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|“||You win today, Kion. Next time won't be so easy.||„|
|~ Janja warning Kion that their fight is just beginning.|
|“||Yeah. I think we're on the right side now. (Jasiri: You sure are.) You know, I think I could get used to that laugh.||„|
|~ Janja's redemption.|
Janja is the main antagonist of the 2015 Disney Channel TV film The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar, and one of the primary antagonists (later reformed character) of its 2016 follow-up series The Lion Guard before Makucha took over. He serves as the main antagonist of the first season and one of the secondary antagonists of the second season (along with Ushari) and a supporting antagonist turned supporting protagonist of the third season. He is the head of a teenage clan of Hyenas in the Outlands, who are descendants of the hyena clan who served Scar. Janja is also the arch-nemesis of Kion, the protagonist of the show, and the rival leader of Jasiri. After many failures, Janja summoned Scar's ghost in the hope of defeating the guard, but over time he finally doubted his choices and eventually turned on Scar and made peace with Kion. Later, after reforming he plays a minor yet still important role.
He is voiced by Andrew Kishino, who also played VECTOR in Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, Shredder in Batman VS. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Shang Tsung and Sektor in Mortal Kombat 9, and another antagonist Ora of the show.
Like his hyena ancestors before him, Janja is a greedy, arrogant, eccentric, temperamental and vicious individual with no regard for the Circle of Life. His unabated hunger drives him to extreme measures, as he is willing to stand against Simba and the Lion Guard, and his ruthless nature shines through in even everyday interactions.
In addition to being the leader, Janja is one of the smartest hyenas of his clan, with only Nne and Tano being smarter. He often refers to his clan members, especially his right-hand minions Cheezi and Chungu, as "fur brains" whenever they make mistakes or do or say something stupid. He was also smart enough to revive Scar with some help.
Janja's intelligence is undeniable. He is an exploitative and devious planner who is always hatching new plots to bring down the Lion Guard or take over the Pride Lands. Janja is notably the only hyena in his clan who uses cunning to obtain what he wants.
True to his name, he is very sly and treacherous, but also highly charismatic, utilizing his allies in his nefarious schemes. Under Janja's guidance, the hyenas prove a great threat, especially since they are often swayed to his side through his natural charisma and cunning. That said, his cunning has limits as shown when Nne and Tano foiled him with little effort/
Janja will ensure that the clan's goals always align with his own. Janja is also proved to be ambitious: Hyenas are a matriarchy, meaning they are led by females and males are of lesser statuses (in real life hyenas). By going against this and desiring to be a leader of his own clan despite being a male, unusual for his kind.
Despite his burning ambitions and sharp intellect, Janja is also somewhat pusillanimous and cowardly, usually only choosing to fight when the odds are in his favor, and he is known to promptly turn tail and run when faced with a fair fight. This along with his impulsive nature makes him struggle against those who match his power.
Despite his actions and personality, however, Janja also appears to have empathy as shown in Season 2 in The Hyena Resistance. When Janja was accidentally knocked into a lava pit by one of the crocodiles and hanging for dear life from certain death, after the army was blown away, Jasiri came to his rescue, leaving the speechless hyena hesitant. Janja was shown to less aggressive once being saved and despite his refusal, Jasiri remains hopeful and sure that he'll come around soon and skinks doubtful of his loyalty.
Jasiri's hopes finally turned out to be true when Janja began to doubt his life in the service of Scar and when he was betrayed by the evil lion he sided with Kion and Jasiri to defeat him and even chose to accept the Circle of Life he had always despised. He later displays remorse as shown when he and Jasiri wish Kion and the Guard farewell as he had a sad look on his face.
Powers and Abilities
- Alpha: Janja is revealed to have leadership prowess that rivals Kion.
- Strength and Combat: Janja is also strong. In fact, he is just as strong as Kion as he was able to hold down his enemies that are his size such as Kion, Kiara, and Jasiri. That said, he becomes weaker than Kion overtime after Kion becomes bigger.
- High-level Intellect: Janja is highly intelligent and cunning. Surrounded on all sides by other more witless hyenas, he stands out as the one clever member of his clan, as he knew the story of the Lion Guard and was able to come up with many schemes to take over the Pride Land; such as attacking at night before the Lion Guard was official, getting Kiara as prisoner to deal with Simba, using herd of animals to make the Lion Guard unable to see and trapping the Lion Guard by using boulders to block the path when Ono was not able to see. He also knew that vultures have come information when having meetings that he can use against the Lion Guard proven by Ono unable to see. He was also able to fool the Lion Guard into believing that he and his clan were giving up and immediately returned to Pride lands.
- Endurance and Stamina: His stamina is high as he is able to hunt down with his pack to take out much prey as he could, able to endure the attack of Beshte's brute strength and sometimes run away from Kion's roar. Furthermore, even Kion's most powerful roar sometimes can do little more than make him dazed.
The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar
The Lion Guard
Songs sung by Janja
- "Tonight We Strike."
- "Outta the Way."
- "Panic and Run."
- "Bring Back a Legend."
- "The Worst Hyena We Know."
- "We're the Smartest."
- "I'm gonna run this Dump."
- "A New Way To Go."
- The name "Janja" means "crafty" in Swahili.
- Janja is male and leader of his clan, but in real life, hyenas are led by females. Thus, it's theorized that Janja's clan lacked from females and he was allowed to take over the reins due being a dominant male.
- Janja and his clan are descendants of the Hyena Clan from the original film.
- It is possible that Janja was inspired by Banagi, a hyena who was an antagonist in the early drafts of The Lion King, who like Janja was male and led his clan.
- Judging by personality, Janja can be assumed to be The Lion Guard's equivalent of Shenzi:
- Both are the leaders of their clans
- Both are accompanied by two other members of their species (Cheezi and Chungu for Janja and Banzai and Ed for Shenzi).
- Given this, some fans speculate that Janja is the offspring of Shenzi and Banzai, yet there's no solid arguments to support this theory.
- Janja and the other hyenas believe that Scar died in the great fire years ago after Simba defeated him, unaware of the fact that their ancestors, Shenzi's hyena clan, killed Scar in revenge for his betrayal and broken promises. This happened to Zira in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride which Zira, who is avenging Scar thinks that Simba killed him though Simba only got him flipped and fall to the place he gets killed when he tried to kill him.
- Although a teenager, Janja is almost the same size as Nala. In season 3, Janja is the same size as Teen Kion and seems to be at Simba's chin, which is probably the same size as the original movie's hyenas.
- According to the show's creator, Ford Riley, Janja secretly has romantic feelings for Jasiri, despite his rivalry and hatred for her beliefs. The special "Battle for the Pride Lands" pretty hints at Riley's declarations, as Janja starts realizing that Jasiri might be right after all and ultimately chooses to defect from Scar's Army along with Cheezi and Chungu, joins the Pride Landers and proposes Jasiri to be the leader of the Outlands.
- As shown in The Lake of Reflection, Janja knew Kion since they were very young and the hyena was already evil at that age.