19 Astonishing Facts
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Disney's The Lion King is a total ripoff of "Kimba the White Lion", a Japanese cartoon. The plot also closely follows Shakespeare's "Hamlet".


Disney's The Lion King is a total ripoff of "Kimba the White Lion", a Japanese cartoon. The plot also closely follows Shakespeare's "Hamlet".

"Kimba the White Lion" was a Japanese manga (comic book) from the 1950s that became a cartoon show (anime) in the 1960s. In addition to having a similarly-named protagonist ("Kimba" as opposed to "Simba") the "Kimba" cartoon and "The Lion King" feature extremely similar characters: a wise monkey character, hyenas as comic-relief villains, a dead father who appears to his son in the clouds, and an older relative (an aunt in "Kimba" and an uncle in "Lion King") who serves as the main antagonist.

Early screenshots from preproduction work on "The Lion King" show that Simba was intended to be an albino, just like Kimba. The cartoons were so similar that when Matthew Broderick was hired to be the voice of Simba he had assumed he was playing Kimba in a theatrical interpretation of "Kimba the White Lion".

Ironically, Osamu Tezuka,the creator of "Kimba" and the popular series "Astroboy", drew from Walt Disney's early work as inspiration for his own artistic style, and he even received permission from Walt Disney to make a manga adaptation of Disney's "Bambi".

The Lion King also shares some plot details with Hamlet. Both Simba and Hamlet are on a quest to avenge their fathers and take back their kingdoms. Both had their uncle kill their father and assume power. Both were visited by the ghosts of their fathers to inspire them to take revenge. Thankfully, the similarities don't extend to the end of the story, otherwise the Lion King would (spoiler alert!) end with Simba, Nala, Simba's mom, and Timon and Pumba all dying.
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