Jake Long is the titular protagonist of the animated series American Dragon: Jake Long.
Jake lives with his parents, Jonathan and Susan, and his younger sister, Haley Long in New York City. A descendant of a family of magical dragons, his two best friends are the feisty Trixie Carter and seemingly dim-witted Arthur "Spud" Spudinski. Before his thirteenth birthday, Jake started getting glimpses of his dragon heritage. For example; while younger, during a race with Brad Morton at Camp Mugwomp for the Mugwomp Cup, he unintentionally breathed fire, startling himself into tripping over a log to fall face-first into mud, losing the race.
On his thirteenth birthday, his magical abilities fully emerged and he was set to protect an underground magical community existing within his city and throughout the world. The emergence of his dragon powers also made him the first official magical dragon guardian of America; "The American Dragon". Under the training of his grandfather, Lao Shi, and his animal guardian, Fu Dog, Jake would be taught in the methods of his dragon abilities, and in his duties as a magical guardian. Due to his youth, and while still in training, his territorial home base had initially been mainly restricted to the area of New York. However, anytime he is anywhere else in America, such as the forests of New Jersey during a camping trip with his father, his authority extends to these other areas as well, as he is destined to become the representative dragon for the whole country.
At first, he thought inheriting Magical Powers would be cool, but instead due to Jake's responsibilities as the American Dragon, his grades started slipping. He could not spend the same amount of time skateboarding with his friends as he used to and began to grow tired of Lao Shi's training techniques. It made him wish he were only human but he had to deal with it no matter what.
Although Jake is still in the early training stages to be the American Dragon, his destiny includes being the guardian, protector, and champion to magical creatures secretly living alongside humans in and around New York City, and eventually the rest of the country. Among them are a herd of unicorns in Central Park, leprechauns on Wall Street, gargoyles nesting atop the Empire State Building, the Triborough Troll Bridge, a mystical community between NOHO and SOHO, and mermaids in the East River. According to his grandfather, the Greater New York is the American Dragon's territory and if he can make it here, he can make it anywhere. However that means Jake must figure out how to control his newly awakened dragon abilities, such as fire breathing, flying, and shape-shifting; allowing him to perform his duties. Meanwhile, Grandpa must figure out how to decipher his hip-hop grandson's colloquial language style.
Jake lives in a West-side brownstone at 182 Shorn Eagle Dr. His father, a human businessman, is completely unaware he married into a family of dragons. Jake's mother is a professional caterer who is also a dragon except she is human-locked, meaning she is unable to transform or utilize typical dragon abilities as often times they may skip a generation. Jake tries to ignore his brilliant yet pesky younger sister Haley, a nascent dragon, to no avail. Jake's Dragon Master is his wise Grandpa and the former Chinese Dragon who, upon arrival to the United States, established an electronics shop on Canal Street and took Jake under his wing. Despite the generation gap, Grandpa is patiently training Jake to master the fundamentals of being a dragon, unlock his potential, and to be on time for his lessons. Grandpa's sidekick, the not-so-patient Fu Dog, acts as Jake's animal guardian.
Jake initially comes off as the average, laid-back, and flirtatious at times teenager who tries hard to present himself as a king of cool, and to a certain degree he is pretty cool. This is frequently proven by his tendency to keep up with the newest developments and styles, or personal interests such as video games, popular music, extreme sports, and hot girls. Jake is shown to have a particular passion for skateboarding and is very proficient at it as well. Unfortunately, more often than not, Jake has a tendency to be stubborn and, at times, careless, both of which tend to come back and bite him in the end. He frequently looks for shortcuts in his day-to-day life and usually pays the price for this when he fails to think things through. Though, in Jake’s defense, the responsibilities that he has do prove to be rather overwhelming. Another flaw in Jake’s character is that he occasionally loses his focus of the task at hand, but he does usually regain it when he has to.
Also, there are times when Jake is far too cocky and a bit too quick to leap into action, which has often backfired on him, especially when dealing with opponents who are smarter than he gives them credit for. Fortunately, though, when all is said and done, Jake proves to be a very responsible teenager, he is always quick to acknowledge when he is the one at fault and always takes it upon himself to set things right no matter what. He is also shown to be very resourceful when he has to be, frequently coming up with multiple plans and strategies on the fly and knowing when to use his Grandfather’s lessons when they are needed.
Jake is shown to care deeply for those around him, but he is not always sensitive toward other people’s feelings. For example, he once spoke out against his father, Jonathan, which led to Jonathan feeling a bit hurt. He is shown to have a longstanding rivalry with his little sister, Haley, and he absolutely hates it when Haley lords her accomplishments over him and makes him look inferior by comparison. However, despite Jake’s issues with Haley, it is shown that he would not hesitate for a moment to help her when she needed him. Jake is, at times, put at odds with his grandfather, but even so, it is shown that he has nothing but respect for Lao Shi. He also has a very close bond with his animal guardian, Fu Dog.
