Janja is a smoky gray spotted hyena with a grayish-beige underbelly. He has large ears that curve to a sharp point, with his left ear bearing a visible notch. His nose, paws, and the upper side of his tail are black. The underside of his tail, as well as his muzzle, are gray. He also has dark gray spots across his back and a ridge of black fur running along his head and upper neck that juts back in sharp spikes. Janja's eyes are black, with thick eyebrows and a ring of darker gray fur around them.
Janja is a cruel, greedy, arrogant, and villainous hyena who has no interest in protecting the Circle of Life. He is shown to care only for himself, always ordering others around to do his work for him. He thinks only about getting food for himself and couldn't care less if the rest of his clan starves. Janja frequently refers to the other members of his clan as "fur-brains", showing that he does not respect them. He insults and mocks them frequently, but does not like being laughed at himself. He is ruthless and determined to eat as much food as he can.
He is a manipulative and devious planner who is always hatching new plots to defeat the Lion Guard or take over the Pride Lands. Janja is notably the only hyena in his clan who uses cunning to obtain what he wants. True to his name, he is very crafty and sly, though he sometimes has difficulty grasping simple concepts. However, his plots have yet to entirely succeed due to the interference of the Guard and overlooked details. Janja also has a sense of humor and a fondness of witticism; he will occasionally make jokes and clever remarks. He is also somewhat of a coward, only choosing to fight when his clan has an advantage in numbers.
Despite his ferocity and sharp intellect, Janja is something of a sore loser in the face of defeat. Protective of his territory, he does not tolerate intruders and will attack those who invade his land. As shown in many episodes, Janja harbors a deep dislike for the Lion Guard.
Janja and his clan are starving in the Outlands. Cheezi notices a baobab fruit nearby and wants to eat it, but Janja is disgusted at the idea, and instead starts to chomp at a passing butterfly. He fails to catch it, and the other hyenas start to laugh as it lands on his ear. Janja snaps at them for this, though soon notices Bunga looking for his ball. Flicking the bone away, he orders Chungu and Cheezi to bring the honey badger over to him for his lunch.
Later, Mzingo hears of the new Lion Guard being formed and immediately alerts Janja, who shows great concern over this news as he remembers what the original Lion Guard stood for. He then comes up with a plan (after a brief interruption as he attempts to eat a nearby caterpillar) - to get rid of as many animals as they can to stop the new Lion Guard from being created. He leads his clan in the singing of the song Tonight We Strike to explain his plan to them.
At sunset, Janja and the rest of his clan then start an attack on the gazelles in their grazing spot, to which Kion is alerted to. Janja then fights the Lion Guard and sustains an injury, though eventually he comes face to face with Kion himself. After taunting the lion cub, Kion lets loose the Roar of the Elders, and he and the other hyenas scatter back to the Outlands.
Janja, along with Cheezi and Chungu are seen attacking a herd of oryx, but shortly thereafter The Lion Guard arrive on the scene. Kion orders the rest of the Lion Guard to calm the herd while he goes after Janja's clan. However during the pursuit, a log snaps under Kion's feet and he falls into a river, which sweeps him into the Outlands.
Later on, Janja and his clan confront a female hyena named Jasiri, who helped Kion escape the Outlands. She is able to easily fight off Cheezi and Chungu, but is pinned down by Janja. Luckily, Kion returns and saves Jasiri by using the Roar of the Elders, which causes Janja to retreat, and both he and the rest of his clan scamper farther into the Outlands.
Mzingo arrives in the Outlands to inform Janja that Simba and Nala have left the Pride Lands and left their daughter, Kiara in charge during their absence. Janja soon realizes that he can use this to his advantage, and sends Mzingo to Pride Rock in order to offer a peace proposal on his behalf.
Mzingo does so, and although Kiara questions why Janja himself does not deliver the message personally, the vulture cooks up an excuse on his part, asking her to meet them at Broken Rock.
