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Disney and Anime Plagiarism? 178

Posted by Cliff
from the those-character-designs-look-awfully-familiar dept.
tenchiken asks: "Disney is at it again. A while ago they were accused of (ahem) lifting portions of Kimba for use in 'Lion King'. Now their newest movie, Atlantis has an amazing amount of similarity with GAINAX's classic Anime: 'Nadia, The Secret of Blue Waters'. Take a look at Ain't it Cool News's write up which has comparisons from the Anime point of view and of the Disney point of view. Details about the 'Lion King' and 'Kimba the White Lion' can be found here. Well, give Disney a little credit for The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, after all, those were original stories, right?" You know, I was looking at the ads for this movie just this week and I thought the exact same thing! While fiddling around on the web, I found this comparison, and it appears that both pages are using information from this Anime News Network feature. Check out the above links as they may put the similarities (and any differences) into better perspective. So are the creative juices running dry over there in Disneyworld? Or is this just your average case of an earlier work's influence on a new release?
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Disney and Anime Plagerism?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yes, the plot of Atlantis is one giant cliche. Reading the comparison, it seems rather similar to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea too [and the subsequent Nemo movies].

    Try watching late-night TV for a few hours and see how many of the same cliches come up there.

    This is what Disney does for Christ's sake! They make familiar stories. Whether familiarity comes from the fact they're folk tales, or just that they use a bunch of tired old cliches ... it doesn't matter, Disney films are for kids, who haven't seen these cliches used a thousand times already.

    I often wonder about adults who go to Disney movies - unless they're animators themselves.

  • * Why are there no direct family relationships in Disney, just a thousand uncles and a complete lack of stronger family bonds- in what is purportedly family material?

    Just so you know, this is kind of incorrect. In the Disney comic books Lady and the Tramp did become (ahem) life partners, and had several children. The most notable of their children was "Scamp."

    That said, Mr. Disney most definitely had a very particular philosophy of life which was reflected in just about all of his works, but most especially his theme parks and TV shows. This leads to a certain amount of unsubtle progressive/capitalistic preachiness.

    I personally find his ideas rather naive but mostly harmless. Furthermore, just about all creative works contain morals. Some of the ideas age well, and others become offensive, but later fade away into irrelevancy.

    The (classic) animated movies themselves are actually rather free of context and so don't really suffer from any of these problems. An exception is Song of the South, which is enjoyable to people in East Asian markets, but much of the U.S. would have trouble with it for the same reasons that for them "Huckleberry Finn" and "Uncle Tom's Cabin" are difficult (and misunderstood) books today.

    Anyway, yeah, to an adult in the Americas, now or in the last few decades, some of the older comics, whether Disney or D.C., can be rather disturbing in a modern context.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It has often been quoted that there are 7(?) original stories and everything else is simply a variation of those core themes. I've heard that somewhere else... did you rip that off?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Your "grandfatherly" character was also an FBI informant who turned friends, collegues, and employees over to the House Un-American Commitee to be blacklisted as communists.

    http://www.apbnews.com/media/gfiles/disney/

    -z129
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 15, 2001 @04:08PM (#147838)
    This just helps to expose how utter farcical it is to allow the copyrighting of ideas rather than words.

    Yes, "Atlantis: The Lost Kingdom" is much like "Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water". But as the article notes, "Nadia" in turn borrows a huge amount from Miyazaki's "Laputa". The idea for "Laputa" of course came from the eponymous magical island from Swift's "Gulliver's Travels."

    But of course this masterwork of the übertroll Swift was really a satirical updating of More's "Utopia," which was a Renaissance answer to Plato's dialogues concerning ideal government, notably 'The Republic' as well as 'Timaeus,' where the parable of Atlantis is described for the first time in extant Western literature (albeit with attribution to Solon).

    Copyright applied to ideas is really nothing but a sham. If anyone is getting ripped off here, it is either Plato or the supposed Atlanteans.
  • i won't believe it's a rip-off of an amime unless there is tentacle rape.
  • "can you feel the love tonight", of course.

    --
    Forget Napster. Why not really break the law?

  • They only need to extend copyright back to around 1910. Anything older than that is still fair game - and there's a lot of material they haven't used yet. Homer's Illiad and Odyssey, various works of Shakespeare...

    Just imagine a Beowulf cluster of.. err, I mean a Beowulf cartoon made by Disney!

    --

  • Better still, Disney's version of Otaku No Video :D
  • by Chris Johnson (580) on Friday June 15, 2001 @04:51PM (#147843) Homepage Journal
    And to think I saw my first glimpse of 'Atlantis' and thought to myself, "Oh good, for once in their lives they are taking a _broader_ concept and writing their own damn story around that". Of course, this was before I saw the side-to-side story elements between that and Nadia. And the side-to-side _character_ designs between that and Nadia... *yeesh*
  • "How To Read Donald Duck"

    I don't know _where_ my brother turned this up years ago, but one reading of this small book will make your jaw drop, and answer questions you never thought to ask, like-

    • In what ways are Disney comics destined for Latin America rewritten and altered by Disney to express American _political_ ideology by way of crude allegory?
    • Why are there no direct family relationships in Disney, just a thousand uncles and a complete lack of stronger family bonds- in what is purportedly family material?
    • What is Donald Duck's undying aim in life, and is it seen as admirable?
    • What is the gravest sin in the Disney world?

    _Highly_ recommended...
  • But in my opinion the whole "they ripped off Nadia!" deal is the work of a few sad sacks who simply don't like Disney and will look for whatever reasons they can find to bash it. Either the resemblances come from plot points commonly used by a lot of other stories, or else they're sheerly superficial.

    I think it's pretty obvious that there's at least some cross-pollination between Nadia and Atlantis. If Disney had just come out and said "Yeah, we were partially inspired by Nadia, we think it's a cool show, but we're doing our own work here, not just rehashing something," that would be fine. But they deny that anybody within Disney even knew about the existence of Nadia! They lost a lot of credibility with the Lion King fiasco by claiming they didn't know anything about a movie that they provided some advice and support for!

    In short, it's not the common elements that's the problem. It's the failure to acknowledge sources.

