We thought the brilliant minds at Disney created a storyline that would move generations.
Lion King was a fixture in so many households, so big that they decided to remake it in a live-action motion picture. Well, it turns out Mickey Mouse has always been copying off the smarter Asian kid sitting next to him in class because The Lion King is a flagrant rip-off of Japan’s Kimba The White Lion.
This would have been fine if Disney had credited its victim of theft, Osamu Tezuka, who created Kimba the White Lion (Jungle Emperor), which was published in the Manga Shōnen magazine from November 1950 to April 1954. An anime based on the manga was broadcasted on TV from 1965 to 1967.
Maybe give the man’s family some royalties? Or at least put a “Based on the original works of Osama Tezuka” in the credits alongside the hacks who stole from him.
“I can say there is absolutely no inspiration from Kimba,” animator Tom Sito told HuffPostEntertainment. “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’.”
Sadly, no lawsuit emerged, but pros like Georgetown Law Professor Madhavi Sunder have weighed in on the controversy, and he says if Tezuka had taken it to court, the case against Disney would have been “very strong.”