Sayla Mass, Char's younger sister, has expies of her own in Cecily Fairchild, Relena Darlian, and Cagalli Yula Athha (who also shares traits with Relena). The common traits shared among these characters are that they were exiled princesses who adopted a different alias, has a strong relationship with the lead character, and she has a relative who's (usually) the lead character's main rival.
Char's boss, Gihren Zabi has also had his fair share of expies. There's Fonse Kagatie from Victory, Siedel Rasso from Gundam X, and Patrick Zala from Gundam SEED, all of whom share Gihren's status as amoral military dictators who preach a Master Race philosophy and have a love of superweapons. Patrick even duplicates Gihren's infamous "Sieg Zeon!" speech in his rant about "Who exploits the Coordinators"? Gihren's son and/or clone, Glemmy Toto has his own expy in SEED's Muruta Azrael, who shares his looks, childish demeanour, creepy interactions with women, willingness to use children as weapons, and total lack of scruples.
Mecha Expies are also par for the course in Gundam. Wing's Shenlong Gundam is an Expy of G's Dragon Gundam, X's Leopard is an Expy of Wing's Heavyarms, Deathscythe and Deathscythe Hell resemble Master Asia's Kowloon and Master Gundams respectively, grunt units are almost always based on either the Zaku or the GM (and sometimes a few elements of the Zaku are mixed into a GM expy, or vice versa) & if the series features mobile suits that can transform it's guaranteed that at least one will have pretty much the exact same transformation scheme as the Zeta Gundam.
In the CE timeline, here are their mecha expies:
Strike = RX-78-2 Gundam
Freedom = Gundam Formula 91 + Gundam Double X
The Impulse is based on the RX-78-2 Gundam, but plays a role similar to the Gundam Mk. II in Destiny. Similarly, Destiny played a role similar to the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam.
Fllay Allster from Gundam Seed is partially based on Turn A Gundam's Sochie Heim, namely them harboring a hatred for the Moonrace/Coordinators, having their father killed in front of their eyes, and they both develop a relationship with the male lead character, only for them to lose them at the end.
Fllay herself would be the basis for Gundam 00's Nena Trinity.
Kira Yamato from Gundam Seed is said to be a mix of Amuro and Turn A Gundam's Loran Cehack, having Amuro's technical aptitude and having almost every bit of Loran's events happened to him. Having a powerful mobile suit? Check. Having a distate for violence? Check. Forced to fight against their own kind (Coordinators/Moonrace)? Check. Relationship with Earthling daughter's who had her father killed by his people (Fllay/Sochie)? Check. Sexless romance with princess figure (Lacus/Dianna)? Check.
Kira was made to be the Amuro figure of the Alternative Universes. In personality, cause, and, let's not forget, power.
Shinn Asuka is a very close expy to Kamille Bidan: both lost their families to war right in front of them, both lose their crazy girlfriends and both spend a good amount of time regretting the thing they have done. The key difference is that Kamille gets help, while Shinn does not.
Garrod Ran is something of an expy of Judau Ashita, since both were war orphans who couldn't help but get caught up in the events of the world around them and both grew into real badass (or in the case of Garrod Badass Normal) pilots, and even though they both had reason to neither one of them succumbed to their Heroic BSOD for very long. Both also specialize in stealing mobile suits at the start of their respective series.
Heero Yuy from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing has the honor of not only having an expy in another Gundam series (Setsuna from Gundam 00), but has one outside the Gundam franchise (Sosuke from Full Metal Panic!). The scary thing is, Sosuke is even more anti-social and military minded than Heero. At least Heero could blend in a high school; Sosuke can barely not shoot or blow anything up that seems suspicious.
Both Gundam Wing's Heero Yuy (the original one, the namesake of the Gundam pilot) and King Peacecraft, as well as Gundam SEED's George Glenn, were based on Zeon Zum Deikun. Uzumi Nara Attha is based on King Peacecraft. Uzumi is the only one of these to not be a Posthumous Characteruntil a Heroic Sacrifice takes care of that problem.
The DOM Trooper pilots (Hilda, Mars, and Herbert) = the Black Tri-Stars; they even have the Tri-Stars' signature Jet Stream Attack. The only difference is that one is gender-flipped and this time they're Elite Mooks in the heroes' army.
And now Gundam AGE has Yurin L'Ciel as an expy of Tiffa Adil from Gundam X, being both loli Mysterious Waif characters that help the main hero with their clairvoyance powers.
Flit Asuno started out as an Amuro expy; as of part two he's somewhere between Shinn Asuka and Patrick Zala, and by part three he is channeling fellow General Ripper and Shell-Shocked VeteranBask Om for all he is worth.
Emily Amonde and Fa Yuriy, are expies of Frau Bow in this following concept: She is a semi-major character who despite having no direct conflict with or impact toward the main story, initially has a close relationship with the protagonist, and join the boy's fleet to "look after" with him. She likes him, but he doesn't notice her because he loves somebody else. She also tends to suffers from the Stay in the Kitchen issue.
Additionally, the show has a RunningMythology Gag where many of the supporting characters or one-shot competitors look almost exactly like pilots from past Gundam shows, and in many cases use the same mobile suits operated by their counterparts:
Before we note that Tooya and Soushi are reincarnations of Tamahome (Tooya in looks and fighting skills; Soushi in looks), it must be said Tamahome is actually himself a reincarnation of Manato Sudou from Fushigi Yuugi's older sister, Shishunki Miman Okotowari.
Chiyuri Kurashima from Accel World is this from Orihime Inoue of Bleach. Both are Genki Girl, shown to be the love interest of the main character even though he chooses the Dark Is Not Evil girl, have healing abilities, and pretend to defect to the enemy to get power upgrades. They're also voiced by Stephanie Sheh, and when you think about it, it makes sense.
Ai Kora is full of this tropes, featuring characters inspired by Love Hina and Neon Genesis Evangelion. Sakurako = Naru with Asuka Soryu Langley's looks thrown in. Tsubame = Kitsune mixed with Misato Katsuragi. Kirino = Motoko. Yukari = Shinobu. Hachibei, Tsubame, Yukari and Kirino's designs respectively resemble Seiji, Rin, Midori and Nao from Midori no Hibi.
AI Love You has numerous examples taken from Ah! My Goddess: Saati is Belldandy, Toni is Urd, Kimika Aso is Sayoko Mishima. Forty fills the same spot as Skuld, but has a notably different personality and is more similar to Kaolla Su from Love Hina.
In Amanchu!, the author transported ARIA's Akari back to earth, renamed her Hikari and gave her some scuba gear. And seemingly infused her with some interesting drugs, since Hikari tends to be even more spaced-out than her predecessor—which is quite a feat in itself.
In the most recent chapters, they give us characters Akane and Chizuru who look EXACTLY like Akari and Aika respectivley.
