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"We are one."
The Lion King II: Simba's Pridenote  is the first sequel to Disney's The Lion King, released in 1998.
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Following on from the previous film's epilogue, Simba has assumed kingship of the Pride Lands after Scar's defeat and gained a daughter with Nala named Kiara. As she grows older, the princess becomes rebellious towards her father's rules and falls in love with Kovu, a lion from a banished pride called the Outsiders. The other pride's members were ousted by Simba because they refused to submit to him and continued to follow Scar, even in death. Scar's former mate Zira, Kovu's mother, sees her son as the reincarnation of Scar's legacy and plots revenge against Simba through her son's romance with Kiara.

As the previous film was largely a loose adaptation of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, this film is largely a retelling of Romeo and Juliet mixed with elements of Macbeth.

Please move any character tropes to the proper Character pages.

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This film provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Claws: Zira's claws are shown to go through solid rock.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Zira forcefully tries to turn Kovu into her personal assassin and ultimately attempting to kill Vitani.
    • This is downplayed with Simba. While nowhere near as bad as Zira, Simba often lies to his daughter and never accepts her decisions out of overprotectiveness and fear. Fortunately, Kiara manages to snap him out of it.
  • Accidental Kiss: Between Kiara and Kovu when they hide from the rhinos.
  • Accomplice by Inaction: Zira guilt-trips Kovu this way after Nuka dies in the fight with Simba.
    Kovu: I did nothing!
    Zira: Exactly! And in doing so, you betrayed your pride! Betrayed Scar!
    Kovu: I want nothing more to do with him!
    Zira: You cannot escape it! Nuka is dead because of you!
    Kovu: No...
    Zira: You've killed your own brother!
    Kovu: No! [he runs off]
  • Adaptation Expansion:
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    • Of the sequel variety, it's directly shown that Mufasa is spiritually present at Kiara's ceremony at the start of the movie, as well as the finale with Simba, Nala, Kiara and Kovu roaring from Pride Rock. This implies that with Simba's ceremony in the original film, the beam of light parting from the clouds was Mufasa's father blessing his grandchild.
    • Simba was hinted in the first film to have some serious psychological problems, primarily a lot of self doubt in who he was and the grief over his father's death, though it was primarily indicated through a few lines, and was not given that much depth. In this film, his psychological problems are shown far more clearly, serving as a major part of his character becoming a colossal jerk and Overprotective Dad, and it is strongly implied, especially in the second half of the film, that he has post traumatic stress disorder.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Simba is distrustful towards Kovu due to his prejudice towards the Outsiders and is also an unreasonably strict father towards Kiara due to his overprotectiveness. The original Capulet, while implied to not be the best parent, still treats Romeo kindly, until he kills Tybalt at least, and still acts like a reasonable father for the time period.
  • Advertised Extra: Zazu, despite his limited screentime, has a McDonald's toy like the more prominent characters such as Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki, Simba, Zira, Kiara and Kovu.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: In-Universe example. Despite spending most of the movie as their Butt-Monkey, Nuka's family and clan are genuinely devastated by his death.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • When Nuka goes after Simba on the dam, whilst proclaiming "I'll do it for you mother! — I'll do it for you.. And I'll do it for me!", and he inadvertently gets dislodged, falls and manages to tell Zira "I'm sorry, Mother. I tried," making Zira go from My God, What Have I Done? to Never My Fault in under three seconds flat. Even more so in the deleted extended version where Nuka bitterly points out that he was only able to get his mother's attention in death.
    • Also Zira. Yes, she is an Ax-Crazy lunatic and did threaten her own daughter for deciding to stop fighting Simba, but it's still sad to see her desire for revenge leading to her demise. Even Kiara wishes she could've done something to save her.
    • Posthumously for Scar, as both Simba and Kiara laments about how he couldn't let go of his hatred and when it eventually consumed and destroyed him, Scar was at the end his own worst enemy.
  • A Lighter Shadeof Grey: The Pridelanders are portrayed as more good that the Outsiders.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: The loving, satisfied way Zira tells Kovu, "You have the same blackness in your soul that Scar had" shows Scar's biggest fangirl is under no delusions of Scar being some beneficent, kind, noble, honorable ruler and that she idolized him because of the "blackness" in his soul, not in spite of it.
  • Alone Among the Couples: As Kiara searches unsuccessfully for Kovu, she notices some animal couples spending time together, namely two birds, gazelles, butterflies and two monkeys, shortly before the song "Love will Find a Way".
  • Amazon Brigade: Save for Kovu and Nuka, the Outlanders are comprised entirely of lionesses, and they know how to fight.
  • Ambiguously Related: Word of God is that Kovu was adopted by Scar, but he, Vitani and Nuka are all Zira's biological children, however their parentage is otherwise unclear. Nuka resembles Scar, but then again so does Kovu.
  • Anti-Hero: Downplayed with Simba who banishes Kovu without listening to what he has to say, fight against Scar's cult partially out of prejudice and acts like an Overprotective Dad with Kiara. He is otherwise The Good King and mostly unambiguously good, but his actions can be pretty questionable.
  • And This Is for...: Zira utters, "This is for you, Scar!" as she's about to push Simba off a cliff to his death. Fortunately, Kiara intervenes.
  • Animal Stampede: As Kiara and Kovu chase away a bunch of birds to get some worms for Timon and Pumbaa, they fly towards a herd of rhinos who charge at the heroes. Fortunately nobody gets hurt.
  • Animation Bump: This installment has visibly lower quality visuals than the original and the second sequel, though still it has a bigger budget than most of the prior video sequels.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: Fixes a lot of problems from the original film. The main character is Simba's daughter and the villain is female. Zira's daughter Vitani features prominently too, as does Nala. It drops Sarabi and Shenzi but it's quite a step up to have four featured female characters.
  • Arc Words: "We are one."
  • Armor-Piercing Response: After Kovu's exile, Simba insists to Kiara that just as Kovu was chosen to follow in Scar's paw prints, he's following in his own father's, to which Kiara tearfully responds, "You will never be Mufasa!"; Simba is visibly shocked to hear that.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Kovu delivers an effective one to Simba when he asks to join his pride, one that hits close to home...
    Kovu: ...Or am I to be blamed for a crime I didn't commit?
  • Artistic License – Biology: See here.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: Done three times in three different scenarios
    • While on her hunt, Kiara tries to catch a herd of antelope, but they get away. Then she sees fire in the distance, and the panicking herd stampeding back in her direction, prompting her to run too.
    • Kiara, Kovu, and Timon and Pumbaa are chasing a flock of birds for fun, before they run into a huge herd of rhinos. The rhinos snort at them, and attack them, forcing them to run as well into a cave.
    • At the climax, Timon tells Pumbaa "When the going gets tough, the tough get going," and they charge into the battle between the Pridelanders and Outlanders. They then chicken out when confronted by an Outlander.
    Timon: Like I said, let's get going!
  • Avenging the Villain: Scar's former mate Zira is trying to raise her son Kovu up to kill Simba for killing Scar and become the new king.
  • Ax-Crazy: Nuka, to a point where it becomes disturbing for a lion of his age. He also looks like a psychopath.
  • Award-Bait Song:
    • "Love Will Find A Way"
    • Tina Turner's rendition of "He Lives in You" heard at the first half of the end credits is no slouch either.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Simba pulls a rather deliberate one on his daughter and her new friend.
    Kovu: Kiara... I need to talk to you...
    Simba: Kiara! I don't want you talking with him... [smiles] I want to talk with him.
    • Zira pulls a rather nasty one on Kovu and Simba by falsely congratulating Kovu, immediately sending the message to Simba that this was a deliberate scheme.
  • Batman Gambit: When Kovu starts turning on the Outsiders, Zira decides to try to force Kovu back into the Outsiders by ambushing Simba while Kovu is with him. She then congratulates Kovu with a skillful use of Exact Words, and Simba reacts predictably. While Simba survives, he banishes Kovu, but Kovu angrily turns on Zira for getting him involved with her schemes.
  • Bad Boss: It is heavily implied that the only reason the Outsiders follow Zira is because they are too afraid of her to disobey her. Once Zira crosses one too many lines, they abandon her.
  • Basso Profundo: The hippopotamus that appears throughout the scene of Kovu's exile hits some pretty impressive low notes during the song One of Us.
  • Beauty = Goodness:
    • Justified with the Outlanders, as they are only skinny and sunken-eyed from not getting enough to eat. After being accepted into Simba's pride, they're shown with the same build as the Pridelands' lionesses.
