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  • Angel/Devil Shipping: Janja/Jasiri get quite a bit of Ship Tease.
  • 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 seemed to be surprised about Ushari being evil. Did they expect this to happen? In fact, the subject of Ushari's betrayal was never called upon.
    • With the sole exception of Fuli, none of the Lion Guard ever seems to show concern whenever Kion gets hostile or vicious with other animals, or when he acts dismissive or rude to them in Season 3. They also don't seem to call Kion out for making incredibly bad calls when Ushari's venom flairs up. They also treat the journey to the Tree of Life as an adventure, rather than acknowledging that the reason they are going is to prevent Kion from going insane.
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  • Ass Pull: Scar is evil because he was bitten by a cobra?! Are you serious?!
  • 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 a lot of 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.
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    • 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 — and while that's not how biodiversity works in real life, it's at least something.
    • 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. This is further fixed with the introduction of Azaad who is a more accurate cheetah, having solid spots and stripes on the sides of his muzzle.
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    • 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.
    • Before the show's debut, when it was first announced that it would revolve around Simba and Nala's son Kion, a number of fans were upset by the thought of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride being retconned out of canon and Kion replacing Kiara. There was much relief when it turned out that the show does keep Simba's Pride as canon and that Kion is Kiara's younger brother.
    • One major point of anger was Kiara's Same Character, but Different, with her being portrayed as interested in ruling and also being somewhat of a Big Sister Bully, especially among those who knew her as a selfless kind royal back in Simba's Pride. Towards the end of Season 1, starting in Baboons, and especially in Season 2, Kiara begins to show more of her Simba's Pride personality, such as not mentioning her royal duties, being kind and forgiving for Kion's errors, and also showing fear over her brother's fate in Season 3.
    • 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).
    • When the original film came out, Scar got some mild controversy for acting slightly effeminate. When he returns in the show, Scar completely loses any effeminate traits and becomes a full fledged serious villain.
    • Viewers who wondred if Scar being bitten by a cobra left him unable to understand his actions were quite relieved to see in other Season 3 episodes that the venom only reduces morals, and merely amplifies the negative traits and desires of the bite victim, as they are shown to still be in utter control of their actions, meaning all of Scar's actions were still motivated by his own evil desires rather than being compelled to do so by a medical illness.
  • 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 while running on Flash and mostly succeeding, which gives it major props in an era where that kind of animation scarcely exists anymore.
  • Awesome Music: Has a whole section here.
  • Award Snub: The show has been nominated for several awards, especially in the Emmys, but it has always lost.
  • 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 and 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.
    • Bunga is either an annoying Scrappy or actually a funny and likable character.
    • 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:
  • Complete Monster: Scar, Mufasa's envious younger brother, is just as vile as he was in the original film. Once the leader of the original Lion Guard, Scar decides to overthrow and kill Mufasa when the latter playfully nicknames his brother "Scar" when Scar tried to seek praise for killing a traitorous lion and cobra who scarred him—not revealing that he had been perfectly willing to work with them to overthrow Mufasa. When Scar's fellow Lion Guard members refused to help him overthrow Mufasa, Scar uses the Roar of the Elders to kill them, but ends up losing the Roar in the process. In season 2, years after his initial death, Scar is brought back as a fiery spirit and tries to lead the animals of the Outlands on a brutal conquest of the Pride Lands, first by 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. In the season 3 premiere, Scar attempts to burn the new Lion Guard, Simba, Nala, Kiara, and the hyena clan to death, the latter for one of them considering on defecting to the Pride Lands, before planning on tricking Kion into erupting the volcano with his roar, which will kill everyone in the Pride Lands. When confronted by the Lion Guard, Scar has Ushari scar Kion, with the snake's venom slowly bringing Kion into insanity as Scar declares that Kion will now be just like him. 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".
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Bunga farting at Mama Binturong? Squick. Bunga doing it to her repeatedly to the point she runs away from him? Actually Kinda Funny. Bunga and Binga doing it to her at the same time? Hilarious.
  • 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.
  • 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. He burns to death trying to stop Scar from being destroyed, obscured by a Gory Discretion Shot.
  • 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.