Angel Beats!: This show also has some characters that fit this trope, especially the main protagonist Yuri that looks and acts similar to Haruhi Suzumiya. We also have the main protagonist Otonashi that is like almost all the other other protagonists of Key. Tenshi despite not looking the same as Nagato Yuki has the same personality as her.
However, while Yuri visually resembles Haruhi, in personality and role she's clearly based on Saya, the gun-toting Action Girl bonus character in Little Busters! Ecstasy.
Area 88: Kitori in the TV series is an expy of Sela Bernard from manga issues that did not make it stateside. Both have long black hair, perform the role of squadette, and serve as Kim's best friend.
Makoto Shinjou from the TV series is also an expy of Goh "Rocky" Mutsuki from the manga.
In Bakuman。, several of the main characters resemble ones from the duo's previous series. Moritaka resembles Near, Takagi resembles Light, Kosugi resembles Mikami, Miho resembles Misa, Aiko resembles Kiyomi Takada, and Hiramaru resembles Matsuda. Niizuma's character of Crow also shares some visual traits with Ryuk.
Hattori also resembles Ryuk, and both appear to have been based at least partially on a real life Shonen Jump editor.
Kentaro Yabuki reused both the appearance and the powers of both Kyoko and Eve from Black Cat when designing Magical Flame Kyoko and Golden Darkness in To Love-Ru.
Train Heartnet, the Black Cat, also gets an Expy in the form of a gun wielding killer called Black. He even has a gun that looks very much like Train's gun, Hades. he also seems to be based on Eraser!Train rather than Sweeper!Train. Heck, there is even black cat wandering around in that arc (and it's implied that it actually is Black the assassin)...you know, in case you missed the reference
With the reveal of Tearju Lunatique as Yami's creator, this verges to being Alternate Universe versions rather than Expies.
It's gone all the way there with the revelation that Yami's real name is Eve.
Predating Black Cat is Yamato Gensouki, the main hero-heroine shares exact same design with Ren (To-Love-Ru) and Kyoko (Black Cat) respectively.
Bleach: Tite Kubo has used three characters as expies of two characters from his ill-fated first manga, Zombie Powder. Grimmjow's design is based on the Zombie Powder's protagonist. On one volume cover, Grimmjow is even drawn in the exact same pose. Gamma's early design has been used for Renji and is also the basis for the design of Starrk's released form, the only difference being that Starrk uses guns instead of a chainsword.
She has a few things in commen with Nero from the fourth game too. Again, silver hair, and again, trenchcoats, (Nero's is blue though.) But they also have girlfriends that you really don't want to put in danger, otherwise they'll go on rampages (Jo has Meg, Nero has Kyrie) and they both have glowing right arms that are linked to their superpowers. (Jo has the "Angel Tatto which glows when she gets mad and unleashes her physical strength, Nero has the "Devil Bringer" that lets him use a grappling power, sometimes with a large fist)
Nobuhiro Watsuki freely admits in the chapter notes to Busou Renkin that the series protagonist, Kazuki Muto, is a gender-swapped expy of Misao Makimachi from Rurouni Kenshin. In addition, he notes (to his apparent surprise) that one of the minor villains is a thinly recast Enishi, and theorizes that he wanted to give Enishi a happier ending through his expy.
Speaking of Rurouni Kenshin, Nobuhiro Watsuki also Expies several Shinsengumi members by using them as bases for other non-Shinsensgumi characters. In particular, he used Hijikata as a reference for Aoshi, Okita for Soujirou (who also got Okita's birth name), Harada for Sanosuke, and Kanryuusai for Kanryuu.
In fact, all three of Watsuki's post-Rurouni Kenshin manga series contain a Misao: Colice in Gun Blaze West, Kazuki in Busou Renkin and finally Elm in Embalming. Elm is even paired up with an Aoshi expy, Ashuhit.
And it's not just American comics either; Watsuki was very fond of homaging other anime characters he liked. He explicitly modeled Tsubame Sanjou after Hotaru Tomoe/Sailor Saturn and Yukishiro Tomoe after Rei Ayanami, for instance.
Sharnid Elipton is a pretty much a copy of Kurz Weber: a sniper, whose skill is matched only by his laid-backness, with long blond hair and a propensity for womanizing.
CLANNAD is, in some ways, a revisiting of Kanon, only somewhat more depressing and switching around the character dynamics. For example, Sunohara is Kitagawa as the main character's best friend, Tomoyo and Kotomi are the two different aspects of Mai, Fuko i.s Ayu, only sadder and not the winning girl, and Nagisa is Shiori, except that she really dies and that she's the winning girl.
Also, Kyou and Ryou bear a striking resemblance to Kagami and Tsukasa of Lucky Star, respectively. Mauve-haired twin sisters—one a Tsundere with long hair, the other shy and gentle with short, though the Fujibayashi twins are identical while the Hiiragi twins are fraternal. Amusingly enough, Tsukasa even remarks at one point that "Kagami" can also be read as "Kyou"...
Most likely a reference to the visual novel, which was contemporaneous with the original Yonkoma on which the Lucky Star anime was based. It may also just have been a coincidence that the studio capitalised on to up the otaku quotient; Kagami is actually named after her creator.
Tsukasa is a visual (at least) expy of Akari Kamigishi from To Heart, which the series delights in pointing out. The poor girl once gets photographed by an Otaku who sees the resemblance and Konata once gives her Akari's red uniform.
By transivity, Ryou is also a visual Expy of Akari.
Claire, the protagonist of Claymore is an almost perfect expy of Ikuno from Angel Densetsu. Down to her behaviour. (And she's attracted to Raki/Yuji too). For some added expiness read the episode in which Kitano dreams during math lesson just after reading Claymore, and notice his sword and the oni's eyes.
Cynthia is an expy of Ryoko, the main female lead of Angel Densetsu. Could explain how she's avoided cashing in the numerous death flags she's collected to date.
Continuing on from the Gundam listing above, Code Geass has plenty of its own.
Lelouch is a main character version of Char, what with both being exiled members of (more or less) royalty, suffering from having their beloved parent murdered, having a sister, planning for revenge, and not allowing that sister to be part of it, or even knowing about it. And when she does find out, they have a showdown, and she gets in his way, etc, etc. They also fight an internal battle between revenge, wanting to join with the "nice guys" and be a real hero, and mass genocide.
Suzaku's Lancelot is a Gundam expy. It's the first truely humanoid design in its world of origin, with unprecedented mobility, in a white colour scheme. It even has Beam Shields! Suzaku, on the other hand, is not really a Gundam main character expy, as the series shows us quite clearly that Suzaku is part of an organisation which does not agree with, and will not allow, his equalistegalitarian views to come to fruition.
