|Friends for Life|
October 23, 1995
Start of series
The narrator reveals that the Pride Lands have recovered from Scar's reign in a surprisingly short amount of time and that peace has been restored to the kingdom once more under Simba. At the start of the story, Zazu is attempting to teach Kopa, Simba's young son, how to be a proper king, but Kopa is more interested in chasing birds, including Zazu.
Zazu flies off before Kopa can catch him, so Kopa instead attempts to play-fight with Simba. However, Simba refuses, as he is busy trying to deal with intruding rogues and hyenas. Disappointed, Kopa leaves and visits the Elephant Graveyard. There, he encounters a hyena named Asante, who is being attacked by a snake. Since hyenas are the natural enemy of lions, Kopa hesitates to take action, but eventually decides to help Asante.
After Kopa defeats the snake, the two observe one another suspiciously due to their ingrained enmity. After confirming that neither is a threat, they introduce themselves and form a tentative friendship. Afterward, Kopa tells his mother Nala about his adventures, and she lightly scolds Kopa for going to the Elephant Graveyard, but compliments him for putting hostilities aside to help an animal in need.
The next day, Asante and Kopa meet again. Together, they hunt crickets, observe ants, tell each other secrets, and race each other across the savanna. Kopa questions if a hyena and a lion can be friends, and Asante insists that they already are friends. Over time, the two become closer.
One day, Asante invites Kopa to the "Shadowland," a place far beyond the borders of the Pride Lands. Though Kopa initially hesitates, Asante convinces him to come with her. Once in the Shadowland, the two begin playing together in the river. Just then, a dark cloud suddenly appears in the sky, and Kopa assumes that it is a cloud of locusts. However, a terrible storm forms, and Kopa falls into the raging river.
Asante manages to escape and seeks help. She employs an old crocodile named Kroko to rescue Kopa before he drowns. Due to her concern over Kopa's condition, Asante escorts him home. Kopa invites Asante to meet his parents, and though still nervous, she accepts, trusting her friend.
- Friends for Life shares similarities with the The Lion Guard episode "Never Judge a Hyena by its Spots", as both protagonists are the son of Simba and Nala, and befriend a spunky hyena from the Outlands.
- The cover of Friends for Life features young Simba and Nala. However, the story takes place many years later and features Simba and Nala's young son, Kopa.
- In Friends for Life, Simba mentions that Kopa is the only cub in his pride. However, in A Snake in the Grass, Kopa has a cub friend named Afua, and Pumbaa mentions that there are "girl cubs" in the pride.
- In Friends for Life, Timon and Pumbaa are said to have returned to the jungle. However, in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, they are shown to still be living in the Pride Lands.
- In Friends for Life, it is stated that the hyenas were exiled from the Pride Lands after Scar's death. However, this is at odds with Vulture Shock, which depicts hyenas as Pride Landers.
- Jürgen Reimer as the Narrator
- Jannik Endemann as Kopa
- Hanna Reisch as Asante
- Eberhard Haar as Simba
- Renate Simonson as Nala
- Helgo Liebig as Zazu
- König der Löwen: Freunde fürs Leben (Hörspiel) (German). Amazon. Amazon. Retrieved on March 20, 2020.
- König der Löwen: Kampf um den Thron (Hörspiel) (German). Amazon. Amazon. Retrieved on March 20, 2020.
- 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.
- McGuire, Leslie. A Snake in the Grass (1994). ISBN: 0717283518.
- Katschke, Judy. Vulture Shock (1994). ISBN: 071728350X.