How I Learned to Utterly Despise that Expensive Ripoff, Overrated, and Bigoted Movie Called The Lion King (And the Existence of Kimba the White Lion Isn’t the Only Reason)

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[Warning: This post contains a very contrary opinion to most people and will contain controversial content. Read at your own peril]

I’m sure some of you are probably sick of me at this point bashing this Disney movie if you’ve read earlier posts on this blog or saw certain reviews on Iridium Eye. I’m not sorry for what I’m about to say on here. This frustration has been building up for the past couple of weeks and it’s something I need to vent about on this blog of all things regardless if people agree with this post or not.

[sigh] Here we go.

For starters, I didn’t always hate The Lion King. If anything, it used to be one of my favorite Disney movies when I was a kid. This is going to partially give away my age, but I saw that movie during it’s first theatrical run when I was very little. I even saw the stage adaptation in Chicago at the Cadillac Theatre when I was a bit older. One of my favorite soundtracks back then was the “Rhythm of the Pride Lands” which was the companion soundtrack and it was also the first time the song “He Lives In You” was used. Not Lion King II or the Broadway version. I saw the original VHS tape probably a hundred times during my childhood. I used to know the words to most of the songs way back when. However, I stopped paying attention to Disney during my teenage years because I was really into anime. Okay, I still like Japanese animation, but I was nowhere near as much of an otaku as I was when I was in high school.

It was also around this time when I first heard about Kimba the White Lion. I heard that The Lion King ripped it off, but I thought it was shallow with just the main characters. Flash forward to my adult life when I saw a Cracked article involving childhood icons you didn’t know were shameless rip-offs, and the memories came back again. This piqued my interest, did more research and started to rent the DVDs on Netflix after Kimba stopped airing on Hulu (Disney is a partial owner of that site, so I don’t know if it was because of them or not). While it has it’s issues and has aged animation since it was made in the 60s, I enjoyed that anime for it’s usage of subject matter, originality, and seeing how much Disney stole from it. If you don’t believe me, check out this link. I couldn’t believe the scenes of Caesar (AKA Original Mufasa) consoling Kimba from the beyond in the night sky. I couldn’t believe the scene where the villainess Belladonna tried to kill Kimba by pushing him off a cliff. I couldn’t believe one of the major villains (Claw) just happened to be a scarred lion usurper with a black mane, dark fur, and had hyena henchmen with him. Every character not named Timon and Pumbaa in that movie is a copy of someone from Tezuka’s manga/anime series. Seriously, shame on Disney for stealing from this classic anime and for trying to block the Jungle Emperor Leo ’97 movie from North America. Trust me, you won’t be looking at The Lion King the same way again once you see the obvious similarities. I can’t see how any sane person could watch Kimba and not think that no one from Disney saw this. Why does The Lion King get a free pass in plagiarism when other media like Yuki Yuna is a Hero gets lambasted for having similarities to Madoka? You know if the situation was reversed, then all you Lion King fans would scream bloody murder that your favorite movie got plagiarized by a foreign (majority non-White) country if Kimba came afterwards. It would be amazing if Disney admitting to stealing from Tezuka’s creation, paid royalties to them, or got epic backlash for their thievery, but I know that will never happen because wishes never come true.

This segues into my next point. I wasn’t aware of this as a child, but growing up, I realized how racist the implications were with the hyenas. Have you not listened to how they talk? They straight up talk in stereotypical African-American Ebonics (Shenzi) and an exaggerated Mexican accent (Banzai). What ticks me off is when Disney fans don’t call their depiction racist or handwave it because you have Black cast members voicing some of the heroic lions namely James Earl Jones playing Mufasa. No, just because you have Black people playing both sides of the good/evil paradigm, it doesn’t make it bigotry-free. It’s the equivalent of a racist claiming they have a Black best friend or family members to prove they aren’t racist. That or saying slave owners can’t be racist because they have Black people around them. Let’s not forget Disney has a history with using animal characters as POC proxies with racist undertones. Look at the crows in Dumbo and the lead one’s name was JIM! You know, like the same laws in America that involved having enforced segregation, lynchings, or it being legal for White people to rape African-Americans? There’s also Siamese cats talking in broken English in Lady and the Tramp, Aristocats, and even an episode of Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers for crying out loud. You could even throw in Tito from Oliver & Company as a slap against the Latino community. Coincidentally enough, Cheech Marin would voice both Tito and Banzai in his voice acting career. Is this why so many Americans falsely assume that Black people let alone other ethnic groups act like the hyenas all the time? If you think so, then you need your head examined and we should question if you’re a bigot.

