This shouldn’t surprise anyone. If you want to know my full thoughts on this issue, then check out my Lion King rant post I did last Summer. You can also check out my review of Kimba the White Lion on my other blog. If you really want to get in depth with this insane film plagiarism controversy, then check out this link. I don’t want to repeat myself too much here.
This is infuriating how Disney even to this day have never owned up to stealing most of it’s characters, storylines, and even scenes that were shot-for-shot from Tezuka’s work. The reasons why Tezuka Productions haven’t sued Mickey Mouse are because Osamu mentioned on his will not to burn bridges with Disney (context: he died in 1989 during production of The New Advantures of Kimba the White Lion which would be 5 years before The Lion King was released) and because they don’t have as much money to take them on in court. I disagree and they should’ve sued The House of Mouse. Disney even tried to block Jungle Emperor Leo 1997 from North America at the Fantasia Film Festival in Canada back in 1998, for crying out loud! Simba was originally going to be a white lion in pre-production. Roy E. Disney called Sarabi “Kimba’s mother” in the 1993 Prodigy Q&A Transcript which can be seen in one of the links above. They would have so many strong cases for copyright infringement. Here are examples of these various characters:
Comparisons from the first picture and this screencap:
Lion prince: Kimba=Simba
Deceased father lion: Caesar=Mufasa
Comic relief hyena henchmen: Tom and Tab=Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed
Wise, yet eccentric baboon advisor: Dan’l=Rafiki
Major-domo bird who gets into prat falls: Pauley=Zazu
Major villain that usurps the kingdom: Claw=Scar (BIGGEST RIPOFF VILLAIN EVER!)
Girlfriend lioness who becomes the prince’s mate: Kitty=Nala
Lion queen mother: Snowene=Sarabi
Daughter of the main character: Lukio=Kiara (see: Susume, Leo or Jungle Emperor Leo 1997 and The Lion King II respectively)
Son of the main character: Lune=Kion (see: Susume, Leo or Jungle Emperor Leo 1997 and The Lion Guard respectively)
Even The Simpsons made a joke involving this plagiarism controversy. Yes, that’s James Earl Jones doing all the voices in that scene!
Enough of me ranting here. I felt like I’ve done a bunch of it on two of my blogs already. Hahaha! Let’s talk about the music. This is actually the longest Ospreyshire song I ever written and recorded and has more instrumental layers than anything else. I had three different sounds from one keyboard, bass, acousmatics, African percussion instruments (fair trade, FTW!), and my little mbira. I felt so compelled to use both Swahili and Japanese lyrics which was a very nice touch and I wanted to be respectful to those cultures. The lyrics use a TON of Kimba and Lion King references. I won’t explain them all, but here are a few and the meanings therein.
“Father, I hear your voice in the Eastern sky. Mother, I hear you from the constellations.” This represents the death of both of Kimba’s parents. The Eastern sky also references an opening lyric in the Jungle Emperor Leo 1997 ending theme “Wind Song”. That and he sees the spirits of his dead parents in the sky in the original show (SOUND FAMILIAR?).
“…this human song” This references the Kimba song “Sing a Human Song” in the English dub.
“Saitama…Grimes” Those cities have major significance to Kimba. Saitama, Japan has a baseball team called the Seibu Lions who use that character as a mascot even to today. Grimes refers to a town in Iowa referring to Right Stuf and their anime distribution subsidiary Nozomi Entertainment who have the license to the original show.
Top Lion King potshots in my opinion in no particular order:
“Was she your sister or your cousin?” Who is Nala’s father? No Lion King fan has ever given me a straight answer on that issue, so I directly referenced that infamous incest theory in this song! Do the math.
“Your gods had no worries profiting and suing others for cultures they don’t own…” Three words: HAKUNA MATATA TRADEMARK!
Note: I reference capitals of countries where Swahili has official language status with Kinshasa (DRC), Kigali (Rwanda), Kampala (Uganda), Dodoma (Tanzania), and Nairobi (Kenya).
“Have you found a way to punish without genocide by starvation?” This line calls out Mufasa’s severe protagonist centered morality of the Elephant Graveyard. Starving and isolating others is genocide. Just look at Shark Island in Namibia, the several Native American tribes who were subjugated by the pilgrims, and The Devil’s Punchbowl in Mississippi to name a few. Also, I have to give props to Croatian blogger Vigour of Film Lines for noticing that severe flaw of the Mufasa character and for calling the Elephant Graveyard a concentration camp, too!
I namedrop the title of my other song “They Dreamed of Devastation and Deceit” in the lyrics. It’s even more appropriate when you consider the subtitle is (Circle of Lies).
Lion King fans! I actually parody two songs from that movie franchise from a musicality standpoint. The intro should be obvious and the other parody aspect kicks in when I start singing halfway through the song. The first person who gets the answers right gets this song for free if they didn’t buy the album.
Hope you liked my somewhat lengthy backstory on that song. This concludes this song/poem trilogy.
The picture of The New Adventures of Kimba the White Lion is from Fandom and is property of Tezuka Productions.
The screenshot of Mufasa, Simba, Caesar, and Kimba is from Mashable and they are property of Disney, Tezuka Productions, and Nozomi Entertainment respectively.
The character comparison guide is from the Internet Archive. All characters are property of Tezuka Productions, Nozomi Entertainment, and Disney respectively.
The video clip is from The Simpsons and is property of Fox.