The Internet will not let stuff die, and this was proven once again when conversations around The Lion King turned into a revisiting of the Japanese anime Kimba the White Lion.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Kimba was an animated series that aired in the 1960s and it was based on the 1950 manga Jungle Emperor created by Osamu Tezuka.
Now Tezuka wasn’t just some low-level employee who did storyboards for a B-level animation studio. Tezuka, who died in 1989, is literally considered the father of manga (Japanese comics) and some have even christened him the Walt Disney of Japan (well, him and another animation great, Hayao Miyazaki).
So when The Lion King came out in 1994 claiming to be an original story, certain folks couldn’t help but notice similarities between the Disney flick and Kimba. Although Kimba has more themes dealing with animals and human interactions, both Kimba and The Lion King are coming-of-age stories focused on an African lion cub whose father was killed in the first act.
Even if Kimba had different storylines, the series had similar characters to The Lion King, including a villain with a Black mane and a scar-like eye and a bird who served as the voice of reason to the lion cub. Check out more similarities for yourself below.
Both animations are very similar-like.
Disney representatives have repeatedly said that they didn’t rip Kimba off to make The Lion King and at one point, the co-director for 1994’s The Lion King, Rob Minkoff told the Times:
“Frankly, I’m not familiar with [the TV series]. I know for a fact that [Kimba] has never been discussed as long as I’ve been on the project.”
A screenwriter on The Lion King, Linda Woolverton added, “This is the first I’ve heard of Kimba or Tezuka. I never heard anything or saw anything about his work.”
Welp, that’s that, right?
Nope. Hit the flip for incidents that followed that’ll have you questioning whether The Lion King might have taken more than enough inspiration from Kimba.