    • Played straight with Kovu, who is the most well kept of the Outsiders and quickly becomes the most heroic, given that he defects in roughly half a day.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: During her Villain Song, Zira remarks "The battle may be bloody, but that kind of works for me". In the end, however, the only characters who die in the war are Nuka (much to her dismay) and her.
  • Becoming the Mask: Kovu. His initial rescue of Kiara is meant solely to get the Pridelanders to trust and accept him so he can get close to Simba and kill him, but as the movie progresses he becomes less and less willing to do so thanks to falling for Kiara (and also, it should be noted, shown there is simply more to life than being a cold-blooded killer and avenging/following in the pawprints of a villainous father figure you never knew). Once he finds out the full story of Scar from Simba, Kovu fully becomes the mask, wanting nothing to do with Zira or her schemes.
  • Best Served Cold: Zira tells Simba that she has planned to exact revenge on him for causing Scar's death.
  • Be Yourself: A major theme in the film is Kiara and Kovu struggling to overcome the desires of their parents to be who they want them to be. Kiara desires to be herself instead of just being queen, while Kovu wants nothing to do with serving as Zira's puppet, and just wants to have a friend.
  • Big Bad: Zira, who wants to kill Simba and the Pridelanders.
  • Big "NEVER!": In the original ending, Zira utters one at the end of refusing to accept Kiara's offer to rescue her before she falls to her doom in the river below. This was cut for being too dark; the final cut only involves Zira struggling for Kiara's paw before screaming as she falls into the giant-log-filled river.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Twice by Simba during his nightmare, first when Mufasa falls to his death, and when he is falling to his own death by Kovu.
    • Kovu lets out one after Zira blames him for Nuka's death.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Like the original Lion King, there's quite a bit of Swahili: Kovu means "scar"; Zira is the verb radical of "hate"; Vitani is a Portmanteau of Vita ("war") and Shetani ("demon"); Nuka means "stink"; Upendi is the noun form of "love". Kiara is Latin for "bright" and when it was introduced in Africa, it came to mean someone of importance, fitting for Kiara being the heir to the throne, and also due to her important role in the plot. Also, "Kiara" means "princess" in Swahili.
  • Black and White Morality: This trope is played with. Whereas the original movie played the trope straight (Scar and the hyenas are evil; everyone else is good), the sequel sets itself up the same way (lions in the Pridelands are good; lions in the Outlands are bad), then subverts the trope (see below Grey and Gray Morality). In the end, though, the Pridelanders are clearly shown as the right side. The solution of the conflict is less a compromise between the two parties than an acknowledgment by Outlanders about their wrong. The recalcitrant one, Zira, gets killed.
  • Blowing a Raspberry:
    • Young Kiara does this to the crocodiles as they try to reach her and Young Kovu after escaping them.
    • A flock of spotted thick-knees do this to Kiara, Kovu, Timon, and Pumbaa after leading them to a rhino crash as they chase them.
  • Broad Strokes: There are several details that necessitate that:
    • Zira clearly mentions that Kovu was the last to be born before their exile, and hand-chosen by Scar. However, Kiara was barely conceived around this time. It means there is an age difference of the time of a lioness gestation between them, that's to say roughly four months. The difference should be more flagrant when they first meet as cubs only aged of a few months.
    • Even though it was done to avoid unfortunate incestual implications, the idea of Kovu being hand-chosen without being his blood by the self-centred Scar does seem a bit odd. Though at least it tries its best to make some sense in context, since Scar had no actual heirs and Kovu coincidentally bore some resemblance to him.
    • It is not clear where Zira and the future Outlanders were during the Final Battle of the previous film. And neither is the exact fate of the hyenas who mysteriously disappeared.
    • Overlapping with Continuity Snarl, the ghost of Mufasa here communicates with Rafiki (through the wind that the latter understands thanks to his shamanic abilities). That confirms he was not just a hallucination in the first film, he is a real apparition from the afterlife (the "stars" in this universe). This raises some questions. If he told the truth about his death to Rafiki or Simba right after it (or sooner than the famous stormy night), Scar could not have ruined the kingdom for years and countless lives would have been spared. And in the current film, he would be a very precious witness to testify to the villainy of his brother in front of Outlanders who are still faithful to his memory, and thus to prevent the war between the prides about the legitimacy of Simba (if this is the lone reason).
      • Rafiki has a small part of this too: he's fully aware of the intentions of Mufasa, but similarly to the first film he still acts in a more overseeing role. Aside from showing Simba the ghost of his father (which he lampshades), and teaching Kovu and Kiara Upendi, he makes no use of his knowledge and connection with the Kings of the Past.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Zira decides to angrily slash Kovu after Nuka dies. Kovu has just been told the whole story of Scar by Simba, she has just betrayed him by lying to Simba that he led him into her ambush and then literally says that Kovu clearly got Nuka killed. Kovu is a full grown adult male who kill Zira very easily and has just been given a huge motive to fight back. It is implied from Kovu's voice that if he didn't see Zira as his family, he probably would have fought back, a fight Zira most definitely would have lost.
  • Call-Back:
    • At the beginning of the film, when Simba alludes to the danger he and Nala ran into when they were kids, he is clearly referring to the Elephant Graveyard.
    • During one of Kiara and Kovu's romantic moments, Kovu licks Kiara in a very similar manner to the way Nala did to Simba in the first movie. Before that, Nala pins down Simba in a way that recalls their childhood.
    • When Timon and Pumbaa offer some bugs to Kiara as a meal, she says "Eww, gross!" in the exact same way as her father.
    • In the first film Simba says that when he's King betrothals will be the "first thing to go". Indeed, Kiara is not betrothed, despite being older than Simba and Nala were at the time of their betrothal.
    • Scar's introduction had him catch and about to eat a mouse, which escapes when he's distracted. Nuka offers to catch mice for Zira to eat; she ignores him.
    • Simba quotes (somewhat unintentionally) Timon and Pumbaa's advice by telling Zira that it's time to "put the past behind us".
    • Simba's ideology of "we are one" can be seen as a take on the circle of life taught to him by Mufasa, where all beings are connected.
    • Kiara looking at herself from the tree branch with a leaf distorting the reflection after Kovu has been banished is identical to Simba after his argument with Nala.
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Kovu calls out both the old lady and the posthumous father figure:
      Zira: You betrayed your pride! Betrayed Scar!
      Kovu: I want nothing more to do with him!
    • Kiara tries several times to call out Simba for his over-protectiveness, but it never seems to take until Kovu's exile, resulting in her saying "You will never be Mufasa!"
  • The Caligula: Subverted with Zira. She is competent enough to ensure that the pride does not starve to death, but that is all. Zira is shown to be so obsessed with revenge that she neglects actually trying to keep her pride healthy, and her neglect and abuse of Nuka clearly disgusted the pride, especially her own daughter and her youngest child. After she threatens Vitani, everyone abandons her.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Contrary to the zebra of the first film, not a single prey gets eaten, and yet:
    • Timon and Pumbaa have no problems hanging around the Pridelands, probably being under the protection of Simba. They also look like they accept being in a community of carnivores well, even though they probably witness from time to time some "taxation operations" on the Pridelanders.
    • The lions have no difficulty gathering the population around Priderock for official announcement, without anyone fearing predation from anybody else. Maybe it is because the place is sacred, but in this case, lots of hunting must look like off-ground tags.
    • This is even an impediment to the development of Kiara's character. She is shown as a clumsy hunter throughout the movie, and contrary to Kovu who learns the meaning of fun and kindness, she never has the occasion to train and improve herself as a killer... and it is probably better like that.
  • Character Tic: Kiara tends to breathe loudly and rapidly whenever she's excited about something, both as a cub and as an adult. It's even somewhat plot relevant in that it's (according to Kovu) one of the major reasons that she can't sneak up on prey.
  • Children Are Innocent: Kovu doesn't see anything wrong with befriending Kiara, and he is completely confused when Zira sees it as a chance at revenge. He also doesn't want any power, when Zira proclaims it as their return to power.
  • The Chosen One: Villainous example. Zira claims that Kovu was hand-selected by Scar to avenge him, kill Simba, and take over the Pridelands. She's probably lying; Zira is incredibly unstable, and Word of God has confirmed that Kovu is an orphan and not biologically related to her or Scar.
  • Co-Dragons: Nuka and Vitani, though Vitani is clearly more in charge.
  • Continuity Nod: Kovu accidentally channels Scar through his reflection, same way Simba channels Mufasa. Kovu doesn't take this well.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Simba just couldn't wait to be king, while Kiara is concerned about being groomed for royalty. In terms of the focus on their lives, Kiara has only a brief time of her childhood shown, while Simba has over half of the original movie.
