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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • There has been a lot of speculation as to Scar's role as leader of the previous Lion Guard, and especially with his relationship with Mufasa. Were Scar and Mufasa once close as brothers, or did Scar at least respect Mufasa? And what of Mufasa's view of Scar? While advising Kion to support his sister during her day as queen, Mufasa tells Kion that it's important to be there for his sister "especially when she's wrong." Perhaps Mufasa's resentment toward Scar as seen at the beginning of TLK is due more to Scar's lack of support as a brother than due to Scar's apathetic behavior as a prince neglecting his duties. This raises the question of what caused Scar to appeal to the Lion Guard for help in deposing Mufasa. Perhaps Mufasa made a mistake early on in his reign as king, and Scar tried to call him out on it (or prevent it), leading to a quarrel between them that ended in Scar's decision to try and have Mufasa removed from the throne.
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    • Jasiri's striking similarity to another hyena in a licensed spin-off story raises the question of whether she counts as a Canon Immigrant, or whether the creators of the show itself were even aware of the side materials released with the original movie in 1994. Kion gets similar questions on whether he is an expy of Simba's non-canon son Kopa or whether it's coincidental.
    • Most of the time, Janja and his clan are just trying to get a meal, or taking an opportunity. The Lion Guard keeps scaring them off because... why? They don't have a problem with hyenas as scavengers. In real life, they'd be doing it because they're competition for food, but obviously this risks the lions looking like jerks for chasing off starving hyenas. Instead, Kion just calls Janja and his clan troublemakers, which makes him a hypocrite. Presumably believing in the Circle of Life means his steak dinner loves him back.
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    • Related to the above. Are Janja and his clan simple predators wanting to get their meals, an enemy faction trying to chase the lions off the Pride Lands to take their place (as hinted in Outta the Way), or villainous gluttons who just want to eat as much as they want without caring about consequences and disrupting the balance of the ecosystem justifying the Guard's antagonism towards them?
    • Zira telling Kion that Scar lost the Roar because he used it against other lions — was she deliberately lying to him, or (since she has no problem with Scar's actions and wouldn't see him attacking his enemies as "evil") did she sincerely believe that must be the reason?
    • "The Hyena Resistance" reveals that Janja lied and let Scar believe he succeeded in killing Jasiri back in "Rescue in the Outlands," but we're never told why he would do such a thing. Was it just because he was afraid of getting in trouble... or because he didn't want her dead? He did hesitate when Scar first gave them that assignment ("Oh... yeah... sure thing...")...
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    • Is Ushari a normal cobra turned to villainy, or was that just a front and he was Evil All Along? The fact that he's friends with other sinister reptiles and suddenly has plans to conquer the Pride Lands seems to suggest the latter.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • So far, Scar has been cool and collected since his revival, and hasn't brought up the fact that he was mauled to death and eaten by hyenas to Janja's clan.
    • None of the Lion Guard nor Makini seem to be surprised about Ushari being evil. Did they expect this to happen? In fact, so far the subject of Ushari's betrayal has never been called upon.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • Despite being geared more towards kids, the show still goes out of its way to elaborate on the various (and often confusing) elements of the "Circle of Life" and how the citizens of the Pride Lands coexist. One of the big ones being what makes the predators of the Pride Lands morally better than the ones of Outlands. Many episodes display Pride Land predators hunting in a more civilized and controlled manner like Kiara telling her friend they can't take too many gazelles, or Pua the crocodile asking the hippos if the pond has enough fish for them to eat. The animals of the Outlands (by contrast) are shown to be Always Chaotic Evil creatures who seem eager to take whatever they want and kill anyone they can get their hands, such as Janja and his hyenas who wanted to kill as many animals as they could in the pilot. Such animals are even shown openly denouncing the Circle of Life and those who live by it... So far any attempts at making peace with animals from the Outlands has ended in betrayal. The show also attempts to address a long-standing issue in regards to the series' portraying hyenas as inherently bad. The show introduces Jasiri, who tells Kion straight up that most hyenas are not like the Ax-Crazy Janja and in fact respect their roles in the Circle of Life — however, these hyenas also live in the Outlands. Again, it's confusing.
    • They also give a clear explanation for why hyenas are not allowed in the Pride Lands. Too many apex predators in one area would put too much of a strain on prey populations, so previous lions, hyenas and leopards all mutually agreed to take their own territories to keep this from happening.