    • How did Scar get his scar? Some evil lion got his snake friend to surprise slash Scar in the eye when they were alone... with the Fridge Logic of how the snake somehow didn't bite out his eye and how Scar got his name. It's strongly disliked for diminishing the emotional background behind the scar that other material gives (the books explain he got it from being attacked by a buffalo while trying to secretly kill Mufasa in their youth and was given the nickname as a punishment from their father, which has since been conflated by fans as their father being abusive; even the 2019 computer-animated adaptation, which is heavily criticized for being a bland and exact adaptation of the original movie, gives the implication that Scar got scarred from foolishly challenging Mufasa. However, later Season 3 episodes showed that the snake venom merely removes morals, and the person bitten still possesses full control of their actions, showing that Scar still possessed full ability to know what he was doing was wrong and did those things because of his own evil desires rather than being under the influence of cobra venom.
  • 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.
      • Kion x Fuli shippers have had more fuel added to the fire as of Season 3, with Fuli showing the most visible concern and worry out of the rest of the guard about Kion’s slowly-deteriorating health and sanity thanks to the effects of Ushari’s venomous bite.
    • 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. Many fans pointed out that during Janja's dream about Jasiri, the light that surrounded Kion and Jasiri while they were dancing had the shadow of a heart.
    • 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 who see their sweet interactions in the cartoon as more than just a close friendship.
    • Janja and Jasiri gained popularity from the song "The Worst Hyena We Know" in the episode "Rescue in the Outlands" where in the entire sequence Jasiri is teasing and borderline flirting with Janja, and this is all 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. The sequel song to that merely added more fuel to the fire, as Janja is openly shown wrestling with how he feels about her, the Jasiri in this fantasy not only outright flirts, she comes close to coming off as seductive, and when he does defect, its Jasiri he goes to first, and he later nominates her as Queen of the Outlands without hesitation.
    • There is a good number of Janja and Fuli fan art. Despite both parties never having any deep interactions they are among one of the most popular and beloved characters in the series and would be easy picks to be paired with.
    • Same goes for Fuli and Jasiri, quite the number of fan art with them being close. Their similar personalities and both of them being one of the most common characters to ship with Kion led people 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?!
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
  • Franchise Original Sin:
    • Kion's bright red and mohawk-like mane for a young cub is criticized as a design choice comparable to deviantArt animal OCs made to make it obvious that he's the protagonist. The Lion King II: Simba's Pride also had Kovu with a budding black mane. It's also Truth in Television that manes may come out looking similar to these as cubs grow them in and The Lion King franchise always took liberty with how the lions of Pride Rock have red manes (which is likely a Hair Color Dissonance of brown-red).
    • The Lion Guard pulling an unnecessary Remember the New Guy? with the existence of Kion and the Lion Guard is something that also happened with Zira and her pride in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride.
    • The Carnivore Confusion and other similar issues (namely the complaint that the show's characters seem very keen on saving other animals from being overhunted yet are never seen eating or killing and most predators are depicted as evil murderers) is an inevitable issue that stems from the movies, where prey animals are also shown to be sentient in some of their little screentime (which was likely to prevent such Fridge Logic moments in the first place).
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Bunga getting bitten by Ushari in Fuli's New Family, and the attempt to explain Ushari's bite as poisonous with it being played as comedy gets much less funny when Ushari bites Kion in the Season 3 opener, and it is revealed that his bite is much more than just poison as it threatens to send him insane.
  • 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).
    • Azaad from "The Race to Tuliza" is a cheetah who speaks Persian, complete with accent. Asiatic cheetahs are also known as Persian or Iranian cheetahs, especially because current populations exist only in Iran.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
  • 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. Just hear him sing "I Have a Plan" and "When I Led the Guard."
    • 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.
    • Steve Blum has proven over the years he is a very good voice actor, but many people were surprised at his singing skills when Makucha gets his own song in The Harmattan.
    • Shohreh Aghdashloo manages to give a stellar performance as Queen Janna in her last moments, making it sound like the dying Queen is really struggling to get her last words out to her family before she calmly accepts her death.
    • Peyton Elizabeth Lee's performance in the scene is just as praised as the scene where Rani really begins to realize that she is now the new Queen and breaks down crying for managing to make the scene an emotional gutwrencher. Several fans have admitted that their doubts about whether or not she could effectively portray a character with just her voice were put to rest with that scene.
  • 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”.
      • He's also played Simba in The Lion King on Broadway, and he came back in Season 3 to voice Makini's father Kitendo, opposite Heather Headley (who originated the role of Nala) as her mother Fikiri.
    • Janja and his Crew defects to join the heroes. Ironically to fight against the tyrant, which Scar himself does to join the heroes after he's being discovered by his enemies. Since Mufasa's is evil until episode 6.
