You Must Avenge My Death, Kimba… I Mean Simba
On one of my sporadic trips to the outskirts of the interweb, I learned of the striking similarities between Disney’s 1994 The Lion King1 and Tezuka’s 1965 anime series Kimba the White Lion. The so-called “controversy” is chronicled here (kimbawlion) and touched upon here (wikipedia), with the most striking similarity being the whole dead-father-appears-in-clouds-to-console-son scene.
Admittedly, much of the evidence is at times anecdotal. Still, there is enough material there to form a conspiracy theory. From what I can tell, quite a bit of imagery from the Lion King looks borrowed from Kimba, although not much of the plot is. In fact, the Lion King is really more a re-hash of Shakespeare’s Hamlet than anything else – which is itself a retelling of ancient precursor legends (i.e. nothing is original).
But none of that really matters to me. What I love about this controversy is that I finally get the joke in the Simpsons episode “Round Springfield” where Mufasa’s ghost appears alongside the ghosts of Bleeding Gums Murphy, Darth Vader, and James Earl Jones and says:
“You Must Avenge My Death, Kimba… I Mean, Simba.”
Proof once again that the writers for the Simpsons, seasons 3 to 8, were (notice past tense) second to none.
- The Lion King is probably my favourite Disney movie, with Aladdin a close second. [↩]