After a fall out with her brother over Mzingo's proposal, Kiara makes her way to the Outlands, hoping to finally make peace with Janja. However, she soon realizes that something is wrong, and that she's made a mistake. As Janja, Cheezi and Chungu approach the queen, Janja announces his plan. With Kiara in his grasp, Simba will have no choice but to hand the Pride Lands over to them. The hyenas circle around Kiara, and a couple of them leap at her. Kiara's agility secures her victory, though this is short lived as Janja pins her down. Before he can do anything, Kion arrives, much to Kiara's surprise. This doesn't phase Janja, as his clan is up 6-2. Suddenly, the rest of the Lion Guard join Kion and Kiara, evening the odds. Janja makes a quick retreat, and his clan flees back into the depths of the Outlands. Kiara apologizes to her brother for not listening to him about trusting Janja. Janja overhears this and replies that he can hear them, just before he makes his leave.
Janja and his clan cause a wildebeest stampede at the beginning of the episode, causing dust to cloud the air as the Lion Guard tries to restore order and stop the hyenas. Janja sneaks up on Kion and prepares to take him down, but is quickly foiled by Ono, who alerts Kion of the hyena's presence. Janja and his clan are chased back into the Outlands.
Janja learns of Ono's injured eye by word of Mwoga, one of Mzingo's affiliates. He plans to trap the Lion Guard in a rock slide and tells of his brilliant plan through the song Outta the Way. Much to his dismay, Cheezi and Chungu still don't understand the plan, but they decide to go along with it anyway.
The hyenas form two rock piles to unleash on The Lion Guard, and after trapping them, are sure of their victory. However, Ono alerts the nearby zebra herd that Janja plans to attack to move away from the valley in which they are grazing. With the area clear, Kion is able to use the Roar of the Elders without hurting the herd, blasting the rocks out of the way and freeing the Guard. Janja is stunned to see that the Guard has escaped, and orders Cheezi and Chungu to flee.
Janja and his clan are seen chasing the young jackal pup, Dogo, who had trespassed into their den. Janja chases Dogo and prepares to pounce on him when he is stopped by Kion. Janja learns that the Pride Landers are celebrating Kupatana, so he lets Kion leave with Dogo, laughing and saying that "If you want the jackal, he's all yours." Janja and the hyenas then run further into the Outlands.
Janja is in the Outlands with the rest of his clan. He is being groomed by Chungu when Cheezi enters, bearing news of a new meal in the Outlands. Janja and the rest of the hyenas head out at once to capture Bunga, who has wandered into the Outlands. After surrounding the honey badger, the hyenas prepare to strike at him but are promptly stopped by Fuli. Fuli and Bunga begin floating downstream in the lava atop a piece of broken rock. The hyenas pursue them but are eventually stopped by the Lion Guard, who appear to save Fuli and Bunga. Janja, Cheezi and Chungu find themselves trapped atop a burning log with no food at all.
Janja, Cheezi, and Chungu sneak into the Pride Lands. As Ono swoops over the Pride Lands, searching for them, they hide in a bush until he is gone. Janja steps out, noting that he doesn't think Ono saw them. When Chungu loudly complains to Cheezi, Janja warns him that Ono may be able to hear them. He corrects Cheezi's assumption that they call Ono the "Ears in the Sky" before sneaking away, Cheezi and Chungu following.
Later, as Shauku, Mtoto, Kwato, Kambuni, and Gumba chase hyraxes, Janja overhears one of the five shouting his name. He points out the young animals to Cheezi and Chungu, and the two make comments about eating them, laughing after they speak. Janja, Cheezi, and Chungu follow the kids as they play. When they call the hyenas' names, Chungu wonders if they are actually chasing them. Janja contradicts him, telling him that they're playing pretend, but that it is "about to get real".
The hyraxes eventually flee to safety, and Mtoto wonders what they should chase now. Janja answers him, suggesting they the hyenas chase them. The five friends flee in terror, and Janja chases after Mtoto. Mtoto manages to evade him by turning sharply as he nears a boulder, causing Janja to crash into it. Cheezi and Chungu approach him, they too having failed to catch one of the animals. Janja decides to pursue Mtoto, seeing as he is the slowest.
