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Wreckham's avatar

TLK - Rafiki

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Character  Rafiki
"Friend", Mandrill, Royal Advisor of the Pridelands
“Ah yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.”

Rafiki is so underappreciated by everybody except those choosing to wax poetic about his vague mysticism. Yeah I'll believe that Rafiki was a huge part of your childhood development when you invent nearly as many fan children for him as you do for Simba and Nala, capeesh? Anyway, Rafiki is lit. I have a big soft spot for kindly old folks, even if they do tend to be a little needlessly archetypal in fiction these days. I do NOT have a soft spot for primates of any kind (lookin' at you too, human beings), so the fact that I genuinely like Rafiki despite his massive, gaping eyes and razor sharp fangs and GROSS LITTLE HANDS. Must be his enthusiasm and willingness to help even if he speaks in riddles.

As with the original design for this dude, he's not entirely a mandrill. There's also some baboon in the mix there, primarily Hamadryas (the poofiness) and Oliver (the texture of his fur). And he just looks too good with a tail for me to exclude it. Refer to him as whatever kinda monkey you want, I won't be losing sleep over it. He was one of the most difficult to tackle given I always had to be wary of how uncanny he could be. I don't know how well I handled keeping him from being nightmarish, but you could say the same thing about all my TLK pieces.

OH BTW HAPPY 26TH ANNIVERSARY TO THE LION KING 1994
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MegaAnimationFan's avatar

“Asante sana Squash banana, Wewe nugu mimi hapana”


Very nice! I love your description on how he's a mix of different primates because even the animator of Rafiki (James Baxter) said that he's sort of a mutated mandrill and pointed to the tail as an example

Wreckham's avatar

thank you! funny you mention it, i specifically followed the ideologies of the ppl who worked on the first film lol. so many of the character designs strike a perfect balance between the real and the caricatured (rafiki is monkee, ergo he has tail) and i'd be loathe to ignore that facet of them if it meant compromising on their personalities. lookin at you, hyperrealistic remake

MegaAnimationFan's avatar

I honestly don't think ANYONE is satisfied with the artistic choice of the movie. I think because it doesn't compliment the movie in anyway. Especially in terms of story and character