    • One of the most common criticisms of the show is that Fuli the cheetah's design looks too much like a leopard. They attempted to fix this by making the leopards distinctly different. All of them are more muscular than Fuli, have bigger spots, and distinct face shapes similar to each other but different than hers. Also, the yellow of their fur is lighter than Fuli's yellow, just to further distinguish them from her. All of these are accurate differences, except for the paler yellow fur, but that last thing is a minor change compared to how far they deviate from the real thing in some of the other animal's designs.
    • Similar to Jasiri, Badili is introduced to show that not all leopards are bad and helps to reassure that the Lion Guard is more than willing to be nice to and help a predatory animal that's good at heart. They still kick him out of the Pridelands and refuse to entertain the mere notion of him living there, but at least they do it in a polite way (it was more along the lines of taking him back home rather than outright banishing him), and go out of their way for him once they learn his situation.
    • Makuu's Character Development and Heel–Face Turn satisfied some fans who felt uneasy about portraying crocodiles as villains, especially if they're part of the Pride Lands. Although "Let Sleeping Crocs Lie" still introduces more crocodilian antagonists, but these crocs turn out to be truly villainous in contrast to Makuu and thus get banished into the Outlands where they join Scar and his Legion of Doom. Basically, they made the Pridelander crocs good while the outsider crocs are evil, which fares a lot better than in Season 1.
    • "The Morning Report" has a moment that subverts the show's frequent indulging in Protagonist-Centered Morality. Makuu asserts that the crocodile float is within their rights to eat baby Kion and Bunga after the pair wanders onto their territory and harasses them — and Pua, a very kindly and sensible leader, acknowledges that he's 100 percent right. When he does let them go, he makes it very clear that Kion's not getting a pass because he's entitled to it.
    • Some viewers accused the show of perpetuating the Reptiles Are Abhorrent trope after having Ushari turn evil and the first named lizard characters as villains, which is not helped by them occurring after Makuu's redemption plus the show already having background squamates (i.e. lizards and snakes) as good guys. The show balances this by introducing more reptilian characters who are outright heroic (Hodari and Kinyonga).
  • Awesome Art: While there's always something a little bit off about the series' artwork, it's clearly trying very hard to emulate the look of a work made in The Renaissance Age of Animation and mostly succeeding, which gives it major props in an era where that kind of animation scarcely exists anymore.
  • Badass Decay:
    • Nala is depicted as requiring Kion to save her from a group of low-level young hyenas, when in the films she was a very active participant in the various battles (one of which takes place after the series).
    • The Outsiders are presented as quite a bit less dangerous than in the original film, as they're able to be pinned by the much smaller and younger members of the Lion Guard. In Simba's Pride, they proved to be dangerous enough to overwhelm the Pridelanders and Simba himself.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Kion is the most debated original character by far. Him being a previously unheard of younger brother to Kiara, and having more than a few similarities to Simba's previous non-canon son Kopa, has irked fans who see him as an unneeded character. On the other side people think he's a charming, flawed but likable character who's undergone a lot Character Development and deserves a chance; plus, they like the concept of Kiara having a younger sibling.
    • Hafifu and Majinuni, the gorilla princes. Some people love them simply for their voice actors while others find them even more annoying than Bunga.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The song "Tonight We Strike". In it, Janja outlines his plan to attack the Pride Lands at night and kill all the animals while they're sleeping. What actually happens is that the hyenas sneak in to the Pride Lands during the day and cause a gazelle stampede. Most likely what happened is the song was not revised after the plot for the episode was rewritten, probably due to time or budget constraints, causing the song to not mesh well with the rest of the episode.
  • Broken Base:
    • Rob Lowe as Simba. While the fans are more or less okay with the other characters being re-casted, some feel that Rob Lowe is miscast as the voice of Simba and feel that his voice doesn't suit the character while others do not mind him in the role.
    • Kiara's portrayal in this series. Some like it, some can't stand it.
    • The show's general portraying of various predators as evil and chaotic has been a point of contention among fans. Compared to the movie, which made an effort to portray predation as a way of life, the Lion Guard more frequently finds itself stumbling into Carnivore Confusion territory as animals are frequently shown being perfectly fine with lions and cheetahs despite the show showing Fuli attempting to hunt while treating other creatures like hyenas as dangerous by default. Some feel the show, in its attempt to appeal to younger audience, is actively stereotyping certain animals just to make Kion and the gang look good. This is not helped by the fact the recurring villains in the show are all animals that are usually stereotyped as villains (hyenas, vultures, jackals, crocodiles, and cobras) Many will argue that the show makes a notable effort to show that not all predators are malicious with cases like Pua, Jasiri, and Badili while others consider these attempts feeble and not enough to make up for the usual portraying of predators as evil. Though there have been cases in the show where there's more good predators than bad, but they are represented by animals more often portrayed as good in fiction (lions, honey badgers, cheetahs, eagles, servals, and pythons) so it didn't help much.