He, Cheezi, and Chungu corner Mtoto next to a wide river. Beshte suddenly jumps out of the water, scaring the hyena trio away. He swims down the river with Mtoto now on his back, and Janja, Cheezi, and Chungu follow. Cheezi and Janja wait for Mtoto to pass beneath them, but Mtoto ducks, and they end up knocking into each other. Janja continues to try and chase Beshte and Mtoto, but the rest of the Lion Guard arrives. Bunga knocks Janja into the water, and the crocodiles begin to chase him.
Janja, Cheezi, and Chungu attack a herd of impalas. Janja calls out that they only want to invite them to dinner and adds that they'll be the main course, to the amusement of his companions. However, the Lion Guard arrives to stop them. Beshte stands in front of them, causing them to crash into his rear end. Chungu begins to tell the Guard about Janja's joke, but Janja silences him. Kion orders the hyenas to leave, and they run away, but soon pause to catch their breath.
They hear Janja's voice telling someone that they look tasty, and that he is going to eat them. Cheezi and Chungu at first think that it was Janja saying that he was going to eat one of them, but Janja corrects them. He explains that he didn't say anything, but that somebody did. He approaches the area from where he heard the sound of his voice and discovers Tamaa the drongo mimicking his voice to scare a four-striped grass mouse. He orders Cheezi and Chungu to grab Tamaa, and decides that if Tamaa helps him with his new plan, the hyenas may not eat him at all.
Janja later instructs Tamaa to say what he told him to say, but to sound as though he were Kion. Tamaa at first protests, but when Janja threatens him, he obliges, and orders the impalas into the Outlands through Kion's voice. The impalas eventually flee, and the trio of hyenas give chase. When they reach the Outlands, Janja pauses to laugh and declare that their dinner is being delivered, and Tamaa takes his chance to ask if he can go now. Janja denies his request, pointing out that Tamaa still could be useful to him. He, Cheezi, and Chungu resume pursuit of the impala herd, who soon reach a dead end. Janja marvels at how easy his plan worked and announces that they're never going to let Tamaa go before beginning to stalk the impalas.
However, he soon hears the voices of the Lion Guard, telling them that they're surrounded, and that they should leave and let the impalas go. Janja is at first terrified, but when Cheezi speaks, he realizes that Cheezi is no longer holding Tamaa. He finds the drongo and says that he knows the Guard isn't there, but Kion arrives and pounces on him, pinning him to the ground. Janja tries to make an excuse for his actions before fleeing with Cheezi and Chungu further into the Outlands.
Janja's clan has once again snuck into the Pride Lands, this time to take down a herd of zebras. Janja, Cheezi, and Chungu watch from a hidden location as Ono leads the zebra herd to a safe grazing spot in the Pride Lands. Cheezi and Chungu ask Janja what they are going to do, and Janja replies that after Ono leaves, they will spook the zebras and then they will be theirs for the taking. They then proceed to the song Panic and Run.
After trailing Ono to the grazing ground, Cheezi and Chungu begin to grow impatient. Janja tells them to wait until he says go, but after much confusion, Chungu eventually darts out from behind the rock to chase the zebras and Cheezi follows him. Not wanting to be left by himself, Janja follows after them. Ono spots the hyenas and rushes back to tell the Guard.
When the Lion Guard arrives, Kion tells the members to go after Cheezi and Chungu and leave Janja to him. Kion pursues Janja as he chases a zebra. Kion climbs up on a tree to get a better view on how to best defeat Janja, when suddenly Bunga tackles him, making him fall off the tree directly on top of Janja. Meanwhile, the rest of the Guard has managed to stop Cheezi and Chungu who are now ready to retreat. Janja agrees, and the hyenas scamper away.
Janja, Cheezi, and Chungu are in the Outlands when they hear the sound of a young zebra braying, which gotraws their attention at once. The trio sight a herd of zebras and a gazelle as well as the young zebra, and Janja notes that they're a "snack pack". Cheezi points out that Bunga and Kion are with them, but Janja dismisses this, telling him that the Guard members will protect the baby while the older zebras merely panic and run, which will allow them to hunt them easily.
