Kimba the White Lion and The Lion King Controversy
Disney and Tezuka
Tezuka met Walt Disney back in 1964 at NY's World Fair. The two talked and eventually Disney had people help Tezuka's men to properly color his animated series Kimba The White Lion. Disney even said to Tezuka that he wished to create something like Astro Boy. Tezuka also got the rights to adapt Bambi into a manga series at this time.
Disney is an over zealous company. They even once demanded that Mickey and Minnie Mouse pictures be removed from a daycare center. So when it comes to copyright issues, Disney is no fan of taking it. However they do like to create it. When they created The Lion King in 1996 they say they had no idea of the 1966 Kimba The White Lion series. When the Disney movie aired in Japan theaters over 1,100 anime artists and fans signed a petition demanding Disney to acknowledge their thievery of Tezuka's original work. Disney of course refused saying they had no knowledge of its existence. But how can this be when an investigation revealed that three people working in The Lion King had knowledge of the Tezuka work. They admitted to this as well. They later denied this fact stating the two were completely different stories.
Tom Sito, the head of the animators' union and past worker of The Lion King said:
"We were more than halfway through production with most of the story locked when one animator found a Kimba comic with a setting that looked very close to Pride Rock. He posted it and we were all very amused by the similarities but none of us felt we were ripping it off."
Some say at this point that the references were subliminal and that the creators may have pulled from past knowledge of the anime not remembering they watched it as a child. The fact that many people from Disney had previously worked on Kimba The White Lion and then The Lion King Gould be proof enough that the story was stolen even if it was subliminal.
Many questions surround the Kimba and Lion King controversy. The fact that Disney made The Lion King years later an even had a hand in distributing Kimba the White Lion in the USA, many believe they ripped off Tezuka's original work.
1. The name of the main characters: Kimba and Simba.
2. Both are destined to be kings.
3. Both cubs see their fathers in the sky.
4. Fathers died by traitors.
5. Both cubs are followed by an annoying bird.
6. Both have a wide and crazy baboon
7. Both cubs have 'cute' girlfriends waiting for them.
8. Hyenas are always attempting to take over their land.
9. Antagonists in both have only one eye and have similar names: Claw and Scar.
10. The jutting rock pose in both animations.
These are just the most notable similarities which lead most people to believe it is not just a coincidence. Of course Disney denies any rip off state that it is all coincidence and based solely from Shakespeare's Hamlet and the Biblical story of Mary and Joseph. Ten similarities is no coincidence.
With evidence like this, people still side with Disney and say it is just a coincidence. So I will leave the post with one more note. In the original artwork drawn up for The Lion King Simba was suppose to be a white lion, yes a white lion. At this point it is beyond coincidental and now just a rip off. Do not get me wrong though, The Lion King is my favorite Disney movie and will always be my favorite. I hate that it was a rip off of an anime. The only thing I ask and the many Tezuka fans ask is that credit is given where it is due. I feel it is due here.