Suzaku does fairly regularly get compared to Kira Yamato (enough to get a Fan Nickname out of it, anyway). He's a brunet with a super mecha, opposed to violence, has a best friend for a Rival, a romance with a pink-haired pacifist princess...
Rolo's Vincent has a V on its head like a gundam to top it off Rolo is a Geass User like lelouch but Rolo only stops the persons sense of time wile Lelouch comands people and Rolo killed Shirley a girl that Lelouch cared about and Lelouch hates Rolo for that just like how Amuro killed Lalah a girl that Char cared about and Char hates amuro for that plus Char and Amuro are Newtypes wich makes Rolo the Amuro to Lelouch
Don't you dare tell me that you see no resemblance (both physical and in regards to plans) between Muruta Azrael and Schneizel el Britannia. Only difference is that Schneizel can actually keep his cool and dignity near the end.
On the note of Schneizel: Although people often compare Lelouch to Yagami Light, not many people realize Light actually appears in Code Geass - They just took away his Artifact of Doom and changed his name to Schneizel. Face it. They look similar, they have similar attitudes, they're both geniuses, they both intend to create a peaceful world by killing lots of people, they both want to become the god of that new world...
In the early '90s, Shotaro Ishinomori introduced a character by the name of Roam in the The Legend of Zelda manga adaptation A Link to the Past. This character is an obvious expy for Ishinomori's Cyborg 009 character 002/Jet Link.
Ishinomori had long included Jet-expies in his works, with the character design appearing as a villain in Ishinomori's obscure manga Android V, while another "Jet" made a cameo in his gag manga Guy Punch and Ann Doll. 009-1 also had "020", a secret agent with the same type of Gag Nose and gravity-defying hair. The original manga even referred to 020 as "Jet", while the anime gave him the codename of "Mars". Jet and the other cyborgs (save for 003 and 001) even pop up in a cameo in the manga as "The Nine Group", a group of cyborgs not necessarily intended to be the same characters but meant to be a nod towards the other series.
Outside of Ishinomori's works, Pizza/Soldato J-002 in GaoGaiGar is another Jet-expy, down to him being a cyborg and having the "002" codename. Another Jet expy pops up in the form of Disgaea's Kurtis. Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver even have a trainer named "Jet", whose appearance in the Pokemon Adventures manga has him drawn to look like a (slightly) more realistically-proportioned 002, when it comes to his large nose. He still has the wild hair.
Joe Shimamura/009 and Great Britain/007 had the basics of their designs re-used for two cyborg heroes in a later Ishinomori series; Glacier Warrior Guyslugger. 009 himself is no stranger to expies; the title character of Android V is one for him, and other Ishinomori heroes seem to have his style of shonen hair and/or one eye obscured by bangs as he had.
Francoise Arnoul/003 is a somewhat bittersweet example of having many similar characters seemingly based off her design, as Ishinomori modeled her and other female characters off of his late older sister (who had died while he was in his teens). Kiyoko in Gilgamesh had her design in the original manga (though not in the anime adaptation), and "Francoise" also cropped up in Fantasy World Jun and in other series.
The 2007 Skull Man anime includes expies of the villain Von Bogoot, the princess Helen, and Cyborg 001's father as antagonists. The five SIRKS cyborgs are also intended to be Expies of 002, 004, 005, 006, and 008. However, there are some clear differences in a few designs: SIRKS 01 (002) is a blond man with bangs like 009's, SIRKS 03 (008) is a middle-aged white man, and SIRKS 04 (004) is a bald and more reluctant team member.
Mitsuka-sensei from DearS is a direct Expy of Shikijo-sensei, almost to the point of ripoff status, as they share the same English voice actress. Ren is an obvious expy of most of the persocoms from Chobits, but more specifically, Chii.
Speaking of DearS, Junpei from Nyan Koi! is very reminiscent of Takeya.
Meanwhile, over in Death Note land, quirky detective L is a shameless Expy... of Batman. No, don't stop reading. Both of them are the World's Greatest Detective. Both lose their parents at a young age, and are then raised by an elderly butler; Watari is a definitive Expy. Both rely on always being the smartest guy in the room, and on concealing their true identity. L is even a skilled martial artist, though given the nature of the story that doesn't get a lot of play. Soichiro is Commissioner Gordon◊. Light, of course, is the supervillain of the piece, both brilliant and insanely sociopathic; he'd fit well with the likes of The Riddler.
Without even airing (or having actual previews), it's fairly obvious that Ain of (the recently announced anime) Despera is an expy of Lain of Serial Experiments Lain. Then again, it's possible that the entire show is an expy of Serial Experiments Lain.
The three major characters of Detective Conan are visual Expys of the major characters of Aoyama's previous manga Magic Kaitou. Most especially, Kudo Shinichi is a visual Expy of Kuroba Kaito. This is lampshaded by the fact that not only do they have the same seiyuu in the anime, Kaito is mistaken for Shinichi once in the early manga and is able to impersonate Shinichi without his usual Latex Perfection masks in one of the Non Serial Movies, Magician of the Silver Sky. The resemblances between Aoko and Ran, and Nakamori and Kogoro, are downplayed as the Magic Kaitou cast is reintroduced into the later, and better-drawn, Detective Conan.
Max Taylor of the anime series Dinosaur King is very much an Expy of Ash Ketchum. The similarities include their weird hair, both being comical protagonists, yet serious about their fighting, having a pet with lighting attacks and both having the same (English) voice. The connection is helped in that Veronica Taylor uses the exact same voice she used for Ash.
Walker and Erika from Durarara!! serve as expies of Isaac and Miria from Baccano!, both being a set of very weirdBirds of a Feather that facilitate the plot from the sidelines by being their very bizarre selves. They're even all Otaku (Yes, bandits living in the 1930s New York can apparently be Occidental Otaku. Try not to think about it too much). The main difference is that Walker and Erika are much more unstable than their 1930s American counterparts.
A later Baccano! book set in 2002 features Huey Laforet's great-great-grandson by way of Chane and Claire, Charon Walken, who strongly resembles Kasuka Heiwajima both in appearance and personality. This is lampshaded in a later volume of Durarara!!, when Saki mentions meeting a boy with an uncanny resemblance to the actor in question.
Huey Laforet himself shares a large number of characteristics with Izaya Oriharanote While Baccano! started before Durarara!!, the book Huey made his first appearance in came out five months after Durarara!!'s first book, making Izaya the earlier character, being a manipulative, apparently sociopathic, pale and black-haired Bishōnen who has an interest in ethically questionable social experiments.
The teacher/aide in Ken Akamatsu's Earth Defender Mao-chan looks identical to Naru from Love Hina, including the use of the same seiyuu, Horie Yui. The similarity is remarked on in the animated adaptation when the gang goes to a remarkably familiar looking hot spring inn and meet the un-named but equally familiar hostess.