Extending onto that point is how the hyenas were treated with the Elephant Graveyard. Besides the name being a blatant carbon copy of the place in Kimba where the animals had to rescue Roger Ranger in one of the later episodes, I found the place to be disturbing, but not for the same reasons as it was portrayed in the movie. As an adult, I had this realization that this punishment against those animals involved isolating the hyenas in a barren wasteland and they’re forced to starve. It hit me when I researched lesser-known aspects of history: Mufasa was committing genocide against them and I was sickened by it. Scar did bad things, but his big brother is not much better if you really think about it; he’s just applauded for his actions. If you think I’m being crazy, then maybe you should read up on the Congolese Genocide under King Leopold II or the Namibian Genocide by Germany’s 2nd Reich. The former had a body count of 10 MILLION Congolese and Leopold never got punished for it. If you take away the hand chopping, guns, and mass rape, then it would be the same thing. The latter had a concentration camp called Shark Island where the Germans starved out the Herero and Nama tribes and there was a valley of bones left behind. By the way, one of the perpetrators was General Franz Ritter von Epp who would eventually employ Adolf Hitler and Hitler said he was influenced by this general. LET THAT SINK IN! It’s as if the animators were aroused by putting anti-Black racism with that act as they believe melanated people don’t belong in their circle of life. Come on, if those hyenas talked in Yiddish accents instead of stereotypical Black and Latino accents, then the ADL would’ve thrashed Mickey Mouse in a heartbeat and everybody knows this. But because it’s happening to the bad guys and because they talk in a racially-coded way, it’s somehow justified in the animators’ and fans’ eyes. No, that’s protagonist centered morality on Mufasa’s part (saying nothing how that punishment contradicts his circle of life speech), and it’s propaganda in a form of G-rated White Supremacy. In my adulthood, I’ve seriously pondered if White people actually saw me as one of those hyenas in the past before. I’ve been discriminated against, so I wouldn’t put it past them. It’s hard to watch that knowing about the genocides against Black people, the 1994 crime bill which overloaded the prison-industrial complex (while being soft on Caucasian offenders, let’s be honest), Apartheid South Africa, and gentrification to name a few things to punish them. Do you enjoy Black people or any other POC group getting punished or afflicted at all costs and is The Lion King your film of choice of vicariously having that joy in a supposedly “innocent” way? Are you more offended by me pointing out the racist implications of this Disney movie than the millions of dead bodies from those aforementioned genocides let alone other atrocities?

Let’s also talk about the depiction of Africa. There are no humans in it! Was there some extinction of Africans before the beginning of the story? Disney sucks at this fact and Tarzan is another example of this when that continent is shown without Black people. So people who look like me and darker shouldn’t be seen? Is this a wish fulfillment about depopulating Africa in animated form? Think about it. They wouldn’t try it with Europe or America. Even if they do have furry characters (don’t lie. furries love The Lion King and you all know this. Also, how come that movie doesn’t get called a furry film with all the anthropomorphic stuff in it?), they make them upright, clothed and human-like in attitude like Zootopia or DuckTales for example. Are they insinuating that Africa should just be one giant savanna or natural utopia without the humans who would live in that part of the world? If not, then they’ll show it as one big piece of poverty porn and/or a giant war zone. It’s as if the animals are treated with dignity if something happens to them than the humans who live there. Cecil the lion? I rest my case. Screw stereotypes. Those furries and their sick fantasies can go away.

