persistent leopard who is the first cat to go against the Lion Guard. And then there's all the evil lions previously established in the films, namely Scar and Zira.
  • Chekhov's Gag: The snooty zebra's phrase of "Panic and run!" becomes a plot point in one episode called "Paintings And Predictions".
  • Chick Magnet: In "The Rise Of Makuu", Beshte gets some appreciative wolf whistles from a couple of lady hippos while washing himself at Big Springs.
  • Chickification: When this show plays the Damsel in Distress card with Kiara, Zuri, and Fuli, there's at least an argument to be made that they're kids. When Nala needs to be rescued? By her own son? From five young hyenas? That's a little more egregious. Especially since Nala in the final battle was right in the thick of it, and was willing to fight in the second battle in Film Two, and also in Real Life, hyenas will only attack a lioness if she is alone, and they outnumber 20 to 1. With Makuu, it's more realistic, since crocodiles have killed lions when they enter water.
  • Children Are Innocent: Kovu, as he is ecstatic to meet the Guard, and actually wants to live in the Pridelands, and unlike Zira, he is being fully genuine. He seems completely oblivious to the fact that Zira is a vengeful psychopath.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Happens in "Eye of the Beholder" after Ono helps Kion dodge a charging wildebeest in Janja's dust storm:
    Kion: Good eyes, Ono! Keep 'em peeled for Janja and his clan!
    Ono: Peeled eyes? Ewww!
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Kion is well aware of Scar and his role in his grandfather's death, and more that once hopes to not ever become like him.
    • In the opening of Return of the Roar, Simba gives Kiara the same speech Mufasa gave him as a cub.
    • Mufasa later promises Kion that he'll always be there to help him, with the same "and so will I" he used during his speech to Simba under the stars.
    • Kovu references his meeting with Kiara in Simba's Pride during "Lions of the Outlands".
  • Convection Schmonvection: In "Fuli's New Family" Bunga gets it into his head that he's immune to harm of any sort, so he decides to go play in a volcano. Despite being within inches of lava he experiences no discomfort. He even goes so far as to dip a toe into the lava with nothing more than a bit of singeing.
  • Damsel in Distress:
    • Near the tail-end of "Return of the Roar", Kiara gets caught in a stampede like her father once did.
    • A milder example from earlier on, but one of the lioness cubs, Zuri, gets her claw stuck in a log.
    • In "Can't Wait To Be Queen", Kiara gets tricked into an ambush by Janja and his clan.
    • In "The Search for Utamu", an exhausted Fuli is ganged up on by Mzingo and his flock of vultures.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • While Lighter and Softer compared to the film it's based on, when put next to every other Disney Junior show, or even the previous TV show based on the franchise, Timon & Pumbaa, it stands out as this. For example, it's not shy about outright mentioning death and addressing it as a thing that happens.
    • Season two begins dealing with a much more serialized Story Arc involving more in-depth looks at the complicated politics of the Pride Lands. It also features the return of Scar as a fiery demon from the depths of hell to serve as the Big Bad.
  • Depending on the Artist: Mufasa appears in the clouds frequently, but he lacks that mystic "made of clouds" look and is less cryptic with his advice. Maybe they thought that if they kept the old design for his ghost it would scare kids? Though considering he wasn't "made of clouds" in Simba's Pride (and only his head was designed this way in 1 1/2), it might be to cut down on animation costs.
  • Deus Exit Machina:
    • Often, neither Simba, Rafiki, or any of the older lions are around whenever trouble is brewing. Obviously this is necessary to keep the Lion Guard busy.
    • Averted in the Kupatana Celebration where Simba steps in and scares away the jackal family after the Lion Guard rounded them up.
  • Dirty Coward:
    • Janja prefers to attack with sheer numbers. When he was faced with an even fight in "Can't Wait To Be Queen," he fled. In Janja's defence, the Lion Guard is packed with super-powers, so it's not exactly an even fight.
    • In "The Kupatana Celebration," Reirei chases after a little tree hyrax. When Kion intercedes, Rairai doesn't even try to fight him, instead fruitlessly trying to talk her way out of his wrath.
  • Disney Acid Sequence:
    • The hyenas' Villain Song "Tonight We Strike" shows the hyenas blue and contains weird scenes, like the hyena's leaping through the air with spotlights coming from nowhere shining on them.
    • It happens again in their next Villain Song "Out of the Way".
    • Happens yet again (minus the blue hyenas) in their third villain song "Panic and Run".
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Most of the background animals are named after whatever their Swahili species name happens to be. For example: Punda Milia the zebra, Twiga the giraffe, and Mbuni the ostrich.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • The young elephant Mtoto made brief appearances in "Bunga the Wise" and "Fuli's New Family" before his proper introduction in "Follow That Hippo!"
    • Ushari and Makuu appear in the pilot movie before being properly introduced in the series.
    • Kiburi also makes a quick cameo in "The Rise of Scar" before he's introduced in the following episode.
  • Edutainment Show: While not exactly a traditional example of an educational show about animals, and while the show perpetuates a lot of animal myths, the show does introduce kids (and adults) to a very wide array of African animals that they might not have know about otherwise, such as hyraxes and aardwolves, and it also teaches obscure but true facts about animals (elephants having funerals, cattle egrets having excellent vision, honey badgers and pangolins spraying musk, monitor lizards being venomous, etc.). Some episodes also introduce ideas relating to wilderness conservation, and the ways in which ecosystems function.
    • Episode 14, "The Imaginary Okapi," is partially about the danger of invasive species. When a leopard gets into the Pridelands, it worries the Guard because none of the Pridelands prey animals have an instinctual fear of leopards. Thus, they could potentially be overhunted by the leopard. Of course, this doesn't explain why the titular okapi — a jungle animal even less native to the Pridelands than a leopard — is allowed to stay.
    • "Too Many Termites" shows the important role predators play in maintaining ecosystems. If predators aren't around to eat prey, then prey can multiply out of control.
  • Episode Title Card: A rather unique example. The show's logo pops up after the theme song and Mufasa reads the title, then the episode's name appears under the logo as Kion reads it.
  • Escort Mission: "The Wisdom of Kongwe" focuses on Makini being tasked in escorting the Pride Lands' oldest and wisest animal Kongwe to Pride Rock, as one of her duties as Royal Mjuzi, with Fuli accompanying her to get the job done fast since they need Kongwe's advice on how to defeat Scar. To Fuli's dismay, they find that Kongwe is a tortoise, which are anything but fast.
  • Evil Brit: Mzingo the vulture has a British accent and helps coordinate the hyenas attack in the premiere. All the other vultures in his flock have British accents as well.
  • Evil Laugh: The hyenas do this of course. "Tonight We Strike" contains a rare musical version of this.
  • Evil Is One Big, Happy Family: In the Second Season, Ghost Scar welcomes all who are as evil as he is, from Janja and his clan, to Kiburi and his float, to Reirei and her pack, to Mzingo and his flock. Though it's played with as, with all the in-fightings between them, it becomes pretty clear that Scar's influence is the only thing allowing them to work together.
  • Expressive Ears: Though not common, these are occasionally seen on characters where it is appropriate from a real-life animal sense, such as Dhahabu the zebra in "The Golden Zebra."
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Return of the Roar starts at sunrise and ends at sunset.
