Kimba the White Lion

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Kimba the White Lion
Artwork created for the recent Kimba Ultra Edition DVD set.
(Janguru Taitei)
Genre Coming of age, Adventure, Drama
Written by Osamu Tezuka
Published by Gakudosha
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Manga Shōnen
Original run November 1950April 1954
Volumes 3
Anime television series
Directed by Eiichi Yamamoto
Music by Isao Tomita
Toriro Miki (Theme Song Composition)
Studio Mushi Production
Network Fuji TV (1965–1966)
Tokyo MX
Cartoon Network (2009)
Original run October 6, 1965September 28, 1966
Episodes 52
Anime film
Directed by Eiichi Yamamoto
Studio Mushi Production
Released July 31, 1966
Runtime 75 minutes
Anime television series
New Jungle Emperor: Go Ahead Leo!
Directed by Shingo Araki
Produced by Eiichi Yamamoto
Music by Isao Tomita
Studio Mushi Productions
Network Fuji TV
English network
Original run October 5, 1966March 29, 1967
Episodes 26
Anime television series
The New Adventures of Kimba The White Lion
Directed by Takashi Ui
Produced by Takashi Yui
Written by Takashi Yui
Music by Tomoyuki Asakawa
Studio Tezuka Productions
Licensed by
Network TV Tokyo (1989–1990)
Original run October 12, 1989October 11, 1990
Episodes 52
Original video animation
Released 1991
Anime film
Jungle Emperor Leo
Directed by Yoshio Takeuchi
Produced by Minoru Kubota
Sumio Udagawa
Chiharu Akiba
Written by Yoshio Takeuchi
Music by Isao Tomita
Studio Mushi Production
Licensed by
Released August 1, 1997
Runtime 100 minutes
Anime television film
Jungle Taitei – Yūki ga Mirai wo Kaeru
Directed by Gorō Taniguchi
Written by Osamu Suzuki
Studio Tezuka Productions
Network Fuji TV
Released September 5, 2009
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Jungle Emperor (ジャングル大帝 Janguru Taitei?) is a Japanese shōnen manga series created by Osamu Tezuka which was serialized in the Manga Shōnen magazine from November 1950 to April 1954. An anime based on the manga was created by Mushi Production and was broadcast on Fuji Television from 1965 to 1966. It was the first color animated television series created in Japan.[1] The later series was produced by Tezuka Productions.[2][3][4]

The anime series has enjoyed popularity worldwide—including in the United States, Australia, Europe (where it has been translated into several languages such as French, Italian, Catalan, Spanish, German, Dutch etc.) and the Middle East.

A new TV special premiered September 5, 2009 on Fuji TV. Produced in commemoration of Fuji TV's 50th anniversary, it was directed by Gorō Taniguchi, written by noted novelist and drama writer Osamu Suzuki, and featuring character designs from noted illustrator Yoshitaka Amano.


In Africa during the mid-20th century, as mankind encroaches, the white lion Panja (Caesar in the English dub) gives the jungle's wild animals a safe haven. However, he angers nearby villagers by stealing their cattle and their food to feed the jungle carnivores. (In the English dub he merely frees the cattle.) A professional hunter, Ham Egg (Viper Snakely in the English dub), is called in to stop these raids. He avoids directly attacking Panja. Instead, he records the sounds of Panja and uses them to trap his mate, Eliza, who then becomes bait in a trap for Panja. Panja is killed for his hide, and the pregnant Eliza is put on a ship, destined for a zoo. Leo (Kimba in the English dub) is born on the boat. Eliza teaches him his father's ideals. As a huge tropical storm nears, she urges her cub out through the bars of her cage. The storm wrecks the boat, and he flounders in the ocean. The fish help him learn to swim. As he begins to despair, the stars in the sky form the face of his mother, who encourages him. Guided by butterflies, he makes it to land. Leo lands far from his ancestral home and is found and cared for by some people. He learns the advantages of human culture, and decides that when he returns to his wild home he will bring culture to the jungle and stand for peace like his father. The show follows Leo's life after he returns to the wild, still a young cub, and how he learns and grows in the next year. Leo soon learns that only communication and mutual understanding between animals and humans will bring true peace.