    • When "The Rise of Scar" came, some viewers did not approve of Ushari turning to villainy, especially due to the fact that he's a venomous snake who had previously been portrayed as a realistically neutral character who would only bite when provoked.
  • Complete Monster: Returing for his original appearance, Scar. It is revealed that he lead the original Lion Guard, killing them all when they refused his earlier attempts to overthrow Mufasa with him. In the second season, Scar's spirit tries to lead the animals of the Outlands on a brutal conquest of the Pride Lands: cutting off the river and entire water supply of the whole Pride Lands; and eventually simply trying to have them burn the savannah and all its inhabitants. Even after the death of his physical body, Scar remained a hateful creature driven by spite.
  • Critical Research Failure: The reason this show has an Artistic License – Biology entry half a mile long. For every legitimate case of artistic license (for example, Fuli's coloration), there tends to be a few cases of this trope (for example, the female ostriches' coloration). Even the Un-bunga-lieveable skits, which ostensibly exist to pad out the show's educational content, present blatantly incorrect information such as "crocodiles are bad parents" and "lions purr".
  • Designated Villain:
    • Makucha the leopard in "The Imaginary Okapi". When we first see him, he's innocently hunting some gazelle, and the Guard wastes no time in driving him out of the Pride Lands. While he's a ruthless hunter and undoubtedly a jerk, he's not hunting Ajabu the okapi for mindless blood sport — he has every intention of eating him.
    • Janja and his crew at times; In "The Kupatana Celebration", the Lion Guard attacked them for going after Dogo, but the jackals had repeatedly tried to take their den, so the hyenas were only defending their home. Even if Janja was planning on making an example out of Dogo, he still had reason to do so. And then there's "The Traveling Baboon Show". Janja's clan were well within their rights to attack the titular baboons for trying to steal from them (something the baboons had been completely unrepentant about doing at that point).
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Janja strikes a fiercely protective cord within the fandom. Janja is a poacher and a chaotic rulebreaker, but the Lion Guard's tendency to drive his clan off when they're doing nothing more egregious than hunting normally occasionally leads to him being portrayed as a poor baby who's starving to death. Episodes such as "Can't Wait to be Queen" and "The Mbali Fields Migration" have the fans divided on whether or not he was sympathetic in those episodes. However, other episodes from Season 2, where Janja tries to gleefully and brutally murder the Guard, Jasiri and innocent hyena pups without remorse, effectively show the contrast between woobiefied fanon Janja and the actual canon Janja.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Jasiri has gained a very large following out of the characters. She's a good hyena character, has an interesting sassy character, and people like her voice.
    • The leopard Makucha is becoming quite popular for his cool design and being voiced by Steven Blum.
    • Badili, another leopard, is also getting good reception due to his social awkwardness and cuteness in general.
    • Nne and Tano became popular due to being introduced as the most competent, cunning hyenas in the entire franchise, and for bringing about an interesting subplot in which Janja's hyena clan is growing weary of his repeated failures.
    • The Outsider lions also qualify, since this is their first major appearance since Simba's Pride and all of them (barring Zira, as Suzanne Pleshette passed away) were voiced by their original VA's from the movie.
    • Quite a lot of fans wished for Pua to make another appearance in the show, due to being a kind-hearted and wise crocodile character.
    • Kenge has gained popularity due to being a formidable adversary against the Guard and voiced by Kristofer Hivju.
    • Hodari the gecko has gotten a very warm reception because of his cute design and his singing voice (helped by his voice actor being Justin Hires). It also helps that he is the first named lizard character who is by no means abhorrent (granted, geckos are among the reptiles usually associated with good).
    • Dhahabu for her beautiful design, uniqueness (she's an extremely rare golden striped zebra, (which actually are possible in real life) and great singing voice.
    • Kinyonga for being a clever spy for the Lion Guard, her good design (resembling a real-life chameleon), and having the same voice as Ruby (helped by their voice actor being Meghan Strange).
    • Kuchimba for his Ugly Cute design and being voiced by AJ McLean.