The three hyenas dash towards the zebras, and Janja calls out that the zebras had better run. However, they all circle around Muhimu and the baby zebra, and Kion declares that they won't make it easy for Janja. This doesn't phase the hyena leader, and he attacks. Kion tackles him and pins him to the ground, but Chungu, sent flying by one of the zebras, collides with him and knocks Kion away, freeing Janja. He approaches the herd, but as he makes his way through, the baby zebra kicks away and sends him flying into Cheezi and Chungu. The hyenas flee, and Janja remarks that he doesn't like zebra anyway.
Janja, Cheezi, Chungu, Nne and Tano are near the Lion Guard, with Janja plotting to use the sticky mud to their advantage whilst they feast on some nearby Wildebeests. Janja, however, slips on the mud himself and comes face to face with the Lion Guard. His other clan members soon join him. Cheezi and Chungu start to embarrass Janja in front of the Guard, inadvertently explaining his plan to them instead of leaving with Janja. Kion sees through Janja's lies and uses the Roar of the Elders to blast them away back into the Outlands and Janja leaves annoyed. Soon after, he 'fires' Cheezi and Chungu. He promotes Nne and Tano to be his new crew members, banishing Cheezi and Chungu. Nne and Tano join in on Janja's command, scaring the two away.
They return to the Outlands, Janja explains the rules to his new henchman. He misses out rule number two, which slightly agitates Nne and Tano, forcing Janja to keep the rules short and simple - that he is the one who comes up with the plans. However, this time, Nne and Tano are able to concoct a brilliant scheme, whilst Janja is left confused. They plan to divert the Lion Guard by frightening away some antelopes one way and, whilst the Guard are busy dealing with them, feasting on some Oryxes the opposite way. Janja remains confused by the end of their explanation, but decides to go along with it.
They put the plan in action, with the antelope herd continuing to move in the direction of Rocky Plains with Janja, Nne and Tano chasing them. They stop Janja after a while and hide him from the passing Lion Guard. When Janja questions their actions, Nne and Tano become annoyed at how poorly he listened to their plan. Janja wishes to eat the antelope, but Nne reminds them of their true goal - the oryxes. Nne and Tano run off, mocking Janja. Janja swiftly chases after them.
Meanwhile, the three hyenas continue their chase, but Janja runs into a slumbering Cheezi and Chungu by mistake. They are overjoyed to see their leader, but Janja refuses to pay them attention and continues chasing after Nne and Tano instead. The three hyenas continue their chase, but Janja runs into a slumbering Cheezi and Chungu by mistake. They are overjoyed to see their leader, but Janja refuses to pay them attention and continues chasing after Nne and Tano instead. Cheezi and Chungu decide that it must have been a dream, and they quickly go back to sleep to dream about Janja again, whilst the real Janja catches up to his new crew. Nne and Tano are disappointed to see him, and Janja is shocked when they announce that they were trying to ditch him. Tano then pushes Janja over a nearby cliff, where he falls on a mud covered rock. The two hyenas race away to the oryxes, abandoning their former leader.
Janja calls up from his location, but the Lion Guard manage to find Janja before anyone else, along with Cheezi and Chungu who had followed them. He is furious at the betrayal of his new team members, but equally disappointed to see the Lion Guard. He gladly spills the beans and explains what they were up to, and the Lion Guard rush off. Soon after, Cheezi and Chungu leap down to keep Janja company, much to his annoyance.
When Kion uses the Roar of the Elders to defeat his former henchmen, Janja comments that, for the first time ever, he is glad to hear the roar. The rock then breaks away, causing the hyena trio to fall all the way down. The Lion Guard decide to help the hyenas, only to find them on the ground with a clear pathway back to the Outlands. Kion calls for them to leave, and Janja does so, calling for Cheezi and Chungu to join them. With elation, they race after their leader.
Janja and his clan are driven out of the Pride Lands for what Janja claims was "just one gazelle." They flee back to the Outlands, but Janja is quick to head back into the Pride Lands, wanting to get the gazelle. He dismisses Cheezi and Chungu's worries, reminding them that they don't listen to the Lion Guard. As they make their way into the forbidden territory, Janja declares that he'll go into the Pride Lands if he wants to. Nala appears and inquires what he's doing in the Pride Lands, causing Janja to mockingly fake innocence.