  • Eye Cam: Mainly Ono, as he is the keenest of sight whenever he spots something the camera is viewed through Ono's eyes. We get an upside down view of Bunga's P.O.V in Paintings and Predictions. We see through Fuli's eyes in The Imaginary Okapi'' while she was playing hide and seek and checking if Kion doesn't see her.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: It's a kids' show and she's a good guy, so any time you see Fuli pursuing that gazelle, you can be sure something is going to prevent her from catching him.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: The series' fight scenes are pretty freaking painful and well above a preschool targeted show with the crocodile mashindano being the best example. Other instances include Jasiri throwing kicks to the mooks heads along with the fall that Ono takes being very painful. Although none of the fights are graphic, the violence is primarily at elementary levels. Still, the violence is Lighter and Softer than in the original movie.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Simba frankly tells Kion that the team he's assembled (himself, a cheetah cub, a young hippo, a young honey badger and an egret) cannot act as his Lion Guard because "The Lion Guard has always been made of lions." To be fair, he was mostly upset because he thought Kion wasn't taking his new role seriously and was just picking his friends so he could hang out with them.
    • Kion only stops believing that all hyenas are evil in "Never Judge A Hyena By Its Spots" - you know, when Jasiri reveals she's a scavenger, not a predator, meaning she's not competition for his next dinner.
    • Zira in "Lions Of The Outlands" not only hates hyenas (she ignores that Scar had hyenas as henchmen) but also believes that lions are superior over all other animals.
  • Fartillery: The plan to save Kiara from the stampede involves Bunga "farting" (in reality, firing off a cloud of musk) to cause the antelope to fan out away from Kiara, showing this show ain't on Disney Junior for nothing. This is Truth in Television, since honey badgers do have an anal gland similar to skunks', but it usually uses it to neutralize the bees when it attacks a hive.
  • Feathered Fiend:
    • Mzingo, again.
    • "Ono and the Egg" introduces Mpishi.
  • Five-Man Band: Kion is The Hero, Bunga is The Lancer, Beshte is The Big Guy, Ono is The Smart Guy, and Fuli is The Chick.
    • Although, in serious situations Fuli tends to be Kion's level-headed lancer with Bunga being more of a comic relief chick.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the pilot episode, one shot of the paintings in the Guard's cave in particular stands out; Scar appears in the clouds, glaring down at the volcano where the hyenas hide out while ominous music plays. Come "The Rise of Scar", this now reflects what's actually happening.
    • In "Let Sleeping Crocs Lie", when asked if the Outlanders will rule the Pride Lands under his leadership, Scar sneers and rather insincerely agrees before disappearing into the flames. His Villain Song, "I Have A Plan", strongly implies that Scar simply intends to destroy the Pride Lands, not rule them.
  • For the Evulz: Why the hyenas are so keen on causing chaos in the Pridelands, at least in Return of the Roar. Here, their former motivation of being hungry and eager to hunt there no longer holds water, since they're apparently free to take as many animals as they need to feed themselves Janja mocks the Circle of Life (seen more as a creed than a fact of life) and wants to terrorize all of the savannah animals. It's not always as clear in the actual series — sometimes, they sincerely seem to be hunting when Kion and company drive them off. Jasiri makes a point to explicitly mention that, no, not all hyenas are like Janja and his clan.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Since this is a midquel to film two, anyone who has seen Film Two know that Kiara will survive the stampede and Janja's kidnapping attempt. This doubles for the rest of the characters who appear in Film Two, so any time they appear in danger, you know they will survive. On the downside, it means Kion cannot defeat Zira, nor can Kiara meet Kovu and Zira again until she reaches adolescence.
  • Free-Range Children: Not just the Lion Guard but Kiara and her two friends wander throughout the Pride Lands with little to no adult supervision. This does lead to Kiara getting into trouble more than once, and the Lion Guard is usually the ones who have to bail her out of it.
  • Generation Xerox:
    • It's revealed that Scar led the Lion Guard under Mufasa's regime. Thus, Kion fears becoming like his murderous great-uncle by failing with the Lion Guard.
    • Kiara is eager to be ruler of The Pride Lands and gets caught in a stampede caused by hyenas. Like father, like daughter. It is highly possible that this could just be a cover and that she doesn't want to show her real self to Kion.
  • Genial Giraffe:
    • Shingo is a friendly but naive young giraffe.
    • Twiga is a minor recurring giraffe character who Beshte describes as kind, and who is frequently seen among the other friendly animals.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • When Simba tells Kion they need to talk, Kion automatically assumes it's The Talk...which he was already told.
    Kion: We already had the talk! "Can you feel the love tonight," remember?
    • The series later throws in more suggestive statements that really pushes the edges of a preschool show, especially Episode 7 as Fuli gets covered in elephant dung and Bunga takes a snakebite to the bottom.
    • Janja and Ushari summon Scar, who has become a fiery demon after dying. Somehow they got this in a preschool show.
    • In the Golden Zebra, the motto of Dhahabu's herd is "Frolic and romp" and this somehow got by in a preschool show. Were the censors not looking when that line was stated?
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: Janja and his group ceased being a real threat to Kion in the pilot. They've made several appearances since and are never any more successful than they've ever been. Well, they got tired of this and decided to summon Scar and put together a Legion of Doom.
  • Good Animals, Evil Animals: Generally you can tell by the species who's going to be an antagonist. There are some exceptions, such as Jasiri and her family being good hyenas, the old crocodile leader Pua being wise and kind, and Makuu pulling a Heel–Face Turn in Season 2. But in general if the animal is stereotyped as evil in real life it will cause trouble for the Lion Guard, while animals that get stereotyped as good or either will be on the Guard's side.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: While his friends are in the Guard for reasons such as speed and strength, Ono is there because he has the keenest of eye sight. Of course, being a lookout on a team of protectors and essentially "first responders", and an aerial one at that, makes Ono a valuable asset to the Lion Guard. In-universe, thus far, Ono isn't shown feeling bad about his role on the team, nor anyone else. "Eye of the Beholder" is all about Ono and his value to the team.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Makuu in "The Savannah Summit", as he begins working to become a better leader for both his float and the Pride Lands.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Invoked; Kion's greatest fear is that he will become just like Scar, and always makes sure to regulate his use of the Roar of the Elders to avoid it.
  • Herbivores Are Friendly: All the herbivores so far have been good guys.
  • The Hero: Kion, who has the mystical roar power and first manifests the Lion Guard mark.
  • Hero Antagonist: Kovu, as it quickly becomes obvious to the audience that he is pretty against the Outsiders actions and beliefs, and he is also the most pacifistic of them, actually apologizing to the Guard for Nuka's rashness, tries to stop Zira from attacking Kion, and when he realizes he won't win, he doesn't even argue with Kion.
  • Hero's Evil Predecessor: In The Lion Guard, it's revealed that Scar was the leader of the Lion Guard and was blessed with the power of the Roar of the Elders. However, the power went to Scar's head and he vainly believed that with this power, he should be king instead of Mufasa. But when the rest of the Lion Guard said no, Scar furiously used the Roar to destroy them. Due to using his powers for evil, Scar lost his power completely and descended further into depression, becoming shriveled and horrible. Kion fears that he may end up becoming just like Scar, but regularly makes sure to regulate his use of the Roar of the Elders.
  • Hero Looking for Group: Kion's first task as leader of the Lion Guard.
  • Heroes' Frontier Step:
    • In "Call of the Drongo", Tamaa causes trouble by using his voice mimicry to scare off small animals and stealing their food. But after being forced by Janja to use his ability for evil, the drongo makes up for his actions by mimicking the Lion Guard's voices to scare the hyenas, distracting them as the real Lion Guard shows up to finish the job.
    • In "Let Sleeping Crocs Lie", upon finding out Kiburi and his followers tried to assassinate Simba, Makuu becomes appalled that he not only indirectly banishes them but lets Simba pass his judgement on them.
