|Aliases||Fearless Leader, Prince Jake, Big Jake|
|Family||Steve Berenson (father),
Jean Berenson (mother),
Tom Berenson (brother),
"Grandpa G" (grandfather),
Isaiah Fitzhenry (maternal great-great-great-granduncle)
Leader of Animorphs
Military strategist and trainer
|Behind the scenes|
|First appearance||The Invasion|
|Last appearance||The Beginning|
|Portrayer||Shawn Ashmore (TV series)
Mathew Kaminsky (voice, PC game)
Jame Mack (voice, PlayStation game)
- "He was a good guy, my dad. Not just because he was my dad. Because he was a good person. Because he did his work as well as he knew how and wasn’t a jerk to the people around him. That doesn’t make you a saint or anything, but I guess when I think about it, that’s what I hope I’ll do when I’m older: treat my family right, do my job well, not be a jerk to the people I meet. Maybe that’s not a huge, ambitious goal, but it would be enough for me. I’ve done the hero thing. You can have the hero thing. Me, I wanted a day when all I’d have to do was be a decent human being."
Jake Berenson is the leader of the Animorphs.
Position and role
At the beginning of the Animorphs series, Tobias announces to the team that he thinks that Jake should be their leader. The other Animorphs quickly agree, and Jake reluctantly accepts the position. Few would disagree that he is naturally fit for the job, as he is brave, responsible, cool under pressure, and able to take charge during a crisis. He is described by his cousin Rachel as a person who can give orders without sounding overly bossy. At first, Jake doesn't view himself as a leader, and thus isn't willing to accept the role, but when he learns that his older brother Tom is a Controller, his desire to save his brother serves as the fuel to his unyielding determination in his fight against the Yeerks.
In the first book, Jake is the only character with pre-existing ties to each of the other Animorphs; Rachel is his cousin; there was a mutual attraction between him and Cassie; Marco is his best friend; Tobias was rescued by him from bullies sometime before the series began and had a mild case of hero-worship towards Jake. While Ax didn't appear until the fourth volume, The Message, Ax quickly accepts Jake as his "Prince" ("Prince" being a rank in the Andalite military hierarchy) and is deeply loyal to him. Jake's status as Ax's Prince led to a recurring joke between them:
- "Ax: <...Prince Jake.>
Jake: "Don't call me prince."
Ax: <Yes, Prince Jake.>"
- ―Book #11: The Forgotten
- "Ax: <...Prince Jake.>
One of Jake's more harrowing experiences occurs when he is infested by a Yeerk, Temrash 114. Fortunately Ax realizes something was wrong (because Jake's face momentarily twists into an expression of disgust when he sees Ax), and the Animorphs tie Jake up for three days until Temrash dies of Kandrona starvation. Jake gets his first glimpse of Crayak when Temrash died. He is also left with partial memory imprints of Temrash and his former hosts: a Gedd, a Hork-Bajir, and his brother Tom (who is now host to another Yeerk).
As the leader of the small band of guerrilla warriors, his leadership, his choices and mistakes, and the responsibility he assumes are recurring themes in the Animorphs series. Despite his best efforts, Jake never attains his main goal for joining the fight: saving his brother from Yeerk infestation. After he fails to save Tom from the Yeerks, he is left emotionally damaged and unable to lead. Before the final battle, Cassie manages to lift him out of it, but her success is short-lived.
After more than six months captaining the Rachel, a state-of-the-art Yeerk ship named by Tobias, Jake encounters a Blade ship—one containing the last fugitives from the Yeerk empire. Ax's captor, a monstrous being of unknown origin known only as "The One", makes its unsettling appearance through a communication channel between the Blade ship and the Rachel. Undaunted, Jake gives his final order, instructing the pilot to power up their engines and ram the larger ship. The command is an ironic one; decades ago, a young Elfangor had given the same order. It was this decision which rocketed him to prince status, and a place in Andalite legend.