Leo (レオ Reo?) / Kimba
Voiced by (Japanese): Yoshiko Ota (1965 anime), Takashi Toyama (Go Ahead Leo!), Megumi Hayashibara (1989 anime, kid), Shinnosuke Furumoto (1989 anime, adult), Masane Tsukayama (1997 movie), Taeko Kawada (2009 special)
Voiced by (English): Billie Lou Watt (1965 anime), Enzo Caputo (Go Ahead Leo!), Yvonne Murray (1965 anime redub), Brad Swaile (1989 anime), Dan Green (1997 movie)
The protagonist of the story who, in the original manga, is followed from birth to death. He believes that there would be peace between animals and humans if each understood the other. In the 1997 movie, the lion leads Dr. Moustache and his assistant to Mt. Moon, and he sacrifices himself by falling on Dr. Moustache's kris so that Dr. Moustache will have food and shelter from the cold.
Panja (パンジャ Panja?) / Caesar
Voiced by (Japanese): Asao Koike (1965 amime), Isao Sasaki (1989 anime), Saburō Tokitō (2009 special)
Voiced by (English): Ray Owens (1965 anime)
A white Masai Lion, Leo's father, and Emperor of the Jungle. He is killed by Ham Egg while trying to rescue his wife and queen. His skin is in his son Leo's lair and under his care. Leo uses his hide as an attraction for a festival in episode 24. He was Specklerex's rival. He appears in certain episodes in flashbacks.
Eliza (エライザ Eraiza?) / Snowene
Voiced by (Japanese): Noriko Shindo (1965 anime)
Voiced by (English): Billie Lou Watt (1965 anime)
Leo's mother, used as bait by Ham Egg and Kutter. While on the ship, she gives birth to Leo and urges him to escape due to the tropical storm; she is then drowned.
Leona (リョーナ Ryōna?)
Voiced by (Japanese): Sumi Shimamoto (1989 anime)
Leo's older sister. In the 1989 remake, she was Leo's aunt and something of a foster mother to Lyre.
Lyre (ライヤ Raiya?) / Kitty
Voiced by (Japanese): Keiko Matsuo (1965 anime), Haruko Kitahama (Go Ahead Leo!), Sakiko Tamagawa (1989 anime), Chieko Baisho (1997 movie)
Voiced by (English): Sonia Owens (1965 anime), Kelly Sheridan (1989 anime), Veronica Taylor (1997 movie)
A lioness who would later be Leo's mate and bear him a son and daughter. She is the niece of the old marozi (spotted lion) Specklerex and lives with him after her parents are slain by hunters. She notices things that Leo sometimes overlooks. She is always there when Leo needs advice, a "better nature" to calm him down in anger, a shoulder to cry on, or a warrior at his side. In the movie, Lyre falls victim to the speckled fever and slowly dies.
Lune (ルネ Rune?)
Voiced by (Japanese): Kyoko Satomi (Go Ahead Leo!), Mifuyu Hiragi (1997 movie)
Voiced by (English): Jose Alvarez (Go Ahead Leo!), Tara Sands (1997 movie)
Leo and Lyre's son. He resembles Leo when he was a cub.
Lukio (ルッキオ Rukkio?)
Voiced by (Japanese): Eiko Masuyama (Go Ahead Leo!), Hekiru Shiina (1997 movie)
Voiced by (English): Elizabeth Williams (1997 movie)
Leo and Lyre's daughter. She resembles Lyre when she was a cub.
Tommy (トミー Tomī?) / Bucky
Voiced by (Japanese): Hajime Akashi (1965 anime), Sukekiyo Kameyama (1989 anime), Naoki Tatsuta (1997 movie)
Voiced by (English): Ray Owens (1965 anime), Frank Fontaine (1965 anime), Michael Sinterniklaas (1997 movie)
A Grant's gazelle that always gets into mischief. He almost always seen wearing a straw hat, which Leo had used to appoint him Secretary of the Jungle Economy. He is known as "Tony" (トニー Tonī?) in the 1989 series.
Coco (ココ Koko?) / Pauly Parrot
Voiced by (Japanese): Kinto Tamura (1965 anime), Shigeru Chiba (1989 anime), Kaneta Kimotsuki (1997 movie)
Voiced by (English): Gilbert Mack (1965 anime), David Wills (1997 movie)
A green parrot who spent some time living with humans and believes that he should be put in charge of mentoring Leo.
Burazza (ブラッザー Burazzā?) / Dan'l Baboon
Voiced by (Japanese): Hisashi Katsuta (1965 anime), Kei Tani (1997 movie)
Voiced by (English): Ray Owens (1965 anime), Kayzie Rogers (1997 movie)
A wise old mandrill, Leo's mentor. His name was changed to "Mandy" (マンディ Mandi?) for the original anime series, but changed back in the 1997 movie.
Bongo (ボンゴ Bongo?) / Speedy Cheetah
One of Leo's cubhood friends (a leopard cub in the original Japanese version).
Keruru (ケルル Keruru?)
Voiced by (Japanese): Mayumi Tanaka (1989 anime)
Amuji (アムジ Amuji?)