Jellal. Not only does he look exactly like another mage, Sieg Hart from Mashima Hiro's previous manga Rave Master, he goes under the alias Siegrain for a long time and has some spells with the same name.
And of course Kageyama, who is the mirror image of Shippuuden-version Shikamaru. Down to the shadow-based magic.
Haru=Natsu, Elie=Lucy, Musica=Gray. The author even lampshaded this by dressing them up as each other and seeing if readers would notice. Erza from another dimension's 10 commandments=Haru's 10 commandments. Ice Make magic is pretty similiar to Silver Claimer. And of course, Plue is Plue. In fact, too many to count in these 2 series, likely with more to come.
Gildarts is a mirror image of Shanks. Straight down to the missing arm.
Several characters & mecha from Mamoru Nagano's Five Star Stories are expies of ones from an anime he had earlier worked on with Yoshiyuki Tomino called Heavy Metal L Gaim, not the least of which were the Humongous Mecha Junchoon & its pilot Colus VI who are expies of L-Gaim's titular mecha and series protagonist Daba Myroad. Infact, the story arc in the manga focusing on Colus VI retaking his throne is an almost exact retelling of the plot of L-Gaim. Interestingly, L-Gaim features an expy of its own Lilith Fau, a tinkerbell-esque fairy who bears an uncanny resemblance to Cham Huau from a previous Tomino series, Aura Battler Dunbine.
Rei Ryugazaki from Free resembles Joe Kido from Digimon Adventure, both are blue-hairedmegane, love studying, and prone to passionately rants about things. They both also have a happy-go-lucky sidekick (Nagisa/Gomamon).
By Word of God Ritsu's mother in Fruits Basket is very much based on a ghost character from one of Natsuki Takaya's earlier works.
Yes! Pretty Cure 5 apparently tried to do it again before changing their tune to make a more traditional Magical Girl team; traces of Nagisa and Honoka can still be found in Rin and Karen, despite their being tweaked considerably. More obvious is Komachi, otherwise known as Retasu.
Henri Claytor is an expy for Yzak Joule, except that Henri has a strand of red streak on his bangs and Yzak doesn't have one.
The Count in Gankutsuou is an expy of Alucard of Hellsing. Both have the same Japanese voice actor, and the Count exhibits a number of traditional vampire traits (in fact, he might be more of a traditional vampire than Alucard). Also, both manifest Extra Eyes when they're about to do something badass/terrifying. Admitedly, the vampire idea in Gankutsuou derives in part from the Count of the novel being compared to one, specifically the Byron-expy Lord Ruthven- the anime just took the idea literally.
While being an In Name Only adaptation with little to tie it back to Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, Gatchaman Crowds has an androgynous villain named "Berg Katse" as the original series had. Both Katses are masters of disguise, although the original was a Gender Bender who otherwise wore elaborate disguises to mimic others, while the newer Katse shapeshifts into his targets by using bodily contact (mostly a kiss) to assume their form. The original Katse was also not an alien, although his newer counterpart is stated to be one (as well as a former Gatchaman gone bad).
The teams in both series have a "bad boy" type member named Joe. Joe Asakuranote birth name George Asakura is a jaded and hot-blooded race car driver who wants revenge on Galactor for killing his parents (who were revealed to be members that wanted to defect), and that uses feather shuriken as his signature weapon. Crowds has Joe Hibiki, a jaded government employee who has a nihilistic view of the world, acts as a "bad boy" when night falls, and that uses feather darts in a similar manner to the original Joe. He also smokes, as the '90s OVA version of Joe Asakura had. Both Joes have a friend named Alan, and both wear racing gloves (even though the modern one isn't a racer). However, one notable difference is that the original Joe is Sicilian (and the only non-Asian member of the Science Ninja Team), while the one in Crowds is clearly Japanese.
Both series also have an entity named Leader X (or President X, both acceptable translations of the Japanese "Sosai X"). The original version is the Big Bad and alien entity from a planet called Selector, while the Crowds version is a female-voiced artificial intelligence in the program GALAX that at first seems a little more heroic. The newer X does later get used for a villainous purpose by Katse, but is able to be freed and returned to her proper owner. In the original Gatchaman, Katse was The Dragon to X.
Ghost Hunt - Naru's assistant, Lin Koujo has the same hairstyle and pretty much the same stoic mannerisms as Fruits Basket's Hatori Sohma.
Everyone in the Giant RoboOVA is an Expy of a character from various manga by Mitsuteru Yokoyama.
Maho Nishizumi from Girls und Panzer bears many similarities to Teru Miyanaga of Saki. Both are Aloof Big Sisters to the main characters, and are champions at the game their families play (tankery for Maho, mahjong for Miho). However, there are critical differences regarding their relationships with their little sisters; while Teru denies having a sister after their parents separate, Maho does not, and it is revealed in Little Army that she actually does love Miho dearly and her main reason for living up to her family's standards is so that Miho will be free to live her own way. Similarly, Miho and Saki have some similarities, as they go from hating tankery and mahjong, respectively, due to their family's attitude on winning, but grow to love it at their new school, as they bring their underdog school to success against more experienced and better funded teams.
Nana-senpai of Golden Time looks and acts exactly like Nana Osaki — to the point that other characters in the show note this — though she's geared more toward Comedic Sociopathy rather than drama.
In GUN×SWORD, Van is an expy of Spike of Cowboy Bebop in terms of very similar appearance, and Carmen 99 is an obvious expy of Faye from the same series.
Michael Garrett looks a lot like Kira Yamato, they both dislike violence, and they both have sex with a love interest who is a part of an organization they joined in an unorthodox way. When the two meet in a Super Robot Wars game, this tends to be Lampshaded. "Stop Fighting!" "No, you stop fighting!"
The author of Hellsing admits that almost every damn character was 100% ripped off from his old works.
As far as is known, the Hellsing family (minus Integra), the council of 12 members and the minor Millennium villains (Valentine brothers, Rip van Winkle, Zorin Blitz and Tubalcain Alambra) are the only characters created wholly for the series.
Bernkastel is an Expy of Rika Furude. It's hinted and later confirmed by Word of God that they're essentially the same people, but Bernkastel is the totality of all of Rika's past lives that never made it past June of 1983.
The anime Hunter × Hunter, based on a manga by Yoshihiro Togashi, featured a Ninja named Hanzo who was similar in design to Kazemaru (who was also a ninja) from YuYu Hakusho, which was also based on a manga by Togashi.
There's also a lot of similarities between the Hunter gang and Team Urameshi, especially if you put Gon and Yusuke, Killua and Hiei, Kurapika and Kurama (seriously even their names sound alike), and Leorio and Kuwabara together.
Upon arriving to an unknown land, two main characters run into a female martial artist who puts them through days-long Training from Hell to hone their skills, has trained one of the characters' mentors, and can conceal her true age through manipulation of said martial art. Is this Biscuit or Lisa Lisa?