  • Ok, I can understand a +5, funny...
    But a +5, interesting?
  • IIRC there were several versions of Hamlet floating around prior to Shakespeare's as well. Wish I could confirm this, but I'm presently on the wrong side of the country.... At any rate, ol' Will was not exactly well known for having original plots, I agree.
  • It wouldn't be hard to check. Disney did a fair amount of work on Jungle King back in the 60's. If they haven't totally gutted their animation department, there may be some old timers who actually worked on it.
  • Nadia is a pretty long TV series. You would've gotten just to the Nautilus, I think. Needless to say, Atlantis does play a very significant role.
  • Not! I think this one has been out over a week or two. Geez.
    -----------------------------
  • by John Whitley (6067) on Friday June 15, 2001 @03:34PM (#147851) Homepage
    This has little to do with creative juices. Disney is out to make money. In their animated work, the machine works like this: take a classic (aka 'proven') story, tweak it to their satisfaction, and release it under their own animation style and direction (and usually too much spontaneous breaking into song for my taste... ;-).

    This process is so institutionalized it's even got a name: "Disneyficiation".

    The fact that they've taken to poaching story concepts from much more recent manga and anime works is perhaps somewhat depressing, but no different in style than Snow White. They even did it to themselves: IMO, Fantasia 2000 was mostly a Disneyfied knock-off of the original!
  • No, it isn't the selling of an adaptation of a public domain story. It is the business of hardly ever telling any original stories, lifting almost everything from the public domain while at the same time lobbying hard to get copyright protections extended to keep the few original works out of the public domain.
  • Crow is simply maintaining that mirror [oldcrows.net] for me, ever since my ISP made me take down the original [silverhammer.org].

    Anywho, since Atlantis has been released here in the U.S., I've prepared a postmortem letter and sent it out to my mirrors for posting. It should be up Saturday afternoon, so please check back then.

    In a nutshell, my goals and motivation weren't quite what y'all may think...

    Stay tuned.

  • Furthermore, the guy who authored the page [oldcrows.net] has added a link to the following statement

    Crow [mailto] didn't author the page. I did [silverhammer.org], and my own postmortem should be posted later today (Saturday) -- just as soon as Crow wakes up and checks his email.

  • On my high school's grad night we ended up going to Disneyland and pretty much had run of the park. In one of the gazebos there were fair sized posters of Disney characters but drawn in the full anime styling. It was pretty funny to see them stop hiding the definite anime influence in alot of their art now. Before Pokemon exploded in the US most people didn't have any idea what anime even was. Shit look at what Disney did to Princess Mononoke. I was really stoked to go see it in theaters, especially with the high quality dubbing Miramax had done to it. My problem started with the fact it was only released in two fucking theaters in Southern California, one I'd never even heard of. Then there was the problems with Miramax being able to release it on DVD. I'm glad I got my copy before Disney decides to pull any horse shit and yank the disc from market. The original Japanese cut of PM is really good but Miramax's effort is also pretty damn cool. Now I'm off to count change so I can finish my Lain collection.
  • Spoiler Alert so don't say I didn't warn you :)

    In the original story (by Hans Christian Andersen), the bargain is that the mermaid will be given legs in exchange for her voice, but every step will be extremely painful, like she is walking on knives. If she doesn't get the kiss of true love by the third sunset, she'll die. The mermaid fails to get the prince to kiss her by the third sunset, and the sea witch shows up to offer her one final choice - if she will kill the prince, his blood will return her to mermaid form and she can return to the sea. She chooses instead to die because she really loves the guy, but in the end it turns out death has really turned her into some sort of air spirit instead.

    It's not exactly happily ever after, but it rings pretty true to me. Sometimes true love just won't happen even when you really need it to.

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • Actually, if I recall correctly, the story treatment for Nadia was done well before Laputa. It just happens that the treatment was done by the fellow who would later make Laputa--that being Hayao Miyazaki himself. (More details can be found in the FAQs on Nausicaa.net [nausicaa.net] about such things.)

    I haven't seen Nadia yet, though I do intend to start getting the DVDs, since the first one was just released. But in my opinion the whole "they ripped off Nadia!" deal is the work of a few sad sacks who simply don't like Disney and will look for whatever reasons they can find to bash it. Either the resemblances come from plot points commonly used by a lot of other stories, or else they're sheerly superficial.

    Look at common plot points. If the movie "ripped off" anything, it would be Stargate, Laputa, Titan A.E., 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, a bit of Castle of Cagliostro, some Raiders of the Lost Ark, and a few other things. If I wanted to get really anal, I could go into all the old-timey radio shows that featured wisecracking switchboard operators like the one seen here. But really, what's the point?

    The thing is, there are a lot of commonly-used ideas in here. Submarines, giant sea monsters, ancient relics that could do incredible damage in the wrong hands, greedy fortune-seekers wanting to put their wrong hands around those relics, giant monsters attacking ships, and so on. As Shakespeare said, there really is nothing new under the sun. It's all been done before, in some form or other--and the most successful tropes tend to get used over and over again, just because they are so successful.

    And as for superficial coincidence . . . consider the case of Nancy Stauffer [realmuggles.com], author of some rather obscure childrens' books back in the early 1980s, and her claims of infringement by J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. There are an awful lot of coincidences there--use of some similar names, such as a character named "Larry Potter" who wears glasses and has a cousin named "Lilly"; use of the term "muggles," which Rowling says she came up with on her own--but most of the "coincidences" she cites are just plain silly--such as the fact that both books have castles by lakes in them! The books weren't even widely known--the most they ever got was small-press publication, in America--whereas J.K. Rowling was writing her stories ten years later in England. It's unlikely in the extreme she could possibly have seen Stauffer's books--but she wrote what she wrote anyway, and golly gee, there are all these coincidences--but most of them, such as castles and lakes, are found in a lot of fantasy novels, not just the two of theirs, so it's not surprising that two unrelated fantasy novels would both have them.

    As I've said, I haven't yet seen Nadia, but I really believe that most of the similarities between them are just that sort of coincidence. Either they're trappings common to many of those stories (just as fantasy stories or Westerns often have similarities), or they're outright coincidence.
    --

  • Well, the writers of the movie indicated that they'd never seen Nadia [animenewsnetwork.com], but they did homage some elements from Miyazaki. I see no reason not to take them at their word. I mean, you have to admit that Nadia has been a fairly obscure series, as anime goes, up to now. It had a crappy Streamline dub that's long been out of print, then in the last year or so a limited edition VHS sub, and the DVDs are only starting to come out now. I've been an anime fan since 1991, and I've never seen Nadia--nor have I had a chance to. Why should they have?
    --
  • 2) Dinotopia: The World Beneath has a very similar plotline: Scientist searching for a lost civilization, explores underwater for an entrance, then a cavern crawl, to the remnants (though uninhabited in this case) of a lost civilization they find a crystalin power source and then leave, upon which point the crystal brings out the worst in party members and a struggle ensues for the crystal.

