Black and gray
• Bald head
|Also known as||
• Cactus butt (by Shenzi)
Initially, Banzai and his clan lived in exile from the Pride Lands. They formed a friendship with a member of the royal family, Scar, who recruited them to assist in the murder of Mufasa, the kingdom's reigning monarch, and his heir, Simba. On Scar's orders, Banzai and his clan instigated a stampede that led to Mufasa's death. The hyenas then made an attempt on Simba's life but failed. However, they reported to Scar and his pride that Simba had died, which allowed Scar to take the throne.
With Scar as the king of the Pride Lands, the hyenas were allowed entry. During Scar's reign, a famine struck the kingdom, stripping the Pride Lands of its former glory and starving both the hyenas and the lionesses. Eventually, a full-grown Simba returned to the Pride Lands to take his place as the rightful king. Banzai and his clan opposed Simba, supporting Scar's claim to the throne, but Scar betrayed the hyenas to Simba. This led them to turn on and kill him.
Banzai and his clan lived in the Elephant Graveyard due to their exile from the Pride Lands. At some point in his life, Banzai became close friends with his fellow hyenas, Shenzi and Ed, as well as a lion named Scar.
Attack on Timon's colony
While Timon was on sentry duty, engrossed in singing, he failed to notice Banzai and his companions sneaking up behind him. They surrounded him and clapped sarcastically at the song's end. They then pushed Timon to the ground and dashed in among his colony, attacking the scattered meerkats. Though they failed to devour any of the colony, Banzai nearly caught Uncle Max, who escaped down a hole just in time. After the meerkats were safely hidden in their nests, the hyenas walked away, guffawing.
Attack on Simba and Nala
|“||Banzai: Hey, did we order this dinner to-go?
Shenzi: No, why?
Banzai: 'Cause there it goes!
When Simba and his friend Nala disobediently trespassed into the Elephant Graveyard, they were confronted by the hyena trio. In echoing Simba's laughter, the hyenas scared the cubs into hiding behind their babysitter, Zazu, who tried to explain to Shenzi that their traipse into the graveyard had been a mere accident. Shenzi promptly identified the hornbill as Mufasa's majordomo, and the hyenas joked about eating the cubs.
Although the cubs and their babysitter attempted to escape, the hyenas managed to catch Zazu and stick him in the birdie boiler. Before they could harm the cubs, Mufasa interfered and attacked them. Banzai was the first of the trio to confront Mufasa, attacking him from behind, but Mufasa swiped him away, leaving him with wounds on his rear. With the battle finished, Mufasa tackled all three to the ground and warned them to never come near his son again. He roared again, and the hyenas scurried away.
Plot to kill Mufasa
That night, Banzai gathered with his friends in the Elephant Graveyard and complained about the wounds on his rear. Ed's constant taunts spun him into a fury, and he scuffled with his friend until he was ordered away by Shenzi. The hyenas proceeded to complain about lions and the subordinate stature of their own species. No sooner had they slammed lions with insults such as "pushy," "hairy," and "stinky," when Scar appeared, bearing gifts of food for his friends, despite their prior failure to kill the cubs. When Banzai challenged his leader, asking if they had been expected to kill Mufasa as well, Scar braced his minions for the death of the king.
The next day, Banzai and his friends gathered at the top of the gorge, waiting for Scar's signal to startle the herd. While they waited, Banzai attempted to pick off a sick wildebeest in order to settle his hunger, but Shenzi forbid such an action, as it would disrupt the plan. Scar soon appeared at the top of the ridge, and the hyenas chased the wildebeests into the valley.
After joining up with Scar again, the hyenas were sent after Simba, who had run away from his father's dead body. The three almost managed to catch the cub until he escaped into a thorn thicket. Banzai himself was accidentally pushed into the thicket, and when he emerged, he refused to keep chasing the cub. Leaving Simba for dead, the hyenas yelled taunts after him and then returned to Scar, who was deceived about Simba's survival.