  • Covers Always Lie: The covers and most promotional images feature Kiara and Kovu as cubs; this is only for the first 20 minutes of the movie, and the rest revolves around them in adulthood.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Timon and Pumbaa may be a little dumb... but when the situation calls for it, the two kick ass, joining Simba in the front of the fray and fighting.
  • Cruel Mercy: It is very heavily implied that this is the intent behind Kovu's exile.
  • Crowd Song: "One of Us" is a remarkably dark one.
  • Cult: The Outsiders are the Cult of Scar.
  • Dark Chick: Most of the Outsider lionesses are Dark Chicks, but Vitani is the most prominent. She is also the one who pulls off a Heel–Face Turn, motivating the others to as well.
  • Darker and Edgier: In comparison to the first movie, the sequel is much more intense. The villain of this one is motivated primarily by spite and vengeance, whereas at least Scar had the semi-pragmatic motive of greed. Zira's Villain Song is almost entirely about how much she Loves the Sound of Screaming, and said song is considerably more vicious than Scar's Villain Song. In general, the very style of this movie is much darker than the first movie, like during the fire scene, wherein we see Kiara surrounded by flames, coughing from the smoke, and collapsing from exhaustion, or during Zira's first attack, when Simba is being mercilessly mauled by several other lions, and then there is "One Of Us" where the Pridelanders are all announcing their intense hatred for Kovu, who is not even guilty of what they are all accusing him of in the first place. The movie was even toned down by the alteration of some scenes, the best example being Zira's death at the end. Originally, it was suicide.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Understatement of the decade. Simba does not trust Kovu at all and repeatedly humiliates and degrades him, and is very reluctant to let Kovu be anywhere near Kiara, which leads to him spitefully exiling Kovu. He ultimately reconciles with him at the end of the film.
  • Demoted to Extra: It's very easy to forget Zazu is in this movie.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Zira clearly did not expect Kovu to turn on the Outsiders, and evidently did not have a Plan B in the event her plot didn't work.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Zira choosing Kovu as the one to infiltrate the Pridelanders. For a start he already got attached to Kiara as a cub, so sending him to befriend her risked him redeveloping that connection, he never wanted power to begin with, and Zira implies he argued with her morals even after he'd grown up. Her whole scheme depended on her brainwashing the softest-hearted cub available and hope he'd remain a ruthless killer even when around genuinely good lions. It would have been better to send in Nuka - who was more violent and desperate to please her - rather than the inherently sweet-natured Kovu.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: "Upendi" is Rafiki's How-To-Guide to making a Disney Acid Sequence!
  • Disney Villain Death: Zira at least gets washed away in a raging river, rather than presumably leaving a nasty splat mark somewhere in the canyon.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Simba roaring at Kovu simply for playing with his daughter is a blatant case of this. trope While you could understand being worried when he found out about her getting away, Kovu is only playing with Kiara, and Zira had not revealed herself yet, so roaring at a cub who is doing nothing but playing innocently is going way, way too far. Simba really should have just approached calmly and asked him who he was.
    • Banishing the Outlander cubs in the first place seems wholly unfair. Zira and the other adult lionesses may have been dangerous, but Nuka likely would have been a young cub when Simba took over as king, and Vitani would have been an infant— she would have posed absolutely no threat to the Pridelands, but she was banished to a childhood of starvation, neglect and deprivation for the crime of being Zira's child. It is even more glaring with Kovu, who is heavily implied to not be Zira's biological child at all, and is therefore banished because Zira just happens to be his guardian.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Simba's Pride can refer to either the lions that follow him or the fact that he's initially too proud of his father's legacy as a good king to really understand what it took to build that legacy in the first place. A third meaning of the title could also be referring to Kiara, who is Simba's "pride and joy".
  • The Dragon: Vitani to Zira, especially after Nuka's death.
  • Dying Smirk: Zira has a creepy smirk on her face as she slides down a cliff to her death, Disney Villain Death style. Technically it's an animation remnant of her originally committing suicide, but it's still very visible in the scene.
  • Easily Condemned: Zira and the other Outsiders ambush both Simba and Kovu. Zira congratulates the latter for bringing the former to her, causing Simba to believe that Kovu intentionally brought him to be killed. When he spitefully exiles him, the other animals (including Timon and Pumbaa) join him. By the end of it all, Kiara decides she's had enough of Simba's prejudice and yells that he won't be like Mufasa.
  • Embarrassing Rescue: Subverted with Kiara trying to save Zira and played straight with Kovu saving Kiara.
  • Empathic Environment: The thunderstorm during the Final Battle.
  • Et Tu, Brute?:
    • Vitani is shown to be genuinely hurt when it seems Kovu has turned his back on the Outlanders for Simba.
    • While Simba is more focused on the Outsiders, it is indicated he genuinely began to trust Kovu, and the fact that Kovu has apparently just led him into an ambush to be killed is seen as an enormous betrayal of trust. Fortunately, he does acknowledge that Kovu was not behind the ambush at the end of the film.
    • Kovu himself is visibly horrified at the fact that his adopted family, which is shown repeatedly throughout the film that he genuinely cares about, has framed him for murder, and later for blaming for Nuka's death.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Zira's undoing is severely underestimating how good of a person Kovu is. She automatically sees Kovu and Kiara's friendship as a chance for Kovu to kill Simba... not considering that their attachment actually suggests that Kovu is the worst person to send to the Pridelanders. It clearly never occurred to her that Kovu's original affection for Kiara could override years of indoctrination, or that experiencing the Pridelanders kinder lifestyle would make him realize he was on the wrong side. Sure enough it takes not even a day for Kovu to redevelop feelings for Kiara and refuse to become a killer.
  • Evil Sounds Deep:
    • Zira has a deep husky voice, granted by the late Suzanne Pleshette.
    • Andy Dick provides Nuka with a whiny high pitched voice for most of the film, but at the ambush, when he finally snaps, Nuka drops the high pitch and gains a very guttural voice.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Zira and Vitani appear genuinely devastated by Nuka's death, despite the fact that both of them frequently mistreated him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Zira's own followers defected to Simba after Zira threatened to kill her own daughter for refusing to participate in Zira's second attack.
  • Evil Is Petty: Mentioned in Zira's Villain Song.
    Now, the past I've tried forgetting
    And my foes I could forgive.
    Trouble is, I know it's petty,
    but I hate to let them live!
  • Face Palm: Rafiki has a real depressing one when he witnesses Kovu being driven into exile.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When Simba prepares to pass judgement on Kovu after the ambush that Kovu was not a part of, despite being entirely scared, Kovu stands poised for the verdict, indicating he was willing to accept a death sentence if Simba gave one.
  • Fade Around the Eyes: The villainess Zira does an interesting variation of this just before she begins her song, "My Lullaby." She walks towards the screen as it fades to black around her eyes.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death:
    • The film shows Nuka being crushed to death by logs while trying to earn his mother's love and respect.
    • Zira's fall into the ravine after refusing help is a classic Disney Villain Death, but there's a deleted scene in which she commits suicide. The fan-base is divided on whether it was best to change it.
  • Fantastic Racism: It's not too much of a stretch to see the prejudice towards the Outsiders to racism, particularly with the "We are one" message at the end.
  • Fartillery: Timon threatens Zira's Amazon Brigade by giving Puumba's tail a shotgun-pump and offering them a faceful of it. They run away screaming.
  • Final Love Duet: "Love Will Find A Way" between Kiara and Kovu.
  • Foil: Kovu serves as a positive foil to Scar. Scar was immature, arrogant, and didn't really understand the implications for being a king and while Kovu seems like the kind of person that would make him proud at first he is revealed to be more than just that. Thus, while Scar is the first film's Big Bad, Kovu is instead an Anti-Villain who turns good.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Zira expresses a very brief one at the beginning of "My Lullaby".
    I've been exiled, persecuted, left alone with no defense.
    When I think of what that brute did, I get a little tense.
    (Assume "that brute" refers to Simba).
    • Given Nuka's status as The Unfavorite and the place he lives in, it's quite obvious why he's so unstable.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During a talk with her two reluctant babysitters, Kiara tells them being a princess is only half of who she is, leading Pumbaa to ask who is the other half, which Kiara doesn't know yet as she is only a cub.
    Kiara: [annoyed] Would somebody please just listen to me?!
    Timon: I'm sorry, I wasn't listening. Did you say something, princess?
    Kiara: I'm not just a princess, you know. That's only half of who I am!
    Pumbaa: Well then, who's the other half?
    • When Kovu races down to dig Nuka out of the logs, if you look closely at the scene, you will notice water is leaking out from under the logs. The logs collapse and cause a brief flood that ultimately kills Zira in the climax.
