Leo (or Kimba as he's known in various dubs) is the son of Caesar and Snowene. He is the main character and hero of the Jungle Emperor series who, in the original manga, is followed from birth to death. He believes there would be peace between animals and humans if each understood the other
- 1 Personality
- 2 Physical Appearance
- 3 Appearances
- 4 Gallery
Kimba is a strong-hearted character with true moral fiber. He is brave, kind-hearted, jolly, honorable, and steadfast. He constantly stands up for what he believes in, even if that means sacrificing his own life to do it.
Kimba is a white lion with blue eyes, black-tipped ears and tail. The only time this changes is in the 2009 special, which gives him scarlet eyes, and in the 1997 film and the Hon-o-ji special, which give him russet eyes. In the first half of the manga, he wears trousers with suspenders and wear just pants as he grows out of them.
In Leo the Lion Cub (manga), Kimba's shown to have a colored mane throughout his young age, colored a rustic orange instead of the standard white. This is mostly shown in cover art and in colored pages of the manga the color is far less prominent. This detail isn't shown in any other adaptations.
In Jungle Emperor (manga)
At the beginning of the story, he has more anthropomorphic features (including dressing trousers with suspenders). As Leo washes ashore in Aden, he lives with Kenichi (Roger Ranger) and his uncle (Dr. Mustache), he learns out to walk upright and to speak the human language. His first friend is Jack, a mouse whom was aboard a ship and decided to help the little prince during his first journey. While living with Kenichi, he is often bullied and ridiculed by Mary and Pierre. Leo comes with Kenichi, Ham Egg and Mary to the jungle and absolutely hates it at first. He is in utter shock to how chaotic the place is and has a weird temptation about hunting animals that he's never had before. He gets dragged into meeting the animals by Coco (Pauly) and Tommy (Bucky) by dressing up as his father. When the jungle animals welcome the prince with welcome arms, Leo realizes that he needs to take his father's place as leader, but not without a human touch.
Leo overcomes many obstacles and integrates a few human imitations while ruling the jungle. For example, Leo teaches the animals on how to open and maintain a restaurant, grow a farm, starting a school and have some culture by hosting a jungle symphony. Leo also fends off threats like Bubu (Claw) and the humans, such as hunters or the nearby villages. He does whatever he can to protect every animal in the jungle, small and large.
After being captured by humans, Leo has a realization that animals must be free from human capture and control and becomes very wary of all humans as they are difficult to trust in his perspective. Leo marries Laiya (Kitty) a lioness whom he met rescuing from humans and has two cubs: Lune and Lukio. When his son runs away, Leo starts to realize that his son's ambition is as strong as when he found his own ambition swimming to land as a cub.
When a deadly plague hits the jungle, his wary trust in humans is put to the test when he is forced to have the humans vaccinate the sick animals. This is because the plague is so deadly, that it could wipe out the entire jungle if it's not treated along with his daughter, Lukio. He goes to help the humans locate and climb up the mysterious Mount Moon because of a promise that if Albert could heal his daughter of the sickness, he would help the humans complete their mission. The final ending of the story is different from the one of Leo the Lion and was more faithfully represented in the 1997 movie.
In this slice of life spin-off, Leo starts off living with Kenichi and learning about the humans after he was born in the jungle. His living parents check up on him with sending a message through a tape recorder. As this manga is intended for a younger audience, Leo learns human manners, customs and goes on excursions with his human family along with the reader. Leo eventually returns to the jungle meet with his parents again and continues his many adventures and learning life lessons. He meets Laiya (Kitty) who had been captured by Conga in a nearby village. As Leo grows up, He marries Laiya who has two cubs: Lune and Lukio. The family spends New Years together and teaches the kids how to make rice cakes. He goes on a couple of adventures with his children as well. In the Third Grader stories, Leo fights a boxing match with Bubu (Claw) and meets Laiya's long lost brother, Laman while fighting a hydra snake.
Kimba is a kind-hearted, caring cub who constantly looks out for his friends. Naive and idealistic, he sees the world of humans and tries to use it to make the lives of his animal friends better, but this was a slow process. He is very strong-willed and steadfast. He often goes out of his way to avoid a fight and only fights when he absolutely can’t avoid it. After the terrible sea storm, Kimba washes up onshore near a human city and meets Kenichi (Roger Ranger). He spends time living with him, his uncle, Mr. Pompous and his girlfriend, Mary and even spends some vacation time in Paris and London. During his time, he learns to appreciate the humans and their culture, but he also learns that not all humans are kind to animals. When he returns to the jungle, Claw (Bubu) has taken over the jungle and he must learn that animals have to fight sometimes when it is necessary to protect the collective animals. Kimba incorporates what he would’ve learned in the human world to his jungle, such as giving ideas on solving problems the jungle animals face. Overtime, he has begun a farm, assisted give direction to Dan'l, Bucky and Pauly on how to begin a restaurant, opened a school and taught the animals how to sing a chorus. Roger Ranger would’ve lived beside Kimba giving them guidance and advice for his own problems. Along the way, many humans and animals want to disturb the peace and harmony in the jungle such as Claw, Cassius, Tom, Tab as well as nearby human threats from hunters.
