Asante is a female hyena.
As a cub, Asante met and befriended Kopa, a lion who was the son of Simba and Nala. Though at first distrustful of one another, the two eventually became close friends and spent a lot of time together in secret. One day, the two got caught in a storm, and Kopa fell into a river. With help from her friend Kroko, Asante saved his life and escorted him back to the Pride Lands. At Kopa's urging, she decided to meet his parents and thus end the hostilities between their species.
Because of Asante's friendship with Kopa, more hyenas dared to venture into the Pride Lands.
Friendship with Kopa
|“||Kopa: Why couldn't lions and hyenas become friends too?
Asante: We are friends, aren't we? And now, catch me if you can!
When a disobedient Kopa wandered into the Elephant Graveyard, he witnessed Asante struggling to escape a snake. The front half of Asante's body was stuck under the ground, making it impossible for her to defend herself. As the snake attempted to strangle her, she cried out for help. Kopa intervened and flipped the snake away, allowing Asante the chance to wriggle out of the hole.
Upon seeing each other face to face, the two recognized each other as lifelong enemies. Despite this, Kopa introduced himself to the hyena, and Asante did the same. She then thanked him for saving her from the snake. Kopa told her that snakes did not scare him, and Asante admitted that poisonous snakes scared her. She explained to Kopa that she had been hunting for snake eggs when the constrictor had caught her in the act. Kopa, impressed with Asante's knowledge, claimed to understand all that she was talking about. Asante asked Kopa if he lived in the Pride Lands, and he confirmed this. Asante admitted that her kind was not allowed to go there, since hyenas and lions were enemies. She thanked Kopa again, and the two parted ways.
After returning home, Kopa thought much about his new friend. He even admitted his troubles to his mother, who tried to explain to her son that hyenas and lions were enemies, though she also complimented him for putting aside their differences in order to save Asante.
Many days later, Kopa was on a walk across the savanna when he ran into Asante again. The hyena invited him to play, and the lion cub eagerly accepted. Asante suggested they throw bones, but Kopa reacted with disgust. Seeing her friend cringe, Asante laughed and suggested they hunt crickets. As the two played together, Kopa spotted a line of ants crawling across the ground. He pointed them out to Asante and told her to sit and wait. The hyena was confused, but obediently sat down and waited.
Presently, a gecko approached and ate up the line of ants. Kopa explained to his friend that no one could change the course of nature. Snakes and geckos could never be friends, and neither could geckos and ants. At Kopa's words, Asante took the gecko and shoved him aside. She then proclaimed to Kopa that she had just changed the course of nature, for she was now a friend of the ants. Kopa asked if it was possible for hyenas and lions to be friends, and Asante pointed out that they were friends. The two then ran off together, happily playing among the savanna grass.
Kopa and Asante met each other more often after this incident. They played together and told each other their secrets. Kopa told his friend about a tree that gave shade all day long, and Asante told Kopa about a den with a great echo. Despite their growing friendship, neither dared introduce the other to their family.
One day, Asante tried to convince Kopa to come to the Shadowland with her, but Kopa was hesitant to disobey his parents again. Asante finally convinced him to come by telling him that there was a great river there that they could throw stones into. Upon entering the unknown land, Kopa forgot his fears and trotted happily alongside his hyena friend. No sooner were they in Asante's land when they spotted a dark cloud steadily approaching them. At first, Kopa thought it was a swarm of locusts, but Asante instantly knew the true identity of the cloud.
She exclaimed to Kopa that a storm was coming. The cub was confused, but Asante pointed out to him that she could hear thunder. Kopa had never seen a storm before in his life, but Asante knew the dangers of rain and lightning. As the storm began to bear down on the cubs, Asante yelled at Kopa to run. Eventually, the lion gave in and raced after his panicked friend. The weather changed drastically, and the storm moved in overhead. As rain began to pelt the cubs from all directions, the river swelled and started to grow bigger and bigger. Soon, the ground gave way, and Kopa fell into the river. The lion cub yelled to Asante for help, but the young hyena ran off into the rain without him.
Unbeknown to Kopa, Asante hastened to her friend, an old crocodile named Kroko, and begged him to save Kopa's life. After hearing her story, Kroko agreed to help the young lion cub, whom he safely delivered to shore, where Asante rushed to his side, begging him to wake up. Kopa was relieved to see Asante still with him, and the hyena explained to him that she had merely gone for help. Kopa thanked her, and Asante accepted his gratitude. She then asked him if he could move all right. Kopa admitted that he was exhausted, and Asante resolved to guide him home.
Together, the hyena and the lion journeyed across the savanna until they had nearly reached Pride Rock. It had been a long time since a hyena had been brave enough to go so far, and even Asante felt uncomfortable. Kopa was desperate for her to meet his parents, for he knew that if he did not destroy the old hostilities that day, there would not be another chance. Despite his enthusiasm, Asante stopped before they could reach the pride and told Kopa that they were even, as both had saved the other's life at some point. She then told him that they did not belong together, which was why they had to part ways.
Kopa begrudgingly admitted to this and dejectedly made his way back toward Pride Rock. As he was walking, Asante suddenly caught up to him and told him that she had changed her mind. She then asked him if he still wanted her to meet his parents, and Kopa eagerly agreed. Asante admitted that she was a bit afraid of them and asked Kopa if they really were friends. Kopa assured her that they were and then challenges her to a race. Asante teased him about his slowness, and the two friends took off across the savanna.
Because of Asante's friendship with Kopa, the other hyenas dared to venture farther into the Pride Lands. One of the hyenas, Fisi, even went so far as to arrange a fight between Simba and a cheetah named Kesho.
Personality and traits
Asante is good-natured, kind in spirit, and exceptionally smart. She has a very open-minded perspective, as she did not question whether hyenas and lions could be friends; rather, she was quick to accept that such a friendship was possible. She has other interspecies friendships as well, including a friendship with Kroko the crocodile.
Asante is sarcastic and spunky, and often teases her friend Kopa. In more serious situations, Asante shows bravery and maturity beyond her years. Even in everyday life, she displays a high level of understanding, as she was able to keep a secret of great magnitude from her fellow hyenas for a fairly long time. Though she sometimes struggles to communicate clearly, as Kopa believed her to have abandoned him when she really went to fetch help, she is considerably persistent and willing to tackle daunting problems. When faced with a tough choice, she is prone to at first turn away, but when given the chance to reconsider, she usually overcomes her fears and takes the challenge.
- Asante was voiced by Hanna Reisch.
- Asante's name means "thank you" in Swahili.
- Asante is similar to Jasiri from The Lion Guard. Both are spunky female hyenas who befriend a son of Simba and Nala.
- Walt Disney. Friends for Life (October 23, 1995).
- Walt Disney. Fight for the Throne (October 23, 1995).
- Online Swahili - English Dictionary. African Languages. Retrieved on February 8, 2021.
- Revealed in "Never Judge a Hyena by its Spots" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 1, Season 1. Written by Kevin Hopps, John Loy, and Ford Riley, and directed by Howy Parkins. Originally aired January 15, 2016.