Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Simba vs Kimba: The Lion King and Kimba The White Lion Controversy

Kimba the White Lion and The Lion King Controversy

Kimba vs Simba
Kimba and Simba
Kimba The White Lion was an animated TV series way before The Lin King was even thought of. With a lot of evidence stacked against Disney stealing Tezuka's original work, most people believe it is a rip off. The history of the two men working together, the undeniable copy scenes, and the characters all give reason to believe it is a rip off though.

Disney and Tezuka

230px-Osamu_Tezuka s_im-1682-portrait-de-walt-disney

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.

The Similarities

Kimba vs SImba
The Similar Scenes

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.

Simba vs Kimba
Original Artwork for Simba

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.


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  2. 1. Simba's name is a Swahili pun for "lion." The majority of cast's names are pun-based. Kimba is also a dub name. His real name is "Leo."
    2. Being "destined to be king" does not equate to a stolen idea. They're both just playing off of the King of the Jungle/Beasts trope.
    3. Partially true. Simba witnesses Mufasa's ghost literally appear in the sky, whereas Kimba envisions his father in the moon. The parent parallel is more stronger with his mother, though, as she appears in the stars and speaks to him. The cloud imagery from Kimba is of Kimba/Leo himself after he had past on. It's just a cloud formation, though.
    4. Wrong. Kimba's father was killed by a human before his son was born.
    5. Sort of true. However, that's both creators just choosing various generic animals as characters again, and both bird's archetypes are somewhat dissimilar from one another. Zazu also doesn't follow Simba constantly. He just babysat him once.
    6. Wrong. Kimba's monkey isn't really all that crazy. He's actually a bit of grouch, and the young lion even advises him at times, instead of the other way around.
    7. Not really an example of a similarity. Having a love interest is a cliche in most stories. And Nala never really "waited" for Simba.
    8. An exaggeration. The hyenas in TLK never always attempted to take over any land. Scar lead the charge and took over himself, then he allowed the hyenas to roam free and become his subjects alongside the pride.
    9. For once, a strong similarity. Although, Scar still has both eyes. His signature wound is just the scar itself, but he can still visibly see with it. It's worth noting that the injury may have been a carry over from when Scar was still a baboon in earlier scripts, and not influenced by the Kimba antagonist. His color scheme, while also similar, is based on Andrea Deja's reoccurring color palette for most of the characters he designed and supervised the animation of.
    10. Again, another cliche. Just as both franchises revolve around the King of the Jungle/Beasts trope, so too do they share the imagery usually associated with said trope.

    As for the shot-by-shot comparisons, it's wise to remember how they all stem from a website that cleverly edited and paired images taken out of context and claimed they're stolen, disregarding the scenarios behind them and even flat out lying about some.

    A good example of the cliff dangling shot. What's ACTUALLY occurring in the Kimba shot is him almost falling into a small hole with spikes at the bottom. The lioness looking from above almost falls in herself a moment later, and they soon make up with one another at the end of the episode. There is no stampede or "cliff" to speak of in that scene at all.

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  4. Lion King was made in 1994...just saying, Also I agree with everything Doctor Flimflim. Also the plot is different.

  5. I'm 53. I remember avidly watching Kimba the White Lion on TV every day after school when I was little. I also remember seeing the Lion King years later when it first came out and at the time my reaction was "This is the Kimba the White Lion story redone by Disney". Disney Stole It. It's a Fact Deal With It. It is also a far more blatant theft than Hanna-Barbara stealing the Flintstones from Jackie Gleason's "The Honeymooners". Yes I know one is a cartoon the original live action but it was stolen just the same. Jackie Gleason threatened to sue and was very anti the Flintstones initially. Supposedly a private deal was struck and money was paid to Gleason but because of non-disclosure no one really knows. What is clear is that Gleason's tune changed about the Flintstones and he began to praise the cartoon. Getting back to Kimba - Simba. That is a more blatant theft.

    1. That's nice, except for the fact that literally everyone involved in both Kimba and TLK, including Tezuka himself, admitted that none of them believed that the "rip off" was intentional. A few think that the show may have influenced a few things in TLK's production, but for the most part they all agree that it's a coincidence.

    2. "Including Tezuka himself." Umm... Tezuka's been dead since 1989, there's no way he could have dismissed a film that came out after his death as a rip-off.

  6. Disney is satanic, the theme parks should be cluster bombed.