Now an adult, Kimba has grown into a very fine lion and he has married his childhood friend, Kitty (Lyra). He has turned into a very austere and serious-minded lion but he is otherwise a fair and kind-hearted ruler. There are not fun and games for him when he must protect every animals from harm's way. Either by humans (hunters and neighboring tribes, and/or visitors of the jungle) or other animals from other jungles. When his cubs are born, he’s overjoyed. However, he quickly establishes himself as a stern father as well, assisting Lune "run away" from home. All in all, he is still very sympathetic just as he was as a cub, yet is more vary of trusting humans and animals not a part of his jungle. The series, however, show more episodes with Kimba fighting, wounding and even murdering his opponents when necessary which Kimba would try to prevent as much as possible in the first series with making compromises. In the last two episodes: The Green Plague and The Eternal Mount Moon, Kimba (Leo) must put his trust in humans to the test as Dr. Mustache should cure his wife, Lyra from the green plague sweeping the jungle. The ending of the series differs from the original manga (Jungle Emperor).
In this series, Leo looks and sounds older compared to the 1965 series. This iteration explores darker aspects of the character, including an arc of episodes where Leo undergoes a violent and aggressive phase, and chooses a voluntary exile from the jungle. While Leo was living with Kenichi and his uncle for a time before returning to the jungle, Leo doesn't use any human influences when ruling his father's jungle, nor does he try to 'civilize' it. In the last episodes of the series is revealed that Leo (differently from the other adaptation) hunts for prey.
Leo is shown to be a serious-minded character, refusing to fight unless he has to, but prone to protective anger. He’s a caring father and a loyal friend. At the beginning of the film, Leo is an adult and he has just learned that his mate, Lyra, has given birth to twin cubs: Lune and Lukio, much to Leo's joy.
As the movie progresses, Leo continues to protect the animals of the jungle from whatever may threaten them, including Ham Egg's dark actions, dissent amongst the animals, and a deadly disease that is affecting the animals. The lion leads Dr. Mustache and his assistant to Mt. Moon, and he sacrifices himself by falling on Dr. Mustache's kris knife so that Dr. Mustache will have food and shelter from the cold, and to enable he spreads his wisdom to humans so they would learn better.
In the Hon-o-ji Special
In this special, Leo rules his jungle kingdom as a cub and drawn in the 1997 film style. He is the first one to approach an ocelot named Paola as she is brought to him by the other animals for causing a ruckus. Leo has a caring, genuine understanding for her as she comes from the human world as well. Leo trusts her and gives a warning to Paola not to hurt the other animals as she tries to play. Bubu shows up to trick Paola and Leo, causing the jungle animals to question his authority as emperor. As Paola shows up beaten and reveals the truth, Leo and Bubu have a duel, causing his right eye to be scratched, leaving him temporarily blind. Finally, Leo shows Paola the truck where her mama and papa are and says farewell.
Leo here was vastly different from any other portrayal of him. He is friendly, but easily frightened and thinks of himself as a coward. He looked up to his father and tried to prove that he was as worthy of respect as Panja was. Later, he proved to the animals that he was worthy and led the animals to freedom. He befriended a human boy named Kenichi. As the movie goes on, he bonds with Kenichi and gathers courage such as helping Leo rid his fear of heights. He saved the animals from being destroyed by the humans controlling them. The animals start to respect Leo as their leader and that they were wrong about Leo. They saw Leo as a brave lion like his father. Leo earned the title as Jungle Emperor. Leo led the animals to the real jungle.
In Other Media
- He has a cameo in the 1979 charity special, 海底超特急: Marine Express as a white lion with flying powers ridden by Triton and a loyal ally to Sapphire.
- Both Young Leo and Adult Leo and his children Rune and Rukio, Coco, Tommy make cameo appearances in Tezuka's Last Mystery of the Twentieth Century, and also in Ravex in Tezuka World he is dancing with Unico.
- Kimba (Leo) appeared in a few video games such as Columns GBC in 1999 and Astro Boy: Omega Factor (GBA) in 2003 as well as a few cancelled video games primarily centered on Kimba (Leo) such as a cancelled super famicom game based on the '89 series and a cancelled Nintendo 64 game. An unofficial appearance of Leo from Leo the Lion made its way onto the first release of "Lion and The King" published Midas Interactive in either 2000 or 2001.
- In 2012, a friend of Tezuka named Mauricio de Sousa created a 2-part story called: Green Treasure as a part of the Monica Adventures with many Tezuka characters about being aware of the destruction of the environment.
- In A Boy, a song by Leo leiri, he is portrayed as a lone white lion where danger is everywhere.
- A modified variation of the lion appears on The Garfield Show episode Lion Queen for Prince.