- “I might not be the biggest honey badger, but I know what's in my heart. And I'm not scared of anything, or anyone!”
- ―Bunga to Kion
Bunga is the deuteragonist (later tritagonist) of the Disney Junior show, The Lion Guard. He is a honey badger and Kion's best friend and a former member of the Lion Guard. He is the adoptive nephew of Timon and Pumbaa. His position on the team was the Bravest in the Pride Lands.
Bunga is a hyperactive, irrepressible, and extremely daring badger who frequently leaps into danger, often without considering the consequences and improvising to the best of his ability. Because of this, it can sometimes take him time to grasp the seriousness of a situation. Bunga is aware of his courage, which he proved when he told Kion why he thought he should be a member of the Lion Guard.
He has a tendency to jump to conclusions before engaging in further thought and believes in quick and easy solutions, though sometimes without thinking twice. Bunga is loyal to Kion and the Lion Guard, and is always ready to help those in need. He is proud to be a member, and cares for all of his friends, though he is occasionally insensitive about their feelings.
Bunga is a ball of energy who is always ready to have fun. He is somewhat of a comedian who likes telling jokes to his friends in which they sometimes find his jokes funny.
Bunga is a quite short but stocky honey badger, with a well-rounded physique and small paws. His fur is dark silvery-blue.
Bunga sports many colors, from the striking pinks of his ears to the thick navy shades of his bushy eyebrows. His nose appears to be a very dark shade of brown, while his eyes are coal-black. Both his hands and feet have black pads on them. Perhaps his most striking feature, Bunga's teeth are large and distinctly gap-filled.
In "Battle for the Pride Lands", as a teenager, Bunga has grown taller, his white fur has also became slightly longer and more unruly.
- Basic-Level Intellect: Rafiki had stated that Bunga will be the most intelligent animal in the entire Pride Lands if he thinks things through. He was proven not to be that intelligent, but he was proven to be intelligent enough to use his gas to save Kiara from a stampede, followed by other certain occasions.
- Skilled Combatant: Bunga is able to easily defeat Mzingo. As demonstrated in "The Kilio Valley Fire", Bunga can easily knock out Janja.
- Singing: As demonstrated throughout the series, Bunga is an excellent singer.
- Expert Swimmer: As demonstrated in "Battle for the Pride Lands", Bunga is an excellent swimmer.
- Powerful Stink: Like all Honey Badgers, Bunga can shoot a powerful stinky spray that has some good uses like scaring baboons out of a falling tree. Guidance from his uncle Pumbaa has allowed him to be more effective and powerful in the use of his stink spray.
- Animal Strength Bunga is proven to be strong enough to hold Goigoi. He is also proven to have the same level of strength as Janja, a teenage spotted hyena and Reirei, a full grown jackal. But Bunga is as strong as Beshte, Kion, and Fuli respectively.
- Animal Speed: Bunga can almost run as fast as Kion; making him the fifth fastest member in the entire Lion Guard.
- Animal Agility: Bunga is able to flip in the air. He is not as agile as Fuli, Kion, and Beshte respectively; making him the fourth most agile in the entire Lion Guard.
- Animal Resistance: Bunga's thick skin prevents him from being hurt by sharp objects like a porcupine's quills.
- Venom Immunity: As a honey badger, Bunga is immune to reptilian venom like Ushari’s snake bite and Kenge’s paralyzing bite. He is also immune to insect venom like bee stingers.
- Climber: As a honey badger, Bunga is an excellent climber on trees, but not on rocks.
- Bravery: Being the bravest of the Lion Guard Bunga literally has no fear and isn't afraid of anything, thus making him unable to feel any sort of fear, terror or even any intense anxiety. Bunga rarely shows fear whatsoever and even when he is scared he is capable of suppressing that said fear and stay calm as he normally is.
Role in the series
Bunga makes his debut in the series premiere. He first appears on Pride Rock playing Baobab Ball with his best friend Kion. While Simba, Kion's father and the ruler of the Pride Lands teaches his daughter Kiara about her future as the queen of the Pride Lands. Kion and Bunga go play their game Baobab Ball through out the Pride Lands. During their game the Baobab Ball goes into the Outlands. Kion tells Bunga that they shouldn't go down there, but on the other hand, Bunga isn't scared of the Outlands. He leaps down after calling Simba a "scaredy cat." While in the Outlands, Bunga runs into two hyenas Cheezi and Chungu. The hyenas plan on bringing Bunga to Janja for lunch. Kion gets mad at the hyenas and uses the Roar of the Elders for the very first time. This leaves the hyenas in shock and Bunga is safe and sound. Bunga is curious as to how his friend produced such an amazing roar, and Kion admits that he doesn't know-how.