    • Shujaa being an Expy of the Hulk and voiced by Christopher Jackson earned him a lot of fans.
    • Anga for her cool Dark Is Not Evil design, her Tsundere personality, and her voice.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • The Guard's absence from the latter parts of Simba's Pride has many people assuming the worst.
    • A growing number of fans suspected that Scar would make a physical appearance in the series, either in a flashback or in a supernatural way like his brother. The lingering shot of Scar over Janja's volcano with ominous music in the pilot, mentions of Season 2 becoming Darker and Edgier, and a running theme of Kion professing a desire to not end up like his great-uncle all add fuel to the fire for this. ''The Rise of Scar'' finally confirmed it.
    • There's also the assumptions on what's going to happen to Ushari once Scar is defeated.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation: Kovu's origins were already a colossal mess among the fandom in the second film, but the statement that he actually was alive after Scar's fall is widely disliked precisely because Kovu could not have been alive during that time and still be Kiara's age, not to mention Simba and Nala had absolutely no idea who he was when they met him before the events of the show, with many preferring to disregard that statement and instead preferring to make him an adopted child who has no relation to either Scar or Zira.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • The fandom can't seem to make up its mind on who to even ship Kion with. Kion and Fuli is a popular ship due to her being one of his close friends and the only female lion guard member.
    • Jasiri too is a popular shipping partner. With her sassy remarks and lidded eyes she is almost outright flirting with Kion. Kion smirking back at her doesn't help either.
    • There are also quite some Kion and Janja fanfictions out there.
    • Ever since "Ono and the Egg", fans began shipping Mpishi and Mwoga.
    • There is a fair amount of Kion and Bunga shippers in the fandom but it is usually overshadowed by more popular ships with Kion such as Kion x Fuli and Kion x Jasiri.
    • Janja and Jasiri has gained popularity mainly from the song "The Worst Hyena We Know" in the episode "Rescue in the Outlands" where in the whole song Jasiri is teasing and to the point of borderline flirting with Janja, and this is coming from his imagination. Fans have pointed out that when Janja was telling Scar all about Jasiri he mentioned she was fearless with a little smirk on his face. It also helps that Ford Riley has even stated Janja is confused about his feelings for her.
    • There is quite a lot of Janja and Fuli fan art. Despite both of them barely having deep interactions in the show they are two of the most popular and beloved characters in the show which is possibly the reason why they're shipped.
    • Same goes with Fuli and Jasiri, where there is quite the number of fan art of them being shipped. Their similar personalities and the idea that they both like Kion has led fans to ship them instead.
    • After "Undercover Kinyonga", fans have begun to ship Kinyonga and Hodari.
    • Between their constant admiring each other, and singing and flying together, Ono and Anga provide plenty of fuel for this, even before they reenact a scene between Superman and Lois Lane.
      Ono: I got you!
      Anga: You got me? Who's got YOU?!
  • Foe Yay: Fuli and Makucha have shades of this in "The Wisdom Of Kongwe", when they briefly have a rivalry pitting their wits and speed against each other. In true Lion King Action Girl fashion, the parting threat Fuli issues to Makucha as she pins him is equal parts flirty and intimidating.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • The vulture flock in "Eye of the Beholder" act like a bunch of bureaucrats in parliament. A group of vultures resting in a tree, as they were doing, can be referred to as a "committee".
    • In "The Lost Gorillas", Simba mentions King Sokwe and his gorilla troop made a peace treaty with him during the wet season. Contrary to their feared reputation, gorillas are non-violent animals preferring to solve problems diplomatically.
    • Also in "The Lost Gorillas", viewers might find it strange to see gorillas, animals that are mostly associated with tropical jungles, living in snowy mountains. However, mountain gorillas actually live in montane forests where it is relatively cold, and may go all the way up to the subalpine zone to find food (although going up to the alpine zone, where there is constant snow, is a bit of a stretch).
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Nuka's very appearance in the series can be this, considering his fate in the film.
    • The Outsiders were compared to Neo-Nazis, the alt-right, and other such racial supremacists due to the episode depicting Zira's pride preaching lion supremacy over other animals and being mindlessly devoted to a long-dead tyrant (as Scar and the hyenas intentionally referenced Hitler in the original film). "Lions of the Outlands" premiered mere days after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the results of which were widely celebrated by Neo-Nazis, the alt-right, and racial supremacists (and no more need be said on that subject.) Continuing on that topic, the Outlanders in Season 2 began to worship Scar as a sort of Dark Messiah, somewhat similarly to the way Zira's pride does, and in "Let Sleeping Crocs Lie" try to instigate violence during their schemes. The episode aired during the midst of a alt-right/Neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that led to numerous injuries and one death.