Jake has nothing but loyalty toward his friends, Trixie and Spud, and they reciprocate this by being unquestionably loyal to him as well. At times, Trixie and Spud are often quick to inform Jake when his courses of action are not always right, but there are times when they go along with it and allow Jake’s actions to play out. Jake is also shown to be very trusting of his friends with almost everything, including his own secret.
Finally, the person who Jake cares the most about is Rose. In one occasion, it was implied that he cares for her more than his own life. While many of his associates felt that Jake was making a mistake by having a crush on her, mainly due to her also being the Huntsgirl, Jake still trusted his love interest fully, mainly because she once had the perfect opportunity to slay him yet passed it up. Jake had trouble letting Rose go at first, but it did seem clear that he genuinely wanted to move on. Though when all is said and done, Jake loves Rose more than anything and would never allow anything to happen to her.
It may seem Jake is a bit superficial, but in truth, he does put some stock in a person general personality more than he does their appearance.
In human form, Jake is an average-looking but short for his age teenager with black, spiky hair with green highlights. He wears a red jacket which conceals a white t-shirt, blue cargo shorts, and gray shoes.
When in dragon form, he looks like a tall, muscular, red-scaled dragon with wings, a yellow underbelly and green spikes along his back. His hair remains the same in his dragon form. In the second season, his design changes drastically, his skinnier and a darker shade of red. His appearance is more in theme with his heritage.
Powers and abilities
- Dragon Heritage: Jake possesses a myriad of superhuman abilities native to his race. While he starts his career still learning them, these powers improve over time.
- Shapeshifting: Jake can transform between human and dragon forms at will, at the beginning of the series, he initially had trouble transforming completely into dragon form, as he could only partly transform, however, Jake eventually is able to completely transform into his dragon form.
- Fire Breath: In both his human and dragon forms, Jake can breathe fire.
- Superhuman Strength: In his dragon form, Jake possesses superhuman strength. He can lift heavy objects (10-20 ton), crush stone with his fists, bend steel bars or rip iron chains with his arms.
- Superhuman Senses: In his dragon form, Jake possesses superhuman senses.
- Flight: In his dragon form, Jake is able to fly, and once flew up to 299 mph to avoid being hit by a flying boulder going 300 mph.
- Duplication: Jake can multiple energy clones of himself; although, the more clones he creates, the physically weaker he becomes, however, once Jake reabsorbs his clone(s), his physical strength will return back to normal.
- Skilled Skateboarding: Even before he inherited his dragon powers, Jake is a very skilled skateboarder and usually skates everywhere he goes.
Trixie is like a sister to Jake. Although she can be annoying, she does it to protect her friends. Jake realizes this and appreciates it. Their relationship progresses over time, as they become more like siblings.
Spud is a genius. Although sometimes acting like a big idiot, he is a loyal friend and a huge asset to Jake's efforts to protect the magical world. He is very skilled in hacking and could hack anything on any computer, although he prefers to use his own.
Jake fell in love with Rose the minute he first bumped into her, but for a long time since then, he remained a bit shy around her and failed to actually say anything intelligent when in her presence, even though Rose was nothing but friendly toward him. When Jake once heard Rose openly expressing her affection for a "he", he attempted to express his own feelings under the mistaken impression she was talking about him. However, when Jake found out that he had misinterpreted the conversation and Rose was just being a fangirl about a singer, he immediately tried to cover up his comment and he and Rose had apparently not had a real conversation since then; although Jake did use his shape-shifting powers irresponsibly to impersonate the singer Rose was fawning over, which did not end well.
The relationship definitely took a turn for the better when Jake attempted to ask Rose to a school dance. She had already been asked to go by Brad at the time, which prompted Jake to go with someone else, but when Brad "stole" Jake's date and left Rose to sit alone, Jake immediately went over to comfort her and the two of them shared a dance instead. As Jake later pointed out, the two of them had not seen nor spoken to each other since that day, but when he found out she was playing the lead role in a play, he saw it as an opportunity to kiss her by auditioning for the male lead. He got the part, but due to interference from the magic Scarab he was guarding and/or his own nervousness, he failed to actually get to the part where he kissed her. In the end, at the urging of Trixie, Jake finally just asked Rose out on a date, and she gladly accepted, although he passed out right after.
Sadly, just when it seemed like the relationship was reaching its best point, and Jake and Rose seconds away from sharing a real kiss, he soon found out she was actually Huntsgirl, the enemy he had been fighting since he first became the American Dragon. Which made Jake a bit more wary around Rose, even though it was clear he still had feelings for her. So much so, he even tried to convince her to leave the Huntsclan, but to no avail at the time. Later, when Rose had dragon-Jake tied up to be slain, he revealed to her his human form, which caused her to let him go before running off. At first Jake had high hopes that this was a sign these things were going to get better for him and Rose, but he was soon informed the next day Rose had transferred schools, leaving only a picture of herself and Jake behind.