Nala gestures in the direction of the Outlands and orders them to go, but Janja does not back down, instead telling his clan that Nala isn't so tough alone and outnumbered. Though she is not afraid, he attacks her. He's advancing on her when Kion finds out what is going on. In a fury, the cub releases the Roar of the Elders, forcefully sweeping the hyenas back into the Outlands, dazed.
Janja, Cheezi and Chungu approach a cliff-side where a group of Klipspringers are stranded. As they get close, Ono calls out to them. Upon noticing the egret is alone, Janja merely snickers, telling his henchmen to ignore them due to this fact. Ono warns them that he'll be performing the 'Hadithi Spin' which confuses Janja. After a few loops, the egret crashes into another part of the cliff. While Cheezi and Chungu run after him, Janja decides to round up the main course.
Before Janja can reach the klipspringers, Kion and Bunga appear behind him, warning him away from them. When they point out that they're behind him and the only way out, he tells him that he doesn't care, since there's so much to eat just in front of him. Kion then calls to Beshte, who pushes a large boulder across the chasm, while Fuli arrives to guide them across. Janja rushes forward but his two henchmen fall onto him from above. He ignores their excuses and calls for them to follow.
When they start to cross the chasm, Ono and an eagle appear, swooping around them. When Janja hears Ono refer to the eagle as Hadithi, Janja stutters worriedly. While Ono continues swooping around, Cheezi comments that he's going to lose his lunch, and Janja angrily admits that they all are before falling into the water below. When Cheezi questions who the eagle was, Janja becomes annoyed at his henchmen for not knowing who Hadithi the legendary eagle is. When they become excited at being beaten by a legend, Janja grunts irritably as the current takes them downstream.
Janja discovers Mwevi and Mwizi in his den, trying to steal food from him. He chases them out, only to find Cheezi and Chungu getting entertained by their leader, Uroho. He orders them to catch it, but the two hyenas are too amused by his jokes. After Janja reminds them that he's food, they soon comply, and the six wind up in a large open space. Despite his best attempts, Janja is unable to capture any of the baboons, and his cohorts end up dizzy.
But when Uroho guides his friends into a dead end cave, Janja, Cheezi and Chungu seal them in. Before they can attack, the Lion Guard arrive, demanding that they step away from them. Janja protests, explaining how he caught them stealing food from the den, but the Guard attack regardless. The hyenas tries to fight back but are quickly defeated. Janja then retreats, warning the baboons to stay out of his den in the future.
Janja, Cheezi and Chungu are in the Pride Lands. When the Lion Guard spot them, Janja announces that they should scram. They run into a large canyon, where they fool the Lion Guard into getting lost inside. The Lion Guard are able to escape the maze though, and Janja orders his henchmen to go after them. They all go different ways and soon realize that they have gotten themselves lost in their own trap.
Janja, Cheezi and Chungu kidnap Timon and Pumbaa when they wander too close to the Outlands. Although Chungu is worried that they are friends with the Lion Guard, Janja does not care.
If the Guard choose Bunga's route, they find Janja, Cheezi and Chungu fast asleep having taken a nap along the way back home. The Guard use Termites to break open a thorn cage that they have placed the duo in and, when they awake, the bugs bite Janja's nose.
If the Guard choose Ono's route, Janja leaves his prisoners on a rock surrounded by lava in the Outlands. The Guard are able to save Timon and Pumbaa by getting Beshte to push some rocks into the lava, redirecting the flow. Janja arrives to discover that the lava flow has been redirected to his own lair.
Janja and his crew go on a night hunt in the Pride Lands until the lion guard enters the scene thanks to a little bat alerting them. During the chase, Janja is alerted by one of his clan members that Cheezi and Chungu ended separated from them and decided to use that to their advantage. While the guard was chasing them, Cheezi and Chungu would bring something back. As Janja waits for them at the border between the Pride Lands and the Outlands, he begins to get annoyed that his two members haven't arrived yet. Until, the two come sliding down from the cliffs right into him; upset at another failed plan Janja calls them useless and returns to the Outlands.