Meanwhile Simba and Rafiki overhear the Roar. Simba at first does not believe that his son is ready, with him being a cub still. Kion and Bunga then arrive back at Pride Rock. Rafiki explains that Kion's roar was the Roar of the Elders and that the Great Lions of the Past roared with Kion when he used it. Bunga responds to this, announcing that he saw lions in the sky. Suddenly Simba and Rafiki lead Kion and Bunga to the Lair of the Lion Guard. At first, Bunga is confused. He queries, "It's a bunch of vines?" before Rafiki pulls back the plants to reveal the Lair. After Simba explains to his son that it is now his turn to lead the Lion Guard. Bunga grows very excited. He exclaims that it is "un-bunga-lievable" before exiting the Lair. Kion doesn't hesitate to begin his mission, and immediately selects his friend Bunga, claiming that he doesn't know anyone braver than him. Bunga rushes to tell his uncles, Timon and Pumbaa and gets caught up with Kiara and her friends, Tiifu and Zuri, along the way. When Zuri falls off of a log, Bunga declares that he will save her, but is stopped by Kiara. Then he tells Timon, Pumbaa, Kiara, Tifu, and Zuri about the duties of the Lion Guard, and that he is now part of it. At first, Timon and Pumbaa are uncertain about letting Bunga join the guard after hearing the about the danger and work, so Bunga pleads with them. He admits that the Lion Guard is not "Hakuna Matata", but instead "Zuka Zama". Tiifu asks about "Zuka Zama", and Bunga sings a song about it. to explain. He then is able to convince Timon and Pumbaa to let him join the Guard.
Meanwhile, Kion has assembled a group which he believes best fit the criteria for being a member of the Lion Guard, with Bunga still confirmed as his first member. This includes Fuli the cheetah, Beshte the hippopotamus and Ono the egret. Fuli wishes to see the fiercest member, to which Bunga encourages his friend to show her the Roar. Kion is hesitant, as he does not wish to abuse his power like Scar. However, when he attempts to use it just for this occasion, all he can manage is a tiny squeak. Bunga is astonished and certain that wasn't the roar he saw earlier. Simba then arrives to see the new Guard, but soon tells Kion that the Lion Guard has always been made of lions. Kion leaves the group to do some soul searching.
Just then, Bunga calls Kion and tells him that the hyenas are attacking the herd of gazelles. Kion and Bunga then rush off to find the rest of the Lion Guard. Ono, Fuli, and Beshte watch on, as Ono explains that Mzingo is telling the hyenas which one to attack next. They soon realize that the hyenas, having already killed two gazelles, are hunting for sport. Kion soon arrives, having heard their words, and tells them that he doesn't care if they're not all lions and that this was the Lion Guard for him. Although Bunga is quick to leap in, he is stopped by Kion, who has a plan. The lion then goes against his father's wishes and places his paw on each of his friend's shoulders, to give them the Mark of the Guard.. Bunga is happy to receive his Mark and puts a paw over it for a moment. Together, they rush into action.
The Guard quietly make their way down to the gazelles' grazing grounds, before launching a surprise attack with Kion at the front of the group. With Ono taking care of Mzingo, Bunga, Beshte, and Fuli focus on the hyenas. Bunga leaps onto Chungu and covers his eyes. The hyenas soon start to make a desperate retreat. Simba, Nala, Tiifu and Rafiki arrive just in time to see the new Lion Guard chase the hyenas away.
Although they assume that their work is done, it turns out that Kion's sister Kiara is still in danger. Tiifu points out that the herd is charging right for Kiara, who is hiding behind a rock. She slips and wounds her paw, leaving everyone concerned. Bunga has an idea and asks Fuli to get him close. Ono then scouts ahead, and, when close enough, Bunga leaps onto the rock protecting Kiara. He turns around and lets loose a large fart, which causes the gazelles to part ways. Kiara thanks Bunga, and returns to her parents.
