What Our Favorite Cartoons Look Like in Other Countries
Sometimes animated shows get changed here and there when they get translated. In addition to that, a lot of famous cartoons are based on popular old stories and books, meaning different countries might have their own animated version of the same story. Spain actually released an animated version of Cinderella, titled Erase Una Vez (“Once Upon a Time”), in 1950... the same year Disney released their version of the same story!
We at Bright Side love animation, especially when we can look at cartoons from around the world, so we’re sharing this list of characters in different countries with you.
1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (USA) / The Tale of the Sleeping Princess and the Seven Knights (Russia)
Aleksandr Pushkin penned his own version of the Snow White fairy tale which later inspired an animated film by the Soyuzmultfilm animation studio in 1951. With the story taking place in Russia, a wicked queen tries to destroy her beautiful step-daughter who takes refuge in the forest... but instead of 7 dwarfs, she befriends 7 handsome warriors. As you might have guessed, there’s also a poisoned apple, a glass coffin, and a handsome prince.
2. Cinderella (USA) / Zolushka (Russia)
Charles Perrault’s classic rags-to-riches story, Cinderella, is one of the world’s most retold fairy tales, even in cartoons. In Russia, where her name is Zolushka, it was turned into an animated short by the Soyuzmultfilm studio. Compared to the Disney film, the short is a bit more faithful to the original story (i.e. Cinderella’s father is still alive).
The short has been dubbed into English quite a few times, one of which featured actress Sarah Jessica Parker as the narrator.
3. Puss In Boots (USA) / The Wonderful World of Puss ’n Boots (Japan)
Shrek’s feline sidekick was the star of his own series of animated films from Japan. Starting in 1969, the first movie is a retelling of Charles Perrault’s classic story, where Puss, actually named Pero (that’s actually how you pronounce “Perrault”) befriends a miller’s son who’s being bullied by his 2 mean brothers and helps him marry a princess, all the while saving the kingdom from an evil ogre with an army of mice. Pero became so popular he’s now Toei Animation’s mascot.
4. Aladdin (USA) / Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp (Japan)
Japan retold the story of a boy with a magic lamp (and a magic ring) who wins the heart of a princess in 1982. The Japanese film might have even inspired the Disney film... in both movies, the villain has a pet parrot. Funnily enough, it also used to air on the Disney channel long before Disney told their own version of the story.
5. The Little Mermaid (U.S.A.) / Rusalochka (Russia)
Hans Christian Anderson’s tragic fairy tale of a mermaid who falls in love with a prince and sacrifices her life in the sea was inspired a Russian animated short in 1969, making it the first animated version of the story ever made. The story has a different ending than Disney, but both teach about a love that knows no obstacles.
6. Winnie the Pooh (USA) / Vinni Pukh (Russia)
There are a few differences: Vinni Pukh is a bit more eccentric than stupid, Owl became a girl, and there’s no Christopher Robin, meaning Vinni and his friends are forest animals instead of toys. Vinni’s world is also designed to look like children’s crayon drawings.
7. Pinocchio (USA) / Buratino (Russia)
A lonely carpenter who makes a little wooden boy who comes to life is the start of 2 different animated films: Disney’s Pinocchio and Russia’s Buratino. But that’s really the only similarity. Buratino (whose name is Italian for puppet) has to find a golden key to save his puppet friends from an evil puppet master. There’s no becoming a real boy (or a donkey, for that matter) for Buratino, either.
8. Beauty and the Beast (USA) / The Scarlet Flower (Russia)
This love story between a girl and a monster has many names. In this Russian animated film, Beauty is named Anastasia, a merchant’s youngest daughter, and she becomes a beast’s prisoner on a beautiful island to save her father’s life.
The movie has been dubbed quite a few times into English, with Amy Irving and Tim Curry voicing the 2 leads.
9. The Amazing World of Gumball (France/UK/USA) / Miracle Star (China)
The zany world of Elmore may have more than inspired a series of animated shorts in China promoting the Miracle Star goat’s milk, which is why the characters have been recast as goats. The animators behind Gumball are aware of the show... they made an episode called “The Copycats” where they faced off against another family of goat doppelgängers.
10. The Powerpuff Girls (USA) / Powerpuff Girls Z (Japan)
The Powerpuff Girls were so popular in Japan that they eventually got their own anime series. Unlike the original show, the new super girls aren’t sisters and actually start out as normal girls who have to transform into their Powerpuff alter-egos, complete with transformation scenes like in Sailor Moon. Professor Utonium also had a genius son who might have been a little inspired by Dexter from Dexter’s Laboratory.
11. Adventure Time (USA) / The Legend of Lucky Pie (China)
The Legend of Lucky Pie is an indie animated series about an owl-like boy and a talking horse, Lucky and Pie, who go on adventures with their friend, a mermaid princess, similar to Finn and Jake. Some animation fans might have also noticed Pie looks a lot like Pokey, another talking horse, from the stop-motion Gumby cartoons.
What are some other foreign versions of your favorite cartoons that you’ve heard of? Please share with us in the comments.