  • Generation Xerox: The main theme of the movie is to defy this idea. Simba does everything he can to emulate Mufasa and only views Kovu as Scar 2.0. After Kiara makes Simba aware that he won't be like Mufasa, he gets better though.
  • Get Out!: Simba does this twice to Zira in the same scene.
    Simba: You and your young cub, get out.
    Zira: Haven't you met my son, Kovu? He was hand chosen by Scar to follow in his pawprints and become king.
    Timon: That's not a king! That's a fuzzy maraca!
    Zira: Kovu was the last born before you exiled us to the Outlands, where we have little food... less water...
    Simba: You know the penalty for returning to the Pridelands.
    Zira: But the child does not. However, if you need your pound of flesh... here. [pushes Kovu forward]
    Simba: Take him and get out. We're finished here.
    Zira: Oh, no, Simba. We've barely begun! [chuckles maliciously]
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • When Kovu wants Kiara to run away with him instead of going back to the Pride Lands, he suggests they start a pride "all our own". Not only is his tone when he says this very suggestive, he actually wiggles his hind end!
    • In a non sexual instance, this is probably the only Disney animated film to have gotten away with clearly indicating that a main character has post traumatic stress disorder by showing a fair amount of its symptoms directly, with Simba's little nightmare, and Hair-Trigger Temper being among the main symptoms.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Kovu ends up getting a scar identical to Scar's, but that happens after he's decided to become the mask. The song "One of Us" has the animals believing it's an evil scar.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Nuka survives just one log falling on top of him and that is shown clearly, but the two logs that roll onto him fall at a pretty good speed. We see his horrified face right before they hit him, and then it cuts to the logs as they crash offscreen, followed by a lot of dust in the air.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Downplayed, as the film clearly sets the two opposite defined sides the Pridelanders and the Outlanders in a way where you can obviously tell that the Pridelanders have the moral high ground. Simba and Kovu also have this conflict on a more minor scale: although we know about the plot to kill Simba, one can't help but sympathize with Kovu as he's never known anything else beyond ruthlessness and violence, and had a Heel–Face Turn eventually. Likewise, although many of Simba's actions against Kovu are antagonistic (because we are looking at it from Kiara's perspective and she is more moral than him ), Simba is well within his rights to not trust Kovu straight out of the gate. You don't just let someone from the enemy's side just suddenly save a relative, say they have defected and take that without real proof. Simba also has personal reason to not take Kovu's word at face value: the last time he trusted someone blindly, he lost a relative and was left deeply psychologically scarred. Even after he banishes Kovu that he doesn't entirely lose the audience's sympathy. It doesn't help that the film fails to explicitly state the reason of the persisting conflict, and his change of mind at the end about Outlanders gives the impression he had maybe biased reasons to keep them out.
  • Hair Flip: When Simba awakens the day after the fire, he shakes his mane a bit as he stretches himself out.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: In the second half of the film, Simba can lose his temper pretty easily as shown when he confronts Kovu after saving Kiara and during the trial. He shows signs of this from the beginning, such as his confrontation with Zira, but it definitely gets worse later on.
  • Heel–Face Mole: Kovu claims to be this after rescuing Kiara, in order to gain entrance into Simba's pride.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Kovu, and later on Vitani, who is the first lioness in Zira's pride to realise Kiara's claim that the war is pointless is right.
  • Heel Realization: After falling for Kiara and hearing Simba's side of Scar's death, Kovu finishes Becoming the Mask and decides not to go through with the assassination he had been sent to perform. Around the same time this happens to Simba, when he realizes that what he's doing to Kovu isn't what Mufasa would have wanted. Then Zira arrives, and throws Simba at least back to square one.
  • Heroic Fire Rescue: Zira's plan to "prove" Kovu's loyalty and trustworthiness so as to get him into the pride and close to Simba is the classic subversion of this trope via Engineered Heroics.
  • "The Hero Sucks" Song: "One Of Us" which has Kovu forced out of Pride Rock because Simba believes that he attempted to ambush him while the two had a friendly chat on a trek through the savannah.
  • The High Queen: Nala is now one. Kiara's speech at the end does suggest she's well on her way to it too.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Simba increasingly begins to resemble Scar, especially in the second half of the film. He gets Scar's narcissism, in that he insists all of his actions are what Mufasa would have wanted, when they are really terrible. He gains Scar's pettiness and rash temper, throwing a violent fit and spitefully exiling Kovu. He also gains his willingness to lie to his own family, inheriting Scar's backstabbing personality.
  • Hollywood Healing:
    • Kovu has just been kicked headfirst into a rock. Less than a minute later, he has recovered, with no injury, and no real sign of a concussion later on in the film. Simba despite being mauled, and brutally injured, recovers to full health in what is implied to be just 12 hours.
    • The final battle, where despite pretty much every single lioness being involved in the fight, no one has a potential problem walking. Then there is the scene of Kiara crashing down the rocks really quickly, which should have caused serious burns from the friction at least.
  • Hope Spot: Kovu and Simba seem to be bonding, and it looks like Simba will actually accept him. Then Zira arrives, and congratulates Kovu for luring Simba into her trap, which he didn't do but Simba thinks he did.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Simba gives Kovu a speech about how fire (Scar) is a killer, but what's left behind (Kovu) could grow better if given the chance. He seems to forget about that last part when he exiles him as guilty of betrayal before being proven innocent. Even before this, his song "We Are One" is strange to listen to when in the previous scene we saw him reject Kovu simply for being Zira's son!
    • Zira blames Kovu for Nuka's death though it was an accident, yet she worships Scar who killed his brother on purpose.
    • Zira later proceeds to blame Simba completely for putting them in the Outlands where they don't have a lot of food and water, but her leadership style shows that she could have easily just accepted that punishment and actually focused on getting food and water, but instead decides to get revenge on Simba.
  • I Am Not My Father:
    • Kovu's slowly realizes that he isn't like his adopted father Scar at all and doesn't have to do the terrible things he did. It doesn't help that everyone, bar Kiara, assumes he's Scar 2.0 and will carry on the legacy without even giving him a chance.
    Kovu: He [Scar] was a part of me.
    Kiara: My father said there was a darkness in Scar that he couldn't escape.
    Kovu: Maybe there's a darkness in me too."
    • A rare example with a positive father figure, as Simba realizes he isn't Mufasa and can't rule based on what his father would have done. By the end of the film he's learned to let go of the past and become King in his own right.
  • Idiot Ball: Simba's overprotectiveness of Kiara even into adulthood does nothing to help their already tense relationship.
    • Zira's failing psyche causes her to grab the ball tight and never let go, costing her the loyalty of her entire pride.
  • I Have This Friend...: When Simba asks Timon and Pumbaa about Kiara's whereabouts, they attempt to fabricate a story about a "friend" whose daughter has disappeared. Unfortunately for them, Simba quickly realizes Kiara has ran off.
    Simba: What are you two doing?
    Timon: [screams] Good question. [stammering] Let me ask you one.
    Pumbaa: Hippothetically.
    Timon: Very hypothetical. There's this guy...
    Pumbaa: But he's not a lion!
    Timon: No, no, he's not a lion. Yeesh, definitely not a lion. And... his daughter... say... vanished?
    Simba: [shocked] Kiara's gone?!
  • I Hate Past Me: Simba indicates at the beginning of the film that he sees some of his childhood antics with regrets, pointing out the elephant graveyard debacle that nearly got him and Nala killed.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Neither Kiara or Kovu are keen on their parent's grand plans for them, with Kiara asking Simba if she can just be herself rather than Queen, and Kovu telling Zira he doesn't want power. Neither parent takes much notice.
  • Immediate Sequel: Though the scene is slightly different, this movie picks right where the second one left off, with the presentation of cub Kiara to the animal kingdom.
  • Inevitable Waterfall:
    • In the "Upendi" song.
    • Also, the waterfall which presumably kills Zira at the end.
  • Intoxication Ensues: While in the elephant graveyard, Nuka gets blasted in the face with a gust of geothermal gas, and spends his next several scenes visibly high as a kite.
  • Insult Backfire: When Simba brings up the Elephant Graveyard adventure he and Nala went on in the first film, alluding that they nearly got killed, Simba points out the dangers they put themselves by using the term "we". Nala then pins Simba and reminds him that it was his idea to go to the graveyard in the first place and Simba silently concedes she is correct.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Zira honestly thinks that Kovu killed Nuka. Case in point, Kovu is nowhere near the logs when they fell, and it is primarily Nuka's own fault, as he already knew that Simba was having trouble climbing the logs. Despite that, Zira is convinced that Kovu betraying them by not attacking Simba on the logs is enough to say that Kovu is responsible for his brother's death. This is likely because Zira is really starting to lose it.