    • After joining Kiburi's float out of naivety, unwittingly giving them information on how to take on Makuu's float, and distrusting the Lion Guard including his friend Beshte, Hodari redeems himself by leaping onto Kiburi's snout to distract him and giving Makuu a Heroic Second Wind in defeating Kiburi.
    • "The Hyena Resistance" is one for Jasiri; after forming her own heroic force in the Outlands to help the Lion Guard in their fight against Scar, she ultimately saves Janja's life because he's a hyena like her.
  • Honorable Elephant:
    • Ma Tembo, the matriarch of the elephant herd. Her father Amanifu was also this when he was alive.
    • Elephant calf Mtoto has plans to become one, due to having Beshte as a role model.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Downplayed. In the episode "Can't Wait to be Queen," Kiara is left in charge of the Pridelands while Simba and Nala are away on business. During the episode, she's approached by Janja's vulture minion Mizingo, who tells her that Janja wants to meet with her to discuss a peace treaty. Kiara is uncertain but decides to think about it. Kion tries to warn against it, but he fails to state it directly, and proceeds to berate and yell at her, which doesn't get Kiara in a good mood; as a result, Kiara mistakes the warning for jealousy, and decides to go to the peace offering, genuinely believing that Janja wants peace. As soon as she gets there, she runs into an ambush and finds out the hard way that Kion was right about trusting Janja.
  • Hypocrite:
    • In "The Rise of Makuu," Kion tries to talk Makuu into having his clan leave Big Springs. Makuu refuses, telling Kion that a real leader never backs down. Later, after Kion demonstrates the power of the Roar of the Elders, Makuu immediately gathers up his clan and leaves the Springs. Kion also spends the episode speaking out against Makuu's violent tactics, only to resort to the threat of violence in the end, so this goes both ways.
    • Zira and Nuka call Kion out for working with hyenas, completely ignoring that Scar used them as minions. Then again, they did kill him.
    • Kion and Fuli. Face it, stopping other predators from killing is pretty hypocritical when you're a carnivore who would in real life, actually be chasing them off from their meal to have it yourself. The show never draws the slightest attention to this, which is actually starting to annoy viewers. Although said other predators aren't particularly good guys, but still.
  • "I Am" Song:
    • Kion and Jasiri's duet "Sisi ni Sawa (We Are The Same)" in the episode "Never Judge A Hyena By Its Spots".
    • Fuli sings about her love for independence in "Fuli's New Family".
    • Tamaa the drongo bird from "Call Of The Drongo" has "Bird Of A Thousand Voices".
    • Hadithi the eagle from "Ono's Idol" has "Hadithi the Hero".
  • I Broke a Nail: Zuri, when Bunga accidentally screws up Timon and Pumbaa's attempt to gently free her claws from the log.
  • "I Want" Song: Kion laments over what he should do as the Lion Guard leader after Simba refuses to let his friends join.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: In “The Lost Gorillas”, the titular gorillas, Majinuni and Hafifu are voiced by and modelled after Dan Howell and Phil Lester, respectively.
  • Jerkass Ball: Both Tiifu and Zuri in "Can't Wait To Be Queen." After Kiara is made acting queen while her parents are away, they set themselves up as her advisors, demanding the Lion Guard bow to her, and even giving themselves titles like "dame" and "lady." They let Kiara go off to meet Janja alone, thinking that she can handle it just because she's the queen. They shrug off Kion rightfully calling them out for this, with Zuri saying that it doesn't matter what Kion says, because "he's not a queen."
  • Kid Hero: The Lion Guard is completely comprised of juvenile animals. Not that it's made them any less effective.
  • Kidnapping Bird of Prey: Mpishi in "Ono and the Egg". She does a literal kidnapping when she carries off Kulinda's chick, with Mwoga assisting her.
  • Knighting: Kion bestowing the mark of the Lion Guard on his friends while dubbing them the bravest/fastest/strongest/keenest of sight certainly comes across as this.
  • Knight of Cerebus:
    • Nne and Tano are portrayed much more seriously than any of the other hyenas, and produce a plot that very nearly leads to the massacre of a herd of antelope. They're easily the most competent hyenas in the entire franchise.
    • Zira debuts in late Season 1 and is a menace unlike anything the Guard has encountered before. For one, she's a lion, and is the first lion antagonist the group has faced, causing Kion some serious introspection as he arrogantly assumed all lions besides Scar were good and reasonable. Zira also is revealed to be raising her pride in a manner similar to Neo-Nazis, based out of lion supremacism and carrying on the actions of the long dead Scar. Zira's arrival also introduces Kion to the bitter blood feud between the Pride Lands and the Outlands, and while her violence may have been toned down, she's just as depraved and dangerous as ever.
    • And in "The Rise of Scar", guess who returns to become the main villain of the show? And because of that, every antagonistic animal is joining together to become a serious threat.
    • "Let Sleeping Crocs Lie" gives us Kiburi and his followers, who are truly villainous crocodiles and even more antagonistic than Makuu (who already had a Heel–Face Turn by that point). As established when they attempted to have Simba himself assassinated in the most insidious way possible, something no previous antagonist in the show has done. The fact that Makuu himself was taken aback at this really says a lot.
  • The Lancer: Bunga, representative of bravery and a long time friend of Kion.
  • Legion of Doom: The plot of Season 2 involves Scar's spirit resurrected through the volcano in Janja's lair, and with Ushari's help, to put together a legion of animal factions who have had conflict with the Lion Guard so that they can all take over the Pride Lands.
  • Lighter and Softer: Regardless of the Darker and Edgier entry, it is still this compared to the films it's based on.
  • Loud Gulp:
    • In Eye of the Beholder Ono those this when he thinks his friends will make fun of his eyepatch when he injures his eye.
    • A visible gulp is seen on Cheezi in Call of the Drongo when he and the hyenas think that the Guard are in the canyon when its really Tamaa imitating their voices.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: The Roar of the Elders has the power to strip dozens of trees, blow back enemies, and, it's implied, even kill. Kion takes his newfound power very seriously.
  • Midquel: The series takes place inside the timeline of Simba's Pride, during Kiara's childhood.
  • Might Makes Right: Makuu believes that a real leader uses force to solve any problem. Kion in turn forces him and his float from the river by threatening to use the Roar of the Elders. Make of this aesop what you will. Later on, Makuu realizes this is rather impractical when tackling the dry season.
  • Misplaced Wildlife:
    • The song "Duties of the King" showed a chimpanzee in the savannah. Chimps are forest-dwellers. Not surprising given the franchise already shown other forest-dwelling animals like gorillas and okapis living in the savannah (though in this show, okapis and gorillas are more realistically portrayed as non-natives).
    • Tamaa from "Call of the Drongo" appears to be a greater racket-tailed drongo, which only live in Asia.
    • Lampshaded as a plot point in "The Imaginary Okapi". Okapis are jungle-dwelling animals, but Beshte tries to convince his new friend that the Pride Land savannah is the ideal place to make a home.
    • "Rafiki's New Neighbors" features Zanzibar red colobuses, which are not found in mainland Africa.
    • Kinyonga appears to be a veiled chameleon, which is only found in the Arabian Peninsula.
  • Mood Whiplash: The show occasionally does do this, albeit only in certain situations. "Can't Wait to be Queen" goes from the botched kidnapping attempt, which was intense, to Simba's error in his Elephantese. "Bunga and the King" goes from Simba falling into the sinkhole to Bunga frustrating Simba hilariously.
  • Moral Dissonance: The original movie made it clear that the Outlands aren't just a place where the hyenas happen to live — it's their land and they're technically free to do whatever they like there. While this still holds true, Kion and the guard trespass on a fairly regular basis. The hyenas are always shown to be in the wrong for acting accordingly.