    • Star Wars Rebels fans might notice that both Kallus and Scar were in a band of brothers in their youth, only for things to go horribly wrong, resulting in them being the Sole Survivor of their team. For Kallus, he watched them die and was helpless to do anything. For Scar, he killed them himself because they didn't stand by him to betray Mufasa and appears to have no regret doing so.
  • He Really Can Act: Or sing, in this case.
    • Nika Futterman singing "Lions Over All".
    • David Oyelowo is a high-profile Emmy-nominated actor for a reason, though this is the first time he's had to sing (not counting a joke song from a Robot Chicken skit), and it is glorious.
    • Max Charles's performance as Kion is widely considered one of the highlights of the show. He has managed to maintain the same voice for Kion over the years and blended it to fit the character's emotions, despite the Schedule Slip meaning that he has to increasingly rely on manipulating his voice to keep it the same. While there have been a few episodes where Kion's voice is notably deeper, thanks to Max growing older, by large, the voice for the character has managed to stay the same.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Khary Payton was cast as the wise, staff-wielding Rafiki here. A year after the series premiere, he began starring in The Walking Dead as the wise, staff-wielding King Ezekiel.
    • Christopher Jackson being cast as Shujaa when you consider that the original description for his most famous role, George Washington in Hamilton, was described as “John Legend meets Mufasa”.
  • Ho Yay: Timon and Pumbaa continue be targets of this in this show. Their relationship is almost the same as it was in the original film and their own series but this time they decide to raise another child together with that child being Bunga the badger. Bunga refers to them both as his uncles, but they refer to both Bunga and Simba as their babies.
  • Idiot Plot:
    • In "Can't Wait to be Queen", Simba leaves Kiara in charge when he needs to leave for a few days, instead of leaving Nala or another adult in charge. She promptly falls for a obvious trap set by the hyenas and goes alone.
    • "Bunga the Wise" is about the chaos that ensures when the animals hear only part of Rafiki's sentence and think he said honey badgers are the wisest animals. They then proceed to follow Bunga's foolish advice, such as "ostriches should bury their heads in the sand to avoid being eaten by hyenas". Nobody questions any of what Bunga says, Bunga himself lacks the self awareness to realize he doesn't know everything and is and giving dangerous advice, Rafiki somehow doesn't realize all this is happening (he must be in his tree the entire time?).
    • The plot of the "The Imaginary Okapi" hinges on the herd animals of the Pride Lands not recognizing leopards as a threat. Interestingly, some real prey species have been known not to recognize predators of species not native to the area, but "leopards failing to register as a threat in an area where lions and cheetahs are common" is a definite stretch.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Ushari the cobra just wants to be left in peace to do normal snakey things like nap or eat lunch, but Bunga seems to always be getting in the way of that. This has included taking prey from Ushari's mouth and hurling him into a tree. Even during his Face–Heel Turn in "The Rise of Scar" he is portrayed sympathetically, being fed up of the Guard causing bad things happen to him and getting forced to work with the hyenas or else he'll be eaten. However, he is starting to lose sympathy as he keeps descending into villainy as the series goes on, during which in "The Scorpion's Sting" he goes after the Guard and Makini with murderous glee as the rest of Scar's Legion of Doom.
    • Mjomba the aardwolf from "Too Many Termites" could be seen as a mild example. He's very grouchy and irritable but he was also mistakenly chased out of the Pridelands and along with his pack, left to fend for themselves in the Outlands.
    • After being pushed off a cliff and betrayed by Nne and Tano in "Janja's New Crew", Janja is now on the road to becoming this.
  • Just Here for Godzilla:
    • Interest in the series spiked when it was announced that Zira, Nuka, Vitani, Kovu, and the Outsiders would be appearing in the series.
