A written comparison of the similarities between the characters of the Balto cartoons, and the Lion King cartoons!
Article written by: BaltoSeppala
Here's something I posted a while back in my MySpace Balto RPG blog, which received a LOT of positive feedback from fans and role-players of both the Balto cartoons and the Lion King cartoons:
Balto - Lion King Character Comparisons
Alright...since there has been so much interaction between role-players of characters from the Balto movies, and the Lion King movies (most of it good and innocent enough...though a little of it is rather weird and highly implausible), I thought I'd throw this together for everyone's enjoyment.
In reality, there are several similarities between certain Lion King and Balto characters. Some of those similarities (based on how I've lined them up) might be considered tenuous, at best, but they are similar nevertheless. Keep in mind that I did not match these up simply to GIVE characters a match...but rather to try and match them up based upon how they were conceived, written and acted in their respective movies.
There may not, however, be some primary or secondary characters in one series which even remotely match with a character in the other series...so be prepared. See what you think:
(in the list below, I've listed the Balto characters first, and then the Lion King characters they most closely match - in my view - right after them...)
-- Balto - Simba
(Our two heroes. Very endearing, very kind, very smart, very charming, very brave, and both were very good and loving fathers. And both, when they were younger, were somewhat unsure of themselves...lacking a little self confidence. Which, of course, resolved itself quite nicely in each case, I think you'd agree!)
-- Jenna - Nala/Sarabi
(Jenna had the same motherly style and finesse, as well as endearing qualities, that the adult Nala - and also Sarabi - had.)
-- Aleu - Kiara
(Both of these girls had something to prove, and something to teach to others [including their own fathers!]...and were natural leaders! And neither was sure, at first, who she really wanted to be...)
-- Kodi - Kovu
(I know what you're gonna say: 'Huh?' Yeah, this is the most tenuous connection of all of these. But, like Kovu, Kodi was struggling in Balto III with being accepted by Kirby's mail team, and also came into conflict, however briefly, with Balto and Jenna [about whether or not Duke, the bush pilot, was worth rescuing when his plane crashed, and whether or not he was an 'enemy' to the mail dogs]...and then struggled with himself over wanting to make his father and mother proud of him...which is sort of similar to Kovu's early conflicts with Simba...and then his conflict with himself over whether or not to kill Simba, as Zira wanted, or to try and gain his acceptance. Yes...a weak connection, but a connection still. *Whew!* And I was worried these two might not have characters to connect with! I had to think long about this one!)
-- Steele - Scar
(These two were just baaaaaaaaaaad to the core. And don't you just love it? LOL! They're sympathetic evil characters...you love to hate them, but there's something about them that you can't help but sympathize with and enjoy! And each had a bit of very dark comedy about them, too...on occasion. And, I think, to bring a little relief against their dark, evil natures.)
-- Aniu AND Nava - Mufasa
(Mufasa served as a guide to Simba just as Aniu did for Balto and Aleu. And Nava served as a teacher for Balto and Aleu just as Mufasa did for Simba.)
-- Boris AND Nava - Rafiki
(Rafiki was, at once, comical and very wise. Boris was very funny, and had the capacity to occasionally be wise. Nava, of course, was very wise, though not a comedic character at all.)
-- Muk, Star and Boris - Timon
(Each of the Balto characters here had qualities evident in Timon...bravado [well, alright...Muk had no bravado to him - LOL], slight cowardice, paranoia, a loveable cluelessness, and each were VERY funny! Plus, like Boris, Timon was VERY stubborn!)
-- Luk - Pumbaa
(here's another tricky one. While Luk couldn't talk, he had an endearing, if simple, wisdom which often made him appear more perceptive than either Muk OR Boris...just as Pumbaa...who obviously COULD talk...was - in fact - wiser, more perceptive and more 'connected' than Timon.)
-- Niju - Zira
(Both characters were fiercely determined to make a point, and to stand by their beliefs even to their own deaths, and the deaths of those around them, if necessary.)
-- Nuk, Sumac and Yak as well as Nikki, Kaltag and Star - Vitani and the unnamed outlanders
(Nuk, Sumac and Yak started out very loyal to Niju, and as bad guys. But, when Balto, Aleu and Nava showed them that there was continued life in following the caribou herds across the water, they followed them instead. Nikki, Kaltag and Star were on Steele's sled team, and his 'yes dogs' as it were. But when Balto proved his courage, and Steele his selfishness and treachery, the three became loyal to Balto. Likewise, Vitani and the unnamed outsiders started out VERY loyal to Zira, and then - when they were shown a better way - changed their loyalties and followed the path that led to hope and a better life.)
-- Dipsy - Timon's Mom
(both came off as loveable, slightly comedic, diner-waitress kind of characters, who provided comfort to their foils...Timon for his mom, and Mel for Dipsy. But that is really the only connection I can see.)
-- Mel - Uncle Max and Zazu
(both Mel and Uncle Max were very comedic, very neurotic, very paranoid, very endearing characters. That is how they are similar. Zazu was also endearing and comedic, but his connection with Mel is that both loved to spread news, and keep an eye on the goings-on and an ear to the gossip...)
I really have no connections for Shenzi, Banzai and Ed (the three hyenas) - because they really don't connect with either Nuk, Sumac and Yak NOR especially with Nikki, Kaltag and Star (because Shenzi, Banzai and Ed simply STAY bad in all three Lion King movies...the two trios from Balto and Balto II end up changing sides and being good). Nor do I have one for Nuka...Zira and Scar's conniving, sniveling son in Lion King II. I also don't really see any connections, in the Lion King movies, for the following Balto characters (from Balto III): Dusty, Kirby, Ralph, or Stella...much less the human characters from any of the Balto films. Nor for Balto and Jenna's other pups (Kiona, Dingo, Dakota, and Saba...and the other two pups, which were never officially named, though they were given names by fans, are listed in the credits of the 2nd film). Perhaps - if a fourth Lion King movie is made - there'll be some chances there! Of course, we all know there's scuttlebutt among the Balto fans that a fourth film MIGHT be under consideration. But there is no hard evidence to support that it is under development.
I would LOVE to see a fourth for each series. The characters and story lines in each - I think - made them worthy of it. I didn't care for the production efforts in Balto II (drawing and animation was the worst of the three), and the script writing could have been better and less mystical. But I also thought that Balto III had an excellent and very historically-plausible story line, and was well-written and well-produced (while there are other hardcore fans of the first Balto movie who hate this one and think it's boring...and also hate the second one. I think they're missing the points made in each movie, and instead are SIMPLY looking at production quality and scripting. Admittedly, the scripting in Balto II was, in places, weak. But the story of Aleu wanting and needing to find herself and her destiny is, in of itself, very good). Similarly, I LOVED the first Lion King, and Lion King 1-1/2. But I thought the story line in Lion King II was not fully developed, and appeared rushed. And I really believe that some of the characters (most especially Nala, Timon and Pumbaa) were not utilized to their full capabilities. But hey - that's me! You may well feel differently, and that's totally cool!