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Banzai
Banzai
Cub - Adult

Who's the pig

Biographical Information
Name

Banzai

Meaning

A Japanese Cheer[1]

Gender

Male

Species

Spotted Hyena

Affiliations

The Hyenas (currently)
Pride Landers (formerly)

Familial Information
Family

Unnamed (father)

Media Information
Voiced by

The Lion King:
Cheech Marin
The Lion King 1½:
Cheech Marin
The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa:
Rob Paulsen
The Stage Musical:
Stanley Wayne Mathis (original actor)
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom:
Cheech Marin
Kingdom Hearts II:
Cheech Marin

Animated by

The Lion King:
Alex Kupershmidt
Dave Burgess
The Lion King 1½:
Bob Baxter

Appears

The Lion King
The Lion King 1½
The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa

Mentioned

The Lion King II: Simba's Pride

The little majordomo bird hippity-hopped all the way to the birdie boiler.
—Banzai taunts Zazu

Banzai is one of the three secondary antagonists in The Lion King and one of the three main antagonists in The Lion King 1½ alongside Ed and Shenzi. He is one of Scar's henchmen.

Biography

Backstory

If Mufasa looks like a loser, you'll look good.
—Banzai to Taka

Since cubhood, Banzai has been friends with Ed and Shenzi. During their youth, the three were seen hunting together, their targets locked on the wanderer Rafiki. Their pursuit was quickly stopped by Ahadi, who ordered the hyenas away from Five Stones in order to prevent their overhunting the Pride Lands. Though reluctant to leave, the hyenas eventually submitted to his authority and left Rafiki in the able paws of the king.

Plot against Ahadi

Taka plots with the hyenas

After their failed hunt, the hyenas skulked at a distance from Pride Rock, complaining about Ahadi and his constant supervision. Banzai and Shenzi exchanged complaints about the king and advocated the ushering in of a new era, musing that with Mufasa dead, they would be able to rule the Pride Lands.

The hyenas were later seen meeting up secretly with Taka, who warned them that his father was searching for them. When Banzai suggested that they move to the snowy mountains, Taka and Shenzi yanked on his whiskers, silencing him. The conversation soon took a turn toward Taka's former initiation into the gang. Though Taka claimed that the hyenas had begged him to join their group, Banzai and Shenzi argued that his recollection was false. When Taka slid out his claws pointedly, glaring at them, they were quick to eat their own words.

The hyenas soon brought up the subject of Ahadi, and Taka reacted sensitively, yelling that he never got ditched by his father. Banzai and Shenzi cleaned up their mistake by pointing out that Ahadi was always favoring Mufasa over his younger son. They then planted the idea in Taka's head that he should get Mufasa in trouble with Ahadi so that the royal heir looks bad in front of the kingdom. Taka grasped eagerly at the idea and left to put it into play. Before leaving, he promised to repay them for their services.

The hyenas have also interacted with Zazu prior to the film, as they harassed him as cubs in the Elephant Graveyard until they were roared away by an adolescent Mufasa. They have also most likely had an encounter with Sarafina, who killed and ate Banzai's father when he was young.

The Lion King

Banzai: Hey, did we order this dinner to-go?
Shenzi: No, why?
Banzai: Cause there it goes!
—Banzai and Shenzi as the cubs escape


A trio of trespassers

"A trio of trespassers!"

Banzai is first seen when Simba and Nala take a disobedient trip to the Elephant Graveyard, where they are confronted by the hyena trio. In echoing Simba's laughter, the hyenas scare the cubs into hiding behind their babysitter, Zazu, who tries to explain to Shenzi that their traipse into the graveyard is a mere accident. Shenzi soon identifies the hornbill as Mufasa's majordomo, and the hyenas set their minds on eating the cubs.

Although the cubs and their babysitter attempt to escape, the hyenas manage to catch Zazu and stick him in the birdie boiler. Before they can harm the cubs, Mufasa rears out of the shadows and attacks them. Banzai is the first of the trio to confront Mufasa, attacking him from behind, but Mufasa swipes him away, leaving him with pulsing wounds on his rear. With the battle finished, Mufasa tackles all three to the ground, warning them to never come near his son again. Another deafening roar sends the hyenas scurrying away.

