entertainment

Disney Pixar’s new movie attracts criticism again in Japan

43 Comments
By KK Miller, RocketNews24

Other than a brief trial separation, Disney and Pixar have been working hard together to make some of the best family-friendly movies over the past two decades. Their success has been practically unrivaled in the industry. Huge movies like "Toy Story 3" and "Monsters University" always attract big audiences and with sequels to "The Incredibles" in the works and "Finding Dory" on the way, fans can’t wait for the next Pixar movie to come out.

But when the trailer for "Inside Out" hit Japan, some people were wondering, “Didn’t we see this already somewhere else?”

Disney has an infamous history of allegedly stealing other people’s ideas to create some of their best movies. The most well-known example is Disney’s "The Lion King" being eerily similar to Osamu Tezuka’s "Kimba the White Lion." However, there were also loud whispers of "Atlantis: The Lost Empire" being plagiarized from the anime "Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water."

That’s at least two Disney movies that bear a striking resemblance to two Japanese titles. So when another Disney Pixar movie shared some story elements from a Japanese drama, people took notice. "Inside Out" follows the story of central character Riley and the five emotions, Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust, living in her head as they deal with moving to San Francisco from the mid-west.

J-drama and manga fans are crying foul as this premise is a lot like "Poison Berry in My Brain" (Nonai Poison Berry). In this story, a working woman named Ichiko meets a younger guy at a bar and the five characters who live inside her head have a meeting to sort out what Ichiko should do. These five characters play similar roles to the ones in Inside Out. There is Yoshida, the chairman, Ishibashi, the optimist, Ikeda, the pessimist, Hatoko, who lives in the moment and Kishi who always thinks about the past.

A story of five characters living in a girl’s head does seem very similar. It also seems suspicious when you find out that "Poison Berry" started serialization at the end of 2009 and "Inside Out" is only coming out in 2015. However, the screenwriter for the Pixar movie, Michael Arndt, said that he finished the script for "Inside Out" back in 2011 and it took him about a year to write it. So it seems that both stories were being written at about the same time. Is this a case of plagiarism? Or just another case of similar ideas being conceived and released at around the same time?

It definitely wouldn’t be the first instance of it has happening, just look at "Armageddon" and "Deep Impact" or "The Legend of Hercules" and "Hercules." You can find out for yourself when "Inside Out" is released on June 19 in the U.S. and July 18 in Japan.

Source: Otapol

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43 Comments
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All stories have been told and retold. Get over it.

6 ( +14 / -9 )

Based on the article, I'm not so sure this is a case of plagiarism, compared to a more clear cut example like The Lion King. I mean the devil versus angel on your shoulder idea has been around for a long, long time. It doesn't take much creativity to expand that into any number of attitudes or personality traits.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Japanese complaining about copying others' works? Pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

Not to mention the fact that this was already a TV show on Fox back in the day called Herman's Head. Was rather fond of it, sad when it went on hiatus and vanished.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Can't feel sympathy for Japan's entertainment industry. Japan entertains Japan. Disney and Pixar seek to entertain the World.

How about making your stories in English first? Get to entertaining everybody us. I'm tired of the gaikokujin out there juggling. Get to juggling for us. Then you can claim it's your own.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

We've been personifying emotions for about as long as we've been telling stories where people experience them. But, yeah, like Will, my go-to reference was going to be Herman's Head.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

While Inside Out is somewhat similar to Nonai Poison Berry, that also means that Nonai Poison Berry is a direct rip-off of Herman's Head.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

actually the poison berry story sounds a lot more interesting!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Sorry, but another stupid claim:

This manga, Poison Berry in My Brain, was released in 2009. There have been countless iterations of this kind of story since forever.

Another example, from Disney, was an attraction at Disney World called "Cranium Command" where the different body parts held meetings/tried to make the human do things. That was 1989.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

well just look at japanese TV dramas etc, they sometimes borrow entire storylines from their US or British counterparts, Japanese tend to point the finger at other nations a lot but never question when their movie/TV industry copy an idea... They simply have an us vs them mentality instead of a world view or introspective objectivity, thats just they way it is... It it was me I would see it as a compliment that someone was basing a storyline on my old idea. If that was indeed the case.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Oh? So the much horrayed Miyazaki, making all his movies based on other works is... Mondainai? Anyway, this is only an issue domestically. Nobody will know or care about this internationally since the Japanese can't communicate well with the outside world. Sakoku light.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Well, if Pixar has to apologise to japan for stealing the concept from them, then whoever wrote Poison Berry in my Brain needs to apologise to the Beano for ripping off The Numskulls, which I used to love reading 40 years ago.