The three main characters of Kannazuki no Miko were all upgrade expies from an earlier Kaishaku work called Cross Triangle. (Kurusugawa Himeko and Oogami Souma even shared partial names with their predecessors — Kurusu and Oogami.)
All of them have returned yet again in supporting roles in Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora: virtually unchanged, except that Himeko now affects a pair of glasses.
Isn't that backwards? Yuuichi is quite snarky in the original Visual Novel dating back to 1999. If anything, Kyon is an expy of Yuuichi.
Mutsumi Saburo/Mutsumi Hojo from Keroro Gunsou is kind of a sendup to Kaworu Nagisa from Neon Genesis Evangelion, to the point of having (decorative) wings on his back for his first appearance in the manga, and his "introduction" scene in the anime mirroring Kaworu's reveal as an angel, complete with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony playing in the background.
Stop me if you've heard this premise before: A young, newly-hired male teacher and his busty female co-worker/love interest have to deal with a class of hyperactive students, particularly a "unique" trio of girls whose antics cause no shortage of misunderstandings. This can describe Kodomo No Jikan, Hanamaru Kindergarten, andMitsudomoe. It's a triple threat of expy-ness!
Lost Universe is considered the sister series to Slayers for the near-identical parallels between plot and characters; the plot is more or less the same but in a sci-fi setting, with a Big Bad sharing a similar name to the Big Bad of the latter series. It's theorized that both franchises are a part of the same universe because of the presences of a God and a Satanic force in each, and because LU's Big Bad Dark Star Dugradigdu appeared as the main antagonist of the third season of the Slayers anime. Word of God insists otherwise, but it's fairly plausible.
Ozma Lee in Macross Frontier is pretty clearly meant to be the Roy Fokker expy. Older ace pilot, leader of "Skull Squadron" and pilots a Valkyrie with a black and yellow color scheme? He even mentions pineapples before being injured, just as Roy did before he was killed (Though Ozma does not die) This even happens in episode 17 of the series, while Roy Fokker died in episode 18 of the original.
Signum from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's is an obvious Expy of Lamia Loveless: they look quite similar if looked through a good light, some of Signum's attacks are similar to those of Lamia's Angelg (Main offender is Signum's bow attack, which is a Shout-Out to Phantom Phoenix. Her clothing in the final episode of StrikerS looks a bit like Lamia's, and they are voiced by the same Seiyuu in a very similar way.
See also Agito from StrikerS, who is such an obvious expy that Western fans have taken to calling her "Etnagito". Don't forget the Amuro and Char vibes Nanoha and Fate give off, either: Nanoha's costume is even intended to evoke Amuro's signature RX-78-2 Gundam.
Subaru has short hair, wears a bandana, is a big fan of Nanoha, and goes out of her way to copy her techniques. That gives her a striking similarity to Kasugano Sakura. Though the techniques is only in the name and instead looks like the features of GaoGaiGar, leading to her Fan Nickname 'GaoGaiGar-tan'
Vita may as well be of Guy in loli form. Not only do they both sport a huge mech drill hammer, but the scene where Vita went up against the Cradle's engine and Eisen shattered (complete with dramatic fall) resembled Goldy shattering and Gaogaigar falling in FINAL. Vita's name is also involved with Hell and Heaven. (gemu giru gan go gufo, vita.) You also have this◊.
Anti-Villain Zest Grangaitz is pretty much a giant Expy of Zengar Zonvolt. Not only do they look similar and share a deep sense of honor, their big-brother relationships to young orphan girls also plays out in many ways similar.
As shown in ViVid, Olivie Sägebrecht, the Sankt Kaiser, looked almost exactly like Saber. There are also similarities in their backstories, and that they are both considered legendary monarchs in the modern era.
Miura Rinaldi from ViVid resembles Nanoha despite representating Hayate. Both had an ordinary life (except that they live in completely different worlds), and they were very unhappy with their lives and they seemed to be depressed about not having any talents/reasons to live, until they encountered Strike Arts/magic. They are natural talents with a lot of potential, became quickly strong and they have a star theme, a similar magic color and Breaker magic. Both also defeated people who were stronger or more experienced than them, thanks to be Determinators. Ironically, Miura happens to be the one who defeat Nanoha's daughter in the tournament.
Sieglinde Jeremiha from ViVid is apparently an expy of all three Aces. She's an overpowered young girl with dark magic and has connection to the Ancient Belkan Era like Hayate, prefers black clothes, has long Girlish Pigtails and an Adorkable personality and is a multi-talented combat mage like Fate, and she has a similar friendliness like Nanoha including being a Warrior Therapist who befriends other people and having a devlish persona.
Mahoro from Mahoromatic and Noel from Shina Dark are both Robot Girlmaids who hate ecchi things with a passion voiced by Ayako Kawasumi. Mahoromatic and Shina Dark are by the same author, so the expyness makes sense.
Also in Shina Dark. Noel's other form resembles the Numbers' from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S. And Gallet resembles and has a similar personality to Signum from Nanoha. And to solidify it all, Shina Dark's artist is authoring a Nanoha spin-off.
No, that's the definition of an Expy, it doesn't just 'make sense'.
Chapter 19 plays with the Noel / Mahoro connection to it's logical extreme.
Mahou Sensei Negima! has a large cast who have traits of several other anime and video game characters. While it's common for more personality types to be recycled endlessly anyway, many of the most prominent characters are toned-down analogues to Love Hina characters: Nodoka is an early Shinobu, KuFei is Su with brawns switched with brains, Chizuru Naba is a just as buxom Mutsumi, etc. Setsuna's similarities to Motoko are explained by them being using the same fighting style. Most characters naturally have design and personality traits from Love Hina characters. Keep in mind just one or two elements does not make them an instant expy.
Chizuru Naba is like Mutsumi Otohime many ways including , has the biggest talents among all her peers, very nice and very kind to others just to name a few. Though Mutsumi does not share the habits of losing her temper nor trying to give you homemade leek enemas like Chizuru sometimes will.
Motoko is split into Setsuna as fighting Motoko, Madoka as Tsundere Motoko.
On another note, several Negima characters draw upon other Touhou characters in one way or the other:
One of Chisame's cosplay outfits makes her resemble Patchouli's assistant Koakuma.
Evangeline shares more than a few traits with Remilia Scarlet, the Final Boss of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, in that they are both immortal loli vampires with similar personalities. Her doll manipulation and blonde hair are taken from Alice Margatroid, while her Super Mode gives her ice wings similar to Cirno's.
Kazumi Asakura resembles the crow tengu Aya Shameimaru, down to having an artefact called "Raven's Eye".