Voiced by (Japanese): Yō Inoue
Pagura (パグラ Pagura?) / Kelly Phunt
Voiced by (Japanese): Masatō Ibu (1997 movie)
Voiced by (English): David Brimmer (1997 movie)
A stubborn African bush elephant who never trusts humans or human culture.
Bubu (ブブ Bubu?) / Claw
Voiced by (Japanese): Tesshō Genda
The main antagonist, this one-eyed Barbary lion with a jagged scar on his face wants Leo and his family dead so that he may take the role of Jungle Emperor for himself. Bubu tries to capture Lyre so that she would become his queen and shows affection toward her. This romantic interest was not in the 1989 remake.
Toto (トット Totto?) / Cassius / Sylvester
Voiced by (Japanese): Seizō Katō (1965 anime), Ryusei Nakao (1989 anime)
Voiced by (English): Ray Owens (1965 anime)
A black panther working with Bubu to dethrone Leo and the white lions. He often acts as Bubu's advisor.
Dick (ディック Dikku?) / Tom
Voiced by (Japanese): Kazuo Kumakura (1965 anime)
Voiced by (English):
A tall, lanky hyena, almost always seen with his confederate Bo, who works with Bubu and Sylvester in their fiendish plans. He was created for the TV series to provide comic relief.
Bo (ボウ ?) / Tab
Voiced by (Japanese): Kiyoshi Kawakubo (1965 anime)
Voiced by (English):
A short, squat hyena, almost always seen with Dick, who works with Bubu and Sylvester. Along with Tom, he was created for the TV series to provide comic relief.
Kenichi (ケン一 Kenichi?) / Roger Ranger
Voiced by (Japanese): Nobuaki Sekine (1965 anime), Kappei Yamaguchi (1989 anime)
Voiced by (English): Hal Studer (1965 anime)
Shunsaku Ban's nephew who takes Leo in after he washes ashore. After a year living with Leo in human civilization, he decides to go to the jungle with Leo and live with him and the other animals. He teaches the animals how to speak to humans. In the 2009 movie, he is one of the main heroes and helps Leo return all the animals back to the "real" Jungle from the human created preserve called "Neo-Earth."
Mary (メリー Merī?)
Voiced by (Japanese): Yoshiko Yamamoto (1965 anime), Tomoko Nakajima (1997 movie)
Voiced by (English): Stephanie Sheh (1997 movie)
A young girl who was in love with Kenichi, but who then lost her memory for a while. During this time, she was the animal hunter Tonga. She regained her memory and left the jungle with Roger and Mr. Pompous. In the movie, Mary was the circus girl who lost her parents and takes good care of Rune, Leo's son.
Dr. Mustache (ヒゲオヤジ Higeoyaji?) / Mr. Pompous
Voiced by (Japanese): Junji Chiba (Go Ahead Leo!), Mahito Tsujimura (1989 anime), Kōsei Tomita (1997 movie)
Voiced by (English): Gilbert Mack (Go Ahead Leo!), Mike Pollock (1997 movie)
Kenichi's uncle who helps take care of Leo on the Arabian peninsula. He then helps return Leo to the jungle and is one of the first to discover Mt. Moon. He often tries to get his nephew Kenichi to return to human civilization. Dr. Moustache has appeared in many of Tezuka's works as a detective under his real name of "Shunsaku Ban." In the movie, he saves Lukyo, Bizo, and other animals from the dreaded speckled fever (a.k.a. the great plague).
Lamp (ランプ Ranpu?)
Voiced by (Japanese): Rokuro Naya (1989 anime)
Ronmel (ロンメル Ronmeru?)
Voiced by (Japanese): Tooru Oohira (1965 anime), Tōru Ōhira (1989 anime)
Ramune (ラムネ Ramune?)
Voiced by (Japanese): Yasunori Matsumoto
Voiced by (English): Jamie McGonnigal
Bizo (ビゾー Bizō?)
Voiced by (Japanese): Ranran Suzuki (1997 movie)
Voiced by (English): Michelle Newman (1997 movie)
Plus (プラス Purasu?)
Voiced by (Japanese): Gorō Naya (Go Ahead Leo!), Yasuo Muramatsu (1997 movie)
Voiced by (English): Lex Woutas (1997 movie)
A head of the Science and Technology Agency who will to pay Ham Egg for leading them to the source of the Moon Stones. He has also gathered information on Ham Egg's activities and will blackmail him if necessary.
Minus (マイナス Mainasu?)
Voiced by (Japanese): Kōzō Shioya (1997 movie)
Voiced by (English): Zachary Alexander (1997 movie)
A member of the Science and Technology Agency who hopes to use the Moon Stone to provide a clean and potent energy source for the planet. His assistant is Mr. Lemonade.
Ham Egg (ハム・エッグ Hamu Eggu?) / Viper Snakely / Jake
Voiced by (Japanese): Kei Tomiyama (1989 anime), Danshi Tatekawa (1997 movie)
