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Trivia / Kimba the White Lion

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  • Adaptation First: While all three TV series have been at least partially dubbed into English (the first one twice), Osamu Tezuka's Jungle Emperor manga has never been officially translated beyond a bilingual edition of the first volume available via Amazon Japan.
  • Bad Export for You / Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Interestingly, the English releases of the Kimba TV series do not seem so up to par with other dubs, particularly the Italian and German ones.
    • The 1965 series had the cheap 1993 Canadian redub done, but even in the original dub, there were several cuts done by the Americans which are not present in other dubs such as the Spanish dub (done around the same time as the English dub), and the German/Italian dub (done in the late 70s, basically straight dubs from the original Japanese with no cuts). The 1966 Leo the Lion series suffered from a poor English dub released nearly two decades later, while German and Italian dubs are fairly up to par with the 1965 series.
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    • The 1989 show only had 13 episodes dubbed to English (and it skipped episodes 2 and 3) while in other regions (again, Germany and Italy) the show was fully dubbed with no cuts.
    • Germany has pretty much all animated Kimba content available on DVD plus the original series on Blu-Ray. America only has the original series on DVD and the 1997 film available.
  • Colbert Bump: made a two-hour-long video debunking the claim that Disney must have ripped off Kimba, going into detail with the show, and explaining the differences. A lot of people ended up wanting to watch the show for themselves when realizing that Kimba wasn't simply an earlier Lion King.
    • The "wa wa wa" song in one of the episodes became a small internet meme after played it in one of his editing streams.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Two female voice actors supply the voices for nearly every young character, including the manliest, Kimba himself.
  • Executive Meddling: Tezuka wanted to make an epic series exploring the meaning of family and sacrifice. NBC wanted a kid's show. Ironically, this may actually have been a good thing as the compromise they worked out made the story much less depressing and one of the most popular incarnations.
    • NBC asked that the series be cut from Tezuka's planned 78 episodes to 52, at the insistence of local NBC affiliates who demanded an easy number for programming purposes (one episode every Saturday for a full year). Tezuka agreed. NBC further required that, instead of Kimba maturing over the course of the series as Tezuka wanted, he stay a cub for the entire run and the show have Negative Continuity – this was also an order from local stations in the US, who didn't want to have to show episodes in order (and in fact, they didn't). Tezuka agreed, but then promptly had his animators do whatever they could to subtly undermine NBC's dictates.
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    • In the original Japanese version of the 1989 series, Claw sounds like any run-of-the-mill villain; in the dub released in 1998, he instead sounds like someone doing a Jeremy Irons impression.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Operative until the late 90s. NBC's license for the original series lapsed in 1978, shortly after Tezuka's Mushi Pro studio went under. So for nearly two decades, the only way to see any of the series was through very early awful-quality VHS tapes, and even then it was just a handful of the 52 episodes produced. The rights to this series – along with the rest of Mushi's properites – were tied up in court for pretty much the entirety of the 80s. Through what can best be described as pure luck, Right Stuf – which already had the rights to Astro Boy – managed to license this series and release it in its entirety.
    • This still applies to everything else Kimba-related, though. The movie was an exception, but has since gone out of print due to its distributor falling on hard times and letting the license expire.
  • Money, Dear Boy: This explains why Osamu Tezuka agreed to so many of NBC's Animation Age Ghetto demands. Astro Boy was a big hit in the US and NBC wanted Tezuka to make them another show, this time in color. However, Japan hadn't made the switchover to color broadcasts yet. Mushi Pro wasn't equipped to produce anything in color and didn't have the resources to convert the studio, so NBC said they would pay to convert Mushi to color production, so long as they had say over Kimba. This was the result.
  • No Export for You: The original manga has yet to see a English-language release; the unfortunate representation of African Natives in this series – and Tezuka's drawings of coloured people in general – seems to be a significant barrier for publishers.
  • The Other Darrin: There was a re-cut and re-dub of the original Kimba the White Lion in the early 90s, with an unknown VA, Yvonne Murray, playing the role of Kimba. This version isn't as popular as the original Billie Lou Watt dub.
  • Science Marches On: The character of Dan'l Baboon is a mandrill that is referred to as a baboon. Today, the mandrill is classified under the Mandrillus genus rather than the Papio genus.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers According to Julian Grant, the head of the Fant-Asia film festival, the Disney company filed a cease-and-desist to try to keep the 1997 film out of a film festival.
  • What Could Have Been: When it came to giving Leo a Dub Name Change "Simba", the Swahili word for "Lion", was suggested, until the legal team stated they would not be able to market an everyday word.


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