    You do realize you just described the exact plot of Michael Crichton's 1987 novel Sphere?

    Just a thought.

  • IMO the problem with Disney plagiarizing (or taking inspiration from) many works is that they refuse to acknowledge proper credits to the original authors. Would it cost them much? Adding a line at the end of the credits reciting "partially inspired from Osamu Tezuka's 'Jungle Taitei'"?

    Maybe the original author would like to see a few bucks in royalties, but so what? it's not as if they couldn't afford it.

    Somebody in other posts mentioned the GPL, and the apparent contradiction in our community which encouages to share IP when it's computer programs, but doesn't approve of derivative works when it's motion pictures.
    The point is that every single GPL program I've seen properly recognizes its ancestors, be it direct and indirect, and acknowledges the work of those who created them. Disney's recent movies don't.

  • I don't know about this one. If I name my animated lion character "Lion", would an earlier lion character named "Zion" mean I'm plagarizing or that I'm just not very imaginative?

    Most of the names in Lion King are fairly pedestrian wordsfrom Swahili (Rafiki=friend, Nala=pretty, ...). Simba is just "lion" in another language.

  • by sharkey (16670) on Friday June 15, 2001 @04:09PM (#147862)
    Hmmmm. What song will the Death Rape machine sing? And will Elton John be the voice?

    --
  • Picture this... You spend years writing a story. Then your friend copys you and makes a similer story. Change a few words but it's basicly the same.
    Now the rejection letters in the mail read
    "This has already been done.. try something original"

    You want to kill...

    Now picture this. You spend years writing a story and publish...
    Now 15 other writers you never heard of before clame you copied them.

    The problem is simple. A lot of storys are going to be very much alike.

    In programming...
    A friend of mine was working on a program with someone else..
    That someone else make some small changes and clammed it as his own.

    On the other hand.. I wrote my own BBS ground up and some idiot I never meet in my LIFE ordered me to stop using HIS software.

    (My prompt looked like his prompt.. My prompt looked like everyones prompt..)

    Basicly my 3 year old BBS was somehow a clone of his 6 month old BBS..

    Anyway.. There is the problem..
    Some people are theafs.. some people are crybabys.. and current IP law isn't very good at telling the diffrence..
  • Um, is anyone thinking here? Of *course* this was copied from somewhere else. What, you thought Disney was going to all of a sudden reverse itself and produce a new story? Disney has *never* produced a completely new animated story. I'm not saying there's anything illegal about it, it's just the way they work.

    My friends and I used to gripe about it all the time. Some little kid is going to read hamlet sometime and think, "Wow, this is almost like the Lion King." And I'll have to execute a Disney animator. It's even worse when they butcher historical facts, like in Pocahontas. That was a real woman's life that they trivialized and lied about.

    Ok, I'll calm down...
    --
  • Yeah, how come all female Disney lead characters' mothers are dead?
  • I saw an English-dubbed version of "Laputa" a decade ago in the theatre. It's fantastic! Everything a Miyazaki movie should be. I saw the preview for the Disney dub at the beginning of the VHS of "Kiki" and kept waiting for the damn theatrical release. What the F*** is going on?

    OTOH, I still think the 70s TV animated version of "The Little Mermaid" is the best one: it's far scarier (like good fairy tales should be!) and there's no annoying sidekicks, dammit.
    Especially when they combined it with "The Golden Prince." Now that's a freaky movie.
  • that with the umpty-billion dollars that Disney makes just for sneezing, they could afford to hire a writer or three that could come up with an original story here and there.

    I was also especially happy to hear they plan to lay off 4000 people right between the releases of two movies that will each gross eight figures at least.

    Something about their overly-happy sounding commercials rings a little off at times like these.
  • . . . is Disney's version of "Akira". . . .

    That should be a laugh riot. . . .

  • "plato"'s atlantis? we're not talking about original sources of information, we're talking about unique story elements in "Nadia" that were transplanted almost intact into Disney's "Atlantis". there is a difference between original source material and plagarism. surely you looked through the links in the /. article!
  • but i'd think that Disney has enough resources to thuroughly check and make sure their stories are indeed original. I knew of the "Lion King" deal (heck, the simpsons even made fun of it) but when stories parallel like this, it makes disney look like they are rewriting history.

    that being said, it's not like their animated movies are original at all but they are fairy tales that have been "disneyized". I could accept "the little mermaid", but for disney to copy wholesale "Nadia", it's not so much ignorance as it is revisionist.
  • He's not dead!!! He's frozen!!!!
  • The type of things Disney does today is so much more diverse that it's hard to compare it to its 1950s counterpart.

    Personally, I don't care if Disney the corporation fell off the face of the earth. Just save their feature animation department. They are absolutely phenominal when it comes to that.

    - Scott

    --
    Scott Stevenson
    WildTofu [wildtofu.com]
  • If I recall correctly, Little Mermaid was based off another story as well. The ending was much different...the prince ended up marrying someone else and the mermaid dies.
  • In defense of Gainax, every episode of Nadia starts with "Based on Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." At least they give credit when they adapt a story. :)
  • your comment seems to implt shakespeare was the original source. That's rather silly when nearly everything he "wrote" was stolen or sourced from some other older (or current) story (already in existence).

    But it wasn't as if he tried to hide this also this was a completly different environment from the century plus of "copyright" which Disney has lobbied for.
  • All I can say is this story reminded me of something that I really loved that I haven't thought of in a long time. "Kimba the White Lion" played every afternoon where I grew up south of LA right before "Speed Racer" and was super cool, the image of Kimba racing through the jungle leading all his jungle pals is forever emblazoned on my mind.

    I knew there was something I liked about "The Lion King".

  • The Little Mermaid, maybe. Aladdin, was "lifted" from Arabian folklore. Disney in reality has came up with little "original" material since Mickey Mouse. Disney's animations are usually just re-tellings of history or previous works (ahem, Hunchback of Notre Dame?). A good site on the subject of the "Disneyfication" of history is here.

    The only way Disney is original is in how it can take so many varied stories from many cultures and shoehorn them into its single stock script. Truly amazing...
    --

  • The Little Mermaid, maybe.

    Nope. A Hans Christian Andersen story.
    --

  • Mononoke isn't a Disney copy because Disney didn't make Mononoke.