Relations to the other Animorphs
- Rachel: Despite being cousins, Jake and Rachel aren't particularly close. As the series progresses, Jake becomes worried about Rachel's violent nature, and Rachel finds herself wishing to challenge Jake's leadership. Overall though, the two get along very well and are often on the same side in arguments.
- Tobias: Before Jake became an Animorph, he helped Tobias escape from bullies, and because of this, Tobias looks up to Jake and has a deep respect for him, almost never questioning his decisions. But after the end of the series, Tobias is unable to forgive Jake for his part in Rachel's death.
- Cassie: Jake and Cassie were attracted to each other ever since the start of the series, and their relationship kept growing as the series progressed. They end up kissing in The Attack, and admit the depth of their feelings for each other. After they kiss, Rachel remarks, "It's about time.". However, they grow apart towards the end of the series due to Jake's depression and his distrust of Cassie after she allows Tom to escape with the Escafil device. They make up before the very end of the series, and Jake even asks Cassie to marry him in The Answer, but she declines, saying she will marry him "a year after this is all over." At the time, Cassie correctly suspected that Jake had been changed by the war, and after it's over, he becomes too entrenched in depression and guilt to be able to pursue a romantic relationship.
- Marco: Jake and Marco had been best friends for years before the war, and generally maintained a close relationship throughout the series, despite several tests of their friendship. Towards the end of the war, Jake and Marco's friendship suffers. In the post-war period, Marco is concerned for his friend and makes a plan with Cassie to try to get through to him.
- Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill: Ax deeply respects Jake, and calls him his "Prince". This is a running joke between the two, as Jake is biologically younger than Ax, and holds no real rank. However, Ax does respect Jake's position as leader, and at times, Jake uses his "rank" to overrule Ax's objections. While Jake keeps a certain distance from Ax, as he is Ax's commander, there is a strong bond between the two. Jake is protective of Ax, believing him to be a soldier under his command, and therefore Jake's responsibility (when Ax is kidnapped in the final book, Jake describes him as "one of mine").
Effects of the war
Like the other Animorphs, Jake is affected internally by the war. In fact, his position as leader may have put more pressure on him than anybody else in the group. The war forces him to mature quickly, and his friends seem to notice as he becomes less of a normal teen and more of a serious and experienced captain. Jake's burden and his desire to return to a normal life has caused him to falter a few times, mostly noticeable towards the end of the series. However, for the most part, he remains strong, and doesn't display his struggles to the rest of the group.
One of Jake's most terrible experiences, was when he was infested by a Yeerk, Temrash 114. Luckily, Ax realized something was wrong with Jake (because Jake looked disgusted when he saw Ax), and the Animorphs tied Jake up for three days, until Temrash 114 died of Kandrona starvation. Temrash's death is also significant, because Jake gets his first view of Crayak, an extremely powerful being and the enemy of The Ellimist. While Jake was infested, he gained some of the memories of Temrash and his old hosts: a Gedd, a Hork-Bajir, and his brother Tom (who now is host to another Yeerk).
After his parents were taken and made into Controllers, Jake became despondent for a time, and briefly gave up his leadership position. Jake refused to give orders to his friends, as he was sick of the responsibility of command. He believed the mistakes he had made indicated that he was unfit to lead. However, after Eva pointed out that Jake was the only enemy Visser One feared, Jake resumed command with the support of his friends. However, Jake's command style changed radically: he became more ruthless, and resolved to never question himself again.
After the war, Jake falls into a deep depression, "armchair quarterbacking" his life and regretting the things he had done. Jake particularly wishes that he could have seen an alternative to sending Rachel to kill Tom, as well as wishing that he could unlive the moment when he gave the order that doomed seventeen-thousand unhosted Yeerks on the Pool Ship.
When Ax is kidnapped, Jake, of course, is worried, but at the same time, the need for a leader is what snaps him out of his depression. Jake promises to Marco that this time he "won't make mistakes", and resumes his position as leader of the Animorphs for the new war that lies ahead.