Voiced by (English): Gilbert Mack (1965 anime), Ted Lewis (1997 movie)
A poacher who will do anything for money. He causes most of the death in Leo's jungle. He wants the Moon Stone so he might make a fortune from it. Ham Egg has appeared as a villain in many of Tezuka's works.
Kutter (クッター Kuttā?) / Tubby
Voiced by (Japanese): Seizo Kato, Hiroshi Masuoka (1989 anime)
A sidekick to Ham Egg who has reservations about what the two of them are doing.
An old marozi (spotted lion) and Lyre's uncle, he lives in the mountains with a small pride of his own. He misjudges Leo, for the cub's father Panja was his rival. He went insane, causing havoc in a city. Because of his age, his mane is almost pale blonde.
Makoba / Silvertail the Renegade
A timid masai lion who was rumored to be stealing village livestock. He is often afraid of hunters who would kill him because of this rumor. He is an old lion like Specklerex, though he is two years younger and lacks the leopard rosettes. He only appears in the last episode.
Conga (コンガ Konga?)
Voiced by (Japanese): Masako Katsuki
A Maltese python who once lived and ruled among humans. He is a warlock, able to use magic to control other animals. He flees due to the offensive stench from the timid reeking bird named Rancid. He and Rancid only appear in episode 17.
Gargoyle T. Warthog
A warthog who is the laughing stock of every other animal except Leo. He hates his primitive warts and wants to kill himself, but is prevented from doing so by Wildey. He attacks a gang of vicious mandrills in a small woodplain north of Leo's Jungle and wins the medal that belonged to a champion. His mother, Ms. Warthog, only appears in episode 18, but he appears as a background character in later episodes.
An African Scops owl, an old alchemist who lives in Descelation Grotto. She had been Sylvester's friend, but she could do no more potions until she gave Leo a potion that changed his color from snow-white to lavender, knocking him into a coma. She afterwards saves his life and attends the festival with the skin of Panja as the main attraction. She only appears in episode 24.
Pop Wooly
An Iberian ibex who leads a herd of his own. He is old but he can still run. He once falls victim to the speckled fever, but Leo, with help from Panja, saves his life. Pop Wooly and his herd only appear in episode 22.
An iguana/chameleon hybrid who wants to have friends. Because of his insanity, he always tells stories about problems, like Kitty's encounters with Claw. His alarms also save everyone's lives from a pack of African wild dogs. He only appears in episode 27.
a serval who lost his mother to hunters. He is also accused of stealing and abuse. When he understands Leo's words "united we stand, divided we fall", he joins with the lion to fight hunters. He appears in episode 28 and as a background character in a few other episodes.
Fancy Prancy
A female cheetah with a Southern accent who had lived in the city until she is sent home by her owner and rejoins her brother, Dash. She worries that Dash will get slaughtered when an impala tells Kimba that the jungle was raided by over a million ants. She only appears in one episode, but her brother appears in other episodes.
A flying Bengal tiger who was created by a crazy scientist. He was once a feared animal but turns good and returns to the jungles of India with his master. He only appeared in the episode Flying Tiger.
A South African fur seal that Leo accompanies on his travels to see the world. Boss Rhino refers to him as a "Toadstool" and he only appears in episode 50.
Voiced by (Japanese): Gorō Naya (1965 anime)
Voiced by (Japanese): Kazuyuki Sogabe (1965 anime)
Dodie Deer, Gypsy, Harvey Hedgehog
Voiced by (English): Billie Lou Watt (1965 anime, 1966 dub)
Coco, Mr. Pompous, Viper Snakely, Gargoyle T. Warthog, Claw, Tab
Voiced by (English): Gilbert Mack (1965 anime, 1966 dub)
Narrator, Tom, Stork, and Specklerex
Voiced by (English): Ray Owens (1965 anime, 1966 dub)
Mary, Mammoth, Bella Donna
Voiced by (English): Sonia Owens (1965 anime, 1966 dub)
Kelly Phunt
Voiced by (English): Billy Bletcher (1965 anime, 1966 dub)
Boss Rhino
Voiced by (English): Jackson Beck (1965 anime, 1966 dub)

