Celebrate the Year of the Tiger with 8 famous felines

(Clockwise from left) Kellogg's Tony the Tiger, Rajah from Aladdin, and Vitaly from Madagascar 3. PHOTOS: KELLOGG’S FROSTED FLAKES/FACEBOOK, ALADDIN/FACEBOOK, MADAGASCAR/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Whether they are portrayed as fierce and fearless, brimming with energy and positivity, or cute and cuddly, tigers have always been popular characters in the media.

Since it is the year of the big cat, why not check out some of these roarsome tiger characters in popular culture?

1. Vitaly


Be it throwing knives, leaping through hoops, or doing cartwheels and backflips, this Siberian tiger can do it all. In Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012), he is a former superstar of a travelling circus whose confidence was destroyed by a botched performance.

Vitaly (voiced by Breaking Bad actor Bryan Cranston) regains his passion after encouragement from Alex the lion, to whom he initially displays a cold attitude.

The tiger is also among the animals dancing in rainbow-coloured wigs in a silly scene at the end of the film.

2. Nahal


Not all tigers are orange. Nahal, a female Bengal tiger cub in the children's television series Shimmer And Shine (2015 to 2020), has white fur and purple stripes.

The pet of the genie Shine, Nahal wears a gold circlet and a pink jewel on her head like her owner. The two are also similarly silly and feisty.

Defying the "fearless tiger" stereotype, Nahal is quite a scaredy-cat, easily alarmed by sudden movements and sounds.

And her heart melts every time Shine scratches her belly.

3. Tony the Tiger


If you are a fan of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, or Frosties as they are popularly known, you would be familiar with Tony the Tiger, the breakfast cereal's mascot.

Created in the 1950s, the bandana-wearing cat was initially more tiger-like in shape, and at times walked on all fours. He later assumed his current form, which is muscular and more human-like.

Known for his catchphrase "They're gr-r-reat!", Tony's signature booming voice was provided by American actor and bass singer Thurl Ravenscroft for more than five decades until his death in 2005.

Other actors have voiced the character since.

4. Hodori


The official mascot of the 1988 Summer Olympic Games held in Seoul, Hodori is a friendly Amur tiger, representing the hospitability of South Koreans.

His name is derived from the Korean word for tiger ("horangi") and "dori", a common masculine diminutive.

His creator, Kim Hyun, was also behind the emblem for the 1986 Asian Games.

Hodori wears a traditional Korean hat, the sangmo - the S-shaped ribbon hanging from it stands for Seoul - and Olympic rings around his neck.

Although less well-known, there is also a female version of the mascot named Hosuni.

5. Rajah


Majestic and protective, this beautiful Bengal tiger is the pet and companion of Princess Jasmine in the Disney animated film Aladdin (1992). While outwardly fierce, Rajah (voiced by Frank Welker) is docile and gentle when he is with Jasmine.

He will, however, bear his fangs to anyone who riles her up, as seen in the case of an unsuccessful suitor who has his trousers partially ripped off.

When Rajah first meets Aladdin, who is in disguise, he growls and bares his claws. But when he realises Aladdin has genuine feelings for Jasmine, he warms up to him.

In the 2019 live-action adaptation of the animated film, Rajah (with Welker reprising the role) is more aggressive.

6. Master Tigress


Tiger characters in the media have traditionally been male and this Southern Chinese cat from the Kung Fu Panda film franchise (2008 to 2016) is perhaps the first notable female tiger character.

Voiced by American actress Angelina Jolie, Master Tigress is the strongest and boldest of the Furious Five quintet of skilled gongfu warriors.

Left at an orphanage as a cub, she trained under the red panda Master Shifu and eventually rose to the level of gongfu master. Her fighting style is - no surprise - "tiger style", using powerful strikes and fast attacks to overwhelm opponents.

She can also do a full split in mid-air.

7. Shere Khan


He might get some boos as the main villain of the 1967 animated film The Jungle Book, based on Rudyard Kipling's 1894 book of the same name. But Shere Khan, the nemesis of protagonist and orphan boy Mowgli, has his defenders.

The Bengal tiger has an undying hatred of mankind, but he can also be seen as the jungle's protector, netizens say. And, given how man has hunted tigers for their fur and destroyed their habitats, his acrimony is not without reason.

In the movie, he is the only character resistant to the hypnosis of Kaa the snake.

And in the 2016 live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book, the tiger (voiced by Idris Elba) has burn scars on his face and is blind in one eye - supposedly the result of an encounter with humans.

8. Tigger


Everyone needs a friend like Tigger - energetic, always smiling and full of mirth.

A main character in A.A. Milne's Winnie The Pooh books, the anthropomorphic stuffed tiger is so bouncy, he seems to have a spring in his tail.

Incredibly sociable and optimistic, he can be a little hard to handle, especially when he jumps onto his friends without warning.

The story of Winnie the Pooh has been adapted into several animated films since the 1960s.

Tigger is the main character in 2000's The Tigger Movie, where he searches for his family tree and others like himself.

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