What makes the ?hottest? Disney character a cartoon lion?
Who?s the most attractive Disney character? Most Disney fans would answer with a Disney princess like Ariel or Jasmine, while other fans would answer with a Disney prince like Eric or Flynn Rider. Surprisingly enough, one of the most fawned after Disney characters isn?t a Disney prince or princess. They?re not even human! Believe it or not, one of the ?hottest? Disney characters is a lion ? and not the lion you?re probably thinking of!
Ever since its release in 1998, Lion King II: Simba?s Pride has been considered one of the best direct-to-DVD Disney sequels ? though that?s probably not saying much, considering other made-for-video dreck like Belle?s Enchanted World or Little Mermaid II. Aside from being a great sequel to one of the greatest Disney movies, Lion King 2 also introduced one of the ?hottest? Disney characters: Kovu.
Yes, believe it or not, many Disney fans have the hots for the bad-lion-turned-good Kovu. All over the internet, from Tumblr to deviantART, to even Buzzfeed and HuffPost, they?ve expressed their love for who they consider to be the hottest Disney character ever: a cartoon lion.
Now being attracted to an animated animal isn?t the weird part. (After all, furries exist!) What is weird is that no other Lion King character seems to draw as much animal magnetism. (All the puns intended!) Nala and Kiara don?t attract similar affection. Not even Simba, the main character of the franchise, receives as much love as Kovu, a secondary character from a secondary film. So what makes Kovu so ?hot??
#1: The Look
Full disclosure: I?m a straight cis guy. So I?m probably not the best judge to determine what straight cis women find ?attractive? in straight cis men. I?m merely setting my standards here based on what women claim they like in men, especially in male characters like Kovu.
As I said before, there?s nothing inherently ?weird? about finding animated animals ?hot.? Men like myself are attracted to plenty of female cartoon animals like Lola Bunny or Krystal from Star Fox. Heck! Have you seen Panty from El Arca? Now that?s one fine feline!
The thing is, when men are attracted to female animal characters, it?s easy to understand why. Those characters are often anthropomorphic (human-shaped), with feminine body shapes and features that men find attractive in human women. But Kovu isn?t anthropomorphic. He?s just an average lion. So what do women see in him?
From what I?ve read, most fans are attracted to his facial features. He certainly has a handsome face. Well-groomed hair. Chiseled chin. A confident, heart-warming smile. And those eyes! The fangirls absolutely love his eyes!
?When his big green eyes sparkle like two emerald planets in a sky full of stars, it?s so mesmerizing you actually lose yourself in his gaze,? wrote Minou Clark from HuffPost.
All those facial features combined create a face that can only appear in a loved-crazed fan?s wildest romantic fantasies. Or the cover of a teen girl magazine. (But I repeat myself!) Either way, the look on his face makes it impossible for lovestruck fans to look away, no matter what emotion he?s feeling.
?When Kovu gets angry it?s equal parts terrifying and captivating. Like, you?re scared but also weirdly turned on by his manliness,? Clark said. ?Even when he?s down in the dumps and feeling sorry for himself, he still looks majestic as all hell.?
But good looks aren?t enough. A handsome face and pretty smile are only as good as the voice behind them.
#2: The Voice
You?ve probably never heard of Jason Marsden; but if you?ve watched plenty of 90s shows and movies, especially those made by Disney, then you?ve probably heard and seen him before. In fact, he?s made so many appearances in front of the camera and behind the microphone that he?s become known on IMDB as ?That Guy From That Show.?
As you can probably guess, Jason was the voice of Kovu in Lion King II: Simba?s Pride. He?s even reprised his role in the The Lion Guard television series. He?s also voiced many other typical teenage male characters like Max from A Goofy Movie, Haku from Spirited Away, and Richie Foley from Static Shock. He?s even played the role of typical teenage male characters in shows such as Full House, Step By Step, and Boy Meets World.