A 1993 English dub made in Canada included the following voice actors: Steve Thamer, Jackie Pardy, Allen Kosonic (narrator, additional voices, dubbing co-director, foley artist[5]), Don Neilson, Steve Thamer, Robin Jordan and Peter Dufferin.



In 1950 the original Jungle Emperor story started in Manga Shōnen (Comic Boy) magazine. Image from the Jungle Emperor manga appears on shirts made by Lacoste in cooperation with Tezuka Productions for their "Lacoste Live" capsule collection "Tezuka Collection", edition Fall/Winter 2013/2014[6]


1965 series[edit]

Image of Kimba (Leo) from the anime, Kimba the White Lion

The animated series was first broadcast in Japan on Fuji Television from October 6, 1965 to September 28, 1966.[7] It was the first color TV anime series.

Other than the original broadcast in Japan in 1965, the series has been broadcast in many countries around the world.

In Asia, it was broadcast in Indonesia on antv and SCTV (1995–96); in Iran on Channel 1; in the Philippines on ABC5; in Saudi Arabia on Saudi TV and in Sri Lanka on ART TV.

In Europe, in was broadcast in Bosnia and Herzegovina on RTVUSK; in Croatia on ATV Split/TV Jadran, Nezavisna televizija (NeT), TV Nova Pula and Gradska TV Zadar; in France on ORTF (1972) and on TF1; in Italy on Italia 1 (in 1999 and 2003 with the title Una giungla di avventure per Kimba [literally "a jungle of adventures for Kimba"]) and Boing (2010) and in Spain on TV3.

In North America, it was broadcast in Canada on Knowledge; in Mexico on Boomerang. It was broadcast, with English-dubbed voices, in the United States and other English-speaking markets, beginning in September 1966. It was first commissioned for U.S. development by NBC Enterprises, and adapted by Fred Ladd, for syndicated broadcast.[8] In 2005 the original 1966 dub of Kimba the White Lion was released as an 11-disc DVD set by Madman Anime of Australia and Right Stuf International of the U.S. It was a best seller. The series was re-dubbed into English in 1993, featuring the voice of Yvonne Murray as Kimba and having a new opening, with an all new soundtrack composed by Paul J. Zaza. In 2012 Bayview Entertainment/Widowmaker releases "Kimba the White Lion: The Complete Series" 10 DVD box set of the original 1966 series.[9] It was broadcast several times in the United States: on NBC (1966–67, re-runs until 1978; Billie Lou Watt dub), on syndication (1993; Yvonne Murray dub), on Vault Disney (1997–2000), on Kids & Teens TV (1993 re-runs; 2005–2009) and on Inspiration Life TV (1993 re-runs; 2005–2009).

In Oceania, it was broadcast in Australia on ABC, 31 Brisbane and Access 31.

