Are you familiar with titles like Doraemon, Astro Boy, Mazinger Z and Ranma 1/2? These four titles have defined generations of anime fans and have gone on to become classics loved not only in Japan but all over the world.
But how about titles like Monchamon, Lightning Boy, Tae Kwon V and Ramba 1/3?
Korean actress Yoon Son-ha, who is also active in Japanese showbiz, revealed in a recent interview that growing up, she thought Doraemon was really a product of Korea and not Japan. She said: “I thought Doraemon was a Korean thing”.
Doraemon, of course. is the classic piece of work by the late Japanese manga artist Fujiko F. Fujio and published by Japanese publishing giant Shogakukan.
Yoon may have been talking about the Korean rip-off of Doraemon titled Tonchamon. The Manhwa (Korean comic books) series by Rainbow Comics looks startlingly similar to the Japanese classic.
Here is a comparison between the Korean and Japanese versions. The Korean version is to the left while the original Japanese version is to the right.
Another rip-off would be Lightning Boy, a series which eerily looks like the classic anime Astro Boy by Osamu Tezuka. The top image is Astroboy while the bottom two images are from Lightning Boy.
Rumiko Takahashi’s classic manga Ranma 1/2 wasn’t safe either as it was copied by Korean manhwa Ramba 1/3. In the manhwa’s cover, we can see a Ranma rip-off, an Akane rip-off, several pandas which are supposed to look like Ranma’s father, Genma and they even ripped-off another character from one of Takahashi’s other beloved series, Urusei Yatsura’s Lum (complete with the tiger-striped bikini).
Tae Kwon Do is South Korea’s national sport so would it make the Korean mecha series Tae Kwon V, which really sounds a lot like their national sport, an original? The answer would be no as the mecha design actually looks like Go Nagai’s classic anime Mazinger Z.
Tae Kwon V
And then there’s Powermon and One Peace which blatantly steal from titles like Pokemon and One Piece in broad daylight… wait, is that Sanji wearing Bruce Lee’s yellow tracksuit?!
Surely, Korea these days is one of the most innovative countries in the world coming up with original ideas left and right. However, these rip-offs came from a very different era. Plagiarism can now be seen and reported in the Internet age, but these old titles were from a time when the Internet was still either in its infancy or did not yet exist.
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Via Post Seven News