    That's a product of Studio Ghibli, whom licesensed it to Disney (under a fairly protective contract, no editing was permitted) through Miramax. Had this not happened, you'd likely have seen a Disney movie very similar to Mononoke eventually.

    Of course, every Anime fan should fear the fact that Miramax has Ghost in the Shell 2, and who knows what they'll do to it (edit wise...)
  • by kahuna720 (56586) on Friday June 15, 2001 @03:26PM (#147880) Homepage
    Urotsukidoji.


  • Realistically now, take a look at how many movies were based on samples from books, some parts may have been used, but were the authors really slighted when the entire book wasn't used? Could have been a name or town, etc. Not everyone is James Patterson to command mega bucks for their work, so there are plenty of times plagurism occurs. Similarly situations arise where many would like to claim something as theirs when others may have thought of something similar and acted in better fashion or faster to make something out of it.

    Wouldn't surprise me if Disney ripped things here and there, as long as the entire concept isn't ripped then legally they violated no laws. Personally when I think of Disney I think of small children or do good family doo hickey types while for Anime I tend to think of younger, hip, into fashion, skateboarder, biker, geek types. So the comparison to me personally is non existant. Don't buy Disney if you think it affects you, however aren't there better things to bitch about [rawa.org]?
  • Actually Kimba is written in the Roman alphabet silly. Did you ever watch the show? In Japan
    his name was Leo, he was only Kimba in the US.
    Drop me a line if you'd like more info.
  • That's why the official titles are Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves[...]


    Seven Dwarfs, actually. "Dwarves" was an obscure variant until Tolkien popularized it.
  • Without seeing either movie, I will throw out my opinion, for what it's worth. It seems the stories of both movies owe quite a bit to Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs. But the world of professional animation is a small one, and I'm sure that some of the Disney animators had seen Nadia, whether they admit it or not. Maybe some of the similarities are a tribute to the anime.

    It doesn't seem to me that there is enough in common between the two, that didn't already come from Verne and Burroughs, as to make this cause for outrage.
  • to the question of "are all their creative juices dry?" I have to answer that this is not just a Disney problem - more a Hollywood problem.

    Look a little more closely and you'll see that it's not just Hollywood that's run out, and it's not as bad in Hollywood as it is elsewhere. Tinseltown has been picking off ideas (plotlines, charachters) from many, many 'sources' for as long as it's been an institutuion. What I belive is happening now is people gaining better access to sources that hollywood rips from.

    Disney's been doing Andersen's tales for years, no one's complained. Many plots steal (and pervert) european folk stories, something especially noticable in the 50s. (And, of course, they fact that 80% of Hollywood movies follow one of maybe 10-15 plots.) But there are still some good, original stories being produced in Hollywood. Let's remember that Disney is about as LCD as you can get.

    The industry that has lost almost all hope, on the other hand, is the music industry. While it's not as bad as in Poland, where the big 5 'majors' constantly releasing the same artists that had hits back when most of the music buying public was being born, it's not getting any better. You have Britney Spears releasing one song twenty-four times (just listen to the beats on her album, it's all the same song). Bands making careers off on a single *cover* of some 80s hit. Everybody doing house and hip-hop remixes. Covers of old songs being hyped as the 'best new thing'. Producers recycling beats between artists...

    Fortunately, it is exponentially cheaper to record, produce and release an album then it is a film. This gives the music industry to be constant flow of new ideas while allowing the them to take risks. At 10, 20, 50 million dollars a picture, the motion picture industry's not too keen on letting much go to chance. So unless the storyline has 'universal appeal' or, better yet, is tested (a book, a anime version =)) it's going to have a hard time getting made.

    There is salvation. As technology has made the production of music dirt cheap (and it is, it really, really is) it's bringing down the costs of film production. Of course, we're nowhere near the quality of celuloid (although I've seen filtered digital film that, at PAL/NTSC resolutions looked better) you can actually put a small film studio together for the price of a small recording studio. We're seeing a proliferation of independant films, fresh, new story lines. That's definately something to look out for.

    And if you're not into 'independant' cinema (as it is often lacking) check out movies from around the world. Asia and India have a thriving movie 'scene', putting out litteraly hundreds of titles each year, many of the best ones are transfered to DVD and released subtitled. Europe's movie industry is a bit tattered (especially Poland's) but you can still get a lot of good movies. (I'm currently going through my love affair with 'Fucking Amal [imdb.com]')

  • They certainly did rip off lots of concepts from Nadia, and even some animation sequences from what I've seen of it.

    It wouldn't be entirely fair if I were to say that the movie was a TOTAL rip off, as I haven't seen it yet. Much like the Lion King, there is probably quite a bit of noticable influence.

    The Lion King was sort of a mix between Kimba the White Lion and Hamlet, IMO. It didn't completely rip off of Kimba, but it was easy to tell that Disney took a lot of influence from that show.

    Why doesn't Disney just go ahead and say something like, "We were influenced by Gainax's brilliant Nadia series." If they had said something like this when announcing the movie, they would probably get better PR. Instead, they flat out lie and deny that any of their animators have ever seen these series.

    I think if they admitted the similarities as tribute or influence, instead of anime fans calling foul on Disney for ripping off Nadia, they'd be heading to the theater more eagerly to see Atlantis to find the tributes to Gainax's work.

    Knowing Disney there is probably a decent amount of differences in the show, and I'm sure with all the lame songs that'll be there, that it won't be nearly as good as Nadia anyway.

  • by Speare (84249) on Friday June 15, 2001 @05:35PM (#147890) Homepage Journal

    All of "Disney Classics" are just that-- classics that have been through Disney's machine.

    Snow White and the Seven Dwarves? Pinocchio? Cinderella? Sleeping Beauty? Aladdin? The Sword and the Stone? Brer Rabbit? Dumbo? Jungle Book? They're all classic folktales from various cultures. Disney never claimed to create the concept, just the adaptation you see under their banner.

    That's why the official titles are Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, or Disney's The Little Mermaid. Same goes for Disney's Atlantis. They're adaptations of classic stories.

    With each new medium (voice, tablets, scrolls, books, silent movies, talkies, animated movies, modern cinema and now computer-rendered movies), classic stories are told and retold and re-retold with the new medium's strengths or with a new angle to keep it fresh.

    There are some legitimate causes for complaint if a new work draws too substantially or too unoriginally from an older work; Lion King, Mononoke, and Atlantis may suffer from being on the borderline of this issue. But to say that Disney isn't putting something original or fresh into any of their adaptations of cultural classics is a big stretch.