Those are some of my main points that have angered me. Disney needs a moral overhaul. Was it enough to steal from a 60s Japanese anime and from millions of Swahili-speaking Africans by trademarking “Hakuna Matata”? I could go on about the plot holes such as the Nala incest theory, how much that movie ripped off Kimba, how heredity monarchy is not always a good thing, how that movie isn’t that deep/meaningful, or how The Lion King or it’s fanbase avoids being called furries when other movies get labeled as such, but I think you get the point. Even I’ve had enough from defenders of this movie franchise and for people trying to shame me not liking that film, let alone bullying me for my ethnic background or even what media I like. You’re only proving me right that way. It sickens me how there’s that remake coming out (it’s not live action, people. it’s just realistic looking CGI) and for people making fun of me for not liking it anymore. You all have no right to moralize to me especially with all the things that have happened in American history let alone what happened to the African diaspora. I’m not saying you’re automatically evil if you’re White since that would be very stupid of me to insinuate that of one’s skin color. Spare me from your attempts of putting words in my mouth or for strawmanning my arguments. What I am saying is that you shouldn’t take movies at face value and assume everything is innocent just because it’s family-friendly from a content standpoint. For one, I’ve become offended the more I’ve learned about history, part of my culture, and with storytelling techniques. I’m sick and tired of being a scapegoat because of the color of my skin and my heritage. I would never even imagine doing the things done to my ancestors to anyone regardless of race. Not everyone is going to like what I typed, nor am I begging people to like it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to listen to real artists from the continent instead of that artificial crap from Hans Zimmer and Elton John.

All images and videos are property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws.

The fan art is property of WhiteLionWarrior at DeviantArt.

Kimba is property of Kimba the White Lion and Tezuka Productions.

Simba is property of The Lion King and Disney.

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Since when did appreciating originality make me the bad guy?

Before I begin my little opinion piece, I set aside some time as I deal with this gigantic cold front all over the Midwest. At the time of this article, the high where I’m from is -18 Fahrenheit which is insane. This coldness is more on par with Siberia, Antarctica, and the top of Mt. Everest than the part of America where I’m from. If you’re dealing with this, then please stay warm and take care of yourselves.

Okay, now onto the subject at hand.


I’ve been wanting to make an article like this for a long time now. The thing is I appreciate whenever people create some truly unique things. Whether it’s music, film, art, literature, or other subjects, I really like it whenever people craft things that no one else has thought of before. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against adaptations on principle, building off other works while acknowledging inspiration, or even parodies/satires when done right.

What does grind my gears is whenever I hear people say things such as “Oh, everybody rips off things”.

In my opinions, I find that to be intellectually insulting and just lazy thinking.

At the risk of sounding arrogant, I do try to be as original as I can be with my various works such as my spoken word projects, poems, reviews, music, books, and other things I create. One of the biggest compliments you could give me is telling me that no one else sounds like me, writes like me, or that I’m an innovator in whatever I try. Yes, I’m certainly influenced by others, so I’m not going to lie to you, but I want to be unique in my creative endeavors. There’s one quote from Oscar Wilde that I like a bit too much: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” I truly believe that some people aren’t even trying and just follow the leader in music, film, books, etc which I find to be quite slothful.

So why does this make me the bad guy for wanting originality to still be a quality worth desiring?

Seriously, I’ve been made fun of for mentioning how I like more original content as others dismiss my tastes for whatever reason. Possibly it’s insecurity on their part, but I could be wrong.

Over the years, I’ve been realizing how many things have been stolen whether it’s movies, art, video games, or something as extreme as cultural appropriation. You have artwork from Benin and Senegal that’s in European museums without those country’s permission. There’s an obelisk in Ethiopia known as the Obelisk of Axum which was stolen by Italy and a certain leaning tower bears similarities to it. For those who’ve checked out some of my film and anime reviews, I’ve mentioned a few examples. Yes, one of them involves this nefarious lion named Claw from Kimba the White Lion as seen in the featured image who predates a certain other villain let alone other characters in some popular movie by 44 years (or 29 if you only count the anime), yet Tezuka Productions never got credited to this day for that series. If you got triggered by that picture, well…that says more about you than it does about me. Besides that, I get tired of people even resorting to scripture by saying “There’s nothing new under the sun”. I know it’s in Ecclesiastes, but did those same people miss “Thou shall not steal”? Sorry to mention theology in this post, but I needed to use that example to prove a point.