  • Most Writers Are Adults: Kion is left in charge of a territorial protection unit which consists of animals near his age range. He is shown worrying about things no kid would bother stressing over, such as himself turning out like Scar. His enemies are at most equivalent to teenagers. Kiara is left in charge for one episode, and she can track gazelles despite being a cub — and despite the first hunt being previously shown as a rite of passage into adulthood. This was later clarified in Episode 7 as they were practicing for Kiara's first hunt instead of her hunting already.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: In Can't Wait to be Queen Simba has to give a eulogy for an old elephant friend who died to his family in Elephantese, which Simba doesn't speak very well. He ends up saying "he had poop on him". (Luckily for him, the elephants don't take offense to this.)
  • Mythology Gag: Numerous, especially in Return of the Roar, given that it's the first major story in the franchise for over a decade:
    • The opening scene features a mash-up of Mufasa's theme and the triumphant climax of "King of Pride Rock" (both musical cues feature on the track "This Land" as well).
    • "It is time"!
    • In "Tonight We Strike", Janja perches on a jagged rock pillar and laughs maniacally, surrounded by his hyena minions in the same manner as Scar in "Be Prepared".
    • Kion tells Jasiri "asante" after she leads him back to the Pridelands. While "asante" is swahili for "thank you," it's also the name of a young hyena befriended by Kopa in a tie-in book for the first film.
    • Zazu and Simba's song in "Can't Wait To Be Queen" gives off many vibes of "To Be King", a bouncy song Zazu and Mufasa were once slated to sing to a young Simba in an early draft of the original song that was deemed out of character for Mufasa.
    • "Call Of The Drongo" has several shots of antelope running into the Outlands (with the hyenas tailing them) that call back to the infamous wildebeest stampede.
    • "Savannah Summit" features rhino crash leader Mbeya sitting on a hapless Zazu, much like in the original film at the end of "I Just Can't Wait To Be King".
    • "Bunga and the King" has Simba fall into a sinkhole, resulting in a perfect recreation of Mufasa's fall into the gorge.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: Zig-zagged. While The Lion Guard avoids showing characters getting killed or seriously injured, both protagonists and antagonists are portrayed as hunters. The show is rather bad about avoiding double-standards when it comes to this; Kion, Fuli, and other "good" predators hunting just enough to feed themselves is portrayed as fine, while "bad" predators doing the same is not. Moreover, anything unkind, deceptive, or even mildly disruptive is portrayed as harmful to the "circle of life." A stray comment by a zebra in "Follow That Hippo" implies that prey animals of the Pridelands live there under the belief/promise that it's safer than other areas of the world, possibly implying that the way things are done in the Pridelands isn't the natural order.
  • Never Say "Die":
    • Scar "destroyed" the other members of the Lion Guard when he was younger. The special plays this Trope straight and averts it as the scenes see fit. Notably averted towards the end, where Kion makes clear that Janja and his clan wouldn't stop until the entire gazelle herd was dead. Earlier, Janja also comments that the entire (previous) Lion Guard had "died out".
    • Mostly averted in the episode "Just Can't Wait to Be Queen". It's stated near the beginning that one of Simba and Nala's old elephant friends, Aminifu, had "passed away" and "completed his part of the Circle of Life". But their subplot in the episode is centered around going to his funeral. Literally. No euphemisms are used for the term, they straight-up state that it's a funeral they're attending. Not only that, but later in that same episode they actually show Aminifu's dead body, albeit slightly obscured with flowers from other mourning elephants. They don't fully state "die" or "death", but they sure show it. It's actually kind of a tear-jerker, which is pretty ballsey for a Disney Jr. show.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Episode 2's problems are caused by a arrogant young crocodile Makuu, but none of them are portrayed as evil, and the old leader crocodile Pua is even portrayed as being wise and kind. He politely asks the hippos if there is enough fish for the crocodiles to eat in their lake, and when told there isn't, they peaceably leave to find food elsewhere instead of raising a ruckus or even being rude. Makuu ends up playing this straight for most of Season 1, but he finally he has a Heel–Face Turn in the Season 2 episode "Savannah Summit", after which a new crocodile and his followers take his place as the crocodilian villains in "Let Sleeping Crocs Lie". Said new crocs are also shown to be outright evil as they attempted to murder Simba in the most heinous way as they could, an act that even Makuu is disturbed by.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: One of the promos for "Return of the Roar" has the scene of Simba saying Kion is the new leader of the Lion Guard; this scene is actually him scolding Kion for believing he didn't assemble the team and went to play with his friends instead.
  • Noble Bird of Prey: Hadithi is seen as this by many birds, especially Ono, though it's later revealed that his legendary exploits are tall tales. Nonetheless he plays this straight when he helps the Guard defeat Janja and his clan, before rightfully declaring Ono as a true hero.
  • No-Harm Requirement: In The Rise of Makuu Makuu takes over the hippo pond as his first order of business as the new crocodile leader. When Kion insists that they go back to their old territory, he refuses to budge, stating that Kion would have to make him. Kion's tempted to use The Roar but decides against it as he doesn't want risk abusing his power and becoming like Scar and resolves to figure out how to get Makuu out of the pond without resorting to violence. He ultimately gets Makuu to leave demonstrating The Roar's power on a nearby tree.
  • No Time to Explain: Bunga has just enough time to hitch a ride on Fuli's back to where Kiara is trapped before he reveals his plan.
  • Not a Game: Simba says this to Kion when it looks like the latter isn't taking the Lion Guard seriously.
  • Not So Different: Jasiri's song, "Sisi ni Sawa (We Are The Same)" is about her telling Kion that lions and hyenas are this.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: In "The Imaginary Okapi," Beshte makes a new friend, Ajabu, an Okapi who has come to the Pridelands from far away. Whenever he tries to introduce Ajabu to his friends, Ajabu either hides in fear. This, along with the colorful description Beshte provides, leads most of the Guard to believe Ajabu is an Imaginary Friend Beshte made up, to his annoyance. They finally learn Ajabu is real when he runs past them, being chased by Makucha the leopard.
  • Oh, Crap!: Bunga, when he learns that he's about to be Janja's lunch. Then the hyenas get this when Kion uses the Roar for the first time.
  • Once an Episode: So far we've had at least one song in each episode. With 24 episodes in the first season and only 15 on the soundtrack, it's yet to be seen whether this trend will continue.
  • On Three: Timon and Pumbaa try to free Zuri's claw from a log this way, until Bunga screws things up.
  • Origins Episode: While not the main plot of the episode, "The Search For Utamu" provides a flashback to how Bunga became Timon and Pumbaa's adoptive nephew, by fetching some hard-to-reach grubs for them.
  • Ostrich Head Hiding: Deconstructed. In "Bunga The Wise," Bunga tells an ostrich who's scared of hyenas to hide her head in the ground to avoid seeing them. When the rest of the Lion Guard see her doing this, they point out that ostriches don't actually do such a thing. After they help the ostrich to pull her stuck head out, she complains about how hard it is to breathe down there.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Scar's apparition is never outright called this, but it's obvious he went to Hell and became this.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: The rest of the guard when compared to Kion. Whereas each of them displays impressive yet realistic physical prowess, Kion is granted a supernatural magical roar allowing to blast enemies (and potentially even kill them), gain partial control of the nature's forces (specifically, he can roar at clouds to make them rain, change the curse of a flood, and even make a volcano to erupt), and communicate with the dead. He could be the whole Guard by himself, wouldn't it be for the necessary drawbacks by the script.
  • Parental Bonus: Kion mentions that Simba has already had The Talk with him, pretty much confirming Simba and Nala "did it" during that scene in The Lion King and conceived Kiara in the process.