    • Scar's return in the second season as a major antagonist also attracted many viewers to the series, including some fans of Star Wars Rebels, due to Scar's The Other Darrin being David Oyelowo.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Scar has regained his status as this, shown especially in "The Scorpion's Sting" with his ingenious and nearly successful plan to assassinate Simba and also finish off the Lion Guard for good - he has a scorpion sting Simba's tail and afflict him with a fatal illness that can only be cured by volcanic ash, which lures the Lion Guard plus Makini to his volcano in the Outlands, where he's set blockades of his crocodile, jackal, and hyena minions to slow them down. Then when the Guard gets inside the volcano to collect the ash, Scar himself emerges and reveals that his true trap hasn't even been sprung yet before calling his entire army of animals he's gathered under his lead to attack and attempt to kill them all. And he does all this on the anniversary of his death.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • The backstory behind the Lion Guard suggests that Scar touched upon the line even earlier than killing his brother when he massacred his comrades in the Lion Guard because they wouldn't help him betray Mufasa. It's even seen as this in-universe seeing as Scar was never able to use his special roar ever again after having committed this act.
    • Nne and Tano cross this when they try to kill Janja just because they see him as a liability.
    • Kiburi and his three followers cross the line when they attempt to assassinate Simba during the Mashindano in the episode "Let Sleeping Crocodiles Lie". It`s even seen as this In-Universe as this action gets them banished from both their float and the Pridelands. You know you're evil when Makuu is taken aback by this heinous deed.
    • After bringing back Scar, Janja and Ushari cross this by attempting to murder the Lion Guard along with their friends and family under Scar's command, and showing delight about it.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Especially in Season 2 after Scar's spirit returns, the fact that the Skinks are always watching Pridelanders, identifying if any other animal besides the Lion Guard presents a threat to Scar, and they will tell him. They're very stealthy and almost no animal has ever spotted or foiled them. If you are an animal with a skill that's in great need (unparalleled intelligence, connections to spirits, etc) they'll be really good at convincing you and tricking you into helping them, and you won't know until it's too late. But, that also means they can identify your weaknesses too, and they will pass that on to Scar, and if he wants you killed, you better pray the Lion Guard will save you on time. If you're a friendly neighborhood reptile, you're at even greater risk.
  • Periphery Demographic: While there is a clear Audience Shift towards younger audiences with this show compared to the movie with it even airing on Disney Junior, there's still plenty of stuff thrown in for older people to enjoy and the show can get surprisingly Darker and Edgier at times like Simba being saddened over the death of an old friend or the Family-Unfriendly Violence depicted in the crocodile mashindano. Because of this, the show has quite a big following of older viewers and chances are, this was writer's intention.
  • Replacement Scrappy: While Timon and Pumbaa are in the series, it probably does not help that it seems like the makers of the show are trying to make Bunga the next Timon & Pumbaa, especially considering Timon and Pumbaa themselves have a mixed reaction with the fans, to the point that they could be considered The Scrappy to some.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Makuu was considered a one-note villain who went so far as to directly threaten the lives of Nala and Basi and received little love from the fandom. However, his Character Development and pragmatic, gradual Heel–Face Turn in Season 2 as he begins genuinely working to be a good leader for his float have won over many of his detractors.
    • Bunga's chilly reception has warmed over time. Some argue that Bunga is headed this route after several episodes showcasing his better qualities, like "The Search For Utamu", "The Mbali Fields Migration", "Bunga and the King", "Babysitter Bunga", "The Ukumbusho Tradition", and "The Bite of Kenge".
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Some viewers feel the Lion Guard are hero antagonists who prevent predators from hunting (Bunga assaulting Ushari for trying to eat a hyrax is a big offender) despite their creed to protect the Circle of Life, and thus root for the villains. The fact that 4 of the 5 members eat meat further fuels the sentiment. However, most of the predators they thwart are clearly established to be either greedy poachers who deliberately trespass on others' territories or are troublemakers who do not respect the Circle of Life (with many of them gleefully denouncing it). A few argue that the Outlands have no food which justifies Janja or Reirei hunting in the Pridelands, but that raises the question why some Outlanders like Jasiri would insist on staying there and are able to thrive happily. In many cases, the Guard outright point out reasons why they must stop a predator from eating the prey — whether these reasons are good, sensible, or consistent remains a matter of debate.
    • Simba, the Lion King himself, has gotten this treatment, though it may also be a holdover of his still controversial characterization from "Simba's Pride". After the pilot movie, "Return Of The Roar", aired a popular internet sentiment, headcanon and edgy fanfiction idea was that Simba was a neglectful, abusive racist of a king and a father, who showed extreme Parental Favoritism towards Kiara over Kion and would easily disown Kion if he did anything taboo like befriend a hyena (which may result in Kion easily turning evil and abandoning everything he ever believed in). This despite the fact that Simba and Kion have a very loving, amiable and developed father-son relationship in canon that has only grown stronger over time because they've both made mistakes and learned from them. Ironically, Simba has given Kion more freedom and support in this series than he did with Kiara in the entirety of "The Lion King 2", which raises its own set of unfortunate implications about Simba's Double Standards as a parent.