This constant drive to make Japan out to be some kind of wronged innocent, wallowing in victimhood really does get very dreary very quickly.

http://usvsth3m.com/post/is-that-new-pixar-movie-just-ripping-off-a-comic-strip-from-the-beano

0 ( +6 / -6 )

I dont think using "J-drama and manga fans" as a source even remotely makes this a "domestic case" Just using it as another excuse to harp on Japan is just petty IMO.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Sorry, but the LAST people who can be complaining about copyright infringement or stealing ideas are Japanese manga fans. Wasn't there an article just a few weeks back about how increased copyright laws in Japan would spell the end for manga artists whose sole job it is to copy ideas and make them Japanese? I forget what they are called.

Anyway, the idea about different parts of the body or specifically the mind conflicting and sometimes working together is OLD. They even had that horrible TV 'comedy' in the 90's Herman's Head.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

LOL.. so Japan copied the American stories, passes them off as originals, and when Disney stories retell stories that were told in America for ages, Japanese cry foul that they were supposedly the ones who created the stories in the first place? I'm not surprised. Japanese love to claim they invented everything.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

In some countries, "copyright" means the right to copy.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Knox "sakoku light". I like it! I'll be using that from now. I hope it is not copyrighted.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

the much horrayed Miyazaki, making all his movies based on other works

Really? What is Totoro based on?

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Sounds like a British comic strip called "The Numskulls", which started in 1962.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

First of all, Pixar and Disney make junk, bottom of the barrel trash. None of he recent releases by either are anywhere near the quality of most Anime and manga. Long ago Disney became a monster living off of its own greatly over inflated self image. Disneyland was a fun place for suburban american familes to visit, but frankly it was ALL a re hash of other ideas and images from everywhere under the sun. All of Disney media is derivative. On the other hand, Japanese anime is hugely original and remarkable, a vast literature literally unknown in the western media world. Shallow remakers of Disney shallow fantasy like Studio G are nothing to discuss for he is as shallow as Disney.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

Sounds like a British comic strip called "The Numskulls", which started in 1962.

Yup, I remember that comic strip being used in the mid-80's in The Beano I believe. Also had five characters which controlled different aspects of the senses.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japanese love to claim they invented everything.

@hotmail Nah, that what Koreans like to do.

They also copy everything from other countries, especially Japan. They don't even bother to hide it.

https://youtu.be/5zPhBFEizzA?t=25s

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Yup, it's a rip off of The Numbskulls from The Beano, a childhood favourite. Japan's got a cheek claiming they're the ones being ripped off when I think DC Thompson should be suing them.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

JoeintokyoApr. 21, 2015 - 08:10AM JST Japanese complaining about copying others' works? Pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot.

LOL. Hey Joe, it's not 1965 anymore.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Japanese love to claim they invented everything. lol yeah and for a country of 130million youd think theyd though of a hell of a lot more compared to Europeans/Americans, but then again creative thinking wasnt Japans strongest trait during the boom years

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Well, I haven't seen Inside Out or Poison Berry, so it's difficult to say, but going by what I know of Pixar and what I know of Japanese dramas I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the Pixar version will be a million times better and Poison Berry is not going to help ticket sales for Inside Out whatsoever. Just a guess.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Can you imagine if it was the other way around? A Mega million lawsuit. Asian countries should pull money together to protect creative investments. I'm sure China, Korea, India, Thailand etc will find themselves in the same predicament eventually. I read about some dude in US sued Disney awhile ago about similar incident. This guy also claimed that Disney version came out around 5 years after his original. Looks like he settled though.....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Pixar (global market) obviously is going to make much more than the Nonai Berry (localized market). No matter what the similarity, it all boils down to who tells the same story better and to how many people.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Then boycott and sue.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

First of all, Pixar and Disney make junk, bottom of the barrel trash.

The rest of the world disagrees with you. Hmm... the rest of the world or you... Which to believe?? O_o

As for the article itself, even Shakespeare didn't think up all his plots on his own. He took most of his plots from Greek plays.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Herman's Head was tv show that had a similar premise. It came out in 1994 so that pre-dates either Poison Berry or Inside Out.

Really, imitation is the best flattery.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wasn't there an article just a few weeks back about how increased copyright laws in Japan would spell the end for manga artists whose sole job it is to copy ideas and make them Japanese? I forget what they are called.