Setsuna Sakurazaki resembles Youmu Konpaku, being a swordswoman dedicated to a mischevious and slightly smarter-than-she-seems noble lady (though said lady looks more like Kaguya Houraisan), as well as being a half-human with naturally white hair.
Mana Tatsumiya resembles Reimu Hakurei, being a part-time shrine maiden with a somewhat similar hairstyle who works for money and solves problems with More Dakka (thesimilaritiesendthere, however).
Chachamaru is based on the two robotmaids from To Heart. While she looks and acts more like Serio, as her hair color entails, she has some of Multi in her as well.
Student 31 Zazie bears a strong resemblance to Pagliaccio of the 31 Primevals, made more obvious in her skimpyperformanceoutfit◊. Their facial marks and skin tone are basically flipped, and both are emotionlessclowns with robed cohorts. There have been joking fan theories that Zazie is the last boss... As of chapter 294, they might have been surprisingly close.
And the trend continues in UQ Holder - chapter 3 introduces a shy girl with short hair named Shinobu. And then a little later we meet Setsuna expy Kuroumaru, a cool, easily flustered but overly serious shinmeiryuu master who is ashamed to be less than human and hunts his own kind, has been cast off from his family, and has an androgynous build with a black side ponytail. He even has Ship Tease with a cheerful, careless Konoe, for god's sake!
Most Mai-Otome characters are Expies of Mai-HiME characters. In fact, almost all of the main characters of Mai-HiME appear in Mai-Otome, although they may only be supporting characters or even extras. The reverse is often true as well — the main character of Mai-Otome, Arika, appeared in Mai-HiME for only a few seconds at the end of the last episode. One character, the android Miyu, actually seems to be the exact same Miyu and not a new character after all, as though Mai-Otome is set in Mai-HiME's future. The future-time setting leads to some fan speculation about the Mai-Otome characters being reincarnations.
Rena Sayers, however, is an expy of not of a character from Mai-HiME, but that of a character of another series: Rena Yuuki of the PlayStation game Future GPX Cyber Formula: The New Challenger. Their first names sound alike (except the "L" replaces the "R") and addition to that, the series' main character designer is also the main character designer for the last 2 OVAs for Cyber Formula as well as most of video games based on that series.
Yukiteru from Mirai Nikki shares a number of character traits with Shinji, especially in the beginning. Timid and lonely but unable to connect with the people around them even if they really want to and are forced to fight even though they really don't want to. Both seem to want their father back in their lives, but both end up betrayed. The main difference seems to be Yukiteru has his mother and Yuno. The last of which is a mixed blessing to say the least.
And let's not forget about that Kaworu thing that Akise's got going on... they even both ended up getting beheaded.
Most of class 2-D is taken from Zeon. The resident CHAR is Harry MacKenzie.
Nina Fortner from Monster is just like Laurie Strode from Halloween. Both are the younger sisters of the Big Bad of the respective works, have Identity Amnesia that made them forget their respective pasts, and being targeted by them.
Gainax has claimed that ever since Neon Genesis Evangelion they have just been using Shinji as a base for their male protagonists and changing how he was raised. For example Simon is Shinji who admired his cool older brother and Takeru is Shinji with abandonment issues towards his mother rather than his father. Hopefully we don't forget Naota as well.
In One Piece there were two characters who share similarites to Nami who appeared in previous versions of Romance Dawn. One was a Swordswoman who joined Luffy's crew, personality wise she was more gentle than Nami. Another was more similar to Nami's current self in terms of personality however from the way the Pilot's story was going it seemed like she wouldn't join the crew.
Weirder case here because we have no reason to think Oda was ever influenced by Berserk, but the resemblance between Zoro and Guts is rather uncanny. It's as if Zoro is how Guts probably would've been if he was a allowed to have an easier life and much, much more faithful friends.
Also, The seven Warlords are quite similar to the seven bosses from RomancingSaGa 2
Likewise, most characters in Pani Poni Dash! correspond to characters in Azumanga Daioh. Most obviously, the Cat God is basically Chiyo-Chichi, with a pinch of Mr. Kimura.
In Pokémon Ritchie is a Expy to Ash, who also has a few of the same Pokémon as Ash. Ash's Sinnoh rival Paul is an expy of GSC antagonist Silver in personality and appearance, though ironically is even crueller than his original, releasing untold numbers of Pokémon that he captures because he finds them too weak.
Pikachu in manga tend to be headstrong and disobedient at least at first, similar to how Ash's Pikachu was in the early episodes.
In the first movie, Dr. Fuji lost his daughter when she was still a child. Devastated by this, he tried to bring her back to life via cloning, exactly like Dr. Tenma from AstroBoy. It's made even more obvious because of Fuji's resemblance to Tenma.
Each new generation of the Pokémon Anime brings one or a few expies of a previous generation, usually in the form of a Pokémon owned by a main character, but sometimes in the form of a human character.
Ash's Charizard's backstory and progress on the show is very well-known to all fans of the anime, and as such, he has had his fair share of expies.
Two of Ash's other Fire-type starters, Infernape and Pignite, have very similar backstories, having been abandoned by abusive trainers before being taken in by Ash and becoming massive powerhouses on his team. The similarities regarding the abusive trainer are especially true for Pignite, whose trainer abandoned it by lying to it, then later revealing his true colors to it. While Paul was much more outright abusive to Infernape as a Chimchar, there was never any deception involved.
Dawn's Mamoswine is easily an expy of Charizard due to the progress of its storyline as a disobedient powerhouse. Dawn caught it as a Swinub, which was happy and obeyed her. However, once it evolved into Piloswine, it suddenly stopped listening to her. It also evolved into Mamoswine only a couple of episodes after evolving into Piloswine, and continued its pattern of disobedience. Then it became injured and Dawn had to spend time nursing it back to health, which restored its loyalty to her.
James' Victreebel was well-known for its painful shows of affection by biting down on his head. His Cacnea and later Carnivine continued the tradition of James having a Grass-type Pokémon who show affection in a painful manner (Cacnea always hugs James, and it's a cactus Pokémon, and Carnivine is even more of an expy as it is a carnivorous plant Pokémon who bites down on James' head).
Jessie's Seviper was an expy of her Arbok, being a Poison-type snake Pokémon and her main battler.
In Diamond and Pearl, Ash's Torterra, as a Turtwig, was an expy of his Bulbasaur. They had similar builds and were both introduced as somewhat gruff, but likeable, peacekeepers and protectors of a Pokémon community. Like Bulbasaur, Turtwig also agreed to join Ash if he battled it first.
Jessie's Dustox ended up being an expy of Ash's Butterfree, being released to breed with a different-colored member of its species after a tearful goodbye.
Bianca was easily a girl version of Barry from Diamond and Pearl, in that they are both hyperactive, impatient blondes who serve as recurring rivals to Ash.