    • A number of episodes have lines that are hilarious to look at now that Kion is King of the Tree of Life.
      • In the opening film, Kiara asks Kion what he will be, pointing out that she will be queen.
      • In Cant Wait to be Queen, Tiifu and Zuri say they don't have to take orders from Kion as he is not a queen.
  • In Season 3, Kion meets his love interest, Queen Rani, voiced by Peyton Elizabeth Lee. Lee would go on to play an identical character to Kion, a second born member of the throne with a superpower to protect their kingdom, in Secret Society of Second Born Royals.
  • 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. But then the Season 3 premiere came, and fans mourned for his gruesome death.
    • 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.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Kion, who throughout the series' run has been shipped with Jasiri, Janja, Bunga, Fuli, Tifu, Zuri and Rani (his canon love interest).
  • 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 helping in bringing back Scar, Ushari crosses this by agreeing to have Lion Guard murdered along with their friends and family under Scar's command, and showing delight about it. He further crosses the line in "Battle For the Pride Lands" where he willingly goes along with Scar's plan to destroy the Pride Lands in a volcanic eruption, bites Kion infecting him with Sanity Slippage-inducing venom in the process, and then outright attempts to kill the lion out of rage in finally destroying Scar's spirit and ruining all of his plans.
  • Narm:
    • Janja saying that Scar died in the fire... despite likely being descended from one of the hyenas who ate Scar. What, is he not in the loop or something?
    • Several people have noted that Simba always seems to be sporting the same expression and has the same voice tone regardless of the situation. While this could be viewed as Simba becoming more calm regarding ruling a kingdom, whenever Simba is asked to do something emotional in this show, it fails miserably.
    • While it is understandable that overt romantic affection would be toned down for a preschool show, many people have noticed just how rare love is brought up at all, even in completely justified circumstances. Simba and Nala are both married, but aside from the occasional nuzzle, there is no affectionate or familial lick, even if Kion or Kiara have just been put in extreme danger. This really gets notable in Season 3, where the Guard starts meeting love interests, and the show adamantly uses the term "friend", rather than use the term love interest. In the finale, set after Simba's Pride, where Kion and Rani get married, no one ever once calls it a wedding, instead calling it a coronation.
  • Never Live It Down: Simba is hit with this trope again, similar to the reaction to how he was characterized in "Simba's Pride". For the first couple of episodes of Season 1, Simba is shown to be doubtful about whether or not Kion can actually handle the responsibility of being leader of the lion guard, compared to Kiara, who he has complete trust in. And in the pilot movie, Simba initially reprimands Kion for not recruiting an elite team of lions like he was supposed to instead of picking his friends - taking it as a sign that Kion is not taking his duty seriously. Simba and Kion grow beyond this conflict and actually become quite close as a father and son throughout the series, to the point where Simba ironically gives Kion more freedom and support on average than his sister by Season 2. This still didn't stop Simba from being portrayed as a neglectful, abusive racist of a king and father in many Lion Guard fanfics, who would show extreme Parental Favoritism towards Kiara and easily disown Kion if he did anything taboo like befriending a hyena, driving his son towards the dark side.
  • Nightmare Retardant: Deliberately invoked. One of the episodes has the animals thinking Beshte is a monster and their descriptions of his antics and their unwitting consequences is meant to be played as nightmare inducing to them, but the audience is just supposed to laugh at it because they know Beshte did not do anything wrong.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • The show depicting both prey and predator as sapient is something that originated from the movies, although having the show be about the heroes protecting prey from evil overhunting predators while not being seen eating anything themselves certainly doesn't help the unavoidable Carnivore Confusion/"murder is okay when it's soft survival" issue.
    • The main conflict of Season 3 — the successor to Scar's position wrestling with the fear of turning into him and being branded with an identical scar — comes from The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. Given that Season 3 was designed to explain why the Guard is not in said film, this was likely intentional.
    • The show's recurring theme of sisi ni sawa ("we're the same") and how you can find common ground with the last people you would have thought originates in the second film, where it's phrased as "we are one."
    Kiara: They, us... look at them. They are us. What differences do you see?
    • This isn't the first time in history that a franchise has consisted of three animated movies and an animated series set between them which includes a whole cast of characters that never appear in said films despite officially all being part of the same continuity. DreamWorks previously did the same with its How to Train Your Dragon franchise.
  • 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.
