Manga: Kimba the White Lion
Kimba the White Lion
is a 1965 television series based on Osamu Tezuka
's manga "Jungle Taitei" (1950-1954), directed by Tezuka himself. The series follows a white lion named Kimba (Leo in the Japanese version) who, due to the death of his father, is forced to become the King of the Jungle. With the help of an old baboon who once advised his father
and a comically mismatched pair of buddies
, he must reclaim his kingdom from a black-maned, scarred lion who has usurped the throne in his absence
.Remind you of anything?
However, for all the comparisons between The Lion King
and this show, Kimba's story doesn't only consist of reclaiming the throne, but rather focuses on the aftermath as he tries to reassert his authority across the jungle, and create a new paradise where every animal has rights and prove that even animals can overcome the laws of nature
In some versions of the story, this really
doesn't end well. However, due to the fact that this particular series was a collaboration between Tezuka's Mushi Productions
studio and NBC
, it remains on the more upbeat side of the scale
As an additional note, this was the first Japanese animated television series produced in color.
Jungle Emperor (2009) TV Special Provides Examples of:
- A Boy And His Lion: Kenichi meets Leo and, despite some misgivings on Leo's part to begin with, they strike up a firm friendship.
- Alternate Universe: This version of the story takes place in the future, wherein mankind has screwed nature up so much they have to create an artificial environment for the animals to live in.
- Bittersweet Ending: The Neo-Jungle is destroyed, the animals are left in the hands... er, paws... of a literal scaredy-cat emperor, and the real jungle has been blasted into all oblivion. At the same time, they now have a way to communicate with humans, a cure for the rampant plague that would have killed them, and a new-found drive and determination. We just never get to see what happens.
- Cloning Blues: Toto. To the point where he's blinded by rage for all of humanity.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Oyama. Sort of. Money isn't his objective so much as godhood
- Didn't See That Coming: Goda is taken down by a brightly colored finch...Well, that and his electric prod, and a conveniently placed pool of water.
- Gender Flip: Coco is now female...for some reason.
- Interspecies Romance: One sided anyway. The now female Coco has a fairly obvious crush on Leo. 'Course she'll deny it if you bring it up.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Applies to the monkeys. Sure, they pick on both Leo and Kenichi, but at the end of the day are more then willing to follow their emperor. And fight The Dragon and provide a bridge for Leo nearly sacrificing their lives.
- Mythology Gag: At one point, Kenichi sees a flock of birds, very VERY similar to the original Jungle Emperor opening.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: "Launch the carnivorous locusts!"
- Papa Wolf: Panja of course, who won't let anyone so much as lay a paw on his cub. Even extends to Oyama who will gladly lay aside his ambitions for Kenichi's safety.
- Scenery Porn: The Neo-Jungle may be manufactured, but dang it's pretty.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: All over the dang place. At first, things seem much happier than the original series due to the simple fact Leo's parents are still alive... Then we learn that without going through the ordeal of losing both his parents, he's not the same lion. Mankind has recreated the jungle willing to spare no expense. Oh, it's being used as an experiment to try and manufacture "perfect" animals. Things then go into total despair towards the end, when no one wants to fight the humans, because they can do whatever they want without consequence... until Leo decides he has enough and leads the animals on a all or nothing assault on Eternal Earth. And wins.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: Leo gets one towards the end. While the other animals think opposing the humans will be utterly useless, he decides he's had enough of being a crybaby.
Leo: My father was strong right? He was a real Jungle Emperor, right? But I'm different from Father. I'm small, weak, I'm afraid of heights, I'm really just a cowardly lion. But... Father said I was strong. That's why... That's why, I'm going!