As an adolescent, Nuka is shown to be an unappreciated bully whose only concern is to be loved and recognized by his mother. Rejection seems to take a heavy toll on the young lion, making him resentful of his brother for being the chosen one and downgrading of his mother behind her back. Perhaps because his accomplishments go unrecognized, Nuka feels the need to be powerful, taking great pleasure in bullying his younger siblings and boasting about his own capabilities to their faces. Despite his arrogance, Nuka is irresponsible and detached from his siblings, leaving Kovu to brave the Outlands alone despite the cub being Nuka's responsibility. Nuka is also shown to be spastic and easily angered, losing his temper over a simple bout of termite itching. His judgment can understandably be called into question when he grows into a young adult, as he initially accuses Kovu of being a traitor without waiting for his mother's explanation. His inner motive, to gain his mother's appreciation and love, often fogs his common sense.