ŠBanzaiŠOK2

Banzai and Scar during "Be Prepared"

That night, Banzai is seen gathered with his friends, complaining about the wounds on his rear. Ed's constant taunts spin him into a fury, and he scuffles with his friend until he is ordered away by Shenzi. The hyenas proceed to complain about lions and the subordinate stature of their own species. No sooner have they slammed lions with insults such as "pushy," "hairy," and "stinky," when Scar appears, bearing gifts of food for his friends, despite their prior failure to kill the cubs. When Banzai challenges his leader, asking if they had been expected to kill Mufasa as well, Scar sings "Be Prepared", bracing his minions for the death of the king.

The next day, Banzai and his friends gather at the top of the Gorge, waiting for Scar's signal to startle the herd. While they wait, Banzai attempts to pick off a sick wildebeest in order to settle his hunger, but Shenzi forbids such an action. Scar soon appears at the top of the ridge, and the hyenas chase the wildebeests into the valley.

Banzai thorns

Banzai after falling into a thorn hedge

After joining up with Scar again, the hyenas are sent after Simba, who has run away from his father's dead body. The three almost manage to catch the cub until he escapes into a thorn thicket. Banzai himself is accidentally pushed into the thicket, and when he emerges, he refuses to keep chasing the cub. Leaving Simba for dead, the hyenas yell taunts after him and then return to Scar, who is deceived about Simba's status.

With Mufasa and Simba dead, Scar takes the title of king, and many years pass, during which the hyenas pillage the Pride Lands and overhunt the lionesses. When prey becomes scarce, Banzai and his friends approach Scar, demanding he provide them with more food. Annoyed by their pestering, Scar orders them away, yelling in particular at Banzai when he mentions Mufasa's name. Though the hyenas try one last time to appeal to their king, Scar roars furiously at them, prompting the hyenas to flee the den, whooping fearfully.

Banzai chase Timon

Banzai chases Timon

Not long after this, Simba returns to the Pride Lands, now a young adult, and confronts Scar, who pointedly glares up at the hyenas, frightening them into the shadows. During the final battle, the hyenas flank their leader, and the trio target Timon and Zazu in the bone cage. Pumbaa soon comes to the rescue, and Banzai and his friends are chased away by the warthog's brawn.

As the battle draws to a close, Banzai and his friends gather on the summit of Pride Rock, where they witness Scar's betrayal. When their king falls from Pride Rock and lands in the midst of the hyena clan, Banzai and his friends gather around Scar, who welcomes them as friends. The hyenas in turn taunt Scar for blaming the problems of the Pride Lands on them and then proceed to attack him, eating him alive amidst the burning flames of Pride Rock.

The Lion King II: Simba's Pride

Yeesh, this place is even creepier since the hyenas ran off.
Nuka about the Elephant Graveyard

The hyenas don't make an appearance in this film, but Nuka mentions them while gathering fire at the Elephant Graveyard with Vitani. This implies that some, if not all, hyenas survived the attack on Pride Rock.

The Lion King 1½

'Shenzi: Ooh, encore, encore!
Banzai: No, no, no. You mean, 'Entrée, entrée!
—Banzai and Shenzi after watching Timon and Pumbaa breakdance


Banzai catch Max

Banzai nearly catches Uncle Max

As in the first film, Banzai's first appearance is one of mischief. While Timon is on sentry duty, engrossed in "That's All I Need," Banzai and his companions sneak up behind him and clap sarcastically at the song's end. They then push Timon to the ground and dash in among his colony, attacking the scattered meerkats. Though they fail to devour any of the colony, Banzai nearly catches Uncle Max, who escapes down a hole just in time. After the meerkats are safely hidden in their nests, the hyenas walk away, guffawing.

Banzai is later seen during the battle of Pride Rock, cornering Timon and Pumbaa in an inner cave of Pride Rock after being angered by an offensive joke that the two made about the hyenas. In an attempt to distract the clan while Ma and Uncle Max dig a tunnel beneath the hyenas, Timon and Pumbaa try different tactics to keep the hyenas' attention. When the trap tunnel initially fails, Timon jumps down between Shenzi's legs and finishes the contraption himself, causing Banzai and his clan to fall through the ground and plummet to the bottom of Pride Rock, where they meet Scar after his battle with Simba.