Bunga has appeared in every single episode after the events of the pilot episode. Like all the other animal members Kion recruited to be part of his Lion Guard, Bunga continues being the bravest member of the Guard until the series finale.
In "The Rise of Makuu" Ono goes to Timon and Pumbaa and tell them that Bunga can't be stinky. Ono tries to change Bunga's smell. However, his new minty smell made his stink useless. Ono soon admits that Bunga's stink has his uses, to which the honey badger replies with "Hakuna Matata" and hopes that his stink will come back.
In "Bunga the Wise" Bunga thought that Rafiki said he was the wisest animal in the Pride Lands. Bunga begins to give the animals advice; however, his bad advice only made things worse. Suddenly, Lake Kiziwa starts flooding and the Lion Guard moves the animals quickly. They soon come to a dead end and they ask Bunga what to do. However, Bunga says that Kion is the one who knows what to do. Kion states that it's not quick and easy and tells the animals to get behind him. Kion soon uses the Roar of the Elders to blast the water away and the animals are safe and sound. Bunga soon finds out that honey badgers are only smart when they think things through. Bunga guesses that he's not so wise after all and says that he can live with that.
In "Fuli's New Family", it is revealed that Bunga is immune to snake bites, thanks to his poison immunity.
In "The Search for Utamu", it is revealed that Bunga ends up living with Timon and Pumbaa ever since his childhood when he managed to find some utamu bugs for them.
In "Paintings and Predictions" Bunga is worried that Kion is going to fall off a tree branch but luckily Kion survived.
In "Bunga and the King" Bunga and Simba learn that they were both raised by Timon and Pumbaa.
In "Babysitter Bunga" Bunga babysits younger Pride Landers.
In the "The Traveling Baboon Show" Bunga watches a group of baboons and finds out that they are food thieves.
In "The Ukumbusho Tradition" Bunga, along with Fuli, Ono and Beshte, is painted to look like a lion for the Ukumbusho.
In "The Bite of Kenge" Bunga fights a lizard named Kenge.
In "Timon and Pumbaa's Christmas", Bunga gives his uncles a Christmas that they'll never forget. Therefore, all the other animals celebrate Christmas in the Pride Lands together the following day.
In "The Underground Adventure" Bunga, Kion, Tiifu, Zuri and Kiara get trapped underground after a fire hits the Mudpots.
In "Pride Landers Unite!", Bunga and the guard gathers animals to help them fight Scar's Army.
Bunga and Lion Guard are now teenagers as seen in "Battle for the Pride Lands." After their final battle against Scar's Army was successful, Kion and Ono receive injuries, forcing the guard Guard to travel to the Tree of Life since the events of "The Harmattan". During their journey, new enemies known as Makucha's Army starts to follow the guard to the Tree of Life.
In "Ghost of the Mountain", a group of red pandas led by Domog claims that Bunga is a protector of them. Before the Lion Guard can leave, Bunga cannot leave the red pandas until he defeats the Ghost of the Mountain. There, Bunga and the group travel to the snowy mountain and it is found out that the snow leopard Chuluun was the Ghost of the Mountain. With teamwork between the red pandas and the Lion Guard, Bunga, the Lion Guard, and the red pandas are able to defeat Chuluun who was surrounded by the two groups. With the red pandas saved and another Moja Kwa Moja Stone found, the Lion Guard then continues their journey as the red pandas bid them a farewell with all the teamwork they had.
In "Marsh of Mystery", it is revealed that Bunga eating the mongooses' snails is the reason why the mongooses are angry at the Guard, indicating that the mongooses are aggressively territorial of their snails. After the mongooses stop attacking and retrieve their snails back, Bunga attempts to eat one, but Fuli prevents him from eating one, because the snails belong to them.
Throughout "Mama Binturong", Bunga is the only member of the Guard who is able to access the Stone Forest area in order to retrieve Makini's staff. Bunga engages in a duel between him and Mama Binturong, alongside her porcupine minions. He then uses his stench ability to defeat her and the porcupines in combat (also withering her Tuliza). Bunga was able to retrieve it and bring the staff back to Makini (with a few Tuliza collected during battle).
In "Friends to the End", Bunga is worried that his best friend is turning evil, much to his temper caused by the venom. However, Kion apologizes for all of his actions and the guard continues their journey.