Shii from Puni Puni Poemi is quite a lot like Hyatt from Excel Saga, only excluding the tendency to cough up blood, drop dead, and come back to life, and including glasses and outrageously huge Gag Boobs. They even have the same voice actress, in both the Japanese and English versions.
Queen's Blade, being a multimedia project designed by many different character designers from many different backgrounds, has this in spades:
Leina and Elina, character design-wise, are both based in Haruka Suzushiro, but personality-wise, they're so different from each other: Leina is a composite expy from both Rock Howard (personality and background-wise) and Princess Gwendolyne (some aspects of her background) up to sharing the same voice actress in Gwendolyne's case. Elina, on the other hand, is a combination between Billy Kane and Jagi's personalities, with some pointers from Katejina Loos. On the other hand, in the Queen's Blade Rebellion sequel, Leina (now using a disguise) resembles Elliot Chandler from Mai-Otome 0~S.ifr~.
Leina and Elina's elder sister Claudette seems to be inspired between Reiko Kirishima and Raoh, at least in personality, albeit character design-wise she looks like Kyoko Tsumabuki, especially in Rebellion
Nanael is basically Rika Manabe from the H-game Makai Tenshi Jibril, a game Nanael's character designer worked before. In her return in the Vanquished Queens =[OV As]=, her new armor look like Yuko Asou's armor.
But Inuyasha is a lot more Ranma than Kagome is Akane- note the perching, attitude, and even resemblance.
Inuyasha and male Ranma even share a voice actor (in Japanese and, in the later seasons, English as well).
Akemi from Maison Ikkoku is suspiciously similar to Nabiki Tendo, in their eyes and their seductive, jovial natures. Also, she has minor traits of Ranma (face-making, selfish but nice, off-the hook). She could be practically be the offspring of Ranma and Nabiki... Except that Maison Ikkoku is considerably older than Ranma 1/2.
Nabiki and Akemi share a few features, but neither one is a ripoff of the other. Deep down, waaaaay deep down, Akemi is still a nice person whereas Nabiki is The Ultimate Capitalist...
Akemi is generally linked with Benten from Urusei Yatsura (earthy characters, same voice actress)
Yotsuya from Maison Ikkoku looks identical to Sekoi from Takahashi's early series Dust Spot (a.k.a. Wasted Minds). The fact that Sekoi is a secret agent and Yotsuya keeps his job a secret from the residents of Ikkoku has lead some fans to wonder if they're actually the same person. Given the tendency, however, for Takahashi's works to not exist in a shared universe (as well as the lack of fantasy/supernatural elements in Ikkoku which in itself sets it apart from her other major series'), it is unlikely, but not impossible, that they are meant to be the same person.
There's also a TV anchor in Urusei Yatsura manga with practically identical looks◊.
Shun Mitaka of Maison is suave, rich, and has a silly uncontrollable phobia. Just like Shutaro Mendou of Urusei Yatsura (they even have the same voice actor).
Kuno Tatewaki is also comparable to Shutaro Mendou. Both are absurdly rich (although Mendou shows it a lot more,) both always carry a sword, which Ranma/Ataru catches, they also want to kill/defeat the main character, for "stealing' their love.
Many of the characters in Rumiko Takahashi's latest work, Rinne, seem to be expies from her older works (though in looks, Rinne's grandmother Tamako seems to be a genderbent Ichimaru. For example, Sakura Mamiya is a more laid-back Kagome, Tsubasa Jumonji looks a lot like Miroku (though his personality is more like Ryôga's). Ageha looks very similar to Abi-hime, too, though personnality-wise she's a lot like Kodachi.
The characters in Robotech are all expys of the characters in Macross, Southern Cross, and Mospeada. All three shows were originally unrelated but combined together to tell a multigenerational epic.
Kyouran Kazoku Nikki gives us Himemiya Senka who when first introduced shared Suigintou's white hair (intended to resemble silver), unnatural eye color, and creases under the eyes showing her disturbed mentality, and even remarkably reminiscent dress as well as obsessive jealousy and hatred towards a main character. She's even referred to as a "Solitary Doll," though in this case it refers to her replacement role as her family's shared abuse victim. Like Gin, though, you eventually learn to empathize with her a bit once you know her background.
The Daughter of Twenty Faces gives us a character known only as "the white-haired demon" so far. She shares Suigintou's long white hair, purple eyes, and psychotic creases under the eyes as well as a jealous, obsessive cruelty towards the main character. While she looks human most of the time, her body is actually some kind of animated marionette, complete with Rozen Maiden-like doll joints.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: In the second season. A very briefly seen character had pale hair with devious eyes. And she was even voiced by Rie Tanaka who also voiced Suigintou.
Sailor Moon's Usagi is an odd example of an Expy appearing with the original character, as the Codename: Sailor V manga, in which Minako first appears, predates the series. This results in strange similarities with hair color, both having a magical talking cat, and both having a Magitek disguise device. They also have identical-looking parents (both based on the author's), although this was never alluded to in the later series. Oddly enough, Takeuchi stated, that she originally wanted to give Usagi SILVER hair, to make her less of an Expy. Her publisher, however, told her not to, since a mysterious, calm colour like that would have interfered with her You Suck personality.
There was also the transition of Amano -> Umino (although the latter, thanks to his notably larger role in The Ninetiesanime, got significantly more character development and sympathy) and (to a lesser extent) Hikaru -> Naru.
Lucifer of Saint Beast is Sephiroth with black hair—they are otherwise identical in looks. However, he zig-zags all over the place in regards to similar personality, so that whenever Lucifer gets screen time (especially with Zeus) it just feels rather...odd.
Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop's lead characters are designed by the same author and look it. Mugen evokes a Spike before his series began, but otherwise share the same afro, nihilism, and English voice actor.
Sonic X: Dr. Eggman's robotic henchman, Decoe and Bocoe◊, are almost identical to Epsilon and Omega◊—the lackeys of Dr. Bug from the obscure 1991 series Kinkyu Hasshin Saver Kids. Both shows were animated by Tokyo Movie Shinsha, and Decoe is even voiced by the same voice actor (Ken Yamaguchi) as Epsilon, so this is almost certainly intentional.note Bocoe was instead voiced by Bin Shimada, as Omega's voice actor (Ginzo Matsuo) passed away in the interim between the two series.
Sora O Kakeru Shoujo: Leopard looks a lot like Lelouch from Code Geass. And in the words of Leopard himself, that should he be human, he would in fact look like Lelouch. And for extra points, both he and Lelouch has the same voice actor.
Soul Eater, several characters are expies or callbacks to the author's previous series B.Ichi. Whether its the name of an attack like Law Abiding Silve Gun or the whole character being a mix of previous characters depends on the individual, but it seems that about half the cast has a callback to a prvious character in some form.