    • Kion is well-disliked among casual Disney fans who grew up in the 2000's and longtime The Lion King fans for supposedly trying to replace the well-beloved Kiara (and Kovu) and retconning the sequel book series that introduced Kopa, who was Simba's son before the official sequel film came out.
  • 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".
  • 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.
    • Tiifu and Zuri are loathed by fans for several reasons. The first one is their complete and utter obliviousness regarding the situations that they appear in. A second one is their narcissim and vanity, which overrides whatever peril they just happen to be in whenever they show up. The final one is the fact that they are completely disrespectful to Kion despite the fact he has saved them multiple times from danger, something Kiara has called them out on.
    • Thurston is hated by many fans for his accent, the fact that he frequently tends to be made a big part of episodes even when he really shouldn't, and also for his willingness to needlessly put himself in danger and have the Lion Guard bail him out, not to mention he is very willing to be incredibly disrespectful to them or disregard their warnings.
    • Majinuni and Hafifu also have their fair share of haters, with many people finding their goofy and careless attitude annoying rather than funny. The fact that they are voiced by a pair of internet celebrities rather than professional actors also does not help.
  • Signature Song:
    • "Lions Over All", Zira's Villain Song, is currently the most popular original song of the series.
    • " Sisi Ni Sawa", the first song in the series proper, is also acknowledged as the best song, to the point it got nominated for an Emmy award.
  • 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. Some fans also found Kion lashing out at Bunga in Season 3 due to his venom satisfying and wished that he went further.
  • 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. Of course, as Jim Cummings has always been available as Scar's The Other Darrin and is likely more cheaper than a Celebrity Voice Actor, this decision seems to be more of an Advertising by Association choice.
    • Nika Futterman's performance as Zira as been criticized for not having gotten Zira's signature voice actress, Suzanne Pleschette, to reprise her role on the show... ignoring the fact that Pleschette passed away in 2008.
    • Zira's characterization and slight redesign have been critiqued for being tame and out-of-character.
  • 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.
    • All we learn of Scar's Lion Guard is what they looked like when they make a brief cameo in Scar's backstory flashback in the Season 3 premiere. And with Scar's vanquishing in the same episode and the show moving on to the Tree of Life arc, it is unlikely that we'll learn any more about Scar's Lion Guard.
  • 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.
    • Both Zira and Scar make appearances in the series and it was widely anticipated that the two would have some sort of interaction with each other, even at least an acknowledgement, but nothing of the sort happens by the start of Season 3, where Scar is defeated and the show is about to be concurrent with the events of Simba's Pride. Unless you think this still fits with the Epileptic Trees/Fridge Brilliance theory that Zira is an Unreliable Narrator regarding her connections to Scar.
    • Kion and his brother-in-law Kovu meet for the first time since their childhood in the series finale, after they've both gone through extremely similar arcs of fearing they're doomed to end up like Scar. Do they talk about it? No. Do they notice they both now have scars in the same place? No. Do they have any significant interaction whatsoever? Nope.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Season 3 has Kion explicitly bleeding, Ono nearly gets blinded, and there are much more overt hints at romantic affections than in either of the prior seasons along with Usharii burning to death with it only covered by steam, not to mention the fact that Kion is openly struggling with a Sanity Slippage, and anyone who has seen Simba's Pride knows he does not come back. Once again, this is a show aimed at four-year-olds.
    • "Long Live the Queen" starts with a Content Warning, cautioning viewers that the episode contains themes about the Circle of Life and that parents may have to watch it with their younger children. What happens in the episode is Rani's grandmother, Janna, passes away from old age, which is then accompanied by Rani and the others grieving over her death. How's that for a Disney Junior show?
    • In the penultimate episode, Rani asks Kion to become king, saying that as queen, she could use him as a king. She is asking Kion to marry her, even though the word marriage is not used, and both of them are only teenagers at best. This is the first time an overt marriage proposal occurs on a Disney Junior show.
  • 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 especially since he already did voice work for the series.
    • Many complain about Jason Marsden reprising his role as Kovu in "Lions of the Outlands" because he voiced adult Kovu in the sequel. While he has voiced child characters in other animated films and shows, many hoped he would try to emulate young Kovu's voice a bit more.
    • Fans were not happy to see that Max Charles was replaced by Aaron Daniel Jacob for singing Kion's final two songs, primarily because Max Charles had shown himself to be an incredibly capable singer in Kion's other songs throughout the show, and especially for the fact it was just two songs near the end of the show.

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