Title in other languages[edit]
  • Arabicكيمبا الأسد الأبيض – lit. Kimba the White Lion
  • BulgarianКимба, бялото лъвче – lit. Kimba, the White Lion Cub
  • CatalanKimba, el Lleó Blanc – lit. Kimba, the White Lion
  • CroatianKimba bijeli lavić – lit. Kimba the White Lion Cub
  • Chinese – 森林大帝Sēnlín Dàdì – lit. Jungle Emperor
  • DutchKimba, De Witte Leeuw – lit. Kimba, the White Lion
  • PortugueseKimba, o Leão Branco – lit. Kimba, the White Lion
  • Finnish languageViidakon valtias – lit. The Ruler of the Jungle
  • French – Le Roi Léo – lit. The King Lion
  • German – Kimba der weiße Löwe – lit. Kimba, the White Lion
  • Hebrewקימבה האריה הלבן – lit. Kimba the White Lion
  • HungarianKimba, a fehér oroszlán – lit. Kimba, the White Lion
  • IndonesianKimba Singa Putih – lit. Kimba the White Lion
  • Italian – Kimba, il Leone Bianco – lit. Kimba, the White Lion
  • Korean밀림의 왕자 레오 – lit. Jungle Prince Leo
  • NorwegianKimba, den Hvite Løve – lit. Kimba, the White Lion
  • Persianکیمبا، شیر سفید – lit. Kimba, the White Lion
  • PolishKimba Biały Lew – lit. Kimba, the White Lion
  • RomanianKimba, leul alb – lit. Kimba, the White Lion
  • Russian – Император джунглейImperator Dzhunglyeĭ – lit. Emperor of the Jungle
  • SerbianЛео, бели лав/Leo, beli lav – lit. Leo, the White Lion
  • SloveneKimba beli levček – lit. Kimba the White Lion Cub
  • Spanish – El Emperador de la Selva – lit. The Emperor of the Jungle
  • Spanish – Kimba, el León Blanco – lit. Kimba, the White Lion

1966 film[edit]

The theatrical version of Jungle Emperor, directed by Eiichi Yamamoto, was released in Japan on July 31, 1966.[10]

1966 series[edit]

Main article: Leo the Lion (anime)

A sequel series, Jungle Taitei: Susume Leo! (Jungle Emperor: Onward, Leo!) first aired in Japan on Fuji Television from October 5, 1966 to March 29, 1967,[11] featuring Leo (Kimba) as an adult. It aired in the United States in 1984 as Leo the Lion on CBN Cable Network.

1989 series[edit]

In 1989 Dr. Osamu Tezuka died at age 60 on February 9. A remake of Jungle Emperor, The New Adventures of Kimba The White Lion was broadcast in Japan from October 12, 1989 to October 11, 1990.[12] This series bears little resemblance to the original manga or the first TV series, as the plot is extremely different and the characters have been completely reworked and changed. Several heavily edited episodes of the series were dubbed into English and released directly to video in 1998 under the name: The New Adventures of Kimba the White Lion, by Pioneer Family Entertainment. It features the voice of Brad Swaile as Kimba.

1991 OVA film[edit]

In 1991 an original video animation film is created,[13] using the Symphonic Poem for its audio.

1997 film[edit]

Main article: Jungle Emperor Leo

A new Jungle Taitei theatrical film, Jungle Emperor Leo, was released in Japan on August 1, 1997.[14] Directed by Hiro Takeuchi, it is based on the second half of Dr. Tezuka's original manga story. It is not entirely faithful however. It was dubbed into English and released on DVD in 2003 under the name "Jungle Emperor Leo", by Anime Works.

2009 television film[edit]

A television film, Jungle Taitei – Yūki ga Mirai wo Kaeru (ジャングル大帝 勇気が未来をかえる?), aired in Japan on September 5, 2009[15] with a completely new story, different from both the previous TV shows and the original manga. The setting was an artificially created jungle in 20XX Earth. In this movie, Panja and his mate, Eliza, are still alive; Coco is an unspecified female bird; and Sylvester, the black panther, serves as a secondary antagonist until he changes his ways when a young boy mends his leg.[16]

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song "a boy" by Leo Ieiri, whose animated part was made by Tezuka Productions, features an anime version of Leo (based on Kimba and modeled after the singer) which meets other characters from the Kimba the White Lion series[17]

Other media[edit]

Jungle Emperor characters have cameos in the GBA game Astro Boy: Omega Factor, as well as a chapter from the Black Jack manga and Naoki Urasawa's Pluto.

In the Fox TV series Fringe, Kimba had a cameo in one of the episodes.

Home media[edit]

On July 9, 2013 Bayview Entertainment/Widowmaker released a complete collection of the 1965 – 1966 series containing all 52 episodes as a region 1 release.