What makes him most ideal to be typecast at the typical teenage male can easily be figured out simply by looking at him. I mean, just look at him:
That is the face you see plastered on the cover of teen girl magazines. That is the face you see in the group shot of a boy band. That is the face that every teenage girl envisions when you ask them to imagine the perfect boyfriend. Back in the 90s, he simply had the look and sound of a teenage heartthrob. Even now, he still ?hot? by teenage girl standards. Again, look at him:
That?s the face of a man who successfully transitioned from teenage heartthrob to DILF! (Again, solely judging by what women find attractive.) The only thing more attractive than his looks is his voice. It?s simply tantalizing to listen to. It?s the voice of a gorgeous teenage delinquent who can go from mischievous to flirtatious at the turn of a dime, the type of voice that can easily persuade women with a ?Hey, girl! You know I was only messing with you. My bad! Anyway, you and I still on for tonight?? That?s the ideal voice for Kovu.
But there has to be more to Kovu?s appeal than his looks and voice. After all, Simba also has a very handsome face and expression. He was also voiced by a once teenage heartthrob: Matthew Broderick, who played the titular character in Ferris Bueller?s Day Off. So what makes Kovu more attractive than Simba? Simple. Simba is a good boy, while Kovu is?
#3: The Bad Boy
YouTube video essayist Lindsay Ellis once said that women love the ?tortured bad boy with a heart of gold? because women love ?a project.? They don?t just want ?Mr. Right? handed to them on a silver platter. They want the reward of enduring the hard work of molding and shaping their own ?Mr. Right.? For this reason, the ?bad boy? trope remains popular among women.
Recently, the trope has been criticized for being ?problematic? and ?toxic? ? especially in light of recent examples of fictional bad boys (*cough*KyloRen*cough*). However, while the problematic trope can certainly turn toxic, especially with so many ?bad boys? being written poorly (*cough*KyloRen*cough*), there have been a few good examples of the bad boy turned good. One such example is Kovu.
For those who?ve never watched Lion King 2 ? in which case, why are you even reading this article? Go watch it now! It?s on Disney Plus! Seriously, go watch it! ? Kovu is a member of the Outsiders, a group of lions who were loyal to Scar and who were banished from the Pridelands because they refused to accept Simba as the rightful ruler. Kovu, as the last male lion born under Scar, was chosen to be Scar?s successor. As such, his mother, Zira, raised him to follow in Scar?s footsteps.
Kovu was impelled by his mother and family to assist them in taking over the Pridelands. Their plot involved him befriending Kiara, earning the trust of her and Simba, and using that trust to lure them all into a false sense of security, allowing the Outsiders to overtake them in a coup. However, after spending quality time with Kiara and discovering the wonders of ?Upendi?, he falls in love with her and decides to side with the Pridelands instead.
To understand what makes Kovu a good ?bad boy?, we must first understand why too many ?bad boys? are, well, bad. The bad boy trope, in and of itself, is not inherently toxic or problematic. There are no bad ideas, only bad executions of ideas. The problem is that the bad boy trope is often executed poorly, often by making the bad boy too bad or by making their redemption hasty and unbelievable. As YouTube video essayist Lily Orchard once said, ?trying to force redemption on characters who are not suited for it is only going to seem lazy at best and downright toxic at worst.? (*cough*KyloRen*cough*)
Too often, bad boys are created with their badness taken to extremes in an attempt to make their turn to the good side more appealing and dramatic. The problem is that too many bad boys are created to such extremes that they come across as utterly reprehensible, both in personality and morality, often with them committing heinous acts that cross ?the moral event horizon.? As such, a proper redemption for them would require more than a good cry and half-hearted apology ? and yet too often they end up receiving snapshot redemptions that often involve them simply offering a flaccid ?sob story? about their past or performing a minor ?good deed? that barely makes a dent into their criminal record. (*cough*KyloRen*cough*)
What makes Kovu a good ?bad boy? is that, well, he?s not really that bad. He?s not evil, or at least reprehensibly ?evil.? He?s not a space fascist who commited countless war crimes and ?enhanced interrogation techniques? (*cough*KyloRen*cough*). He?s not a magical white supremacist who bullies and torments his classmates and nearly attempts to murder his headmaster (*cough*DracoMalfoy*cough*). He?s not even a bad person, per say. He?s a good person at heart who was raised by bad people. Yes, he was involved with a secret plot to kill Simba, but through his friendship and budding relationship with Kiara, he ends up changing his mind and siding with her and her family.