    This has been going on far longer than Disney's corporate life, so why piss on Disney's parade? Oh, yeah, this is slashdot, where groupthink and corporate bashing is the norm. Where selling an adaptation of a public-domain concept is considered evil. Get over it.

  • Romeo And Juliet was based on the old greek myth of Pyraemus and Thisbe, two young lovers from opposing houses who die in a graveyard due to their loves. As for Hamlet, I don't feel like digging out Edith Hamilton/Bullfinche's mythology at the moment to look it up. As for historical basis, kids from opposing houses killing themselves over their love was not a rare occurrance in those times (Hell, it happens now.).

    The Shakespearean tradgedies that were based on Historical events tended to be a bit obvious as to what they were, eq. Julius Caeser and Antony and Cleopatra.
  • The point I was originally trying to make was that no stories are really original; there are always many people who have done/said/written/etc. it before.
  • by supabeast! (84658) on Friday June 15, 2001 @10:14PM (#147893)
    There are no original stories. All stories, one way or another, are just retelling of all the basic myths of mankind.

    For example, the Lion King was not ripped from Kimba, it was ripped from Hamlet, by William Shakespeare. Hamlet, like many of the bawdy bard's works, was just a retelling of assorted chunks of greek myths that he liked. The greek myths were old stories that had been handed down orally for centuries.

    This kind of thing is basic stuff. Joseph Campbell taught it for decades (Exploration of Campbell's work inspired Star Wars, a popular Star Wars topic that is about as unoriginal as plots can be.). It was a PBS miniseries. Most high schools teach it as part of advanced freshman english classes. Any social anthropology teacher at any level will probably bring it up.

    And of course, the idiots who run Slashdot, in an attempt to bring down the corporate machine, attack Disney for stealing plots for their movies, simply because they fail to realize that the plots of the Japenese animation they so often watch are no more original than they were when other people told the same stories a millenia ago.
  • This lack of variety to be seen in the artistic world at a fundamental, reductionist level is only excacerbated by the forms of Plato; there exists only one perfect form of each concept. You have your forms and ideas mixed up. Each form is an imperfect representation of the divine idea. And, of course, there exists the divine idea of a troll, very closesly perfected here.
  • Snow White and the Seven Devils of Kimon, coming to a theatre near you.
  • by 11thangel (103409) on Friday June 15, 2001 @04:20PM (#147900) Homepage
    Ok, when ripping a script, at least change the name of the main character more than one letter. You see, if i turned in a history paper that was ripped off the internet and i only changed the spelling of a few words, my teacher would not only turn me in for plagiarism, he would smack me in the head with my own stolen paper for blatant stupidity. Come on, people, if your gonna steal something, do it right.
  • There are some legitimate causes for complaint if a new work draws too substantially or too unoriginally from an older work; Lion King, Mononoke, and Atlantis may suffer from being on the borderline of this issue. But to say that Disney isn't putting something original or fresh into any of their adaptations of cultural classics is a big stretch.

    If you had bothered to read the linked articles, then you would have seen that they aren't simply talking about Disney retelling classic story with a modern twist but ripping off of a large amount of the plot for their non-classic movies (Lion King, Atlantis) from recent works that are still under copyright which is and if this were the U.S. with it's Disney bought Sonny Bono act would be under copyright for decades more which is PLAIGAIRISM.

    Slashdot overreacts sometimes, this isn't one of them.



    --
  • Whomever marked this a troll didn't pay attention in English class. Shakespeare is reasonably well known to have lifted his plots from other stories -- be it Hamlet or Romeo or Juliette.

    I'm sure that someone who knows more of English history can give you a list of which Shakespeare story came from which source. (English was never my strong point). In any case, He was right on the point about this, and I would have made a similar comment if he hadn't first.
    --

  • by -brazil- (111867) on Friday June 15, 2001 @05:20PM (#147907) Homepage
    Well, Tezuka had extensively borrowed ideas from Disney as well, that's why his wife refused to sue Disney: she said her husband would have been flattered, not angry.
  • by CaseStudy (119864) on Friday June 15, 2001 @04:43PM (#147912) Homepage
    Sounds like a pretty airtight case, if it could ever hit the courts.

    Yes, it is... for Disney.

    The copyright holder for Nadia must show that protectable elements of the work were taken. The artwork isn't close enough to be infringing, and the plot elements listed on the oldcrows page (e.g., "the bad guys are interested in Atlantis so they can capture and use the power source") are far too vague to be protectable. Furthermore, the guy who authored the page has added a link to the following statement:

    After seeing Atlantis,
    I must say that it is not Nadia. It doesn't really take much from Nadia at all. If anything, it is much closer to Laputa. Atlantis was a decent film, but too short in my opinion. It needed a bit more storytelling such as the 123 minutes of Laputa offered.
    In six months or so, before Atlantis is out on video but well after the theatre run is over, perhaps Disney will put Laputa on the big screen for us. Of the three stories, Laputa is the masterpiece. Nadia had a great finale (and a great beginning), but way too much time was wasted in the middle. In fact, I see a lot more of Laputa in the finale of Atlantis than anything of Nadia in the rest of the film.

    Furthermore, even if the holder of the Nadia copyright could somehow prove that Atlantis used protectable elements, all Disney has to show is that the authors of Atlantis were not exposed to Nadia. Constructive knowledge (i.e., "being in the animation business they should have known") isn't sufficient; they must have actually known about it, as copyright law (unlike patent law) doesn't protect against independent creation.

  • I once viewed about five episodes of Nadia, and I've seen the Atlantis trailer. I don't see that much similarity in the plot. Both are set in the "Jules Verne future", but that's about it.
  • Which one was Memento [imdb.com]? Maybe it was just a rip-off of The Limey [imdb.com]. Where in hell do the X-Men [imdb.com] fit in?

    Those seven stories have to be some broad genres to fit everything, and even then you'd be missing a lot of the differences between movies. Those differences, on the other hand, are what make movies entertaining.

    --
  • by Fred Ferrigno (122319) on Saturday June 16, 2001 @01:18AM (#147915)
    You appear to be right. From Burton's translation:

    IT hath reached me, O King of the Age, that there dwelt in a city of the cities of China a man which was a tailor, withal a pauper, and he had one son, Aladdin hight.

    http://mfx.dasburo.com/an/a_night_29.html [dasburo.com]

    I'm having a bitch of a time trying to get the original French translation though.