The series uses several themes. The 1966 Japanese version uses an opening theme and a closing theme. The opening is called "Jungle-Taitei" (ジャングル大帝 Janguru-Taitei?, "Jungle Emperor"). The end song is "Leo no Uta" (レオのうた Reo no Uta?, "Leo's Song"). For the Japanese remake, the opening song is "Savanna o Koete" (サバンナを越えて Sabanna wo Koete?, "Past the Savanna") sung by Ichiro Mizuki, and the ending is "Yūbae ni Nare" (夕映えになれ?) sung by Tomoko Tokugai. Its American theme was written and performed by Bernie Baum, Bill Giant and Florence Kaye. The opening song for the sequel series is "Go Ahead Onward Leo!" written by Isao Tomita and sung by Mieko Hirota. The US-American theme song known as "Leo the Lion" was written by Mark Boccaccio and Susan Brunet of Miami, Florida's SONIC-Sound International Corporation in 1984. Jungle Emperor Symphonic Poem (by Isao Tomita) was released on LP in 1966.

The Lion King controversy[edit]

Screenshot from an early presentation reel of The Lion King that shows a white lion cub and a butterfly.

As a number of media journalists and fans watched Disney's animated feature film The Lion King they noticed characters and events in the story resembled those of Kimba. Although The Lion King has a different screenplay, there are a number of strong artistic similarities, including scenes that appear to be copied from those in Kimba. One similarity is the protagonists' names: Kimba and Simba. Although the pronunciations of the two names are similar, the word simba means "lion" in Swahili.

With regard to the controversies, Disney stated that the similarities are all coincidental. Additionally the filmmakers have said the story of The Lion King was inspired by the Biblical stories of Moses and Joseph as well as William Shakespeare's Hamlet.[18][19]

Matthew Broderick has said that when he was hired as the voice of Simba in The Lion King, he presumed the project was related to Kimba the White Lion.[20][21][22][23] "I thought he meant Kimba, who was a white lion in a cartoon when I was a little kid," said Broderick. "So I kept telling everybody I was going to play Kimba. I didn't really know anything about it, but I didn't really care."[24]

Upon the release of The Lion King in Japan, multiple Japanese cartoonists signed a petition requesting that the Walt Disney Company acknowledge that The Lion King was based on characters and situations from Jungle Emperor Leo.[25]

The Tezuka-Disney connection extends back decades before the movie. Tezuka met Walt Disney at the 1964 New York World's Fair, and Disney said he hoped to "make something just like" Tezuka's Astro Boy.[26] Earlier, Tezuka had asked for and got the license to adapt Disney's Bambi into a manga for the Japanese audience which was published in 1951. More recently, Disney animators were hired to train Tezuka's crew in the use of color when production was started on the Jungle Emperor/Kimba the White Lion TV series.[citation needed] It was said that an animated film of Kimba the White Lion was planned but later scrapped.[citation needed]

The controversy has been referenced in a number of national newspapers in the United States, including a June 2007 Los Angeles Times article.[27] The controversy also surfaced in pop culture with the episode "'Round Springfield" of The Simpsons, doing a parody of Mufasa saying to Lisa Simpson, "You must avenge my death,, I mean Simba!". In the NBC TV series Life in the episode "Badge Bunny" there was a reference to Kimba and Simba: "You Must be Fluffy?" "Fluffy?" "What should I have named it Kimba?" "Kimba was a lion" "That was Simba!" "Kimba came first!" Honest Trailers, a web series on the YouTube channel Screen Junkies, features a parody preview of Disney's The Lion King in which a shot of Simba is designated with the caption: "And Kimba, The White Lion (Seriously, Look It Up)".[28]


In 1967 the Jungle Emperor theatrical feature was awarded the St. Mark's Silver Lion Award at the 19th Venice International Film Festival.

In 1978 the adult Leo character became the mascot for the Seibu Lions (current Saitama Seibu Lions) baseball team. They based their mascot on Kimba for many years, and for the game season 2014 Tezuka Productions designed the players' uniform which features Kimba on it.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kimba Boxed Set : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Retrieved 2012-11-28. 
  2. ^ "Kimba the White Lion Dub.DVD – Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2012-03-21. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Allen Kosonic – Hire voice actor for your voice over project". Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Designer Hiroaki Ohya Speaks on LACOSTE L!VE x Osamu Tezuka Collaboration". Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]