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!
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.