Other roles

The stage musical

TLK musical hyenas

The hyenas as they appear in the stage musical

Banzai's role suffers minor changes in the stage musical. He is given two additional songs to sing, "Chow Down" and "The Madness of King Scar," and gains a slightly more fleshed out backstory, as Shenzi reveals that his father was killed and eaten by Sarafina, the mother of Nala.

Television

The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa

Banzai serves as a recurring antagonist in the television series. He and his fellow hyenas get their own segment of Timon & Pumbaa episodes, titled The Laughing Hyenas.

In "Cooked Goose," the hyenas prove themselves to be poor hunters, constantly disrupting the hunts of Cheetata and Cheetato. In order to get rid of the hyenas, the cheetahs plot to send them on a wild goose chase, far from where they plan to hunt. First, they attempt to give the hyenas a treasure map, but when the hyenas struggle to spell "X," the cheetahs come up with a new plan, catapulting the hyenas into a volcano via their own dastardly contraption, the Serengeti Shuttle. Once again, the hyenas return to the hunting grounds of the cheetahs, having been suspicious about the lack of airbags, peanuts, and seat belts in the Serengeti Shuttle, and the cheetahs are forced to execute their final plan. Together, the two split up the hyenas, giving each one directions to the North Pole after telling them individually that they are the brains of the bunch. To the frustration of the cheetahs, the hyenas run into each other along the way and realize that they've been tricked. Back in the Serengeti, the cheetahs stuff themselves with meat and end up too full to outrun the hyenas, but before the trio can eat them, a wild goose arrives, asking which way is south. The five courteously give him directions and then give chase.

How do you spell X

Banzai in "Cooked Goose"

In "Big Top Breakfast," the hyenas are seen wandering the savanna, dangerously hungry and in bad tempers. Banzai in particular grumbles about how he could eat a whole circus monkey if he were offered one. No sooner are the words out of his mouth when a circus monkey named Simon lands on top of the trio alongside a giant crate of circus supplies. Upon seeing the dazed simian, the hyenas begin to argue over who has rights to the prey, giving Simon time to scurry away. With their quarry gone, the hyenas take chase, broiling over how they should go about ensnaring the monkey. While Shenzi suggests that they impersonate monkeys and hide in a barrel, Banzai proposes that they build an environment suitable for monkeys like Simon. As a compromise, the hyenas set up an obstacle course for Simon, waiting until he dives into their circus cannon to fire it. Instead of performing as expected, the cannon explodes, leaving the hyenas charred and barren of prey. With Simon out of their paws, Banzai complains that he's hungry enough to eat a whole blue whale, summoning a giant whale that lands directly on top of the trio.

In "Doubt of Africa," the hyenas appear in a flashback, cooking Timon over a fire. It is implied that Pumbaa saves his friend from the claws of the hyenas.

In "Can't Take a Yolk," Banzai and his cohorts spot a mother ostrich nursing an egg and resolve to make the egg into their breakfast. The three attempt to sneak up on the egg but find that the nest is heavily armed. Seeing no hope in removing the egg themselves, the hyenas target its mother, attempting to crush her beneath a giant rock, though they end up being crushed themselves. They then try to tunnel underneath the egg but end up emerging in China, where they are run over by a cart. Refusing to give up, the hyenas send an elephant after the mother and egg, but once more, they are crushed beneath their own foul plans. Finally, after all else fails, the hyenas disguise themselves as ostriches and persuade the mother ostrich to hide her head in the sand. With the mother oblivious to their doings, the hyenas steal her egg and replace it with a rock. Despite their victory, the three begin to argue over who deserves the egg, giving it time to hatch into a giant ostrich that knocks them into a canyon, where they are crushed beneath an enormous rock.

Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed-169

The hyenas in "Once Upon a Timon"

In "TV Dinner," the hyenas are inspired by a nature documentary about an armadillo to become famous movie stars. For the host Martin Pardon, Banzai performs a singing act, but he is turned down abruptly, as are his companions. When the armadillo gets a movie deal, the hyenas are offered jobs, but they decide that they'd rather be directors of the show and replace Martin Pardon as host, cooking him in a pot for lunch.