    Kion: We already had the talk! "Can you feel the love tonight," remember?
  • Partially Civilized Animal: Just like in the movie, the Pride Lands seem to be about as close as an ecosystem can get to resembling a monarchy with law while still more or less being the ecosystem it's based on. The royal lion family is clearly in charge of everything. All animals have "jobs" they are supposed to perform to maintain the Circle of Life such as crocodiles keeping fish populations in check and hyenas eating what other predators leave behind. The animals have organized events like funerals and concerts and many can be seen playing together. On top of all that, the show even has a justice force in the Lion Guard who's job is to maintain peace, save animals from disasters, and deal with animals upsetting the Circle of Life. But when you look past all these human-like elements, you still more or less have an African savanna ecosystem. Predators hunt prey animals, herbivores migrate and graze, many animals steal from and fight with others, and visually the animals have very little anthropomorphism beyond their faces.
  • Plot Hole: When Kiara met Kovu in the second movie, he and the other Outsiders were already living at the termite mounds. However, when the Outsiders are banished to said mounds by the Roar of the Elders, none of them (or at least Nuka) recognize the place.
  • Pride: "The Rise of Makuu" is about the problems that result when a arrogant young upstart takes over the crocodiles, though the episode's Aesop is more about not resorting to violence as the answer and not being afraid to back down than not being proud.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The crocodiles. Fighting is said to be the crocodile way, and they determine their leader by fighting. When a leader is challenged and loses, he is exiled.
  • Put on a Bus: All the pride's lionesses except for Nala and the female cubs have failed to appear without explanation. However, they finally make their first appearance on the show in "The Ukumbusho Tradition".
  • Reality Ensues:
    • During the crocodile mashindano in "The Rise of Makuu", despite Pua having more experience in fighting, his old age caused him to become physically weaker and thus lose to the younger, more fit Makuu.
    • "Bunga and the King" shows that the role of leader of the Lion Guard has caused Kion to suffer a serious drop in his social and private life, showing that the role of leader is taking a large toll on the cub.
    • In "Janja's New Crew", it's heavily implied Janja's repeated failures are causing the rest of his clan (Cheezi and Chungu aside) to lose their respect and faith in him as leader.
    • In "Savannah Summit", Simba invites Makuu to partake in the Savannah Summit to discuss a course of action for the approaching dry season. Kion is understandably wary since Makuu has been an antagonistic force in the Pride Lands since he became leader of the crocodiles; he poised a direct threat against the Queen (Kion's mother) on one occasion and the local hippo leader (Beshte's father) on another. However, Simba points out that Makuu is still the leader of a tribe of Prideland citizens, meaning he is entitled to a seat at the Summit. Simba also clarifies that the meeting is not a meeting of just friends, implying that he himself isn't pleased to have to deal with Makuu, but knows that he must since Makuu is the sovereign leader of the crocodiles. Likewise, Makuu's prior acts of villainy results in him having a hard time negotiating with the other Pridelanders since they do not trust him, even if he genuinely wants to co-operate.
    • In "Let Sleeping Crocodiles Lie" the crocs are utterly livid that they have to go through the dry season. That said, Makuu is willing to drop the Proud Warrior Race Guy in the interest of survival of his float, and when one of his followers challenge the small amount of water they have, he points out that under the current circumstances, it is the best they have. Similarly, when said follower tries to defeat him in a mashindano, Makuu is still able to win despite the follower's youth because Makuu is still in shape.
    • Scar's plan to unite everyone under his banner, while a smart idea as it means the Lion Guard has to fight a unified force, also comes with the equally difficult problem of infighting, and him very frequently having to settle debates between them in order to keep them in line.
    • In "The Little Guy", Hodari tries to convince the Pride Lands' crocodiles in allowing him to join their float by singing an upbeat song. Makuu remains unconvinced and dismisses him since it's not their tradition, only reconsidering after the gecko actually proves himself that he can be an asset to the crocodile clan.
  • Recruitment by Rescue: Played straight when Kion and the rest of the fledgling Lion Guard rescue Fuli from a pack of pissed-off monkeys before making the recruitment pitch. Subverted in that Fuli already knew him and the others well, and just needed help in that moment.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Due to this series being made twenty years after the last canonical entry in the franchise (which takes place chronologically after this), this applies to characters introduced in this series who weren't mentioned and didn't appear in other media.
    • Kion's absence in Simba's Pride in particular is difficult to justify: despite being a part of the royal family AND the leader of a territorial protection unit, neither does he appear nor is he ever mentioned during the whole film. Kiara had always been presented as an only cub with no sign of any sibling around until now.
    • Additionally, Tiifu and Zuri are close friends of Kiara, Bunga is Timon and Pumbaa's adopted nephew, and Makini is Rafiki's apprentice, all introduced here and not seen or heard from in Simba's Pride.
    • In Season 2, Reirei and Goigoi are shown to have a daughter named Kijana, and Kiburi and his 3 followers had been part of Makuu's float prior to their banishment. None of these characters were seen in Season 1.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent:
    • In "The Rise of Scar", a group of skinks serve as spies for Ushari, with the lead skink Shupavu implying to have problems against the royal family as she states she gets uncomfortable being so close to Pride Rock. Cheezi and Chungu themselves find the skinks to be creepy.
    • "The Bite of Kenge" introduces the titular monitor lizard whom Ushari describes as "big and bad". And indeed, Kenge has a very nasty personality to the point of intimidating Janja into following him and is armed with a venomous bite which paralyzed all the Guard except for Bunga. And then there's his reaction to being called "little"...
    • Nonetheless, the show does avert this by including good reptile characters such as Pua, Hodari, Kongwe, and Kinyonga. As well as Makuu having a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Retcon:
    • Kion is a younger brother of Kiara's that the series inserts in the ellipses and/or parallel events of Simba's Pride. Note that the Lion King sequel was already notorious for its convoluted canon. Kiara herself was a bit of a retcon since the tie-in materials for the first movie identified Simba and Nala's cub as male; whereas the rival pride of Scar's followers came out of nowhere to replace the hyenas.
    • Scar was part of the old Lion Guard and used the Roar of the Elders to kill the other members of the Guard. This creates a Plot Hole within the first film, since in that film Mufasa trusts Scar, which he would not do, had Scar already committed a quadruple murder. The exact history of this event is still not known, so the story may fill in the gaps later. It's highly possible that Scar kept his killing of the Guard a secret and the truth only came out during his reign as king.
  • The Reveal:
    • One episode clarifies that neither Mufasa or Scar are Nala's father (though Nala's actual father is not named), handily stepping around the old fan-theories that Simba and Nala were related or at worst, siblings.
    • "Lions of the Outlands" clarifies some details regarding the Outsiders' backstory. Zira already had Kovu (who is not her blood son) by the time Simba became king, and attacked Simba on the basis that he had no claim to Scar's throne. Simba defeated her and exiled her and her family from the Pride Lands. The part about Kovu at least could be wrong given he is still a cub here, not to mention Simba did not know him when they first met and it's been revealed that Zira adopted him.
  • Rhino Rampage:
    • Mbeya averts this, being a friendly and conversational Cool Old Guy who is knowledgeable about the Pride Lands.
    • Subverted with Kifaru, who is usually well-meaning and only causes problems due to his poor eyesight. Although played straight if you mess with his friends.