With all these rampant remakes, clones, and frauds going on, it’s really tough for me to cling on to a bunch of media. It’s no wonder I try to make my own stories, music, blogs, and other things. Does me appreciating the innovative make me pretentious? Do I see others as peons for only liking whatever the mainstream spoon-feeds them? I hope it’s not the case for the former, and I certainly don’t want to think that way about the latter.

The image of Claw is from The New Adventures of Kimba the White Lion and is property of Tezuka Productions.

Proving My Humanity

This is just a personal post that I felt a bit compelled to write.

I’ve been talking about some harsh subjects with some friends and some fellow bloggers especially when it came to race. No, the fact that this is Black History Month was entirely irrelevant although one could argue with it being unintentional subtext.

Some of you that have read some of my previous posts may have seen me mention about reading some historical subjects especially when it comes to Black and Native American history. It was shocking with all the things I’ve read about that were well-researched and it frustrates me how a lot of this stuff isn’t talked about in history books. Race relations and multiculturalism are subjects that’s been in my heart for a while.

It has showed up in so many of my blogs. For example, I got video of a biracial poet who talked about growing up as a minority on Autumn Peal Media and Vimeo. In Iridium Eye, I’ve reviewed multiple documentaries dealing with that subject and I’ve reviewed movies that have anti-racist metaphors. With my fiction projects that I’ve publicly shown and the ones I haven’t revealed yet. I enjoy using protagonists of all ethnic groups in several stories because I like diverse casts, writing characters that break stereotypes, and I would love it if some reader says “This is awesome! This hero is well-written and looks like me!”. If that happens, I’ve done my job. Well, that and not making race the main crux of a plot. People should write characters of a certain ethnic group and not an ethnic character. There’s a huge difference.

I had a conversation with a friend where I opened up some of my feelings of having self-hatred. I’ve been bullied during my younger years and part of it was because of some racial stuff later on in life. Whenever I call them out, they get so defensive and are full of denial. Every day (even today), I’ve felt like I had to prove my humanity to show that I’m just as competent as most people. More often than not, I had to work multiple jobs and study harder than anyone else to show that I’m a human worthy of respect and dignity. It does give me hope that my friends see me as someone worthy and they were able to listen to me.

Granted, I’m far from perfect and I’ve certainly stumbled. I have been slowly beginning to love myself even though it’s been a gradual process. Blogging in all of my pages has given me more confidence and a chance to show my knowledge in multiple subjects.

Sorry for rambling, everyone. Thanks for reading this.

Ospreyshire Origins: Servile Fear/Theophobia

Here’s something new that I’m going to do for this blog. I’m going to call this type of post Ospreyshire Origins. These posts will be about inspirations for certain songs or general things about the Ospreyshire project. For my first post of this nature, I’m going to talk about the second song from my debut EP called Servile Fear/Theophobia.

It’s really two short poems I made, but their themes clicked so well.

The servile fear portion deals with my fear which can even be borderline paranoid where I feel like no matter what I do, it’s a sin in some way. The times where I did the right thing doesn’t get acknowledged, but whenever I screw up, I feel like I’ve become the devil incarnate with others yelling at me for my shortcomings. I’ve never seen others get the same treatment as I, but I may have sounded solipsistic in saying so which I do apologize.

The Theophobia portion is literally how I’ve viewed God over the years. Theophobia literally means an irrational fear of God. Yes, I’m going to be talking about some religious/spiritual elements which could turn off some readers, but this plays a big role in this track. I’ve heard both sides of Christians viewing God as this loving deity which I try to believe, but I’ve also seen other believers criticizing and judging me for what I do. I’ve wondered which “God” is truly real: the loving one or the judgmental one? This logic has led others to go to different religions or even become atheists in the process. Can’t say I blame them for their decisions if they’ve been burned by Christians or any other practitioners of other religions who’ve bullied them.

-Curtis