Sexual Fables

This article accompanies the fable
Women in Trousers

How Nintendo Stole Mickey Mouse

It is well recognized that founding father of Japanese manga, Osamu Tezuka, was influenced by the early Walt Disney films he saw.  It is also well recognized that Walt Disney Studios returned the favor when Tezuka’s Kimba the White Lion (1950-54) was reshaped into The Lion King (1994), even though Disney still officially denies this.  (Tezuka died in 1989 as the film got underway).

Ironically, even if it wasn’t stealing, the Japanese were at the time stealing Mickey Mouse out from under Disney’s nose anyway.  As Mickey was being turned into a corporate icon, frozen in mid-smile on business cards, apparel and in occasional mediocre movies, Shigeru Miyamoto at Nintendo was retooling him, along with Donald, Goofy and their friends, and calling them Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Peach and Toad.  Miyamoto then put them into games that recalled the greatest moments of Mickey’s film career, like Brave Little Tailor and Mickey and the Beanstalk.  Disney never caught on or caught up, only belatedly entering the videogame era with Kingdom Hearts in 2002, which, ironically, was by a Japanese company, Square Co. Ltd.  But by then it was too late.


Of course Walt Disney stole Mickey Mouse from previous fairy tales, notably the ancient British tale Jack the Giant Killer and the related Jack and the Beanstalk and the Grimm Brothers' tale The Valiant Tailor, which may have been shaped by even older Greek and Norse tales.

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