  • Irony: Kovu will become King like Zira always wanted...except through marrying Kiara and becoming Simba's son-in-law instead of killing him.
  • Ironic Echo: Blink and you'll miss it, but Nuka's "Mother...I tried..." just before his death is echoed by Kiara's "Daddy...I tried," just after she fails to save Zira.
  • It Has Only Just Begun: Zira says this to Simba.
    Simba: Take him and get out. We're finished here.
    Zira: Oh no, Simba. We have barely begun. [chuckles evilly]
  • The Load: In the final battle, Timon and Pumbaa quickly find themselves insanely out of their league. Their best contribution is to lure away some of the Outlanders by running out of the battlefield.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When Simba banishes Kovu after the ambush, he notes that Kovu used his relationship with Kiara to get to him. While Simba is clearly going off the bend, and Kovu has turned on the Outsiders by this point in the movie, his claim that the Outsiders did use Kiara and Kovu's relationship to kill him and take over the Pride Lands isn't exactly wrong, even if slightly outdated.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Subverted. Although most of his decisions are understandable and realistic given what happened to him and the situation he finds himself in, Simba's actions are certainly not portrayed as good at all, and he makes the plot go From Bad to Worse. He reaches the lowest end when he exiles Kovu for a crime he didn't commit. Thankfully, when Kiara calls him on this, he doesn't take the jump off the slippery slope.
  • Kick the Dog: Kovu has a number of moments where people are needlessly mean to him.
    • Zira angrily says that Kovu is responsible for his brother's death and explicitly says he killed him himself, despite the obvious lack of logic. Case in point, Kovu came racing down to try to save and is still in immense grieving over his death.
    • Simba spitefully exiling Kovu. Case in point, Simba at least realized that Kovu tried to help him during the ambush, and clearly saw Kovu ignore Zira's commands to attack him. Despite this, he still exiles him despite a lot of evidence to the contrary. Simba's treatment of Kiara is also pretty harsh in that he yells and screams at her both during and after that scene to the point where Kiara snaps at him.
  • Kissing Cousins:
    • The creators of the sequel averted this in the middle of production realizing Kiara would have been in love with her cousin once removed. Instead, Kovu was Scar's protege, despite looking just like him which just brings up the question of who Kovu's father actually is...
    • Word of God later fully ensured that they weren't cousins when the director revealed that Kovu was an orphan and not biologically related to Scar or Zira, but in addition to wondering who his father was, now there is the added question of who his mother is, and just how did Zira get her paws on him?
      • Kovu was most probably driven out of a separate pride. If a lion takes over another male's pride, the first thing he does is kill or drive away any existing cubs. As expected, the vast majority don't make it, but there are rare cases of cubs surviving into adulthood.
  • Lady Macbeth: To add to the Shakespeare analogies, Zira is the late Scar's Lady Macbeth.
    • Considering she's absent in the first film and Scar acts almost entirely on his own, the trope fits more with her as Kovu's Lady Macbeth, as she (attempts to) stir him into evil.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Zazu points out Simba is ignoring Due Process by exiling Kovu without first giving him a trial. He later does that to him anyway.
  • Leave Him to Me: Zira snarls near the end of the battle "Simba! You're mine!" and all Outlanders back away from him, to allow the two of them to prepare for their death duel.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Subverted. Simba and Nala, who are shown to be watching Kiara and Kovu, promptly leave them alone, and it looks like Kiara and Kovu will fall in love. However, Rafiki shows up, and manages to get them to fall in love anyway.
  • Like a Son to Me: Implied to be Scar's relationship with Kovu before his death, as he chose him to be his heir instead of his own son, Nuka. It's probably a lie since Word of God confirmed Kovu isn't biologically related to Zira at all.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Zira's motivation is revenge for Scar's death. Well that's most of it, she's also got a chip on her shoulder from being exiled, but this is the main reason.
  • Love Redeems: Kovu switches sides—due to his own love of Kiara. This however gets played with, as it quickly becomes obvious that Kovu hates the plot, and had already abandoned it even before he fell in love with Kiara
  • May–December Romance: The Lion King never gives the characters' ages, and most characters don't seem to age. However, we know some animals are from the same generation as each other: Mufasa and Scar, Simba and Nala, Kovu and Kiara. It means that Zira is closer to Simba's generation than Mufasa's, and Kovu couldn't have been an exceptional pregnancy late in her childbearing age since she had two other cubs within a short gap previously. Some pretend that she was just remarkably fecund, or had a will strong enough to carry cubs late. Others just think she's lying through her fangs, from the cubs being hers to the fact she ever had a romance with Scar. The last have no problem to ship Zira with Scar split by a generation difference; and some fanarts even feature their first encounter as cub and teenager.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • "I tried" is spoken at least twice in the movie, both time indicating that a character failed to do something. First, they are the Famous Last Words of Nuka to Zira, who failed to kill Simba. Second, Kiara says it to Simba after failing to rescue Zira.
    • Simba says to Zira that it's time to put the past behind them, the same advice Timon and Pumbaa gave before teaching Hakuna Matata. While in the original movie this lesson winds up being thoroughly deconstructed for Simba's kingship, in this one it's the lesson he badly needs to learn the most in order to reunite the Pridelanders and Outsiders.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: Like in the first film, Kiara is shown as a cub in the beginning, but all that's shown are the events leading up to her meeting Kovu.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Zira blames Simba for Scar's death in the first movie and spends years plotting revenge on him, but in reality, it was Scar's own hyena minions who killed him, after Scar tried to place the blame for his actions on them to save his own hide.
  • Missing Dad: Nuka says of Kovu that Scar wasn't even his father. Well, it can't have been Mufasa, as any cub he sired would have been an adult by the second movie. It hopefully wasn't Simba, so the implication here is that Scar named a newborn cub conceived by an out-of-pride male lion his heir.
  • Moment Killer: Subverted with Rafiki. He interrupts a private moment between Kiara and Kovu, and the scene plays out like he is deliberately wrecking the romantic mood. However, he later tries to encourage their romantic feelings, and it ultimately succeeds.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Timon and Pumbaa really do not belong in this movie, as their only purpose is to ruin genuinely dramatic moments with non sequitur jokes. Zazu takes a similar, but more minor role. On a more positive note, there's another dimension of Mood Whiplash, between Lighter and Softer moments and Darker and Edgier moments. Disney movies in general tend to have this, but this movie takes it even further than most, like when a cutesy song about all creatures being a big family is quickly followed by a Villain Song about revenge. That's a very deliberate tonal shift, intentionally juxtaposing the differences between the two families.
    • "My Lullaby" also has this...twice. It begins with Zira seeming to show Kovu motherly affection and wishing him a goodnight, then instantly cuts to singing about how she can't wait to hear the screams and cries of her dying enemies and their loved ones. Then cuts back to her singing about how she loves and cares for Kovu, then cuts to how she wants to raise him into a killer. Strangely it works.
    • Similarly done intentionally when Kovu's plotting or emotional conflict is cut short by Timon and Pumbaa or Rafiki trying to show him fun in a very whimsical manner.
  • Mood-Swinger: Both Simba and Zira can swing from one emotion to the other with very little warning or provocation, though in Simba's case, it primarily happens during the second half of the film.
  • Mythology Gag: During the nightmare, Simba has blue eyes, in contrast to the red ones he has in reality. One of the original plans was for Simba to have blue eyes before it got changed to red.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Kovu and Kiara are attacked by a bask of crocodiles, which almost eats them.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Zira.
    Zira: The battle will be bloody, but that kind of works for me.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Simba's memory of the day at the gorge, wherein he ends up in the same position as his father, depending on Kovu as his savior, who morphs into Scar and lets him fall. When combining this with his talk in the midquel of having Bad Dreams, it's implied these are Recurring Dreams as well.
  • Not So Different: Zira tries to tell Kovu this when her plan to groom him into Scar's successor begins to fall apart.
    Zira: You cannot escape it! Nuka is dead because of you!
    Kovu: No...
    Zira: You killed your own brother!
    Kovu: No!
  • Not So Similar: For all that Kiara has inherited her father's inquisitive and adventurous nature, her outlook on life is rather different. While Simba as a cub couldn't wait to be King and looked forward to all the attention and glory he'd get, Kiara doesn't even want to be Queen, is insecure about being able to rule and wonders who she is beyond being a princess.
    Simba: I'm gonna be the main event, like no king was before. I'm brushin' up on lookin' down, I'm workin' on my roar!
    Kiara: If there's so much I must be, can I still just be me? The way I am.
