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8 Classic Characters That Were Copied (Cough, Allegedly) From Someone Else

By Tiffany White

Thanks to the Internet, accusations of theft don't just get swept under the rug anymore. It's true that most ideas come from somewhere or were inspired by something, but we don't typically expect iconic characters to be blatantly copied from other source material. As our grade school English teachers taught us, plagiarism is bad, and copying and pasting paragraphs from Wikipedia is a surefire way to flunk the class. 

So, why do screenwriters, animators, and directors think they can get away with it? Although the line between "homage" and "stealing" is always going to be blurry, these examples are just too obvious to ignore. 

1. Simba from 'The Lion King' vs. Kimba from 'Kimba the White Lion'

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Source: Disney, NBC

One of Disney's first original animated movies isn't quite so original after all. We all know the story of The Lion King. In it, Simba, a cub and heir to the throne, loses his father and must overthrow his evil uncle to obtain his rightful position as king of the jungle. In Kimba the White Lion, an anime from the '60s that only your parents probably remember, a cub named Kimba loses his father, talks to his dead mother in the clouds, and also learns how to be king of the jungle. Hmm, sounds awfully familiar. Even the names are kind of a dead giveaway.

Although Disney said they had no knowledge of Kimba and insisted that The Lion King was actually inspired by Bambi and Hamlet, animator Tom Sito revealed at least some Disney animators were aware of Kimba. "One of the animators found a manga comic book of Kimba’s with a setup that kind of looked like Pride Rock, and I remember he was like showing it to us, and I was like, ‘Wow, that is really close to ours, yeah,'" he told HuffPost. "But I think it was never more than an amusing coincidence."