    --
  • A while ago they were accused of (ahem) lifting portions of Kimba for use in 'Lion King'
    Really? The first time I saw "The Lion King", I thought "Hamlet." It was Shakespere all the way; a big ole' story of pathetic fallacy.
  • According to Walter Elias Disney's death certificate (source: Big Secrets by William Poundstone), he died of cardiac arrest due to a cancer arising from the passages of the left lung. Disney was cremated at Forest Lawn, Glendale, "and has a perfectly ordinary gravesite."

    Eisner, however, should be **** for perverting the Constitution of the United States. [pineight.com]
  • by Gogo Dodo (129808) on Friday June 15, 2001 @04:08PM (#147923)
    For those of you who read paper books, I would suggest reading David Koenig's Mouse Under Glass : Secrets of Disney Animation & Theme Parks, ISBN 0964060507 (hardback) or 0964060515 (paperback). It covers all of Disney's classic movies and where they ripped the story off.

    David also wrote two other interesting secrets of DisneyLand books: Mouse Tales: A Behind-The-Ears Look at Disneyland and More Mouse Tales : A Closer Peek Backstage at Disneyland

    Interesting reading for both Disney fans and haters.

  • by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Friday June 15, 2001 @03:49PM (#147925) Homepage
    Lets the expansion of the copyright time limits and the fierceness of the protections that come from Disney.

    Given that, is it suprising that they want to make sure others don't do what they did -- take the work that came before them?

    Will the copyright expire on any of the Mickey Mouse stuff?

  • Besides plagiarism, another annoying thing with Disney and Hollywood in general is a peculiar form of nationalism, in the sense of either historical falsification, or slight modification of the stories to make sure that it fits with American patriotism.

    Here we have a typical example. Instead of beginning in 1889's France, the story takes place in 1914's America. Why? Because this story involves cool heroes, a cool machine with an highly advanced technology, built by original and very wealthy people. Well, this HAS to be in America, doesnt'it?

    This example follows the example of this Hollywoodian movie on the battle of England, where the allies manage to decode the German communication for submarines (again!), or something like that: this event was key in the battle of England. The British achieved it. In the Hollywoodian movie, the Americans do it. Pretty vicious, huh? It's based on actual historical events, but it's falsified to make sure that the heroes are American.

    There are hundreds of examples of these types each year from Hollywood. It may be just because it is assumed to be good for business (although I know that Disney also has quite a conservative culture and has a problem with France), but it's morally unjustifiable. Moreover, which over country would dare do something like this than America? Can you imaging the Chinese movie industry creating "historical" movies, where the chinese are organizing the D-day and saving Europe from nazi Germany? Or can you imagine Zimbabwe shooting a movie where extraterrestrials attack, and where all the key events (their arrival, as well as their defeat) take place in Zimbabwe?

    I know it's "just entertainment", and that it shouldn't be taken too seriously. Except that the power of Hollywood on the minds of the people everywhere on the planet has become tremendous. Hollywood can manipulate the people on a global scale, but to the advantage of one specific country, and of specific and sometimes questionable values. This explains in part the irritation of several countries with the American movie industry.
  • Or how about Disney's first "tenticle fetish" theme ride?
  • by AntiNorm (155641) on Friday June 15, 2001 @03:27PM (#147929)
    Or is this just your average case of an earlier work's influence on a new release?

    Just your average case of MPAA hypocrisy, that's all.

    ---
    DOOR!!
  • i have read it, and i appreciate what you are saying... but look at these plot points [neomedia.it] the 2 movies share, and tell me how many of these we in plato's version? did he have a sandy-haired hero with round, oversized eyeglasses and a red bow tie like both these movies have? did plato have a high-tech submarine with an international crew like these both do? These are just a few things these movies share. The list is much longer. I dont think that anyone is questioning that if someone sticks to plato's source, there will be similarity between movies about Atlantis. That is different than letting someone else write your movie, and you just redrawing it.
  • When I saw the trailers to Atlantis, While I did see a slight resembalance to some anime works, such as Laputa, Mononoke and Nadia I saw something else that struck me quite a bit more... The resembalance to James Gurney's Dinotopia...

    While it may again be a case of similar source material, it may go farther as well..

    1) The Disney's Atlantian machines have a remarkable resembalance to the "Strutters" in Dinotopia.

    2) Dinotopia: The World Beneath has a very similar plotline: Scientist searching for a lost civilization, explores underwater for an entrance, then a cavern crawl, to the remnants (though uninhabited in this case) of a lost civilization they find a crystalin power source and then leave, upon which point the crystal brings out the worst in party members and a struggle ensues for the crystal.

    3) Some similarity can be seen between Disney Atlantis' location on a plateau surrounded by waterfalls, and Dinotopia's waterfall city. There is some simiarity of architecture as well, but that can be more easly explained bythe efforts of both Gurney and Disney to make a "ancestor culture"

    I'm not saying it happened, but after Seeing much the same thing happening in SW:TPM w. the design of Theed and the end parade in parcicular I wouldn't rule it out, and considering the similarities in source material between Nadia and Atlantis: I actually worry a little more about this possibility.
  • http://www.newgrounds.com has an article on their front page.
  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Saturday June 16, 2001 @06:04AM (#147943) Homepage

    Animation would be impossible if it weren't for plagiarism. The animation artists are all crooks. It's an inherent part of their process.

    First, they start with a single drawing, a stil image known as a "cell". Then, they make another that looks almost exactly like it, only it's a little bit different. Then they do this again, and again, thousands and thousands of times.

    Then, once their "movie" is completed, they show each of these images, each essentially a ripoff of the previous image, in sequence very quickly. By pulling this fast switcheroo, the audience is fooled into thinking that it sees a "motion picture" and not thousands of repeated images, each of which varies very little from the ones immediately preceeding it.

    Yet in spite of the obvious similarity of one cell of animation to the one preceeding it, the masses just seem to love it. If only they knew the real goings-on behind the scenes.

  • HAHAHAHAHAHA, that was the funniest thing i've heard all week. You have to know what that movie is to get the joke though...