  • Off-Model: Zazu is animated with teeth in his dialogue for some odd reason, while Simba's nose and Nala's eyes are in different colors from the original film. Overall, many proportional aspects are off, such as the size of Timon's head, the length of Zazu's feathers or the thickness of the lion's legs.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Kiara when she sees fire in the distance and the animals stampeding towards her in a panic.
    • Kovu has one when the Outsiders surround him and Simba during their walk.
    • Kovu when Simba exiles him from the Pride Lands.
    • Simba gets one after Kiara's What the Hell, Hero? moment.
    • Simba again when he realizes that Kiara has ran off to search for Kovu.
    • Even the Outlanders become still with concern when Zira enters the fight in the climax.
  • Opposites Attract: The princess and the exiled peasant. Technically, Kovu is a prince, but of the exiled Outlanders and to the late Scar so still counts.
  • Orbital Shot: Kiara and Kovu have one as they embrace during "Love Will Find A Way".
  • Orphaned Etymology: "My Lullaby" uses the phrases "drums of war" and "our flag will fly", which are both expressions referencing man-made object that don't exist in the lion society.
  • Parental Abandonment: Kovu is stated by several characters including himself that his biological father is missing. Word of God also revealed that he is an orphannote 
  • Parental Bonus:
    Kovu: [to Kiara] Let's get out of here. We'll run away together! [wiggles his backside with a seductive voice] And start a pride all our own.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: Simba is very over-protective of Kiara. At one point, Nala points out to Simba that Kiara's just like they were when they were cubs, and Simba explains that this is what worries him.
  • Parental Neglect: Zira often neglects Nuku, which leads him to try and gain her trust throughout the film.
  • Pet the Dog: Zira's genuine sadness and horror after the death of her son Nuka. Until she goes into full Never My Fault mode...
  • Post-Victory Collapse: Subverted. Simba manages to survive the ambush and drag himself to Kiara, but his collapse is depicted as him nearly being killed, rather than a moment of triumph.
  • Physical Scars, Psychological Scars:
    • Kovu gets a scar across his eye from his abusive mother Zira, while she blames him for Nuka's death.
    • Zira's ear is partially torn, but it remains unknown as to how she got it... like Scar.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: The story understandably jumps forward in time to proceed to the romance part (which needs mature characters). However, the way it is introduced makes it look like the two protagonists suddenly grew up. Zira's pride at the big-built lion Kovu has become makes it seem like a recent thing and not the long result of years of training (unless she is emphasizing about how much he is ready). It is more obvious with Kiara, whom the Pride congratulates for the beautiful young lioness she has become, one saying “My, how you have grown”, like if they were discovering her at the same time than the viewers, even though she is supposed to have been living with them for all this time.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Seems the case in "We Are One." During it, Kiara tells Simba straight up that she's afraid her destiny as queen will come at the cost of her own identity. Simba ignores this, delivers about six irrelevant life lessons in lyrical form, and ends by telling her that she'll "understand someday", addressing none of her concerns. Some+where floating in there is an intended message about how she doesn't need to worry about either losing herself or not being a good queen because she isn't alone and can appeal to her loved ones (and the Great Kings) for help, but this is not at all obvious from the lyrics, and Kiara never picks up on it. Subverted later when Simba's message helps Kiara realize that the two prides should unite rather than constantly fighting. That just wasn't what Simba meant when he was teaching. So Poor Communication Saves?
    • A straighter example with Kovu. When he and Simba are attacked, he could see or at least hear the Outsiders coming, yet he doesn't try to tell Simba to run or get in front of Simba to shield him. He just sits around, gets knocked out, and doesn't try to help Simba up the cliff; his attempt to climb it himself later might have been intended to get himself to a position where he could offer Simba a paw up, but by then it's too little, too late. As a result, he gets a scar across his eye, and is banished by Simba for his failure to act.
  • Posthumous Character: Mufasa and Scar were both killed off in the first film, and stayed that way. Still, the characters remain influenced by their feud. Simba wants to follow Mufasa's steps, and does not trust the heirs of Scar. Zira, in turn, wants to follow Scar's steps, and Kovu wants to avoid the similarities with the dreaded Scar.
  • The Power of Hate: Zira holds an immense grudge against Simba for killing Scar, who was her mate. She is raising her son Kovu into hating all Pridelanders. Later in the film she stoops as low as threatening to kill her daughter, Vitani which sickeningly causes] her former followers to turn against her and join Simba's pride. Unfortunately she stubbornly refuses to let go of her hatred which causes her to fall into the river, even refusing to let Kiara, Simba's daughter, save her.
  • The Power of Love: As mentioned in "Love Will Find A Way", Kiara and Kovu realize that they love each other to the point that they decide to stop the fighting between the Pridelanders and the Outsiders for good.
  • Princess Protagonist: The film stars Simba and Nala's daughter, Princess Kiara.
  • Reactive Continuous Scream: Done by Kiara, Timon and Pumbaa when the latter two sneak up on her at the water hole.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Despite destiny and all the trials Simba went through to become a far better king than Scar ever could be, it's clear that he still hasn't learned every lesson he needs to in order to become a truly great king.
    • Simba's struggles are also a realistic consequence of crowning someone who lost his father at a young age and grew up away from the Pride. Mufasa never had a chance to teach Simba the ways of ruling, so he clings to vague memories of what his father would have done, doubts his own judgement and has become incredibly dogmatic. In contrast Kiara grows up witnessing the nuances and shades of grey that come with ruling, and is a lot more flexible and open-minded.
    • Zira's on the receiving end of this when she threatens her own daughter with murder upon the latter switching sides. Turns out no matter how loyal your followers are, they do have standards and if you cross the line badly enough they will not just accept it and blindly agree with you.
    • On that matter, it is heavily implied that all of the adult Outsiders really don't like Zira's cause at all, given how rapidly they defect, but they only obey her out of fear that she will kill them if they refuse. This heavily implied fear, her abuse of her biological son, along with the fact Zira doesn't care about anything except getting revenge on Simba, leads many of the lionesses, especially Kovu and Vitani to want to get away from Zira. Once they see what Kiara is saying, that she does not see them as her enemies, and especially after Zira crosses one line too many, they defect from her en masse. Once the fear has been broken, and especially if they a very powerful alternative, people will defect to stand up to that fearful authority figure.
    • The decision to choose someone who is inherently nice, very much against violence, and already has an emotional connection to one of the people targeted in the plot, and no effective way to ensure loyalty, as an assassin goes disastrously wrong for Zira, as Kovu defects in just a day, turns on the Outsiders and causes Vitani to begin turning on Zira.
    • Simba's treatment of Kovu, though harsh, is completely understandable. Even if this was coincidental, that Simba correctly suspected it wasn't, you do not just roll out the red carpet for a stranger, especially for someone from a known enemy.
    • It turns out watching your father getting trampled to death, being blamed for it and running away as a cub does not just magically fade with adulthood. Simba's dialogue during We Are One, and his dreams, not to mention his increasingly instability emotionally, show that Simba was traumatized possibly for life, and it forms a major conflict with Kiara.
    • On that note, a monarch who is struggling with childhood trauma is not the ideal person who should be making decisions that affect a whole kingdom, as many of Simba's decisions are botched by his emotional issues.
    • Kovu getting exiled from two prides. When the Outsiders attack Simba, and Zira falsely congratulates Kovu, practically anyone is going to immediately think this was a planned ambush. Similarly, Kovu attempting to help Simba in the fight, and then his failure to help Nuka, quite predictably has the Outsiders see him as a traitor.
    • An adult male lion who has visible trouble climbing on unstable logs is a very serious warning sign of danger. Nuka's decision to climb right after Simba puts enough weight for Nuka firstly to allow Simba to escape, and the weight from the effort Simba makes to leap to safety kicks a ton of logs right down onto Nuka, and it is blatantly obvious that even a healthy adult would not survive getting crushed or smashed by logs.
  • Rebellious Princess: Kiara, though what do you expect when said princess is also a lion.
  • Recycled In Space: Romeo and Juliet AS A TALKING ANIMAL CARTOON! With A happy ending!
  • Redemption Rejection: After Kiara convinces the other Outsiders to join the Pridelanders, Simba attempts to convince Zira to abandon her plans for revenge. It doesn't work.
    Simba: Let it go, Zira. It's time to put the past behind us.
    Zira: I'll never let it go!
  • Red Right Hand:
    • Subverted with the protagonist Kovu (who has more or less the same color scheme as Scar and acquires a scar over his eye about halfway through the movie).
    • Played straight with the other outsiders, most notably Zira (who has a vertical stripe on her head and an Ear Notch). Before the end battle, the outsider lionesses all walk through mud, just so we (and maybe they themselves) can tell them apart from their Prideland counterparts in the heat of the battle. By the time they realize there's really not all that much of a difference between the two groups, and reunite, they're all clean again, though their distinguishing drawing style remains.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Kovu eventually decides to join the Pridelanders for real, but after Simba thinks he led him into an ambush, he orders his exile.
