They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. So I’m sure that animation studios are always very flattered when people blatantly rip off their original content and create terrible versions of art that they spend untold hours writing and then animating. I can really only imagine just how honored they felt by the following ten cartoon ripoffs.
10. The Amazing World of Gumball
Writing and trying to come up with jokes is pretty hard. I should know because I’m trying to do both of those things right now. Creating original characters who have their own unique look and personality is also pretty hard. Here in America, if you try and get around how hard these things are by copying someone too closely, so closely that a teacher would definitely catch you, you will get sued so hard you’ll be back to buying the one dollar loafs of bread that dissolve in your mouth.
But in China, where things are a teensy bit looser, you can largely just ignore copyright law. And thus, Miracle Star – a cartoon ripoff – was born.
I mean just look at it. They swapped out cats for goats and your typical American suburban house for a big commie-blockish Chinese apartment building, and that’s just about it. It’s such an obvious rip-off that Cartoon Network actually made an episode called “The Copycats” about the main characters discovering a family that imitates them.
9. Gravity Falls
Meanwhile, in another country that doesn’t have the strictest of copyright laws, Russia, we have this pretty blatant rip-off of Gravity Falls.
You can tell it’s a cartoon ripoff just from watching the intro that it’s basically the same thing. The story follows a young boy drawn in a very familiar-looking but noticeably less fluid animation style who is sent off to a rural village way out in the woods not to spend time with Uncle Stan, but so that he can learn the Tartar language. And, obviously, so that he can have paranormal adventures, as you can tell by his wacky interaction with this Groot looking guy.
You’ve also got this chick, who is obviously Mabel, I mean just look at the sweater.
I’m pretty concerned about what exactly is going on in this scene though.
I would not get into a motorcycle sidecar with that man. Possibly Russia has more lax standards on what can and can’t be in children’s cartoons.
8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been around so long that they have a lot more than just one rip-off. Take for instance, ‘Kung Fu Dino Posse’, which even kept the reptile and Asian fighting style in the very title.
It really is just the same thing – this bunch of young reptiles fights crime with the power of martial arts in the city. You’ve also got the slightly more creatively named ‘The Adventures of T-Rex’.
Less creative though is their animal choice. Whereas Kung Fu Dino Posse at least had a whole posse of different kinds of dinosaurs, The Adventures of T-Rex is straight T-Rexes as you may have guessed. It’s about a group of reptile brothers who fight crime at night and each have their own special color. Does that remind you of anything?
The fact that you’ve probably never even heard of either of these shows really goes to show that nothing can replace the original turtles. Maybe it really is the irony of the fact that turtles in real life are slow and don’t know martial arts that really makes TMNT stand out from the imposters.
Do you enjoy shows that feature a gang of teenagers and their talking dog solving mysteries, but are just sick and tired of watching Scooby-Doo? Luckily for you, there’s another show that just so happens to fit this exact description: Goober and the Ghost Chasers.
That’s not entirely fair, however, as there are actually some major differences. For starters, Goober can turn invisible, making him way more powerful than Scooby. But the real thematic difference is that a lot of the time the ghosts they catch do actually turn out to be real ghosts. So if you think about it, the Ghost Chasers are way more powerful than the Mystery Gang, since they’re dealing with real paranormal events and not just weirdos in costumes. They also drive a weird military-looking vehicle with six wheels instead of a groovy van.
Could this mean that they represent the pro-Vietnam establishment of the 70s, and Scooby-Doo represents the hippies? I mean, probably not.
What’s also strange is that Goober and the Ghost Chasers isn’t exactly a rip-off, since it was actually made by the same company as Scooby-Doo. Is it possible to rip off yourself? I’m really not even sure.
6. The Fairly Oddparents
A show about a kid who gets a magic being that will grant them wishes, but every episode their wish goes wrong and they have to fix it on their own. I’ve just described The Fairly Oddparents, but I’ve also just described the British/Canadian/Australian show Pixel Pinkie.
In Pixel Pinkie, the main character Nina gets a phone on her birthday that contains a digital genie – for some reason – that grants her wishes. Also, like Fairly Oddparents, it must be kept a secret. There’s no explanation for why this happens though. To the credit of the Fairly Oddparents, there’s a whole lore explaining why Timmy got the fairies. This chick Nina just gets a genie for free, she didn’t even have to suffer like Timmy did.
Like most of these rip-off shows, you can tell that Pixel Pinkie didn’t have the same budget that Nickelodeon could afford to give the Fairly Oddparents. Even one of the characters on Pixel Pinkie, a guy named ‘Coolest Luke’, was voiced by Nick Storr, who was also the sound designer and audio engineer.
I’m not exactly an insider in the world of animation, but I’m pretty sure that that’s not normal. You kind of have to respect the hustle though.
5. Rocket Power
Honestly who even needs Rocket Power; that late 90s early two thousands show about kids doing extreme sports… which is pretty much all anyone was thinking about during that time period. Who needs it when, in 2012, we got Wild Grinders?