In "The Tree of Life", the Lion Guard meets a group of lions called the Night Pride which is led by a lioness named Rani. The two groups were at odds until Rani informs her grandmother and the Queen of the Tree of Life, Janna, about Kion's Roar of the Elders. Janna insists that the Lion Guard to be allowed into the Tree of Life, allowing Kion to clear up the misunderstanding. After a while, Ono is able to regain his sight, but Kion needs more time to recover from Ushari's venom.
During their time at the Tree of Life and during the episode "Little Old Ginterbong", Bunga meets another honey badger named Binga and starts a friendly-rivalry later romantic relationship with her. The two engage in contests to see who's the better honey badger and after Mama Binturong's identity was revealed, he and Binga manage to defeat the angry binturong using their stench abilities in teamwork.
In "Poa the Destroyer", Bunga dreamt about Binga.
In "Journey to the Pride Lands", Bunga and the rest of Kion's Guard travel back home to the Pride Lands, only to find out that in "Return to the Pride Lands" that Kion's Guard finds out that they have been replaced by a new group led by Vitani. The two groups have a battle to see which team is better. During competition, Bunga competes with a contender lioness named "Shabaha" during the fourth position as the Bravest during the Battle of the Lion Guards to which the competition is tied after four tough events. After Kion masters the roar, the rest of Kion's Guard give up their role as and become members of the Night Pride. Back at the Tree of Life, Kion has his coronation and Bunga cheers for his best friend as he becomes king alongside Binga just as the honey badgers cheer for him.
Bunga and Ono serve as the main characters in this short series of The Lion Guard, to which Bunga is also the title character of his own short series, "It's UnBungalievable!". Each episode uses a format where two different animals species are selected by said characters to compete for the titles of characteristics (for example: which animal is the fastest, which animal has more hair, which animal eats more, etc.), to which Bunga always picks a winner.
- Ironically, Bunga is the Indonesian and Malaysian word for "flower", who is also the name of the skunk in the 1942 film Bambi. It is also Swahili for “foolish person”.
- His name could also be derived from the phrase "Cowabunga" as a homage to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
- He has abnormal coloring for an African honey badger which is normally black-and-white.
- In the series, Bunga is the Bravest of the Lion Guard. In reality, honey badgers are one of the toughest, most fearless, and fiercest creatures, even getting lions to back off.
- Bunga is friendly and good-natured when real honey badgers are cranky and fierce (though this may be due to him being raised by Timon & Pumbaa).
- He shares the same eye model as Jake from Jake and the Never Land Pirates.
- Bunga's voice actor, Joshua Rush, also provides the voice of Jeremy Birnbaum from the Disney XD show Star vs. the Forces of Evil.
- He is the second character to be adopted by Timon and Pumbaa, which becomes a major plot point in one episode.
- According to "Bunga and the King," Simba and Bunga are adoptive brothers since both were raised by Timon and Pumbaa. This would also mean that Kion is Bunga's nephew and Kiara is his niece, which Bunga points out at the end of the episode, though neither of them ever address Bunga as an uncle.
- Sometimes after the Guard makes an enemy flee, Bunga will tell him or her never to return, but he or she never listens.
- Due to Bunga's reckless and immature personality he was thought to be the youngest member of the Guard.
- This was debunked in "The Lake of Reflection" when the flashback reveals that Ono was born (hatched) after all the other members of the Lion Guard.
- In the original script for Return of the Roar, Bunga was meant to be closer to the age of an infant, and be more childish than the final version. Why this was cut is unknown.
- At the end of Battle for the Pride Lands, Bunga knocks Ushari into a lava pit, killing him. (Not counting Janja, who killed a herd of unnamed gazelles, and Scar, who murdered Mufasa prior to the events of the series), this makes Bunga the first and only character in The Lion Guard, and in any Disney Junior production, to explicitly kill another character on-screen.
- In the episode "Ghost of the Mountain", the red pandas and Domog call Bunga "Sonnesen Khun" telling him to save them from the "ghost".
- "Sonnesen Khun" means "Chosen one" in Mongolian language.
- Bunga has sung the most songs out of the rest of the Lion Guard.
- D23 Inside Disney (January 23, 2020). "D23 Inside Disney Episode 21 | Behind the Scenes on Designing Characters for The Lion Guard and the new Mickey Mouse Mixed-Up Adventures". Disney D23. Retrieved on May 24, 2022.
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