  • Rejection Ritual: The "One of Us" sequence. Everyone present (minus the Royal Family) sing their hatred at Kovu, who also has to run a gauntlet.
  • Remember the New Guy?: So, where exactly was Scar's pride during The Lion King, and why did he never spare a single thought for them? It isn't covered by Scar just being a Jerkass; he makes it pretty clear that he'd rather be living with anyone other than his brother and company. According to Zira, Kovu was "hand-chosen by [Scar] to follow in his pawprints and become King." When, exactly? And if so, shouldn't they have been with him in the Pridelands?
  • Retcon: A tie-in book series cast Simba's and Nala's cub as a male named Kopa. Some Fanon theories try to correct this by having Kopa have died somehow, some of which cast this as the reason Zira was exiled...
  • Rhino Rampage: Kiara, Kovu, Timon, and Pumbaa get chased by a crash of black rhinoceroses, because the spotted thick-knees they were chasing away happened to be the rhinos' friends.
  • Rocky Roll Call: This exchange:
    Simba: Zira...
    Zira: Simba...
    [both growl and roar when Nala, Timon, Pumbaa, and three other lionesses hop on the scene]
    Zira: Nala...
    Nala: Zira...
    Timon: [gesturing to himself then Pumbaa] Timon...Pumbaa... Great, now that we all know each other... get out of our pride lands!
  • Running Gag: Several times, characters ask "What are you doing?".
    • In their first meeting, Kovu asks Kiara why she is not turning her back on him.
    • Kovu says it again in order to alert her to who he is when they reunite.
    • Right before he learns the Outsiders are on their way, Simba stumbles upon Timon and Pumbaa fighting, and asks "What are you doing?", right before they attempt to lie to him saying Kiara is gone.
  • Sanity Slippage: Simba might be losing his mind, considering the trauma from the first film leaving its mark on him, something underscored even more by his Bad Dreams, implied to be recurring ones, which say a lot about the state of his psyche. All of his previous decisions, although antagonistic, are completely understandable. However, at the trial and during the final battle, he is far more angry, and far more violent, unwilling to listen to reasonable points, and he is nowhere near the calm, if fierce, character we saw during both films. Fortunately for Simba, Kiara brings him back from the brink. It gets even scarier when you wonder: what if Kiara hadn't talked him down? Would he have killed her? Would he have killed every single Outsider then and there? Would his dealing with future problems be more violent? The implications are really disturbing.
  • Save the Villain: After attempting to attack Simba, Zira is tackled by Kiara and the two are sent tumbling off the cliff. In a very familiar TLK fashion, Zira is left clinging for her life and risks falling into the raging river below to her death. Kiara attempts to save her ("Zira... give me your paw!"), but she meets her watery fate regardless.
  • Scenery Porn: Wouldn't be a Lion King film without it.
  • Shamed by a Mob: When Kovu is mistakenly believed to have been part of the plot to attempt to kill Simba, and a huge crowd is singing about their hatred for him in "One of Us".
  • Shipper on Deck: Mufasa of all people! Rafiki is doing his usual fruit painting prophecies on the tree, when a gust of wind breaks a fruit in half, leading him to conclude Mufasa is suggesting that Kovu and Kiara are meant for each other. Rafiki isn't amused by this notion, but Mufasa doesn't care. According to Word of God, this was actually going to be more explicit in the original script, before they realized/decided that having Mufasa appear as an actual talking character would be unrealistic and Narmy, and would ruin the great lion's gravitas, so they went with a timely wind instead.
    Rafiki: What? Kovu... Kiara... together? This is the plan? [yells] Are you crazy? This will never work! Oh, Mufasa, you been up there too long. Your head is in the clouds! [wind blows hard at Rafiki] Okay, okay, okay! Okay!
  • Shout-Out: Word of God says this film is Romeo and Juliet + The Manchurian Candidate.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!:
    • Zira threatens Kovu at the climax of the movie, which he responds with "You'll never hurt Kiara or Simba. Not while I'm here." To be fair, her line right before suggests she knew that Kovu might not have it in him anyway to harm Simba in the first place, so it really should have been a surprise.
    • Earlier after Nuka dies, Zira tells Kovu he betrayed Scar. Kovu, fully aware of who Scar really was now thanks to Simba, angrily replies he wants nothing more to do with her insane idol.
  • Shown Their Work: Kovu says that his reason for joining Simba's Pride is that he has left the Outsiders and is a rogue. In real life, male lions usually do leave their prides around the time of young adulthood.
  • Silence Is Golden: During the Pridelanders/Outsiders reunion in the final scene, not a word is exchanged amongst the lions; everything done is conveyed through their expressions and gestures.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Zira's opinion on morality. She sees morality as a weakness and suspected that Kovu was moral even before he left on the mission.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: The main theme of the film. The whole conflict between the Pride and the Outlanders goes back to the original feud of Mufasa and Scar (both dead by the time of this movie), with both of them fighting on behalf of their old deceased leader. The conflict ends when both sides (except Zira) accept to let the past go and be a single pride once more.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Subverted. African rock pythons are among the animals outraged by the Outsiders' plot to murder Simba. Although they're also among the animals who falsely accuse Kovu of being part of it.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Kovu says "What are you doing?" to Kiara when they reunite as adults, alerting her to the fact the lion who just saved her is her childhood friend.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Played With in regards to Kiara. Zira clearly did not expect that Kiara and Kovu would fall in love and shows utter shock when she learns that Kovu has apparently betrayed them, not considering that Kiara and Kovu's connection meant that this very easily could have happened anyway.
    • Later on, Simba telling Kovu the full story of Scar proves to be the last straw for Kovu's already wavering loyalty to the Outsiders, and when Zira tells Kovu he betrayed Scar by not helping, Kovu gives Zira a withering Shut Up, Hannibal! moment before he leaves.
  • Spirit Advisor: Mufasa, advising Rafiki that Kovu and Kiara should be together. But he didn't appear to either of them, who had never met him anyway. In the end, he told Simba that he was proud of the way things ended.
  • Standing Between the Enemies: Kovu and Kiara at the climax of the story.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Obviously, as this was based on Romeo and Juliet. (Continuing in the tradition of Lion King based on Shakespeare.)
  • Stars Are Souls: A Call-Back to the first movie.
    Kiara: My father and I used to do this all the time. He says all the great kings of the past are up there.
  • Stargazing Scene: Kiara and Kovu have a scene where they're staring up at the sky and pointing out different constellations, like a rabbit and "two lions killing eachother for a scrap of meat". Kovu admits it's something he's never done before, while Kiara had done it all the time with Simba. When she mentions the "kings of the past" story, Kovu gets upset and asks if she thinks Scar is up there, too.
  • Stealth Escort Mission: When Kiara goes off on her first hunt alone, Simba has Timon and Pumbaa follow her in secret to ensure her own safety. Needless to say, Kiara does not take this well when she runs into them.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: The day after Kovu saves Kiara, he sees Simba near the water hole and prepares to attack him, but is stopped by Kiara asking for her promised hunting lesson. By the time Kovu looks back, Simba's vanished, of course given the angle that is presented, along with the fact the den is right there, it is probably justified.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: The villain is named Zira, which is Swahili for "to hate". She must've had some nice parents.
  • Sturgeon's Law: Inverted. Out of all the Disney direct-to-video sequels, this one is easily one of the most well-received by fans of the original, and is frequently cited as one of the very few good Disney sequels made. The majority of LK fanfic writers accept it as canon and make extensive use of its original characters, especially when it comes to Kiara and Kovu. Not unreasonable at all to put this within the worthwhile 10% of the Disney sequels.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: Simba promptly shouts every word at Kovu's trial and inmeidatly after it, indicating he has completely snapped.
  • Suddenly Voiced: This is the first time lions other than the royal family and Outsiders and animals other than Pumbaa, Timon, Rafiki and Zazu speak.
  • Suicide Is Painless: What Zira's death might have been before the directors decided to cut part of her death from the final version. The cut scene features Kiara reaching out to save Zira...only to have Zira look back at Kiara with the most frightening smile of the movie and whisper "No... nev-er." just before intentionally letting go of the ledge. The directors evidently thought this was just a bit too dark for a movie whose plot is driven mostly by Zira's obsession with revenge.
  • Tap on the Head: Despite being kicked headfirst into a rock, Kovu is up literally two minutes later.
  • Take My Hand: Kiara tries to do this to Zira, saying "Give me your paw!", but Zira refuses.