  • Role Reprisal:
    • This show debuted nearly ten years after the last major appearance of the Lion King characters (in Kingdom Hearts II). As of this show, Ernie Sabella (Pumbaa) is the only actor from the original film still active in his role. James Earl Jones (Mufasa), last seen in the role in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride in 1998, returned for the Pilot Movie, but didn't remain in the series proper. Though not an original cast member, Kevin Schon (Timon) returns to the role for the first time since House of Mouse in 2002. Simba's Pride cast members Jason Marsden, Lacey Chabert, and Andy Dick also reprised their roles in "Lions of the Outlands".
    • In the Mexican dub, besides the replacements mentioned above, all the returning characters reprise their roles. This is especially relevant in the case of Rafiki's voice actor (Genaro Vasquez) since he doesn't live in Mexico anymore and he works as a radio DJ in Toronto, Canada.
    • The Brazilian Portuguese dub keeps the voices of Nala, Pumbaa, Rafiki, and young Kiara.
    • Most of the French cast (except Mufasa and Young Kovu) was able to return for the series.
    • In the German dub, Ilja Richter and Alexandra Wilcke reprised their roles as Timon and Nala.
    • The Japanese dub brings back the whole voice cast from the previous films, with the partly exceptions of Pumbaa and Kiara's voice actors.
    • In European Spanish, most of the movie cast returned except Constantino Romero as Mufasa, as he died in 2013.
  • Running Gag:
    • Whenever Kion lists off the other four Lion Guard personalities (Fastest, Strongest, Bravest, Keenest of Sight), either the camera shows the animal who represents it, or they strike poses to each respective one.
    • Makini losing her Bakora staff.
  • Satanic Archetype: Scar's return as a demonic monster wreathed in fire in stark contrast with the way his brother appears normally in the sky, further emphasising this trait.
  • Scavengers Are Scum:
    • Zigzagged. Most of the characters are either carnivores or omnivores. The pilot however portrays scavengers as abhorrent, despite the fact real life lions will readily scavenge too if given the chance. Vultures and hyenas (who do apparently hunt in the series as well) are the villains in the pilot, and the latter are not even considered scavengers in real life anymore than lions are. It's true hyenas will scavenge, but they hunt most of what they eat. This fact is later somewhat shown in the series itself, where a hyena named Jasiri mentions that hyenas serve as scavengers in the Circle of Life and tells Kion that not all hyenas are bad (though she is still one of only "good hyenas" in the franchise).
    • There is an entire Villain Song about how jackals pretend to be nice and steal everything. This is presented as a character trait of the species.
      Our kind is born a bit smarter than other creatures you might know.
      And though we seem quite pleasant, our niceness is just a show.
      We've learned how to beat the system; everyone does our work for us.
      But before we can take advantage first we have to win their trust.
  • Seldom-Seen Species:
    • Bunga and Ono, respectively a honey badger and a cattle egret.
    • Mzingo is a white-backed vulture.
    • Ushari is an Egyptian cobra.
    • A tree hyrax first appears in "The Rise of Makuu."
    • Oryxes and yellow-billed oxpeckers first appear in "Never Judge a Hyena By its Spots".
    • A correctly drawn (unlike the most famous one in children's television) aardvark shows up in "Bunga the Wise", as well as bushbucks, African crested porcupines, African helmeted turtles and a banded mongoose.
    • In the song "Zuka Zama", one can see bee-eaters and great-blue turacos in the background. Botswanan long-eared bats and an African rock python also make an appearance.
    • "Can't Wait To Be Queen" has elands, grey-headed bushshrikes, and western yellow wagtails.
    • Reedbucks are mentioned by Mzingo in "Eye of the Beholder".
    • "The Kupatana Celebration" introduces Reirei the black-backed jackal and her family. From the same episode, we see a jerboa attending the celebration, and a scrub hare and an African black duck appear in Reirei's song.
    • During Fuli's song in "Fuli's New Family", we see a group of African genets.
    • "The Search For Utamu" had galagos (bushbabies), a serval, and dung beetles.
    • "Call of the Drongo" has Tamaa, the titular drongo bird (supposedly a fork-tailed drongo, but is drawn resembling a greater racket-tailed drongo). The same episode also features a zebra mouse and giant forest hogs.
    • "Bunga and the King" has sable antelopes.
    • An okapi named Ajabu appears in "The Imaginary Okapi." It is even pointed out that okapis are not native to the Pride Lands (at least, not in this point in the mythos, considering okapis do appear in Simba's Pride).
    • "Too Many Termites" features a group of aardwolves. Also an In-Universe example, as the Pridelanders haven't seen them much either (mostly due to them being a nocturnal species).
    • "Never Roar Again" has a klipspringer.
    • "The Lost Gorillas" has pangolins.
    • "Ono's Idol" has Hadithi, an African hawk-eagle. Yellow-billed storks, white-necked ravens, and southern red bishops also appear in the same episode.
    • "Beshte and the Hippo Lanes" has Chura, an African common toad.
    • "Ono the Tickbird" features Kifaru and Mwenzi, a white rhinoceros and red-billed oxpecker respectively.
    • Rainbow agamas appear in "The Travelling Baboon Show".
    • "Ono and the Egg" prominently features a hamerkop named Kulinda, and Mpishi is an African harrier-hawk. Red rock hares are also featured in the same episode.
    • "The Rise of Scar" introduces a group of skinks, who serve as spies for Ushari. Shupavu and Njano in particular appear to be based on a fire skink and a rainbow mabuya respectively.
    • An emperor speckled moth appears during Beshte's song in "Swept Away".
    • In "Rafiki's New Neighbors", Furaha and his troop are Zanzibar red colobuses.
    • "Rescue in the Outlands" features tsetse flies.
    • The titular antagonist of "The Bite of Kenge" is a rock monitor. Lampshaded by Ono when he claims he's never actually seen one until now.
    • Hodari from "The Little Guy" is a William's dwarf gecko.
    • African grass rats are mentioned by Reirei in "Divide and Conquer".
    • Kongwe is an African spurred tortoise.
    • Kinyonga is a veiled chameleon.
    • Kuchimba from "The Underground Adventure" is a golden mole.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Reirei's pups have not appeared with her ever since she joined Scar's army. Also, Reirei's more evil actions are committed when they are not present.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In "Never Judge A Hyena By Its Spots", Kion orders Jasiri to get behind him for her own safety before unleashing the Roar. It mirrors a certain scene from Danny Phantom where Danny tells his cousin, Dani, to do the same, before unleashing his Ghostly Wail against Vlad.
    • The leopards in the show have patterns reminiscent to that of Tarzan's Sabor.
  • Shown Their Work: Despite the large amounts of Artistic License – Biology throughout the show, it does actually get a lot of things right.
    • Recent observations have suggested male lions do their share of hunting for the pride rather than just letting the lionesses do the work themselves according to popular belief. This fact is referenced when Simba is either mentioned off on a hunt with Nala or actually shown hunting.
    • Like in Real Life, Nile crocodiles are portrayed as social reptiles travelling in groups led by a large male. Said group is also called a float.
    • In "The Rise of Makuu", Ushari displays cobra-styled hunting posture by having his hood relaxed as he attempts to eat a hyrax.
    • The elephants having a funeral in "Can't Wait To Be Queen". This is Truth in Television; when a member of the herd dies, the rest of the elephants crowd around it and pay their tributes.
    • Bunga being unaffected by bee stings and snake venom. Honey badgers have very thick skin which protects them from bees' stingers as well as sharp teeth and porcupine quills, and the immunity to snake venoms comes from having the nicotinic acetycholine receptors in their muscle cells modified to become resistant to the neurotoxins in snake venom which target the receptors.
    • Mzingo and his flock refer to themselves as a committee (and thus act like parliamentary bureaucrats) when gathering on a tree. A committee is an actual term for a group of vultures resting on trees.