You probably think it’s the same thing because it’s a show about a bunch of kids doing extreme sports, and because it is actually the same thing as Rocket Power. Well, take a closer look. Notice anything? That’s right – the Wild Grinders, which I assume is what the main characters refer to themselves as, don’t wear helmets except that one nerd looking guy with the glasses. The characters on Rocket Power are pansies who want to protect their skulls because they’re not really down with the hardcore extreme sports life.
Wild Grinders might be a total rip-off, but they aren’t afraid to die.
4. South Park
Ever wish that there was a show that had South Park’s art style except slightly worse, and instead of being made in America it was made in Kuwait? Block 13 is definitely the show for your bizarre taste in comedy.
As you can clearly see, it is literally the exact same art style as South Park. But maybe that can sort of be forgiven because South Park itself is pretty much the same art style as a kid playing on a felt board, right? Well, the similarities don’t stop there. Just look at this group of kids right here.
Seem a little familiar? We’ve obviously got Kuwaiti Cartman, wearing a traditional taqiyah instead of a beanie. Then next to him we have Kuwaiti Stan, I think, although I’m not sure why he doesn’t get a hat. Then there’s who I’m going to say is Kyle, because his hat looks more similar to Kyle’s. The kid with the keffiyeh covering his face is obviously Kenny. They even ripped off the joke of Kenny being inexplicably killed in every episode. Does Block 13 also contain very topical satire of current events? I’m not sure, because I don’t speak Arabic and there are no subtitled versions anywhere on the internet.
3. Adventure Time
China’s take on Adventure Time has given us the vague rip-off that is The Legend of Lucky Pie. The opening image alone should make you very skeptical.
It features the protagonist raising up his arm on top of a mountain toward the title of the show. I wonder where they could have gotten that cool idea. The animation style is pretty similar as well, and you can see that the protagonist has got those classic Adventure Time noodle limbs, as well as a backpack and very square head just like Finn.
Instead of Jake the dog, he’s got this talking horse, so at least that’s different, although it may be worth mentioning that Adventure Time has that as well. Apparently there’s no hard feelings between the two shows, as Adventure Time storyboard artist Steve Wolfhard called The Legend of Lucky Pie “cute” on twitter.
Turkey also has their very own Adventure Time rip-off, called Ibi, featuring the noodle armed, backpack wearing protagonist, named Ibi, and her animal companion -a turtle.
Instead of a big whimsical treehouse, she’s got a big whimsical turtle house.
In terms of actual story though, unlike The Legend of Lucky Pie, it’s pretty different from Adventure Time. Ibi is about teaching kids how to do math and stuff. There are still adventures, but they’re just excuses to get kids to learn about numbers, kind of like Cyberchase. So I guess that’s pretty different, although the style and character design are definitely ripped off.
2. The Simpsons
There are dozens of different dubs of The Simpsons that air all over the world in all kinds of languages. But Georgia couldn’t just be a normal country and do that, oh no. Georgia just had to go ahead and create their very own rip-off of The Simpsons, The Samsonadzes.
Here’s what the creator had to say in justification of this three-dimensional bizarre take on the iconic show. In a way, it’s actually kind of respectable that he straight-up admits that the whole thing is a rip-off, not that he really has a choice, because I mean come on just look at it… everyone can tell anyway. And he’s definitely not wrong about the show dealing with Georgian themes – one episode features a shape-shifting Vladimir Putin, presumably something that the average Georgian has to worry about occasionally.
While it quickly became the second most-watched show in Georgia, apparently not everyone was into it. Maybe Georgian fans have just become jaded way faster than American fans of The Simpsons did.
1. Spongebob Squarepants
Spongebob Squarepants: one of, if not the most popular cartoon of all time. With its reputation being what it is, you just know that a cartoon ripoff was bound to happen at some point. And in 2006, the world got that rip-off, with Coconut Fred’s Fruit Salad Island.
You can pretty much tell just from the intro what’s going on. A tropical theme, even if it is on land rather than underwater, and a cheery yet still widely despised protagonist.
Coconut Fred is kind of like an unholy fusion of SpongeBob and The Annoying Orange. If that sounds like something you would rather not have exist, you’re not alone. The show was, like Coconut Fred on his island of fruit salad, not popular. So not popular that it only lasted thirteen episodes before getting canceled. The voice of Coconut Fred, Rob Paulsen, has even said that “it was nothing more than a shameless Spongebob Squarepants knockoff” and that he didn’t even like thinking about the show.
And, as a bonus, it’s worth mentioning the 2012 youtube classic that some people have wrongfully promoted as a legitimate Chinese copy: Spongebob in China.
It’s kinda racist, kinda clever, and more of a parody than a cartoon ripoff, and may just be the most iconic piece of Spongebob related internet meme-ery. If you haven’t checked it out… you should!
Are there any other weird cartoon ripoffs that you’re aware of? Let me know in the comments. Also, if you enjoyed this article make sure to sign up to be notified next time we post an article, thanks for reading!