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, millions of people were wondering, “Didn’t we see this already somewhere else?”
Disney has an infamous history of maybe 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.
Image: Copyright Tezuka Productions/Disney (What Culture)
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 States and July 18 in Japan.