In "Once Upon a Timon," Timon finds himself being chased by Ed until he runs into Pumbaa, who has been captured and tied up by the hyenas. Upon seeing his friend, Pumbaa asks if the hyenas had invited him over for dinner as well. Ignoring the idle chatter of their soon-to-be meals, the hyenas close in on the duo, prompting Timon and Pumbaa to make a hasty getaway.

In "Space Ham," the hyenas bully Timon by using him as a volleyball until Pumbaa shows up and rams into Banzai, sending him flying into the leaves of a nearby bush. Thoroughly intimidated, the hyenas scurry away. Timon and Pumbaa later get revenge on the hyenas by using the tractor beam of their UFO to continuously pick up and slam the hyenas back into the ground.

In "No-Good Samaritan," Banzai attempts to kill Princess Claudia until he is driven off by a gorilla.

House of Mouse
Our House Now

Banzai during "It's Our House Now"

The hyenas make several cameos in House of Mouse.

In "The Stolen Cartoons," the hyenas can be seen clapping for Mickey Mouse as he comes onstage.

In "Donald's Pumbaa Prank," the three are seen at a table about to eat Zazu.

In "House of Turkey," the hyenas are anxiously waiting to eat Mr. Turkey, but when they learn that he's a guest performer and not an entrée, they attempt to eat Pumbaa.

In Mickey's House of Villains, Banzai is seen singing "It's Our House Now" alongside one of Captain Hook's pirates, Kaa, the Queen of Hearts, and Tick-Tock the Crocodile.

Literature

The Lion King: Six New Adventures
A Tale of Two Brothers

The three hyenas are first seen hunting together, their targets locked on the wanderer Rafiki. Their pursuit is quickly stopped by Ahadi, who orders the hyenas away from Five Stones in order to prevent their overhunting the Pride Lands. Though reluctant to leave, the hyenas eventually submit to his authority and leave Rafiki in the able paws of the king.

Hyena Hunt

The hyenas corner Rafiki

After their failed hunt, the hyenas skulk at a distance from Pride Rock, complaining about Ahadi and his constant supervision. Banzai and Shenzi exchange complaints about the king and advocate the ushering in of a new era, musing that with Mufasa dead, they would be able to rule the Pride Lands.

The hyenas are later seen meeting up secretly with Taka, who warns them that his father is searching for them. When Banzai suggests that they move to the snowy mountains, Taka and Shenzi yank on his whiskers, silencing him. The conversation soon takes a turn toward Taka's former initiation into the gang. Though Taka claims that the hyenas had begged him to join their group, Banzai and Shenzi argue that his recollection is false. When Taka slides out his claws pointedly, glaring at them, they're quick to eat their own words.

The hyenas soon bring up the subject of Ahadi, and Taka reacts sensitively, yelling that he never gets ditched by his father. Banzai and Shenzi clean up their mistake by pointing out that Ahadi is always favoring Mufasa over his younger son. They then plant the idea in Taka's head that he should get Mufasa in trouble with Ahadi so that the royal heir looks bad in front of the kingdom. Taka grasps eagerly at the idea and leaves to put it into play. Before leaving, he promises to repay them for their services.

Friends in Need

Banzai and his friends can be seen as cubs, tormenting Zazu, until they are roared away by an adolescent Mufasa.

The Kingdom Keepers

The hyenas appear as minor antagonists in the fifth and sixth books of the series, Shell Game and Dark Passage respectively, serving the role of henchmen to the Overtakers. They are usually employed as guards to safeguard important objects and places.

The Hakuna Matata Magazine Series
One Good Turn

Banzai and his friends attempt to eat Timon, but Simba wards them off.

Hunt for Help

The three hyenas are employed by Scar to guard the border of the Pride Lands, preventing Nala from leaving to find help. In order to help the young lioness escape, Rafiki employs baboons to pelt the hyenas with fruit and elephants to drive them away from the border of the Pride Lands, giving Nala safe passage out of the kingdom.

Comics
Hyenas in comics

The hyenas in Greedy is as Greedy Does

Video games

The Lion King

Despite hyenas being a common enemy in the game, none of the main hyenas are ever fought. However, Banzai appears near the end of the "Simba's Exile" level, delivering his original line, "If you ever come back, we'll kill ya!"

