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Staff Picks: ‘Lion King’– Was it a Knock-Off?

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For over 20 years, the movie, “Lion King”, has been the childhood movie everyone is meant to see. Out of all the Disney films, this movie is most definitely one of the most cherished and talked about. But was it really an original idea?

The other day, I came across a video explaining how similar “The Lion King” is to the movie “Kimba the White Lion.” Scared that my favorite childhood movie of all time was a knockoff, I decided to look further into the controversy.

“Kimba the White Lion” was a cartoon that aired in the 1960s by animator Osamu Tezuka. The story lines do somewhat differ with Kimba being a Japanese cartoon exploring the relationship between humans and animals, but if anyone took a look at the visuals, the movie is fairly similar.

Throughout “The Lion King” and “Kimba”, the visual of a lion standing atop Pride Rock is shown—both scenes mirroring each other perfectly.

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Both of the main characters are also seen eating bugs to save their herbivore friends. Although this scene lasted a good couple seconds in “The Lion King”, it was a significant element in “Kimba.”

 

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And then there’s more. Aside from the main characters having almost identical names—Kimba and Simba, an evil lion with an eye condition is also in both movies.

 

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Lastly, in the Japanese cartoon, Kimba needs to go on a dangerous journey to save a member of his community. While thinking that he can’t do it, his father appears to him in the moon and convinces him that he has to go on this journey. “Coincidentally,” in “The Lion King,” Simba is also given the task to save his community, and he, too, believes that he is not capable of doing such a task. Then, his father appears to him in the clouds/moon and tells him that he knows that Simba can do it.

 

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Although Disney filmmakers deny any influence from the movie “Kimba,” it is hard to say that this is all a coincidence. Was “The Lion King” intended to remake certain scenes of “Kimba the White Lion”? Was this all one big misunderstanding” Or was our childhood movie really a knock-off?

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Staff Picks: ‘Lion King’– Was it a Knock-Off?