He?s not irredeemably bad, and his redemption isn?t hastily rushed. His overall change as a character is properly developed, to the point where it appears realistic for him to stand against his family. Speaking of which?
#4: The Whoobie
What?s that? You don?t know what a ?whoobie? is? What are you? A newb to the internet? Everyone knows what a ?whoobie? is. I?m just going to, uh, check Urban Dictionary right now to confirm to you what it is?and to confirm how stupid you are. Ah, yes! Here! A ?whoobie?, obviously, is ?a character, often a particularly weak villain, that is so pathetic they make you feel sorry for them.? As such, a whoobie will attract sympathy for themselves, often eliciting an ?aww!? reaction.
Kovu fits the description of a ?whoobie.? He certainly has a tragic backstory of one. He was born in a hostile environment where the only food to eat were termites. He was raised by a family that hated and despised him at worst, and at best, only ?cared? about him to raise him to fulfill their evil goal of taking over the Pridelands. Essentially, he grew up in abject poverty in the Lion King equivalent of the ghetto and was raised by an abusive family who showed him no love or affection.
So when he?s sent to infiltrate the Pridelands, he visits a place without want of food and befriends people who, while initially skeptical of him and his intentions, are willing to share with him some affection. He especially receives plenty of love and affection from Kiara. As such, during his brief time living within a land of plenty and among people willing to show him some kindness and respect, he eventually warms up to his new environment and friends an inevitably turns over a new leaf.
Eventually, his new allegiance has him fight against his old family and thwart their assassination attempt against Simba. This turn of events leads to the death of his brother, Nuka, which in turn angers his mother, who disfigures and disowns him. Unfortunately, after Simba learns about his involvement with their plot, Kovu is also banished from the Pridelands.
And all of this happens during one of the most moving musical numbers in a Disney movie ? or at least a direct-to-DVD Disney sequel! (Seriously, if the following number doesn?t rend your heart in half, you don?t even have a heart!)
Disowned by his old family, and exiled from his new home, Kovu is forced into the wilderness, alone and dejected. He?s at his lowest moment, and the only way for him to be raised up is for a certain someone to arrive to his aid. He needs a loved one who is the only unique person to give him the emotional support he needs to pull him out of his depressional slum and raise his spirits again, obviously resulting him in thanking her for saving him from the terrors of his own dark depression and being thankful that she?s the only one who can do it.
And in the end, the lucky lady to do all that for him is?the thirsty fan watching the movie and fantasizing about him being their furry lion husbando!
Actually, no! It?s Kiara, of course. And she does it in one of the most moving romantic musical numbers in a Disney movie?or at least in a direct-to-DVD Disney sequel. (Seriously, if the following number doesn?t overwhelm you with the feels, you don?t have a heart!)
Also, this scene leads to one of the most blatant sexual innuendos in a Disney movie!
Heh heh! Giggity!
Kovu possesses many traits that women find attractive. A perfectly-chiseled face with a warm gaze that can melt hearts like butter. A sultry, savory voice that entices the ears that hear it. A bad boy persona with a heart of gold ready to gleam through the darkness within. And a ?whoobie? effect that elicits sympathy from the most empathetic of hearts.
All of these traits help add to his overall appeal, but there isn?t one particular trait that everyone can agree is the one trait that makes him attractive. Clearly, it?s not one of these traits: it?s all of them. Everything, from his looks and his voice, to his bad boy ?whoobie? persona, help make him irresistible to Lion King fans, and gives him a strong animal magnetism that no other Lion King character posses. That makes him the hottest Lion King character (at least according to the internet).
Seriously, though, if you haven?t watched Lion King 2, go watch it now! It?s on Disney Plus. It?s still the best Disney sequel!
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