Ok, I’ve heard people say that barely anyone remembers Bambi as adult. But let me explain some stuff the original book the movie was based on had with his coming of age story, but the film didn’t.
In the original book, Bambi even while he’s a child would eventually already be prepared into adulthood. Starting when he first sees stags and asks his mother if he’ll ever see his father and his mother says that he’ll speak to Bambi when he’s grown up and that he’ll have to stay with him sometimes. Even though the Old Prince already meets Bambi to scold him after he calls for his mother who left him alone sitting around while she went out foraging as part of getting Bambi used to being on his own(I’d like to mention that she even once told him, “You aren’t a little baby anymore” after refusing to let Bambi nestle under her) and Bambi would listen to the Old Prince and try to get used it. I mean it can look a bit harsh for his mother to do stuff like that, but I still believe that it functions as a strength in preparing his adulthood. And Bambi is slightly older than his baby self by the time his mother disappears and then in the spring he’s a young stag, but the book recalls about when he was reaching to maturity during the aftermath of the hunt like he would first grow a first pair of antlers and get teased by other stags until he grows a second pair. And there’s a bit more to his adulthood than in the movie. Like the Old Prince would interact with him more often than during his childhood like while it was mother who cared for him while he was a child, the torched is essentially passed to the father for his adulthood and the Old Prince would save Bambi’s life a couple times, but also have him learn on what he knows about the hunters before Bambi would succeed him and there was other happening in the adulthood as well surely it wasn’t short and rushed. In the end of the story Bambi is actually a bit older than his young stag self(likely in a similar physique to the Old Prince), then there’s this part where he scolds two fawns calling for their mother which is parallel to when the Old Prince scolded Bambi as a child. Bambi in the book was not entirely the child character Disney made their version out to be, he would be in similar league to Simba who we him equally as both a cub and an adult Lion(two ages as opposed to just one, more like fawn Bambi is half of Bambi’s actual character all the way through)
Disney barely did much to prepare Bambi into adulthood early on, he’s still the same fawn form by the time the mother disappears and quickly we see him as a young stag in the spring with no reference to what recently happened. And the adulthood would be a bit to fast paced compared to the childhood with around 20-25 minutes of the film left despite it’s moments and the Great Prince barely made as much appearances throughout the whole film despite showing him in his stature he does not actually turn out that interesting. The way the adulthood was executed felt minor. When I see behind scenes for this movie I notice Walt being interested in the picture of Bambi with a butterfly on his tail and showing more concept arts of the child characters. I think they seemed more heavily focused on just one of Bambi’s ages as opposed to both and not make adult Bambi major in comparison. Still find the adulthood along with it’s moments(like Bambi’s romance with Faline, his fights and standing on the cliff with the Great Prince to take his place) as more of wasted effort cause it’s essentially forgotten.
My childhood already killed itself before I read the book. Someone told me the he believes there’s a clear reason they made Bambi 2 a midquel(rather than a sequel with his children based on the second book) because barely anyone remembers the characters in the movie including Bambi as an adult due to Disney marketing of him as a child,( though there’s also clearly the fact that it would be because they didn’t make a reference to his mother’s death or explained about how Bambi was cared for, unlike the book which did stuff similar to that it in its own spring scene). Rather a poor way getting people to know that this movie had a circle of life theme. And that’s how I can barely see fawn Bambi the same way as I used to(especially whenever I’m by anything Bambi related people always have to keep mentioning that he’s mostly remembered as a child from time to time). Lion King may be a bit overhyped, but I don’t find Disney repeating the same mistake as with Bambi. I like Simba just the way he is presented in two ages as opposed to one.