The article was about Comiket where there are young artists that produce doujinshi, that are fan-made works about other popular Japanese manga.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@CrisGerSan:

First of all, Pixar and Disney make junk, bottom of the barrel trash. None of he recent releases by either are anywhere near the quality of most Anime and manga....

Rather strong opinion, and you're entitled to it...but it's apples and oranges really. At best, anime is a niche market. This is reflected by their generally poor sales when compared to other western anime world wide.

The Top 50 animated films of all time grossed between $1.2 Billion (Frozen) and $360 Million(Shark tale); The highest anime of all time, Spirited Away, sits at $274 Million. Moreover, currently Frozen is the #5 highest selling movie of all time (of all movies...not just animation)

Personally, I love Studio Ghibli...and would probably watch Spirited away over Frozen any day...but the numbers don't lie.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Shallow remakers of Disney shallow fantasy like Studio G are nothing to discuss for he is as shallow as Disney.

Thanks for contributing to the discussion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

J-drama and manga fans are crying foul as this premise is a lot like “Poison Berry in My Brain” (Nonai Poison Berry)

Perhaps the crying fans should do some research and realize that there was a show once called Herman's Head that predates that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Based on the article, I'm not so sure this is a case of plagiarism, compared to a more clear cut example like The Lion King.

Yeah, I don't know about this case, the plot seems a bit generic, so it's a big "meh!", while The Lion King was a clear case of plagiarism. Disney could put in the credits "inspired by Osamu Tezuka’s “Kimba the White Lion" at least. Everyone knew Kimba by Tezuka in Italy because it was a very popular series on Italian tv during the 80s:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35U6VDj6yaE&list=PLIbv-gNOPWCEonqnWJqTyVqHIOtUjW-vI

Probably the American audience didn't know Kimba, so for them the Disney version was "original".

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Alex and above:

Actually, according to the film makers of The Lion King, it was actually based on Shakespeare's Hamlet, and to a lesser extent, biblical stories.

Most of them had never heard of, or vaguely heard of, Kimba. The similarity in names is also coincidence OR they share the same base, as Simba has meaning of "Lion" in Swahili.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

FYI

You can't plagiarize a story. Only the telling of it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Most of them had never heard of, or vaguely heard of, Kimba.

There were too many similarities. Just because they said like that, it's not like I have to believe it's true. It's easy for a huge company bully a small company.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Most of them had never heard of, or vaguely heard of, Kimba.

Which is irrelevant. It only matters if it was copied, or not.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Plus, to people who think Japanese animation is known only in Japan or by a niche of people, because they klnow only stupid moe series, Pokemon or Naruto, don't think all the world is the US. In Italy, specially during the 80s and the 90s, Japanese animation was everywhere and very, very popular, also more loved than the western series. This is a list of Japanese cartoons in Italy, watched by millions of people, mainly during those years, and probably it's not even complete!

http://web.tiscali.it/ufoEaltro/Cartoni.htm

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

There were too many similarities. Just because they said like that, it's not like I have to believe it's true. It's easy for a huge company bully a small company.

I don't remember the plot for Kimba the white lion but I looked up on the internet and the plot is way different from the Lion King, Kimba was born in a boat and he interacts with humans, in the case of the Lion King it is all about a rivalry between two brothers with the brother killing the king, blame it on his nephew and taking the throne, whereas SImba goes into exile and then coming back to denounce his uncle, and taking back the throne.. which is essentially, Hamlet.

As for rip off... what about Meitantei Conan?, such an extensive work... which is a rip off of Sherlock Holmes, and many of the J-dramas they "borrow" a lot from Sherlock... like "ST" or "Mr Brain"

I vaguely remember "Herman´s head" so since it existed before the manga I wouldn't claim "Nonai Poison Berry" as a work 100% original and that "Inside Out" is a rip off the manga...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan always cries plagiarists perhaps because they are sore losers, perhaps next time they'll start shouting "Hey! That's my pose". How silly can they get, firstly, there are limitations to 2D and 3D animations, which leave no choice but for people to choose from the limited amount of art designs available. Secondly, no one even cares about Japanese Dramas or Cartoons or whatever! Grow up. You've been secretly copying and researching on Disney, did America ever cry? No. They took it in a positive manners and accepted Japanese story-telling via that median. If the story is very similar and the characters are exactly the SAME, than that could be controversial; but it's just damn cartoons. Stupid immature adults.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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