    If you don't, urutsukidoji is the movie that started the tentacle rape anime genre ;)

  • by elefantstn (195873) on Friday June 15, 2001 @03:55PM (#147950)
    Actually, Aladdin is not lifted from Arabian folklore - it's not Arabian at all. In the 19th century, there was a craze in Europe for all things Arabian, and translators could sell books by offering the largest collection of the "1001 Arabian Nights." A French translator, in an overzealous attempt to outdo his competitors, made up the Aladdin story to add to his collection. Of course, the story that sounded like it came from Arabic ouvre but still strangely appealed to Europeans (wonder how?) became the most popular.
  • Folks,

    All the griping about Atlantis: The Lost Empire being a ripoff of Japanese anime makes me wonder if you can't do anything inspired by an earlier work.

    Think about this: remember the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark? If that movie wasn't a rehash of the vast majority of movie serials from the 1930's and 1940's I don't know what is. :-/

    Anyway, having seen Atlantis, the movie is more like something inspired by a combination of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Gainax's Nadia and the Secret of Blue Water, the Hayao Miyazaki-directed movie Lupin III: The Castle of Caligostro, and the Miyazaki movie Laputa: Castle in the Sky.

    The movie can get clichéd in spots, but gawd, the visuals and musical soundtrack are AWESOME. I highly recommend seeing this movie on the largest movie theatre screen you can find and make sure the theatre has a THX-certified sound system, too.
  • Newsweek has an article in this week's issue (not online, apparently) which hits the Disney problem on the head: now that CGI special effects can do everything a moviemaker can imagine, animation has no special virtues over live-action movies. And while Disney still expects its no-longer-a-monopoly on animation and its brand name to carry its ticket sales, other outfits like Dreamworks and Pixar are proving that stories, not pretty pictures, are the key to making animation work.

    It's a good article, and direct. Pick up a newsstand copy and flip through for it.

  • by gtx (204552) on Friday June 15, 2001 @03:48PM (#147955) Homepage
    if you'd like more examples of disney badness, check out The Society of Disney Haters [sodh.org]'s website.

    after spending some time on the SODH website, nothing disney does surprises me anymore.


    "I hope I don't make a mistake and manage to remain a virgin." - Britney Spears
  • your comment seems to implt shakespeare was the original source. That's rather silly when nearly everything he "wrote" was stolen or sourced from some other older (or current) story (already in existence). Just another case of the idolization of Shakespeare for no good reason.
  • by nick_davison (217681) on Friday June 15, 2001 @04:32PM (#147960)
    It has often been quoted that there are 7(?) original stories and everything else is simply a variation of those core themes.

    With a desire to see the plagarism, just about any story told can be accused of being heavily copied from an existing one - often without the script writers even being aware of the orginals existence. Take a look at the way, every time Spielberg makes a movie, several people sue him for stealing their ideas (kind of curious how he manages to keep copying the majority of his movie from several places at once).

    The way things are going, I wonder how long it'll be before scriptwriting follows the original PC cloning and those working on it are kept in closed environments where the companies can prove they never saw anything from the outside?

  • Come on... that kind of scenario is a bit dated. I agree, its a shame, but the world is a much different place than it was 40 years ago.

    And I doubt it was merely Walt keeping Annette Funicello out of anything skimpy. Take a look at all the episodes of "I Dream of Jeannie" and count how many times you see Barbara Eden's belly button. You won't! It was too risque' at the time.

    Anyways, its a good comparison... Mickey Mouse is a corporate identity and women are showing alot more skin on TV.

    If Disney weren't so aggressive, they likely wouldn't be around at this point.

  • by kstumpf (218897) on Friday June 15, 2001 @06:55PM (#147963)
    Well animation and stories arent the only things falling prey to plagiarism! I recently installed this OS I kept hearing about (its called FreeBSD [freebsd.org]), and it is almost the same as Linux! They even have bash and man pages and... all kinds of stuff they copied from Linux!!! Talk about a ripoff.

    Cough cough...

  • If you need to argue the finer points of Platos writings you can quote and link to them online.

    http://classics.mit.edu/Browse/browse-Plato.html [mit.edu]

  • My argument, at the risk of getting accused of trolling:

    Disney and anime are both exceedingly trite and cliche. They both use the same general framework and styles... I don't mean drawing styles, i mean narrative styles. Here I'm thinking of more grounded anime like this Nadia thing, not Akira type stuff. It's all the basic stock of characters. Basic plot: Ooooh the crystal is linked to the core... but mysterious! And she's... exotic! Like the guy said above, 7 basic story archetypes. Disney isn't that creative, and usually anime isn't either, even when it's being insane and random, it's just pointless pulling random ideas out of the writers' collective asses. (except the mechanical stuff, I'll give ya that, I dig that) So there's my rant. :P

    --

  • by Black Rabbit (236299) on Friday June 15, 2001 @04:48PM (#147969)
    Who wrote Winnie the Pooh? Who wrote Peter Pan? Who wrote Alice in Wonderland? Who wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame, (and what is the proper title of the book)? How many kids these days are going to grow up thinking that these stories, and many others, were all written by Walt Disney? A. A. Milne, James Barrie, Lewis Carroll and Victor Hugo, (author of Notre Dame de Paris) probably turn in their graves every time one of these Disneyized corruptions of their work is screened. Whenever Disney gets it's hands on something you can count on a good deal of the story being changed, and any history corrupted. While many Hollywood productions seem to do this with any given novel turned screenplay, Disney films, for some reason, "redefines the standard", (where have we heard that term before?), and what is presented in the Disney film becomes the norm. For instance, the Seven Dwarves did not have names until the Disney flick, it's Disney's Pooh that kids picture, not the Ernest Shepard drawings. I realize that much of this can be put down as "artistic license", but consider that Disney is so big, so powerful, that many kids don't even realize that the books exist, let alone what the original plot was, or how old the book really is. Does that remind anybody of another huge monopolistic company that hates it when facts get in its way? Ahh, Disney! The Micro$oft of kidlit!
  • by tulare (244053) on Friday June 15, 2001 @03:53PM (#147976) Journal
    While this whole issue is of questionable relevance to "stuff that matters" I guess I have to admit that it matters enough for me to add my own thought. So here goes: to the question of "are all their creative juices dry?" I have to answer that this is not just a Disney problem - more a Hollywood problem. There seems to be an inherent inability in the California entertainment scene to create anything truly groundbreaking, or even thoughtful and interesting. Note that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was all over the Oscars, which have traditionally been a members-only Hollywood exhibition. Or the way the X-Files started to stink the moment production moved down from British Columbia to LA.
    There seem to be two issues at hand, and they may be related. First of all, Hollywood is so revenue-driven that they must try to hit the least common denominator with everything they do, which excludes a lot of highly artistic content which might just be too niche-market for the bean counters who run the show to approve. This also leaves out a good deal of stuff that just seems too wierd for the apparantly wierd people who decide what gets produced.
    The other issue surrounds the culture of Southern California itself - at great risk of generalizing here, I'd describe it as soulless. Everything there has a price value, and that value seems to be the only one that matters. This highlights the age-old battle between Northern and Southern California with the northerners constantly accusing the southerners of being thoughtless and greedy. The fact is, it may not be possible for someone wholly immersed in the SoCal culture ideal to actually come up with much of anything that isn't plasticy and over-glitzy to everyone else. I know people from LA will vehemently disagree with this, but my rebuttal is: where's the content? When the best movies and television (in terms of quality, not ratings) are being made anywhere but hollywood, what is the problem?
    My biggest concern is that Hollywood seems to behave as though it should be the cultural center for the US, and considering the "role models" it proposes, this would be a very bad thing indeed.