  • The Scrappy: When the series launched, Bunga was hated by a lot of fans, mainly because he seemed to be the biggest source of forced "comedic" conflicts in every episode. Not helped by the fact that he shared several traits of Scrappy-Doo himself, and had a catchphrase some perceived as annoying; "un-Bunga-lievable". Bunga's hatedom seems to have died down as the show has actively made a point to portray him as both brave and occasionally insightful and also very grating. He's simply that friend that's hard to get along with, but a valuable member of the team nonetheless.
  • Signature Song: "Lions Over All", Zira's Villain Song, is currently the most popular original song of the series.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Bunga eventually gets bitten by Ushari for landing on his head. It is implied that the bite given was a dry bite (Ushari seems to be aware that honey badgers are highly resistant to venom), but some fans find the moment satisfying after Bunga bullied Ushari a few episodes prior. He later gets an official one as a group of young animals playing and pretending to be the Guard state that whoever is the slowest to choose becomes Bunga, much to his annoyance and probably to the fans' amusement.
    • He also gets this in "Bunga And The King" when Kion admits that Bunga can be annoying at times. And that's saying something, given their friendship and all. Later in that same episode, Simba chews him out for his crazy ideas and general unhelpfulness, saying "Do you have any IDEA how annoying it is to be stuck down here with YOU?" Mind you, considering what Simba himself was like as a cub, his experience with Bunga in this episode can feel less like misfortune and more like Laser-Guided Karma.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Jeremy Irons not reprising as Scar with David Oyelowo as The Other Darrin instead. At least two of the reactions to this change are that while Oyelowo is certainly a good actor and good voice actor, he can't channel the same feel of Irons's voice, while the other reaction is that it is outright terrible (with a strange argument that it's because the new voice actor is American... when he's actually British like just Irons). Although it should be noted that Irons has never played Scar in anything following the original movie, so this wasn't unexpected.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Mpshi. Harrier-hawks are omnivores: they're one of the only predatory animals that could realistically pull off a Vegetarian Carnivore Heel–Face Turn, and in doing so, might have taught kids something about Harrier-hawks. But she determinedly remains a villain until she's summarily booted from the Pridelands.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: When the series was first announced, most of the fandom assumed that it would take place after Simba's Pride and feature Kiara as Kion's adult sister. Sadly, this wasn't the case.
  • Toy Ship:
    • It was inevitable but this is pretty common. Fuli and Kion, Zuri and Tiifu, Tiifu and Kion, Zuri and Kion, Jasiri and Kion, etc. Some age them up but some fans like the Puppy Love or rather Cubby Love aspect.
    • With the appearance of Jasiri, people of begun to ship her heavily with Kion. Also because she is one of the only recurring females not related to Kion.
    • When Fuli beats Kion in their training, Kion compliments Fuli stating that she is good, and she replies in an actually non-snarky "I know"; however the camera cutting away to Beshete and Mtoto ruins us seeing the rest of the conversation.
    • No sooner had Kovu been confirmed to return in the show, fans began shipping him with Kiara hard. Though it's justified given the Foregone Conclusion of the series, the two never interact as cubs outside of their initial encounter.
  • Tough Act to Follow: General consensus seems to be that Scar's new Villain Song, "I Have A Plan" is decent enough, but just can't hold a torch to "Be Prepared", usually considered the definitive Villain Song of the Disney Animated Canon.
  • Ugly Cute: Cheezu and Chungu solidified their status as this in "Janja's New Crew".
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: The Lion Guard, for regularly stopping predators from getting their meals even when it seems like the predators aren't breaking any of the Circle of Life's rules. All of them aside from Beshte are carnivores themselves (and even hippos have been known to eat meat in a pinch), so this makes them seem hypocritical. Further compounding this issue is Kion and the guard's habit of roaming beyond the boundary of the Pridelands and enforcing their rules on the predators who live there — something the first movie portrayed in a very, very negative light.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Janja is the leader of his clan however, he is a male hyena. This has confused some.