    • Jackals are omnivores and do eat fruit as well as meat, displayed by the jackals in "The Kupatana Celebration" when they steal some fruit from the Pride Landers.
    • In "The Kupatana Celebration", the fruit Goigoi steals from the aardvarks' den is evidently a Cucumis humifructus, a type of cucumber that is exclusively eaten by aardvarks (hence their name aardvark cucumber). Although it is colored yellow like a galia melon as opposed to the biscuit color the real fruits have.
    • Fuli preferring to be by herself makes a lot of sense, as female cheetahs are solitary.
    • Ono is specifically chosen as Keenest of Sight because cattle egrets have binocular vision which gives them greater depth perception than most birds. Also, Ono is shown to have nocturnal vision, which cattle egrets are capable of according to psychological studies.
    • Aardwolves are both described and portrayed as shy, just like their real life counterparts. They are also exclusively insectivores mainly preying on termites.
    • At one point in "The Trouble With Galagos", Badili scratches the bark of his tree, which is how leopards mark their territory in real life (besides leaving their scent).
    • In the "Lost Gorillas", pangolins are shown spraying noxious gas, which Ono points out that this is usually done when they are frightened. Truth in Television as pangolins have anal scent glands similar to those of skunks, and like skunks they use it for defense.
    • The centerpoint of "Beshte and the Hippo Lanes" is how hippos make channels in wetlands that other animals can use after rainstorms. And it is true indeed that as ecological engineers, hippos plowing through submerged wetlands helps water and nutrients flow around and while creating habitat and gateways for all kinds of animals.
    • Kifaru from "Ono the Tickbird" is clearly a white rhinoceros as he has a distinctive squared lip and a noticeable hump on the back of his neck. This is in contrast to the more commonly-seen rhinos in the show which are black rhinoceroses, as they all have a pointed upper lip and no comparable hump.
    • A plot point in "The Savannah Summit" is Mtoto being able to hear voices at low-frequency. In Real Life, and as pointed out in the episode, elephants have very good hearing that can pick up infrasound and use low-frequency vocalizations to communicate through long distances.
    • The large nest Kulinda builds in "Ono and the Egg" is not unlike ones made by hamerkops in real life.
    • During the dry season elephants often dig for a new water source which also becomes beneficial for other animals, as shown in "The Rise of Scar".
    • Makuu's float (initially) sleeping through the dry season stems from the fact crocodiles spend the hottest and driest temperatures aestivating in underground burrows.
    • According to "Rescue in the Outlands", tsetse flies flee in the presence of zebras because of the zebras' stripes. And indeed, scientists have discovered that the reason for zebras evolving stripes is to keep biting flies at bay, rather than to confuse large predators as previously assumed.
    • The elephants being terrified of bees in "The Ukumbusho Situation". This is also Truth in Television; scientists did discover elephants flee at the very sound of bees' buzzing, as the bees could sting sensitive parts such as inside the trunk (as Ma Tembo points out in the episode).
    • The plot-point of "The Bite of Kenge" is monitor lizards having venomous bites. Monitor lizards such as the Komodo dragon were initially thought to have infectious bacteria in their mouths which they use to kill their prey, until recently it was discovered that they do indeed possess venom glands in their fangs.
    • In "Kilio Valley Fire", the elephants are shown tearing off tree branches and stripping the leaves off, which is one of the feeding methods of elephants in real life.
    • Unlike with most cartoon chameleons, Kinyonga's eyes are accurate to real life; she has a large, fused eyelid that covers most part of the eye, leaving a small opening for the pupil.
    • Kuchimba has his eyes covered over by furry skin, a distinctive trait of golden moles in real life. Thus, to make up for their lack of sight golden moles rely on vibrations to navigate tunnels, which Kuchimba also points out in the episode. Real golden moles are also territorial just like Kuchimba.
  • Shrinking Violet:
    • Ajabu the Okapi is shy around new animals, most often choosing to hide from them.
    • The aardwolves are very shy and timid, responding to what they perceive as threats by fleeing and hiding. Truth in Television, as real aardwolves are indeed shy creatures.
  • Single-Episode Handicap: Ono is temporarily blinded in one eye during "Eye of the Beholder," literally leaving him with only half of his vaunted keen sight.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Punda Milia is convinced that zebras are the tastiest animal in the Pridelands, and thus, the prime target for predators. In "The Imaginary Okapi," he acts highly insulted when Makucha the leopard doesn't even try to eat him, referring to Ajabu the Okapi as "much tastier."
  • The Smart Guy: Ono, whose bird's eye view allows him to analyse the situation for everyone else. He's also a bit snarky.
  • Smug Snake:
    • Mzingo's vulture parliament. In "The Search For Utamu," their anthem, "All Hail The Vultures," is basically them boasting about being the "lords of the sky" and "the greatest" in the Pridelands. Moments later, the Lion Guard easily drives them away from an exhausted Fuli, and even Ono (who belongs to a much smaller species of bird) has no trouble fending one off. Though it should be said that vultures are fiercely intelligent birds and crucial to the ecosystem besides, so they're not exactly wrong.
    • Reirei is highly confident that "jackal style" will allow her and her family to take what they want, and avoid repurcussions by passing it off as a "misunderstanding," taking great pleasure in conning the Pridelanders. But when her family is finally exposed for what they are, and their plan to attack the animals at the Kupatana celebration is stopped, she's reduced to begging Kion for another chance.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Fuli, who's the only female of the group.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Or at least venomous ones, as the only antagonistic snake so far is Ushari the Egyptian cobra (he did get some sympathy, at least during Season 1). African rock pythons, however, don't show any signs of being hostile or villainous (they've been the least troublesome of large predatory reptiles, if at all).
  • Spear Counterpart: The show is one to Sofia the First - Both shows feature a royalty protagonist learning valuable lessons, and each possesses a special power (Sofia's Amulet, Kion's Roar). On a side note, both shows had a Pilot Movie in November, followed by the actual show airing in January of next year.
  • Spirit Advisor: Mufasa's spirit appears to Kion fairly often to give him advice.
  • Squashed Flat: During the visuals for "Out Of The Way," a boulder rolls over the Lion Guard (sans Ono), flattening them.
  • Standardized Leader: Kion has some shades of this. His main trait is being "the fiercest" which he fails to display as well as the other Lion Guard members display their traits. He mostly displays it by the roar, but he fails to show any sort of combat ability superior to the others or aggressiveness, traits you would expect "the fiercest" to have. In other words, he's not really truly that fierce.
  • Start of Darkness:
    • For Ushari in "The Rise of Scar", where he pulls a Face–Heel Turn and becomes allies with Janja and then Scar so he can get even with the Lion Guard and rule the Pride Lands.
    • "Let Sleeping Crocs Lie" is one for Kiburi as he gets exiled from the Pride Lands for attempting to assassinate Simba and becomes a member of Scar's Legion of Doom
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Janja feels this way concerning Cheezi and Chunga.
  • The Talk: Kion has apparently been given at least part of this, given his reaction to his father saying "We need to talk."
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Given the number how times they argue with each other, it quickly becomes clear that Scar's influence is the only thing that allows the different factions of the Outlands to cooperate. They do work together well during the missions, but spend most of their time arguing before and after them.
  • Tempting Fate: In "Can't Wait to be Queen" Kion has to divert a herd of animals away from a place where a bunch of bees have built their hive. Kion decides to move the bees instead and asks "What could go wrong?" the next scene has the group being chased by the entire swarm.
