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Meaning Lurking
Species Hyena
Close Relations Friend of Shenzi and Ed
Appearances The Lion King, The Lion King 1½
Voice Actor(s) Cheech Marin (The Lion King, The Lion King 1½)

Stanley Wayne Mathis (The Lion King on Broadway Original Cast)

Rob Paulsen (Timon & Pumbaa)

Banzai: "Hey, did we order this dinner to-go?"
Shenzi: "No. Why?"
Banzai: "'Cause there it goes!"
—Banzai and Shenzi, talking about Nala and Simba

Banzai is one of the many hyenas that once obeyed the malicious Scar. He is also a part of a trio of hyenas with Shenzi and Ed that appear in two movies and countless literature.

Physical attributes

Banzai is a smoky-gray hyena with black ears, black eyebrows, black paws, dark gray spots, a tan underbelly, a black tail, and yellow eyes.


Banzai: "*Stomach Growls*"
Shenzi: "Shut up."
Banzai: "I can't help it. I'm so hungry....I gotta' have a wildebeest."
Shenzi: "Stay put."
Banzai: "Well....can't I just pick off one of the little sick ones?"
Shenzi: "No!"
—Banzai and Shenzi

Banzai, much like Ed and Shenzi, has somewhat of a crazy personality. In many aspects, he is much less serious than Scar, and even his fellow hyena, Shenzi. He gets hungry very easily, an example being when he wanted to hunt wildebeests rather than carry out Scar's plan to kill Mufasa. Banzai is also the most unfortunate of the hyenas, getting hurt twice; once by Mufasa, and once by falling into a thorn pit. Banzai also tends to share many different viewpoints with Shenzi, but gets into arguments a lot with Ed, since the hyena is constantly teasing and jeering at him over his injuries.

The Lion King

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

Banzai is first seen in The Lion King as one of Scar's henchmen. When Simba and Nala are exploring the Elephant Graveyard, Simba begins to laugh mockingly, and Banzai, who's hiding in an elephant skull, echoes his laughter, and causes the young cub to back away in fear and hide behind Nala and Zazu, who had come to retrieve the cubs from the graveyard. The hyenas accuse Nala, Simba, and Zazu of trespassing onto their territory, and Zazu tries to cover them up by telling the trio that it was an accident.

Ed (left) and Banzai (right)

After a brief conversation, the three hyenas begin to make jokes about "what they were going to have for lunch". Banzai jokes that, "We could have whatever's....'lion' around". But the hyenas get distracted, and Ed starts to warn Banzai and Shenzi that the two cubs had gotten away. The three hyenas manage to catch up to Zazu and put him in "the birdie boiler". Meanwhile, Nala and Simba had come back to rescue Zazu, but end up being chased away by the three hyenas. The two cubs are soon cornered up against a rocky wall. As the three hyenas close in on them, Simba bravely tries to protect Nala by standing in front of her and roaring at the hyenas. But his efforts are futile as the hyenas continue to close in on them. But before they can reach Nala and Simba, there's a magnificent roar, and Mufasa, who had been fetched by Zazu, appears to dispose of the hyenas. After a brief struggle, Mufasa pins the three hyenas to the ground, and tells them to never come near Simba again. After another deafening roar, the three hyenas scurry away.

Later, Banzai is seen bickering with Ed. Mufasa had clawed Banzai in the rear, and the grumbling hyena was positive that he wouldn't be able to sit for a week. Ed laughs at this, and soon the two get into a vicious brawl, which is broken up by Shenzi. After the fight is over, Banzai and Shenzi begin talking about how terrible lions were, calling them "pushy", "hairy", "stinky", and "ugly". But as they're talking, they hear a mysterious voice contradicting what they had said. The three look up to see Scar sitting on a nearby ledge. Banzai then sighs in relief, glad that it wasn't someone important, like Mufasa.

Banzai after getting pushed into a bramble thicket

The hyenas then start to talk about how powerful Mufasa was, which disgusts Scar. Banzai then tells Scar that he wasn't as important, because he was just their pal. He then asks Scar if he had brought them anything to eat. The dark lion tells them that they should have eaten Nala and Simba when they had wandered into the graveyard, but throws them a zebra haunch, which the hyenas begin to devour eagerly. Banzai then says that they couldn't have killed the cubs, because they would have had to kill Mufasa. Scar then smiles at them, and launches into a song about "being prepared" for Mufasa's death.