  • What an Idiot!: Makuu criticizing Pua for fearing hippos. If Pua is afraid of hippos, it'd be for a REAL good reason. Hippos are some of the most dangerous animals in the world, being extremely territorial and aggressive. Even in real life, crocodiles know better than to mess around with them.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?:
    • Oh, no one doubts it's aimed at children. However fans are stumped as to why it's supposedly a preschooler-aimed show. It doesn't really compare to most others and features some material that could be considered mature for the early childhood target demographic. For example, you know what is apparently just fine for preschoolers? A backstory for the show's central concept in which Scar commits mass murder on members of his own species.
    • Seeing as how "The Lion King" franchise started with regicide, "The Lion Guard" series, despite being aimed at even younger kids, does not shy away from the fact that the villains want the heroes dead and/or eaten. Predation and attempted murder happen quite often, with the most disturbing example so far being the time Mzingo and his vultures tried to feast on Fuli while she was still alive.
    • In the movie, members of the soon-to-be Lion Guard comment that Janja and his clan have already "scored" more than enough gazelles to feed themselves. While it was explained in no uncertain terms that predators like the protagonist eat gazelles in the original Lion King movie, they were also content to give them a less anthropomorphic and more realistic depiction. In the this series however, Gazelles and other prey animals have speaking roles.
    • In the episode "Can't Wait to be Queen", the dead body of an elephant is shown onscreen; though the imagery isn't graphic, since the character has passed away from age, and the focus of the scene is more on the funeral itself than it is on the body. He's also been covered in flowers and plant life, which is a neat bit of Truth in Television for elephants.
    • Similar to how Scar and his goose-stepping army of hyenas that he'd promised to improve the living conditions of in The Lion King brought to mind the Nazis, Zira and the Outlanders on this show invoke Neo Nazis, the alt-right, and racial supremacists with Zira's rhetoric of how lions are meant to rule over all the other animals. There's also the implication that Scar and Zira mated.
    • The Lion Guard has a complicated relationship with the Prideland crocs that starts in "The Rise Of Makuu", with Kion having to accept thuggish and antagonistic Makuu as the rightful leader of the float and feeling conflicted about the right way to handle him (more bad blood forms between Makuu and the Guard in "Never Roar Again" and "Beshte And The Hippo Lanes", the former of which has Makuu attack Kion's family while Kion is at his most vulnerable and the latter has Makuu attack Beshte's dad while Basi is injured). "The Savannah Summit" deals with some rather complex politics of the Pride Lands, touching on topics like diplomatic immunity, having to deal with national leaders who have been hostile to your own in the past (by way of herd leaders in the Pride Lands), and Kion making the situation worse thanks to his own prejudice towards Makuu. In "Let Sleeping Crocs Lie", Kion, Simba and Makuu have to deal with even further complications involving the dry season, insurrection in the crocodile ranks, and eventually an assassination attempt on Simba. "The Little Guy" has Makuu's float being conflicted with their Proud Warrior Race Guy and Social Darwinist views when Hodari and the Guard save them from an attack by the rogue crocs, in which said rogues' leader came close to murdering Makuu while he's injured. Basically, whenever the crocs get an episode devoted to them, the show's sense of morality seems to become greyer than usual.
    • When Scar returns to become the show's Big Bad, he is summoned from the depths of Hell, appearing as a demonic fiery entity within a volcano.
  • The Woobie:
    • Badili is this despite being only a one-shot character so far. He's quite possibly the most Adorkable character in the Lion King franchise but he's also a bullying victim with self-esteem problems. You kind of just want to reach into your screen and give the poor leopard a hug.
    • Cheezi and Chungu in "Janja's New Crew". Even though they're technically villains, both are too dumb to even qualify as Jerkass Woobie, even bordering on Kindhearted Simpleton at times despite following Janja. The surprise revelation that Janja's the only family they've ever known contributed immensely to this.
    • A lot of fans felt bad for Kovu by the end of "Lions of the Outlands".
    • The aardwolves from "Too Many Termites", especially Ogopa and Haya. They were kicked out of the Pride Lands by the Guard due to a misunderstanding, which left them terrified of them even as the Guard tries to help them get back home until Mjomba discovers what really happened and sorts it out for them. And then all of them end up in danger of getting eaten by Reirei and Goigoi after being tricked with a warm welcome, though luckily the Guard arrives just in time to save them from the jackals.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:
    • Not casting Cam Clarke as the voice of Simba (who usually voices him outside of the movies) came out of left field for many longtime fans.
    • Many complain about Jason Marsden reprising his role as Kovu in "Lions of the Outlands" because he voiced adult Kovu in the sequel. While Marsden has voiced child characters in other animated films and shows, many hoped he would try to emulate young Kovu's voice a bit more.

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