This plagued Jake for quite some time afterward, to the point where his desire to find Rose had become an unhealthy obsession. Then one night, Rose appeared to Jake in his dreams to warn him of a plot by the Huntsclan, but informed him he could not rescue her. This only further fueled his desire to find her and even made him resort to a teleportation spell, which backfired. Some time afterward, Jake finally found Rose at a Huntsclan Training academy where she had been sent back to due to her past failures. After a string of events there she was sent back to New York where she acted as a double-agent within the Huntsclan, she and Jake showed more obvious signs of affection from that day on, having kissed and hugged.
Initially, Jake wanted to be more intimate with Rose, but due to the Huntsclan's constant surveillance over her, Rose herself felt it was too dangerous to do so and insisted that the two of them should keep their distance. Wanting to prove the two of them could make a relationship work, Jake set it up so they would be science project partners. However, the problem was that it happened right when Jake was going through his molting cycle, much to his embarrassment. In the end though, Rose reassured Jake of her love for him, not because of how he looks. She also gives him a dream charm, the same type of item she used to enter his dreams to warn him of the Huntsclan's plot, so they could at least be together in their dreams.
This was the way things were for the longest time, but when it was starting to look like Jake was becoming distracted because of a relationship with Rose, Lao Shi insisted that Rose break off the relationship, for Jake's own safety. Rose was hesitant at first, but after a string of events that nearly got Jake hurt, she decided Lao Shi was right and ended her romantic relationship right there, despite the fact she is still in love with him. Due to their breakup, both Jake and Rose spent time apart from each other and whenever Jake saw Rose he hid away, too nervous to even go up and speak to her. Regardless, Jake still harbored feelings for Rose and wanted to find a way to express them in a subtle way. During their Homecoming, it was revealed they were at least still friends, and when they were nominated for Homecoming King and Queen, Jake saw this as another opportunity to rekindle their romance, which for a brief moment, he did. However, when the Huntsman found out about Rose's role as a double-agent, he blackmailed her with the safety of her parents to betray Jake and lure him to the Aztec Skulls. This left Jake more heartbroken than ever before. In the end though, it was Rose's sacrifice which saved Jake and the rest of the Magical world when she stopped the Huntsman from making his wish and instead wished for the destruction of the Huntsclan.
Wanting to save Rose from her terrible fate, Jake used the Skulls to wish she had never been a part of the Huntsclan, giving her a new life as a result. He ran into her the next day, but before he could start over with her, it was revealed she and her family were moving to Hong Kong, and Jake wished her a happy Homecoming. Jake tried to move on after that and even attempted to start a romance with Danika. But when his family went on vacation to Hong Kong and the Dark Dragon revealed his plans to take over the Magical World, Jake is forced to seek out Rose for help and attempts to remind her of her former life. Naturally, she did not believe him at first, but when he left her place he also left behind their homecoming picture which began to jog her memories, prompting her to help Jake and the other Dragons. When the threat was over, Rose and Jake shared a victory kiss, and thus with the two of them reunited Jake and Rose resumed their romantic relationship.
Once Rose had left for Hong Kong, Jake set his sights on the Swim Team Captain, Danika Hunnicutt, a girl he had often tried to impress with his skateboarding tricks. He asked her to a dance, which did not end well, then later asked her to be his graduation partner.
- Jake, his friends, grandpa, and dog appear in the Lilo & Stitch: The Series crossover episode "Morpholomew".
- Jake's address is 182 Shorn Eagle Dr.
- Jake appeared as a large, Western dragon in Season 1, but then appeared as a slender, Asian dragon in Season 2.
- Jake's hair has green streaks in it because he uses an excessive amount of hair gel. Though at one point in his youth, the green streaks were blue.
- In Season 1, Jake's skateboard was yellow with a red dragon design on it. In Season 2, it was black with the same design and flames on both ends.
- One or two viewers have noted that even though he is called the American Dragon, Jake is a European Dragon rather than an Amphithere, which is the primary dragon in the myths and folklore of the Americas. The reason for this is probably that Amphitheres are virtually unknown in popular culture, so presumably animators opted for a more iconic species. Jake is also a Western Dragon.
- Jake is a dictionary example of an "anthrozil" from the book series Dragons In Our Midst, albeit more powerful than any anthrozil in the books. An anthrozil is someone who has one dragon parent in human form, and one pure-blood human parent.
- The Chinese word for dragon is "long (龍)".
- Jake's catchphrases are "Aw, man!" and "Dragon up!", the latter of which he says almost every time he turns into a dragon.
- Although Jake says he developed his dragon powers at 13, he displayed a little bit of power at the age of 7, when he accidentally breathed fire during a race.
- Though Jake acts cool, he is willing to do some stupid things to set things right. For example, in Season 1, he sings a ridiculous love song "The Hubba Hubba Hula" on national TV to put all of the Gremlins asleep.
- Jake and the crew had appeared in a crossover episode of Lilo & Stitch: The Series. He came to Kauai for a skateboarding contest.
- In American Dragon, Penny Proud was mentioned by Jake Long as one of his close childhood friends.
- In the episode "Dreamscape", his cell phone is white. However, in all the other episodes of Season 2, his phone is red.
- His ringtone on his phone is the theme song, only without the words.
- Jake's birthday is sometime from late February to mid-March, since he's a Pisces.