  • Toilet Humor: Characters are said or shown to have elephant dung splattered on them. The memory of a well-respected elephant always being covered in it brings a chuckle to those in attendance at his funeral. At one point, Fuli ends up with elephant dung splattered on her shoulder. She thinks it's mud at first, until Ono tells her otherwise.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The crocodile float gets it hard in "Never Roar Again." In his last major appearance, Makuu was rude and hotheaded, but not evil or even entirely unreasonable; his float simply content to follow whoever was leader. Here, they all try to take over the floodplains and straight up attack Nala. This continues into "Beshte and the Hippo Lanes", where they try to eat Basi so they can do whatever they want in the floodplains. In "Ono the Tickbird", however, they behave more like mean predators than outright villains.
    • Subverted in "The Savannah Summit" where Makuu turns out to be genuinely trying to work things out diplomatically, despite the Guard suspecting otherwise. He even thanks the Guard for saving him from falling into a pit of rotten fruit created by Twiga and Vuruga Vuruga. This development for Makuu continues in "Let Sleeping Crocs Lie".
  • Town Girls: Several young female characters in the show can be categorized. Sweet and comforting Tiifu and prissy diva Zuri who are both obssesed with beauty are femme, mature yet headstrong future queen of the Pridelands Kiara and sassy, smart, and affectionate Jasiri as neither, and snarky and brash tomboy Fuli and the similarly tomboyish Vitani as butch.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Trailers for "Return of the Roar" featured scenes from the final battle, which feature Kion and friends with their lion head marks, which they don't receive until before the battle begins. There is also a scene of the team standing on a ledge in front of the sunset, spoiling the very end of the film.
  • Turtle Power: Kongwe, an African spurred tortoise who is the Pride Lands' oldest and wisest animal.
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode: Dark undertones had already been creeping in since "The Rise of Scar", but nothing too serious until "The Scorpion's Sting", where Scar sends a scorpion to lethally poison Simba, and then sets a trap for the Lion Guard when they come for the cure that includes siccing all of his Outlander forces on them within a volcano, with a climax where it continuously looks like the Lion Guard and/or Simba are doomed. It's only at the last minute that they escape and cure Simba, and even then they now know that a war is brewing.
  • Unpleasant Animal Counterpart:
    • Just like the original film, lions are mostly good guys while hyenas are bad guys. Deconstructed by "Never Judge a Hyena by its Spots", where it's revealed hyenas are also mostly good. "Lions of the Outlands" has the good hyenas being menaced by evil lions.
    • In "The Imaginary Okapi", Makucha the leopard is the villain of the episode, in stark contrast to heroic cheetah Fuli as well as the noble lions of the Pride Lands. Subverted later in "The Trouble with Galagos" where we meet the good leopard Badili (although the episode's antagonist is also a leopard).
    • "Too Many Termites" is about the Guard mistaking some harmless aardwolves for the bad hyenas.
    • "Ono's Idol" introduces good eagle Hadithi, a contrast to the evil vulture Mzingo. "Ono and the Egg" gives us a villainous hawk (well, harrier-hawk).
    • The cobra (Ushari) is antagonistic, while pythons are good.
    • Geckos, chameleons, and agamas are good, while villainous lizards have been skinks and a monitor lizard.
    • Downplayed with baboons. While they are prone to be more antagonistic than other monkeys, they are mostly good.
    • However, there has been instances where the show averts this. Particularly, rhinoceroses are just as good guys as the elephants and hippopotamuses, and gorillas are just as friendly as the chimpanzees and monkeys.
  • Villain Ball:
    • Reirei's plan for her family to attack the Kupatana celebration. Two adults and a bunch of pups attacking a large gathering of pridelanders (which included Simba and the Lion Guard), in a way that couldn't possibly be passed off as a "misunderstanding," was quite a departure from their previous activities, which relied on Bitch in Sheep's Clothing tactics.
    • When confronted by the Lion Guard, Nne and Tano just stand there, and mockingly ask if Kion is going to use the Roar on them (which he does). Up until that moment, Nne and Tano had shown a higher level of cunning than most hyenas, having formulated a very clever strategy (which would have worked if Janja hadn't ratted them out to the Guard), making their sudden leave of intelligence even more jarring.
  • Villain Song:
    • The hyenas have quite a bunch.
    • "Jackal Style" for Reirei and her pack of jackals. She and Goigoi also sing to the aardwolves "We're Gonna Make You A Meal".
    • Mzingo and his vultures sing "All Hail The Vultures" before they start their meeting.
    • Zira has "Lions Over All" to convince Kion to join her side.
    • Janja, his hyena clan, and Ushari sing "Bring Back A Legend" as they plot to raise Scar from the dead.
    • Scar has "I Have A Plan" as he recruits Kiburi and his followers to his growing army of Outlanders.
  • Waxing Lyrical:
    Simba: Son, we need to talk.
    Kion: Oh, no...Dad, we already had that talk! "Can you feel the love tonight..." I know all about that mushy stuff!
  • Wham Episode:
    • "The Rise of Scar": Ushari is now allied with Janja's clan, and together they've succeeded in bringing back the spirit of Scar.
    • "Let Sleeping Crocodiles Lie": The threat of the revived Scar is properly introduced, who begins building a Legion of Doom to take over the Pride Lands. In that same episode, we are introduced to a new crocodile villain in Kiburi as Makuu's Heel–Face Turn becomes permanent.
    • "The Scorpion's Sting": Scar orchestrates a nearly-successful assassination of Simba (on the anniversary of his death, no less), and reveals himself to the Lion Guard - as well as the true numerical might of his army, including Ushari and Mzingo's vultures. The episode marks the beginning of an official war between the Pridelands and the Army of Scar.
  • Wham Shot: In "The Wisdom of Kongwe", we learn in the opening of the episode that Mufasa does not appear as he has in the series exclusively to Kion, as he is shown speaking to both his grandson and his son at the same time. note 
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?:
    • The vultures are portrayed as scheming minions to the hyenas, eager to help them kill indiscriminately and unconcerned with the "circle of life." In reality, vultures are extremely important members of the ecosystem who help prevent the spread of diseases such as cholera, rabies, and anthrax, and are the most social (and thus friendliest) of the birds of prey. They're also in very real danger of dying out.
    • "Never Judge A Hyena By Its Spots" features Jasiri, a good hyena, showing they are trying somewhat to avoid this trope. They did try their hardest to make her cute for a hyena, though.
    • Played painfully straight when Bunga physically assaults Ushari, who was about to eat a tree hyrax. His only crime was attempting to eat a tree hyrax. On the other hand, pythons are not shown as any more menacing than the other predators nor are they as negatively portrayed (probably because pythons are considered "cute" snakes).
    • Inverted in that skinks are portrayed as sneaky spies to the villains, in spite of the usual portrayal of small lizards as good guys and skinks themselves being usually harmless in real life. Played straight with the good lizard characters Hodari and Kinyonga, who are respectively a gecko and a chameleon (universally considered to be cute and lovable lizards).
  • Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer: When Kion sets out to assemble the Lion Guard, Bunga makes an impassioned speech about how he should be part of it—until Kion shuts him up long enough to recruit him.
  • Would Hit a Girl: All of the male members of the Lion Guard have no problem attacking females when required to. As shown when Kion tackles Reirei in "The Kupatana Celebration", Beshte headbutts two of Zira's lionesses in "Lions of the Outlands", and Ono knocks Mpishi out of the sky by diving into her in "Ono and the Egg".
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Mufasa's message to Kion when he doubts being a leader and using the Roar.
  • Youthful Freckles: Tiifu has these. Bunga's cheek stripes seem to serve as a species specific variant.
  • Your Size May Vary: Bizarrely, Simba and Nala are much smaller than in previous films — while Timon, much like in the Timon & Pumbaa series, is almost twice as big here as he was in the movies.

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