  • Tempting Fate: Zira is revealed to have suspected that Kovu was weak due to morals in the past, but still chose him to do the mission. Sure, it's not like those morals will cause him to realize just how crazy you are and say that "I'm not doing this. This isn't right."
  • They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • Timon and Pumbaa may be frustrated with each other and with Simba on occasions, but they'll drag Simba back to Pride Rock when he's injured and both valiantly join the fight against the outsiders. They actually kick butt... again.
    • Zira, surprisingly, gets one: she may not show it all the time, but she does love Nuka. She's actually utterly heartbroken and furiously angry at Kovu when Nuka is flattened.
  • "They Still Belong to Us" Lecture: Zira pulls a very successful one right after Kovu's Heel Realization.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: The song "One of Us" includes "...But do not forget what we cannot forgive" as some of the lyrics to it.
  • Those Two Guys: Timon and Pumbaa take to this role again like in the first movie.
  • Time Skip: A few years pass between the time Kiara and Kovu first meet and the time they reach adulthood.
  • Trauma Button: Given that Simba is heavily implied to have post traumatic stress disorder, Kovu unwittingly becomes this for him, as he is left paranoid of the Outsider, and it takes the entire movie for him to finally acknowledge that Kovu is not Scar.
  • Tranquil Fury: Simba still has it, but this time, it is just barely contained in the tranquil part. Simba drops the tranquil part at Kovu's trial ultimately.
  • Tree Cover: Timon and Pumbaa manage to completely conceal themselves behind a tree that's one-third Pumbaa's width.
  • Triumphant Reprise: "We Are One" is reprised instrumentally twice; first during the introduction of adult Kiara, and again appropriately during the final scene, as Kovu and the outsiders are accepted into the Pridelands.
  • The Unchosen One: Nuka is a perfect example of this, being more eligible for the role of his father's (and mother's) protege and getting shafted in favor of Kovu, who isn't even biologically related to Zira.
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • Even though Kovu came racing down and desperately tried to dig Nuka out of the logs, Zira still blames him for her older son's death, and the allegation that Kovu killed Nuka falls even shorter given that Kovu was nowhere near the logs when they fell, not to mention it was Nuka's fault.
    • Despite the fact that Kovu tried to help him in the ambush, and very noticeably ignored Zira's command to attack Simba when he was completely vulnerable on the logs, Simba still spitefully exiles Kovu.
  • Unknown Rival: Kovu never seemed to bother much about his older brother's resentment towards him; for most of their brief interaction he is shown to pity his mistreatment, while his death fully cements Kovu's Heel–Face Turn.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • Kovu's innocent action of playing with Kiara unknowingly set the plot in motion, as Zira realizes that she can use the friendship as a means of having Kovu getting close to Simba and kill him.
    • Kiara's efforts to run away from the Pride Lands leads to Zira using her relationship with Kovu to endanger the Pridelands, eventually leading to war.
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • Simba's overprotectiveness of Kiara and paranoia over Kovu is used by Zira to try to get him killed and frame Kovu for the ambush.
    • Kiara nearly became one for Zira and her schemes, but they ended up going sideways as Kovu falls in love with her and learns about Simba's past, and thus Took A Levelin Kindness.
  • Villain Ball: Zira grabs it hard. For a starter, she was well aware Kovu wanted absolutely nothing to do with the plot. It is also heavily implied that she knew Kovu might not go through with it even before the whole plan started. She had absolutely no leverage to ensure he could stay loyal. The entire plan was practically gambling he would stay loyal. Needless to say, she probably should have chosen Vitani or especially Nuka, as Kovu was a terrible choice from the start.
  • Villainous Badland, Heroic Arcadia: Zira's pride lives in exile in an empty patch of wasteland outside the Pride Lands that seems to be mostly empty, dusty desert, the only feature of note being a titanic termite mound where the exiled lions live, and like the hyenas in the prequel want to take over the lush, green and game-rich Pride Lands where Simba rules.
  • Villain Song: "My Lullaby" (written by Joss Whedon) is probably the most twisted and messed-up song in Disney's catalogue since Frollo's number from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It is almost exclusively about Zira outlining her very gruesome, blood-soaked dreams of revenge against Simba against a pounding orchestra.
  • Virtue Is Weakness: Zira has this type of belief regarding morality, best shown in the final battle when she tells Kovu he is weaker than she thought he was, indicating that she disapproved of his morals.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy:
    • Nuka. Rare variation in that it's his mother's approval, not his father's, that he longs for. The effort of getting Zira's attention is what ends up killing him. There is even a deleted scene where he uses his dying breath to point that fact out to her directly.
    • Simba too, albeit with less subtlety than the first time around. Forgetting the moving testimonial he'd received from his father's ghost, and unable to get over his past, Simba refuses to trust Kovu or see him as anything but a reincarnation of Scar, all in the mistaken belief that this is what his father would do (and therefore, would make Mufasa proud of him). Luckily Nala, as usual, is the voice of reason while Kiara, with typical bluntness, makes it quite clear to her father that he is not and never will be Mufasa. And just to hammer the point home that Simba does not have to emulate his father's reign (or his perception of it) in order to receive his love and pride, Mufasa's ghost actually says the words, "Well done, my son" after the prides are united and peace is declared.
  • Wham Line:
    • "You will never be Mufasa!"
    • Another, but more subtle and heartwarming one:
      "You're even weaker than I thought."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Sarabi's voice actress died before the sequel was made, so they just left Sarabi to a cameo as a background lioness with no lines.
    • The hyenas don't appear either, though Nuka lampshades that they fled after killing Scar.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Zira's constant abuse of Nuka, both physical, psychological, and neglectful, the effects it had on him, along with his urgent desire to gain her affection is always used as comedy due to the fact they are lions, whereas if it had been humans, it would have been treated as deadly serious.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Towards the end, Simba sharply scolds Kiara for "blindly" trusting Kovu, which nearly got him killed. Kiara responds with her own one in five simple words: "You will never be Mufasa!"
  • What Would X Do?: Simba's biggest flaw is trying to be as good as Mufasa to the point where he ends up making knee-jerk reactions when something unexpected happens and screws everything up. Kiara calls him out on it big time.
  • What You Are in the Dark: After Kiara and Kovu reunite, both of them are tempted to run away and consider starting their own pride, which would allow them to be together, especially Kovu, which given all the awful treatment he has been given in this film is very understandable. However, they both decide to go back to reunite the prides, which is especially telling for Kovu, given that he is essentially facing death from both prides if they don't listen to reason.
  • Winds Are Ghosts: Wnd blows around the main characters more than once. This wind is implied to be either Mufasa or the general spirits of the past Great Kings.
  • Women Are Wiser:
    • Played straight with the now queen Nala, something that exasperated most fans of her previous portrayal, and her teenage daughter Kiara in regards to Simba. On the other hand, Simba not being particularly wise by any standard is a big part of the plot.
    • Zigzagged with Zira's pride. Both Kovu and Nuka are far less swift and formidable than the female outlanders, though ultimately far less vicious and deluded, with Kovu ultimately becoming a White Sheep. Vitani and the rest of her pack do ultimately Heel–Face Turn, though it takes until the end of the film.
  • Worf Had the Flu: To Kovu, twice.
    • While a lot of people hammer Kovu for getting knocked out incredibly easily, he was kicked headfirst by Vitani into a rock, which would knock anybody out.
    • Kovu is shown throughout the film to have good reflexes, as shown when Simba surprises him and Kiara after the fire. It is implied the only reason Zira managed to give him a scar was because he was still grieving over Nuka's death and in a normal situation would have been able to dodge or parry Zira's swipe.
    • Likewise, it is pretty obvious the only reason Simba is overwhelmed by the Outsiders in the final battle is because he is still suffering from his wounds in the ambush.
  • You Are Not Alone: The song "We Are One" is all about this idea. It's one of the most meaningful and heartwarming songs in the whole film series, and the advice certainly aids Kiara later in the film.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: "Helpless to defy his fate!" This lyric in "One of Us" suggests that the singers believe Kovu couldn't not be a follower of Zira even if he wanted to.
  • You Must Be Cold: Simba uses this as an excuse to allow Kovu into the den to see if he is trustworthy. By this time, he has become.
  • You Remind Me of X: He never says it, but there are a number of hints in the second half of the film that Simba, despite ,mistrusting Kovu due to him allegedly being Scar's heir, does see something of himself in him, primarily the fact that he wants to leave a bad influence behind and be a better person. It is ultimately implied to be the reason that convinces Simba to tell Kovu about who Scar really was.

Alternative Title(s): The Lion King 2, The Lion King II, The Lion King II Simbas Pride, The Lion King 2 Simbas Pride

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