A common misconception of Beastars is that the author, Itagaki Paru, based her manga off of Zootopia when in actuality she came up with the concept (mainly Legosi’s character) around when she was at middle school.
In a recent interview, Paru was asked what her favorite Disney movies are, which then shifted the topic to Zootopia. I found this interesting because Paru doesn’t talk to about Zootopia much at all, despite what one would expect.
Here’s the translation of this particular part of the interview:
What are your favorite Disney movies?
Paru: The Lion King and Dumbo.
By the way, have you seen Zootopia?
Paru: I did, a little after it was released in theaters. Before I did, though, I asked my editor if it was even okay for me to watch it. I was really nervous about watching it because its themes and worldbuilding seemed to really resemble my own work and it was made by an amazing company to boot. It could influence me greatly or even kill my motivation to work. Eventually, I saw it, and despite the similarities, they’re not the same. I was relieved, and I got to enjoy it for what it was.
Here’s a link to the full Japanese interview (this part was at the end of Page 3): http://konomanga.jp/interview/139453-2