Simba's Mighty Adventure

The hyenas first appear in the "Graveyard" level, chasing Simba as he tries to escape the Elephant Graveyard. At the end of the level, all three must be defeated before the player can win. The hyenas later appear in the "Return of the King" level, trying to prevent Simba from reaching Scar.

Kingdom Hearts II

The hyena trio can first be seen at Pride Rock, waging an attack against Sora, Donald, and Goofy. Before the three can harm the young heroes, Scar roars, distracting them, and Nala attacks the king, yelling at Sora, Donald, and Goofy to run. The three heroes heed her advice and race away with the hyenas in hot pursuit.

BanzaiKH

Banzai as he appears in Kingdom Hearts II

The trio are later seen again at Pride Rock, trying to prevent Simba from getting to Scar. In order to help the young prince, Sora distracts the hyenas with the help of Timon and Pumbaa, who lead the hyenas inside Pride Rock, where they are battled and defeated by Sora, Donald, and Goofy.

The hyenas are seen later on in the game when they are fought for information about the source of Scar's ghost. With no knowledge of the source, they taunt Simba about the ghost and make it clear that they still hold a grudge against Sora, Donald, and Goofy for defeating them, as it was thanks to their part in overthrowing Scar that the hyenas were sent back to the Elephant Graveyard to eat scraps.

Disney parks

General

Appearances by Banzai at the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts are extremely rare. However, when seen in costume, Banzai walks upright in an awkward-looking hunchback posture, usually flanked by his cohorts, Ed and Shenzi. In 2004, the hyenas were featured in Disneyland Paris's The Lion King Carnival, and in 2013, they appeared for Disneyland Paris's Disney Dreamers Everywhere. Aside from these special festivities, their most reliable presence has been as part of the Walt Disney World Resort's annual Mickey's Boo-To-You Halloween Parade. Statues of the three hyenas can be found at Disney's Art of Animation Resort.

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Banzai appears alongside his fellow hyenas and Scar. In this interactive game, Hades revives Scar from the dead and recruits him for an evil plot. Scar, needing henchmen to assist him, convinces the hyenas that he is invincible through magic and therefore must obey his every command. The three reluctantly agree to do so and are ordered to start an elephant stampede that will crush anyone who interferes with Scar's plot. Banzai soon notices the park guests and jumps into battle with them, but he is quickly defeated. Soon after, the park guests reveal Scar's lies by injuring him in front of the hyenas. Once Scar's trickery is revealed, Shenzi gathers her clan and departs, leaving Scar without aid.

Physical appearance

As a cub, Banzai is shown to be small in size, as lean-bodied and skinny as his underfed companions. Slightly at odds with his adult self, young Banzai sports a sallow brown pelt, a pale gray chest, and black ears and paws. The insides of his ears appear to be more brown in color, matching the pigment of the spots dotting his back and sides, and his eye shades are unusually dark. His muzzle sports grayer shades, being bare of speckles, and his eyebrows and mane remain as black and thick as those of his adult self, with stunt hairs protruding from his otherwise bald head. Like his clan mates, Banzai has black eyes with yellow irises.

Side-profile Banzai

A side-profile view of Banzai

Once full-grown, Banzai displays the ordinary adult hyena anatomy, standing tall and long-legged but compact and strong. He is the closest of the trio to matching the rest of the clan in appearance, having the same general body shape, hairless head, and receding black mane.

With age, Banzai changes color, losing the brown undertones in his pelt to give way to a more smoky gray color. His chest remains pale, though it lightens considerably, as does his muzzle, which gains noticeable speckles. His ears and paws remain black, with his eyebrows and mane growing somewhat longer and more disheveled. The spots along his back and sides lighten, and the insides of his ears take on a more pinkish color, contrasting the dark browns of his cubhood. His eye shades change from being dark brown to being dark gray, nearly matching the insides of his ears in color, and his eyes remain a glowing yellow. His thick eyebrows remain his most distinguishing feature, only growing bushier with age.

