Did Disney steal ‘The Lion King’ from a Japanese animated film?

in Disney, Entertainment, Movies & TV

Lion King and Kimba screenshots

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures/Alli Kat

Disney’s “The Lion King” is one of Disney’s most cherished animated classics of all time. In fact, it’s loved so much that the company decided to bring it back to the big screen in a live-action CGI remake that recently grossed over $1 billion at the box-office. However, as much as Disney’s animated version is loved by fans, questions have resurfaced that it closely resembles a Japanese animated film titled “Kimba The White Lion.” Here is why some question the originality of Disney’s famed cartoon movie.

For those not familiar, “Kimba” is a Japanese shōnen manga series created by Osamu Tezuka which was serialized in the Manga Shōnen magazine from November 1950 to April 1954. And in 1965, this beloved series was turned into an animated feature: “Kimba The White Lion.”

Kimba The White Lion

Disney has previously shared that the inspiration for “The Lion King’s” story has come from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” However, from these screen grabs it could be asked where the film actually comes from.

It’s worth noting, “Kimba The White Lion” follows a different screenplay from “The Lion King.” Although, both films seem to share very similar shot types, including framing of shots and the characters included within them. Here are some of the shots from both films offered to support the claim:

Lion King and Kimba screenshots
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures/Alli Kat
Lion King and Kimba screenshots
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures/Alli Kat
Lion King and Kimba screenshots
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures/Alli Kat

These similarities were originally brought into question when the film premiered in theaters back in 1994. But shortly after criticism of copying Kimba surfaced against Disney, the company and its filmmakers quickly denied any influence from the Japanese film. The recent reimagining of the film has given rise to the controversy again.

Lion King and Kimba screenshots
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures/Alli Kat
Lion King and Kimba screenshots
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures/Alli Kat
Lion King and Kimba screenshots
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures/Alli Kat

In an recent interview with Huffington Post, animator Tom Sito (who worked on the classic film and other Disney classics) said: “I can say there is absolutely no inspiration from ‘Kimba.‘ I mean the artists working on the film, if they grew up in the ’60s, they probably saw ‘Kimba.’ 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.’”

Lion King and Kimba screenshots
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures/Alli Kat
Lion King and Kimba screenshots
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures/Alli Kat

However, Sito also told the outlet that they had learned of some of these similarities during the production process. Although, at the time they were already in the late stages of animation, with more than half of the film complete.

“One of the animators found a Manga comic book of Kimba’s with a setup that kind of looked like Pride Rock, and I remember he was like showing it to us, and I was like, ‘Wow, that is really close to ours, yeah.’ But I think it was never more than an amusing coincidence,” said Sito.
The studio behind “Kimba The White Lion” never came after Disney, nor have any other media companies claiming the company stole the idea for “The Lion King.”

Do you think Disney’s “The Lion King” closely resembles “Kimba The White Lion”? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Bored Panda

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