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Was Disney’s The Lion King inspired by Manga?

Post By: Zorez Shahzad

Meet Osamu Tezuka, the world’s most influential manga artist.

Osamu Tezuka is hailed around the world as the “father of manga”. He’s the pioneer responsible for the widespread fame of anime and manga today.

Next to Hayao Miyazaki, Osamu Tezuka is also referred to as the “Walt Disney of Japan.” Tezuka is the mind behind classics like Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion and Dororo.

Before we talk more about how his work may have influenced the Lion King, let us take a look at what made him the legend he is today.

Osamu Tezuka

Osamu Tezuka

Osamu Tezuka was born on the 3rd of November, 1928. As a child, he would draw so much that his mother had to erase pages from his notebooks – she couldn’t afford new ones. While in high school, Osamu was drafted to work in a factory during WWII. Even then, he kept working on his manga. Later in life, Osamu started studying medicine and also published his first professional work. Osamu’s first widespread success came because of his world-renowned manga, Astro Boy. He went on to create a lot of other brilliant titles which are still remembered to this day.

Inspiration from Disney:

Osamu Tezuka first discovered Disney as a small boy. He fell in love with the art and animation. In fact, it’s said that Osamu was so fascinated by the movie Bambi, he re-watched it about 80 times. Disney became the main reason this man started to adore the art of drawing in the first place.

Osamu Tezuka is the man responsible for the art-style used in today’s anime/manga!

The art style that Osamu came up with for his manga is still being used in today’s modern manga. And we’re going to show you how.

Let’s take a look at some of Osamu Tezuka’s greatest works. Osamu has created about 700 manga titles in his entire life, many of which also were adapted into an anime. Here they are…

Astro Boy:

Astro Boy appealed to young boys all over the world, and it was Osamu’s first widespread success. This manga showed us a futuristic Japan, filled with robots. One such robot is Tobio, who is given the responsibility of protecting the world from evil. This manga shows the potential for robots to have human-like emotions. Astro Boy has also gotten itself many anime adaptions, and it is still remembered as a classic.

Kimba the White Lion:

We’ve talked about how Osamu drew inspiration from Disney. Now, let us talk about how Disney drew inspiration from Osamu’s work. Disney’s movie “The Lion King” is oddly similar to Osamu’s manga “Kimba the White Lion”. Fans of Osamu’s work accused Disney of copying the legend’s work, but Disney denied all claims, calling theirs an original. It’s hard to belive Disney did not at least draw inspiration from Osamu’s work. Just at the main characters’ names, “Kimba” and “Simba.”

But it doesn’t stop there…

Kimba the White Lion follows the story of a young lion cub known as Leo who is left to live alone in the harshness of this world as his father gets killed and his mother captured. What do you think?

Here’s one more masterpiece by Osamu Tezuka.

Dororo:

Dororo is one of the most famous works from Osamu Tezuka. This manga is so popular that it got itself a new anime adaption quite recently, in 2019. Dororo has a very unique story which revolves around a boy named Hyakimaru and his companion Dororo. As a kid, Hyakimaru’s father sacrificed his newborn son’s organs in exchange for dominance in the battlefield. Miraculously, the little baby survives as he is found by a medical man who equips him with prosthetics. Hyakimaru must now fight against the demons to reclaim his organs.

Why I Love Osamu Tezuka

I personally admire Osamu Tezuka for a number of reasons:

  1. Osamu Tezuka was born in a very harsh world, into a world war. But this man never lost hope and always kept drawing.
  2. I love the consistency in Osamu’s work. Osamu Tezuka never stopped writing amazing manga and always kept delivering.
  3. Osamu Tezuka’s work is always unique and original. He never copies anyone else and always comes up with the most brilliant concepts.

What do you think? Do you think Disney may have had a few inspirations from Osamu Tezuka?

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