Someone Created A Frame-By-Frame Comparison Showing How Disney Ripped Off ‘Kimba The White Lion’ When Making ‘Lion King’

Published 5 years ago

Anyone who grew up during the 90s remembers one of Disney’s most successful animated films – The Lion King. But did you know it was almost a direct copy of Osamu Tezuka’s 1965 animated film titled Kimba the White Lion? Now, if it were a single character or scene, you might think it’s merely a coincidence. But it’s more than that – nearly every major character is copied from Kimba – notice how even the name sounds almost alike. And after Youtuber Alli Kat made a side-by-side comparison between the two, it’s even more obvious than ever.

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The Lion King was Disney’s first animated film that was an entirely original story, unlike The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast – or so people thought.

Kimba the White Lion was created by Japanese cartoonist Osamu Tezuka and was first published in 1950 as a series of manga. An animated series aired in 1965 and was broadcasted until 1967.

Even though there are screenplay differences between The Lion King and Kimba, many of the scenes are almost too similar.

In an interview with HuffPost Entertainment, former Disney animator Tom Sito said there was no inspiration from Kimba when creating The Lion King. “I mean, the artists working on the film, if they grew up in the ’60s, they probably saw Kimba,” explained the animator. “I mean, I watched Kimba when I was a kid in the ’60s, and I think in the recesses of my memory, we’re aware of it but I don’t think anybody consciously thought, ‘Let’s rip off Kimba.”

The Lion King co-director Rob Minkoff said he, and other co-director Roger Allers, were not familiar with the Kimba series and only heard about it when promoting the movie in Japan. Now, that’s a little hard to believe since Allers lived in Japan and worked in an animation studio in the 80s – a time when Tezuka’s works were pretty widely known, especially in the animation world.

What really seemed suspicious to Tezuka’s supporters was the way the studio was so actively trying to defend itself instead of admitting to being inspired by the original film.

Even Madhavi Sunder, a law professor at Georgetown University Law Center, agreed that The Lion King shows the “highest level of evidence of copying”.

See the two movies compared in the video below

Image credits: Alli Kat

Even The Simpsons made a reference to this situation

Image credits: The Simpsons

People had a lot to say about the whole ordeal

Aušrys Uptas

One day, this guy just kind of figured - "I spend most of my time on the internet anyway, why not turn it into a profession?" - and he did! Now he not only gets to browse the latest cat videos and fresh memes every day but also shares them with people all over the world, making sure they stay up to date with everything that's trending on the web. Some things that always pique his interest are old technologies, literature and all sorts of odd vintage goodness. So if you find something that's too bizarre not to share, make sure to hit him up!

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kimba the white lion, kimba vs simba, Osamu Tezuka, the Lion King
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