With Mufasa and Simba reportedly dead, Scar took the title of king. Many years passed, during which the hyenas moved into the kingdom alongside the lionesses. When prey became scarce, Banzai and his friends approached Scar, demanding he provide them with more food. Annoyed by their pestering, Scar ordered them away, yelling in particular at Banzai when he mentioned Mufasa's name. Though the hyenas tried one last time to appeal to their king, Scar roared furiously at them, which prompted the hyenas to flee the den, whooping fearfully.
Shortly afterward, a full-grown Simba returned to the Pride Lands and confronted Scar, who pointedly glared up at the hyenas for their failure to kill Simba. During the final battle, the hyenas flanked their leader, and the trio targeted Timon and Zazu in a bone cage. Pumbaa soon came to the rescue, and Banzai and his friends were chased away by the warthog's brawn.
However, the hyenas eventually cornered Timon and Pumbaa in an inner cave of Pride Rock after being angered by an offensive joke the duo made about the hyenas. In an attempt to distract the clan while Ma and Uncle Max dug a tunnel beneath the hyenas, Timon and Pumbaa tried different tactics to keep the hyenas' attention. When the trap tunnel failed, Timon jumped down between Shenzi's legs and finished the contraption himself, causing Banzai and his clan to fall through the ground and plummet to the bottom of Pride Rock.
As the battle drew to a close, Banzai and his friends gathered on the summit of Pride Rock, where they witnessed Scar blaming the hyenas for the coup against Mufasa. They ultimately backed away from the scene in anger. When their king was thrown from Pride Rock by Simba and landed in the midst of the hyena clan, Banzai and his friends gathered around Scar, who welcomed them as friends. The hyenas in turn taunted Scar for blaming the problems of the Pride Lands on them and then proceeded to attack him, eating him alive amidst the burning flames of Pride Rock.
Banzai is a moderately sized hyena, with a hunched back, a long neck, and thin legs. His fur is gray, while his ears, mane, and paws are black. He has several distinctions, including a speckled gray muzzle, spots on his hide, thick eyebrows, and some sparse hairs on his head.
Personality and traits
Of the hyena trio, Banzai is the most aggressive and volatile. He is prone to losing his temper, especially when mocked by his companions, and often resorts to violence if provoked too much. Despite this, he submits to the authority of his leader Shenzi and does her bidding whenever she demands his obedience.
Like most hyenas, Banzai is bumbling, humorous, and driven by hunger. He showed exceptional gluttony and greed when he encountered Simba and Nala, being willing to kill young cubs to sate his appetite. Additionally, he has complete disregard for the Circle of Life, as he chafed at Mufasa's authority and willingly stripped the Pride Lands of all life. He is simple-minded and unintelligent, which often led to misunderstandings between him and Scar, who expressed frustration at his stupidity.
Ultimately, though Banzai is loyal and subservient, he does not take well to betrayal, as seen when he murdered his former friend Scar as an act of revenge.
- Banzai was voiced by:
- Banzai was animated by:
- Banzai was originally slated to appear in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, as Cheech Marin reportedly reprised his role for the sequel.
- Hyenas who bear striking resemblances to Banzai are seen in the Timon & Pumbaa episodes "No-Good Samaritan" and "Guru-Some". In the former, the hyena attempts to catch and eat Claudia, and in the latter, the hyena receives advice from Pumbaa.
- In the stage musical version of The Lion King, Shenzi mentions that Banzai's father was eaten by Nala's mother, Sarafina.
- A teaser for The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar states that Janja's clan is descended from Banzai's clan.
- In Issue 49 of The Lion King: A Nature Fun and Learn Series, the "Puzzles" section states that Banzai and Ed are both one year older than Shenzi.
- In early 1990 drafts of The Lion King, the hyenas were represented by two males named Banagi and Baasho. Unlike the hyenas of the final film, they were the true masterminds behind Scar's murder of Mufasa and subsequent rise to the throne.
- Cheech Marin and his fellow comedian Tommy Chong were considered for the roles of the hyenas. However, due to Chong and Marin breaking professional ties, Marin and Whoopi Goldberg were cast instead.
- Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella originally auditioned for the roles of the hyenas but were instead cast as Timon and Pumbaa respectively.