I’ve always been a fan of Disney and I strongly believe that many of their animated works are some of the finest ever created. However, I think it’s fair to say that part of the reason that many people are drawn to anime and manga is how different it can be in terms of storytelling and visuals from most Western animation that feel unable to separate themselves from Disney’s impact. However, I think it’s interesting how, throughout the history of their mediums, anime and manga have teamed up with Disney to produce works that combine the styles of the former with the IP of the latter.
As far as I’m aware, the first time that this occurred was Osamu Tezuka’s Bambi in 1951. Osamu Tezuka, often considered to be the founder of the modern anime industry, was a big fan of Disney and he particularly adored Bambi. He even ended up watching it over 80 times during its original Japanese theatrical release! He managed to eventually license the right to Bambi and to produce a manga adaptation. Interestingly, he also produced a manga adaptation of Disney’s Pinocchio the next year but, since copyright was hard to enforce at the time, it was an unlicensed work.
Unfortunately, the next examples that I have come across are from quite some time later. There may’ve been Disney anime and manga released in between but, if so, I’m unaware of them. With the rise in popularity of anime and manga in the West, Disney seemingly became more receptive to the idea that their IP be released in these formats. Alongside the obvious, that being manga adaptations of their films, there are a couple of others that are more noteworthy.
Kilala Princess originally ran from 2005 to 2008 and follows a character called Kilala Reno who adores Disney princesses and wishes that she could become one someday. She eventually, through certain circumstances, ends up traveling through the worlds of the princesses in an effort to save the kingdom of Paradiso. Another interesting title is Miriya & Marie which follows a Japanese girl called Miriya who ends up meeting Marie, one of the kittens from The Aristocats, and gets transported back to 1910 Paris in order to become a witch.
When it comes to Disney IP and anime, a particularly notable example is Stitch! Based off of the 2002 Disney film “Lilo & Stitch”, the anime reimagines the film by having Stitch land on a Ryukyuan island and become friends with a girl named Yuna Kamihara. The series ran for three seasons from 2008-11 and also had several specials made. Another interesting example is the upcoming “Disney: Twisted Wonderland” which is based off of the mobile game of the same name and has characters who are inspired by Disney villains and designed by the creator of Black Butler, Yana Toboso.
Considering the impact that Disney has had on the medium of anime and manga, it’s interesting to see when they mix. Let me know your thoughts on the interesting history of Disney anime and manga, whether you’ve read/watched any of these and, if you have, what you thought about them, whether you’re aware of any Disney anime or manga released between 1953 and 2000, what you think about collaborations between Japan and Disney and any additional information you might have on the topic.
Hopefully you have found this article interesting and informative and, if you wish to seek any of the works I mentioned, don’t hesitate to use amazon.co.uk or amazon.com for all of your needs!