    Insert flames here:
  • anyone know who owns the copyrights on the nadia flick? Because I bet disney is about to make a boatload of money, as they often do, off this movie. Sounds like a pretty airtight case, if it could ever hit the courts.

    -
  • An Interesting and semi-related article [latimes.com] was in the LA Times this morning, about how Disney is laying off a good chunk of it's animation group, and many of the older members think that the new environment does not foster the kind of (perceived) creativity that made Disney famous.

    From the Article:
    But longtime animators say the more serious problem is that the division--once the premier place to work--lacks the creative vibrancy that fostered such hits as "Lion King."

  • Simba was the name of the lion in Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tar-Zan novels.

    You've heard of Tar-Zan, right? Disney did a movie about him, too, only people realized up-front that it was "Disney's version" of it, and didn't spaz just because it was an adaption of prior art.

    --Blair
  • When I was a kid, I had a dream come true at Disneyland. I'd heard somewhere that Walt kept an apartment above the fire station on Main Street, so one weekend I decided to blow off all the rides and just hang out at the fire department and play on the antique steam pumper while my siblings used up all their ride tickets.

    I got my wish. Walter Eugene Disney wandered in about four o'clock and his first words to me were... "where are your parents?" When I'd assured him that I was not an orphan and well looked after, he wanted to know if I was having fun. I could hardly speak, I was so happy. He wished me and my family well, and then left. I still don't know for sure if the rumors about his loft above the firehouse was true or not. I didn't care... I'd got to say "hello" to Walt.

    Fast forward fifty years. Michael Eisner makes more money in a year than Walt did in a lifetime. Disney, BuenaVista, and their subsidiaries routinely make movies that feature nudity, foul language, and violence. Disney gets sued over underwear. Disney gets sued over wages and benefits. Disney announces layoffs just to perk up the stockholders. Disney is no longer a kindly old grandfatherly type that wants to know where your parents are; Disney is now just another faceless megalithic corporation that just wants to know where your money is.

    As an aside, did you know why Annette Funicello never wore a bikini in any of her beach movies? Yup, Walt. He thought it would make a bad impression on youngsters if a former Mouseketeer showed too much skin. He held her to a contract provision for the rest of her career just because his sense of moral obligation made him sure that that was the right thing to do.

    If there is an afterlife, I feel sorry for Walt, looking down on what has become of his dreams for family oriented entertainment and family values.

    That wonderful day in the firehouse is gone forever.

  • Its easy to get these things mixed up. It was Damon, not Afflec, who was in WWII. He was in the other theatre of operations though, over in france.

  • Or is this just your average case of an earlier work's influence on a new release?

    Hardly the first time Disney has poached earlier works for their animated films. What irks me is that at the same time they're making millions retelling other people's stories (and here I'm thinking more of Aladdin and Snow White and other renditions of classic stories) they're doing their damndest [asu.edu] to prevent anyone else from doing the same with their classic stories.

    I'm not so bullheaded as to refuse to ever see a Disney film, but when I'm deciding what to go see I definitely take into account the fact that Disney's lobbying is a big reason there won't be any significant American contribution to the public domain [asu.edu] for years to come.

  • that with the umpty-billion dollars that Disney makes just for sneezing, they could afford to hire a writer or three that could come up with an original story here and there.

    Actually, it's precisely because of Disney's lack of originality that partly explains why they are successful (marketing usually fills in the rest). The public has been conditioned to enjoy familiarity and uninventiveness, or at least settle for this as the norm. A standardized committment to quality in all spheres of consumption usually emphasizes the standardization, and not the quality. *cough*Redmond*cough*

    Come to think of it, does this make children's stories the breeding ground for Disney's crass expectations of what they'll eat up at the box office, since they have that built-in familiarity during those impressionable ages?

  • You, my friend, are exactly right. It seems to me that a place where so many people are in favor of the GPL, which allows you to modify things slightly and then release software that is in a sense "derivative", would understand that writers often "share" plots in a sense.

    For that matter, aren't most Slashdotters against software patents? It seems to me that this arguing over plot similarities and owning ideas for stories is analogous to the patenting of software ideas.

    Company A:"This database allows you to sort the entries by a user-specified criteria! We have a patent on that!"
    Slashdot community:"Another company trying to claim ownership of ideas..."

  • by tdelaney (458893) on Saturday June 16, 2001 @06:37AM (#148008)
    Hmm ... you've obviously only watched a small selection of anime.

    I would invite you to contrast the artwork and character designs of "Magic Knight Rayearth" (by CLAMP) and "Kiki's Delivery Service" (by Hayao Miyazaki). Or Harlock Saga (by Leiji Matsumoto). Shirow's hard-eyed Deunan (from Appleseed) is another character design which breaks the mould.

    Indeed, the very topic involves a show (Nadia) which breaks the standard "big-eyed" character design of anime - it is based more on the character designs of Hayao Miyazaki.

    As for storylines being all the same ... there are as many and varied storylines as there are in US live-action movies ... in fact, usually more. Yes, there are a lot of anime shows which follow a formula, but there are many which also step outside the normal bounds. Take for example the superb "Jin-Roh", a metaphorical and at times literal retelling of the classic faerie tale "Red Riding Hood". Or the incredible story of Nausicaa (in particular, the manga - the movie does not have the same depth).

    Getting to the original topic, I cannot believe that the writers and artists involved with Atlantis were completely unaware of Nadia. I have no problems accepting that many of their ideas came from the works of Jules Verne and other sources. It's just that those "other sources" have to have included Nadia for there to be so many similarities. It's far beyond coincidence.

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