This exact question was brought up by my wife while we were watching the movie.

I have some very minimal awareness of Shinto and that there are some common elements in play, such as the celestial gods of the sky. That said, I am not aware of any matching tale in that mythology, and I have not found any other story in the fantasy realm that matches Kubo's tale of the Moon King stealing his grandon's eye, his mother's escape and wounding, and their going into hiding.

Have the creators commented at all on the source of their story, whether it is an original creation or drawn from something else?


It isn't based on any previous material.

According to Bustle magazine:

  • The movie is not adapted from any source. The original screenplay for Kubo And The Two Strings was written by Marc Haimes and Chris Butler, with a "Story By" credit for Shannon Tindle.

  • According to his biography for the VIEW VFX and computer graphics conference where he was a guest, Haimes recently transitioned from a studio suit job at Dreamworks to being a full-time screenwriter. Kubo is his first major studio script to make it to the screen. Coming up, he's attached to the film adaptation of the comic Nimona.

  • Chris Butler wrote the script for LAIKA project Para-Norman and also directed. Shannon Tindle served as a "character designer" on Kubo and Coraline and on several animated TV shows.

In an interview with The Mary Sue, director Travis Knight says that the nugget of the Kubo story has been nurtured by the whole LAIKA team for five years.

  • He says: The original idea for the story sprang from the fertile mind of our brilliant character designer, Shannon Tindle, and even though it was early and raw, the original pitch…there was something about it that was really exciting and evocative. Stripping it down to its most reductive state, the idea of a stop-motion samurai epic was something that was really cool.

It might have had some basis in “the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter” (Taketori Monogatari), which is a story from the late ninth or tenth century in Japan.

It’s a story that tells of a supernatural woman that has come down to earth to learn or humanity, and sacrifice, before returning to the heavens. It’s not the same story, but there are many similarities.

  • 3
    Admittedly, on checking it out, it really only seems like the movie and this tale share the "descended from the heavens" trope in common. But I always was curious about the tale of Kaguyo from Okami, so have a +1 anyway.
    – Radhil
    Feb 17 '18 at 11:37
  • +1 Good call noticing the similarities, but like @Radhil I think there are more differences than similarities. Compare Kubo to Ghibli's The Tale of Princess Kaguya, based on the bamboo cutter folk tale. It's not unlikely the authors of Kubo were familiar with the Japanese folk tale, however.
    – Andres F.
    Dec 11 '18 at 1:49

They may not have consciously known that the story was nearly the exact same as Egyptian mythology, but the missing eye of Kubo is the same as Horus, and his return to the underworld to save his Father Osiris. (The eye is given to Osiris to bring him back to life, which in Kubo is the moon king) and he is returned to the world again...

This is overly simplified but you can read more abouth the mythology and see the parallels.

  • 1
    Welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy! Do you have any evidence that the writers were indeed inspired by this that you can edit in? Or is this just speculation based on drawing parallels yourself?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Aug 10 '18 at 14:18
  • 2
    Can it be an inspiration if it was not consciously known? Can you find any sources that may support your claim?
    – Edlothiad
    Aug 10 '18 at 14:24

Maybe, it does have some pretty big resemblances to Terraria.

Moon King = Moon Lord (he also looks like a Milky Way weaver when he turns into big snaky thing) Beetle = Beetle Armor Skeleton = Skeletron (and Skeletron Prime's glowing eyes) Underwater Eyes = Eye of Cthulhu

Also, this one really doesn't connect Kubo and Terraria very much, but the two sisters who try to murder Kubo are working for the Moon King, and they do what he believes in, like the cultists in Terraria try to help Moon Lord, so, they're Lunatic Cultists? Idk, that one was pretty bad.

But still, the director might've played Terraria, so...yeah :P

  • 1
    Can you say what Terraria is in the answer?
    – Adamant
    May 29 '17 at 21:02

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