Jake possibly died, at the end of The Beginning, in a head on collision, consisting of the Blade Ship and the ship the Animorphs named The Rachel, in honor of their deceased friend. Marco, Tobias, and two cadets were in The Rachel when it crashed, and Ax was in the Blade Ship, after being enslaved by The One.
- Battle Morph(s): Siberian Tiger (Main), Rhinoceros
- Bird Morph: Peregrine Falcon (Main), Seagull, Great Horned Owl
Television Show Morphs
|Golden Retriever (Homer)||My Name is Jake, Part 1|
|Iguana||On the Run|
|Horse (off-screen)||The Leader, Part 1|
|Human (Tom)||Face Off, Part 2|
|Mouse||My Name is Erek|
|White-headed Capuchin||Changes, Part 1|
|Gecko||Changes, Part 2|
|Hawk (off-screen)||The Front|
Jake has a total of 15 morphs in the TV show.
Books narrated by Jake
- #1 The Invasion
- #6 The Capture
- Megamorphs #1 The Andalite's Gift
- #11 The Forgotten
- Alternamorphs #1 The First Journey
- #16 The Warning
- Megamorphs #2 In the Time of Dinosaurs
- #19 The Departure
- #21 The Threat
- #26 The Attack
- Megamorphs #3 Elfangor's Secret
- #31 The Conspiracy
- #36 The Mutation
- Megamorphs #4 Back to Before
- #41 The Familiar
- #47 The Resistance
- #53 The Answer
- #54 The Beginning
- Jake's real WAA username is close to being Bball24. It is a reference to his best basketball game, where he scored 24 points.
- In the Animorphs television series Jake's Siberian tiger battle morph was replaced with a White Bengal tiger.
- While inside Jake's mind, (in The Capture) Temrash taunts Jake about his lack of knowledge of the Andalites' arrogant history towards other species, which later books expand upon. We begin to see some development towards this in #8: The Alien when Ax finally explains the Law of Seerow's Kindness to the Animorphs. This revelation and others are explored further in other books such as #18: The Decision, #34: The Prophecy, #38: The Arrival, The Andalite Chronicles, and especially in the The Hork-Bajir Chronicles.
- In The Answer, Jake finally breaks the "I can't tell you my last name or where I live" tradition, and reveals that his last name is Berenson and that the Animorphs have been fighting the Yeerks in California for a total of 3 years. Marco reveals that Jake is 16, meaning that the Animorphs began the war at the age of 13.
- In the original idea for the series, Jake's name was going to be Matt and he was going to have a little brother named Joseph.
- Jake narrates a small portion of Cassie's book (The Departure) because Cassie was stuck in a chrysalis in butterfly morph.
- Jake has the most books in the series. He gets a part in narrating 17 books in total.
- Jake's first morph is his pet golden retriever Homer. Homer later appears as Jake's cover morph in The Threat.
- A running gag between him and Ax involves Ax calling him "Prince," and him objecting to the title. Amusingly inverted in the beginning in Megamorphs #3, where he objects to Ax calling him "Prince" to instead demand he be called "Supreme Leader."
- In the Anibase, K.A. Applegate had this to say about a very memorable scene in The Attack :
- "The Jake and Cassie kiss was not only something Ani-Fans had wanted for a long time, it was our small homage to the first interracial kiss on TV, the famous Captain Kirk, Lieutenant Uhura moment. That long-ago kiss ignited a storm of angry response. For us, we always got lots of fan mail, and not a single letter that we ever saw complained about the kiss between a black character and a white character. Mostly what readers said was, 'It's about time!'"
Toy and Game Gallery
|Animorphs||Jake | Rachel | Tobias | Cassie | Marco | Ax|
|Auxiliary Animorphs||James | Collette | Timmy | Kelly | Craig | Erica | Julio | Liam | Tricia | Jessie | Judy | Ray | Pedro | Elena|
|New Animorphs||Jeanne Gerard | Menderash-Postill-Fastill | Santorelli|
|Other Animorphs||David | You|