Personality and traits

Cheech's character was kind of the opposite [of Shenzi], you know, very volatile, barely ever able to speak in whispers, very 'on' all the time, high pitch.
Alex Kupershmidt about Banzai

Banzai makes an ironic companion to the scheming Scar, serving as a much less intelligent and much less serious henchman. His comical nature manages to shine through in every situation, even dire ones, exposing his need for a good laugh and his inability to take Scar's plot seriously. Because of this, Banzai often comes across as dim-witted, being more concerned with making jokes than getting the job done. His need for humor more often than not gets in the way of his accomplishing Scar's goals, though Banzai proves too shallow to truly connect the dots, blissfully unaware of how his foolish choices can offset his goals.

Aggressive Banzai

A screenshot of Banzai, reflecting his aggressive and hot-headed nature

In social circumstances, Banzai is much the same, unable to pick up on disapproval or sarcasm. Though Scar often hints to his henchman that he's displeased, Banzai rarely picks up on this, instead pouring lemon juice on Scar's wounds by making comments devoid of tact that ignore the problems at hand. Both in the real world and in the social realm, Banzai is clueless, incapable of following oral bread crumbs and in constant need of spoon-feeding from Scar.

This unintelligence, both on the field and off, is typically wrapped in a veil of high energy and love for the chase, as Banzai can be very passionate when in the moment. Almost maniacal, he cares little for the lives of others when something he wants is at stake, being willing to kill cubs simply because his belly is hollow. When driven by survival needs, such as hunger or power, Banzai can be dangerous, prone to blindly following the orders of others no matter what is asked of him. Murder is often part of Banzai's regime, and combined with a love for energy and movement, this skewed set of moral values can be dangerous. Though often used for jokes and stupid antics, Banzai's high energy is more disastrous than it seems.

Despite his more dangerous side, Banzai assumes the role of a follower, rarely taking action on his own. He works in the background, a crony, always following either Scar's or Shenzi's orders. When chided, he is not one to stand against authority, instead taking criticism in stride and striving to avoid his superiors' wrath. This reveals him to be a bit of a coward, more inclined to evade conflict than face it, and almost incapable of thinking for himself.

Happy Banzai

A screenshot of Banzai, reflecting his more comical and high-spirited side

Ironically, Banzai's cowardice and submissive nature is made up for by his dangerously short temper. When angered, his more violent side shines through, and he is known to react impulsively, in the mindset that fighting and yelling can solve his anger issues rather than talking patiently with his aggressors. Under pressure, this side comes out all the more ugly, exposing a vicious side to Banzai that is often summoned by his hot temper. This short-circuited patience system is most likely due to Banzai's somewhat low self-esteem, an image which is fueled by his constant humiliations and misfortunes.

Of all the hyenas, Banzai suffers the most, both physically and socially, often serving as the butt-end of the trio's teasing. Though burdened by his physical pains, Banzai is often taunted for his bad luck, provoked into letting his temper loose. Perhaps because he is so often mocked and taunted by his friends, Banzai harbors deep grudges against the inflicters of the injuries, prone to cursing their names and even turning against them, as in the case of Scar. Ultimately, Banzai's pride is more important to him than friends, and taunting him can prove to be a big mistake. Unfortunate but too rigid to take it lightly, Banzai refuses to be shot down and will let anger reign when shamed.

Voice actors

Trivia

General

In development

Quotes

Zazu: Ix-nay on the oopid-stay...
Banzai: Who're you callin' oopid-stay?
—Banzai and Zazu


Banzai: Yeah! Be prepared! Yeah-heh! We'll be prepared! Heh! For what?
Scar: For the death of the king.
Banzai: Why? Is he sick?
Scar: No, fool. We're gonna kill him. And Simba, too.
—Banzai and Scar


Banzai: I thought things were bad under Mufasa...
Scar: What did you say?!
Banzai: I said, 'Muf-
Shenzi:
*nudges Banzai*
Banzai: I said, uh, 'Qué pasa?
—Banzai, Scar, and Shenzi


Shenzi: Oh, look, it's dinner and a show!
Banzai: And I thought beans were the only musical food.
—Banzai and Shenzi mock Timon


Gallery



Video

The Hyena Chase03:18

The Hyena Chase

The hyenas chase Simba and Nala

References

  1. [1]
  2. Revealed in "Chow Down"
  3. [2]
  4. CapeHuntingDogs
  5. [3]


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