Later, Banzai, Ed, and Shenzi help Scar in his plan to assassinate Mufasa. Banzai is tempted to eat a wildebeest (which was grazing at the top of a gorge), but is stopped by Shenzi. The three hyenas chase the herd of wildebeests down into the gorge (where Simba is waiting), then wait at the top of the rise for Scar.

After joining up with Scar again, the three hyenas are sent after Simba, who had run away from the gorge after encountering his father's dead body. The three chase him until he catapults himself into a dense thorn thicket. Banzai tries to stop himself from being hurled in too, but gets pushed in by Ed and Shenzi, who had run into him after sliding down the side of a steep cliff. Banzai climbs back out of the thicket, covered in thorns, and tries to get Ed and Shenzi to keep chasing after Simba. But both refuse, Shenzi saying that she wouldn't want to come out looking like him, and calling him a "cactus-butt". Banzai then starts to gingerly remove some of the thorns from his pelt, and pointedly spits some at Ed, who yelps and covers his face.

Banzai complaining about lions

Later, after Scar has taken over the Pridelands and let the hyenas join the pride, Banzai comes to Scar to complain about the lack of food. All three of the hyenas are starving, and tell Scar that the lionesses weren't hunting for them. Scar then tells Banzai that he could eat Zazu, who was trapped in a cage made of bone. Banzai then mutters to Shenzi that he thought it was bad under Mufasa, which results in Scar demanding to know what Banzai had said. Since Mufasa's name was not allowed to be spoken in the kingdom, Banzai quickly corrects himself, and claims that he had said, "Qué pasa?". Scar then orders them to leave. The three start to leave, then pause, telling Scar that they were still hungry. Scar then yells at them to get out, and they race away, Ed letting loose a crazy laugh as they go.

After this, Simba is seen returning to the Pridelands, now fully grown. Scar, who's surprised to see Simba, plainly makes his point that the hyenas hadn't done their job, by saying, "I'm a little surprised to see you....alive". He then glares up at the three hyenas, who gulp and back away into the shadows. Later, during a battle between the hyenas and the lions, the hyena trio chases Timon into Scar's cave, and traps him in the bone cage with Zazu. But Timon and Zazu are soon freed by Pumbaa, who rushes into the cave and chases the hyenas away.

Later, Simba gets into an epic battle with Scar, and corners him at a steep ledge. Scar, who's desperate to stay alive, blames the hyenas for all the trouble; the plot to kill Mufasa and the whole reason Simba's land was in turmoil. Unknown to him, all three of the hyenas are listening to him from the shadows. After hearing what Scar had said, the three back away, growling, and disappear into the shadows. Scar and Simba get into another fight, and Simba throws Scar off the side of the ledge, and onto the ground below. When Scar lands, the hyenas approach him, including Banzai, Ed, and Shenzi. At first, Scar is relieved to see his friends, then backs away in terror, for the hyenas had heard of his betrayal, and were now closing in on him. The hyenas jump on Scar and kill him, ending the feud between the hyenas and the lions.

In literature

A Tale of Two Brothers

Banzai in A Tale of Two Brothers
"If Mufasa looks like a loser, you'll look good."
—Banzai, talking to Taka

In A Tale of Two Brothers, Banzai corners a traveling baboon, Rafiki, at Five Stones, with the help of his two companions, Ed and Shenzi. But before the hyena trio can kill the baboon, Ahadi, the lion king, stops them and tells them not to hunt for sport. After a bit of protesting, Banzai and his friends are ordered away. Later, Taka is seen meeting with the three, warning them to lay low, since Ahadi was looking for them. Banzai suggests they move to the snowy mountains, but Taka and Shenzi pull at his whiskers and force him to be silent. The hyenas also discuss Ahadi and Mufasa with Taka. When Taka tells them that Ahadi couldn't take him hunting again, the hyenas suggest he make Mufasa look bad, which would make Ahadi have more respect for him, maybe even think about making him king one day. Taka tries the idea, but his plot is uncovered by Rafiki, who had been watching the secret meeting from a nearby tree.