The unnamed husband and his wife in Spotted Flower were created as alternate universe versions of Harunobu Madarame and Saki Kasukabe from Genshiken. Besides having similar appearances, the wife has an ex-boyfriend who is a friend of her husband's, just like Kousaka from Genshiken. The husband also mentions throwing away some S&M DVDs because he could not get into them, which Madarame also does. Since the setting is also similar, fans speculate that they are the same characters at different times.
A number of characters in both Susume Kitakou Housoubu and Barjona Bombers are recycled from a doujinshi project that Hidekaz Himaruya did as a teenager, where he personified the prefectures of Japan. These characters would then wind up re-used as Japan's prefectures in Axis Powers Hetalia. A few of the characters' personalities and archetypes were also given to some of the countries in the manga:
*Hatoba "Big Boss" Isahaya is a lax, calm guy who really loves cats and sleeps a lot, similar to Greece.
Noto Kanazawa is sometimes compared to Lithuania in appearance (though the latter has longer hair), and with his unlucky nature. North Italy was initially meant to be more based off of Noto, but plans changed. Barring his crossover appearance, Noto's character is recycled two times in Hetalia: Once as a feudal clan of Japan (Kanazawa-han), and later in artwork as the Ishikawa prefecture (re-used from Himaruya's old project).
Noto's childhood friends are based off of the personifications of Toyama and Fukui, with their names also being direct inspiration (Iriyoshi Toyama, Wakasa Fukui). A number of characters all have some sort of injoke in their name that relates to a prefecture.
Azuki Shougoin's loud egotistical nature is sometimes compared to that of Prussia, along with her being unlucky. Although design-wise, she is a copy of Himaruya's personification of Kyoto.
Seychelles was inspired from the initial Nagasaki design that Himaruya drew in 2004. When he re-introduced Nagasaki, he lightened her skintone and removed her hair bows to downplay the resemblance.
Barjona examples: Nomaru Hunai was based off of "Oita", Yamato Nara started as "Nara", Kalom Hikone was "Shiga", and Tsukomi Hoke was "Osaka". Osaka would appear again in Hetalia, as part of both the feudal clans and the modern prefectures.
Homare Aizu appears as the Aizu clan in Hetalia, although this is averted with the modern personification of Fukushima.
Kalom's design was somewhat reused for England, while England's personality is more in line with Homare's sarcastic nature.
Tira Sugusuku was inspired by an Okinawa personification that Himaruya drew, although when he re-introduced Okinawa in Hetalia, he changed the character to be a guy.
Himaruya had drawn a comic called MoeKan in early 2006, who had a Korean lead character named Sena. After he began work on Hetalia, his initial plan was to reuse Sena's design for South Korea and make the character a pop idol wannabe. The female South Korea appeared in one tiny webcomic sketch (arguing with France over tea)◊, but was scrapped and he introduced a male version instead. The female South Korea design would return though, for the Nyotalia artwork of the Asian countries.
In a more prominent example, Simon himself is basically Shinji Ikari with blue hair and a very inspirational rolemodel and "Bro" in the form of Kamina. Well, at least early on. It's really hard to see the similarities between Simon and Shinji in the end of their respective series.
Masataka Takayanagi from Tenjho Tenge and Kazu from Air Gear. Both are Oh! Great creations, and both are shy and reserved with untapped potential. Also, they both play second fiddle to hot headed leads Soichiro Nagi and Ikki, respectively.
The Big O embodies this in its similarities to Batman. Roger Smith is Bruce Wayne with a mecha instead of a batsuit, he's surrounded by his older butler Norman (Alfred) and Dastun (Commissioner Gordon) among others. Paradigm City also has a similar feel to Arkham.
In fact it is not just limited to the antagonists. The original Time Bokan had the two main protagonists be a Battle Couple, and five series afterwards would have their own respective expies (Yattodetaman and Ippatsuman just had a single hero be the main protagonist). Regularly these Battle Couples would have a Robot Buddy as well.
Appearing only in the animated adaptation of Toward the Terra, Serge Starjon is the expy of Serge Batouille, the main character of Kaze to Ki no Uta. Both are similar in appearance and personality.
Subverted massively in Tsubasa, where the major characters are warned that during their dimension-hopping, they will likely meet many different versions of the same person. This results in later volumes featuring Expys of characters from earlier in the same manga. Continuing with the "Alternate Universe" theme, nearly all of these recurring characters are themselves Expys from an earlier CLAMP work.
And then inverted when one of the "same face, different place" characters really does turn out to be the same person they'd met before.
CLAMP wrote Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle as a 20th anniversary Fanservice gift to its fans, so Expy is essentially the raison d'etre for the series. Xxx Holic is a concurrent CLAMP manga series that intersects so tightly with Tsubasa as to require reading both to fully appreciate and understand each story. For the 100+ list of CLAMP Expys in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, see Tsubasa Chronicle Crossover Characters Note that the crossovers with Xxx Holic are mostly deleted from the anime adaptations because separate production companies animated each series, creating contractual and creative differences. Expy instances in Tsubasa vary in the anime because the series veers from the manga late in season two (though is recovered mostly in the Tsubasa Tokyo Revelations OVA series.
A teenage boy who attract ghost like bees to honey, who mades a magic contract with a mysterious person to get rip of the ghosts but instead he turns into that person's assistant. Are we talking about Hayato from Undertaker Riddle or Watanuki of Xxx Holic?
Nitori from Wandering Son looks near identical to the protagonist of the mangaka's earlier manga, Inhabitants of the Threshold. You probably won't notice at first due to the very different art styles, but when she drew them in the first omake of her new series◊ it becomes very apparent. The difference ends there, as their personalities are polar opposites.
Shimura is well-known for reusing designs in her manga. In Aoi Hana several of the characters are near-identical to characters in Wandering Son, there's even a background girl who has the same hairstyle and face as Nitori's. But as said, resemblances almost always end at appearances.
Right from the mouths of the powers that be, the protagonist, Judai, was designed with Jyonouchi's personality and Yugi's dueling skills.
The Season 2 Big Bad, Saiou, is basically an Expy of Marik (with his sister Mizuchi an Expy of Isis), using the same strategy as Dartz.
Kaiba has three in Kaiser Ryo, Manjoume and Edo Phoenix, all of which encompass different aspects of Kaiba's character.
Sho seems to be based on little Yugi.
The Sacred Beasts are Expys of the God Cards.
Fujiwara Yuusuke is very much akin to Bakura Ryou, having lost his family (impiled in both cases to be by an accident, possibly a car crash), and having a definite affinity for the supernatural, along with making some level of a bargain with the final Big Bad.
Yuma has Yugi's background (artifact, legacy deck, spirit companion, Childhood Friend Romance) and Jonouchi's noobishness.
Kotori is an expy of Anzu (personality, relationship) and Ruka (appearance).
Shark is an expy of early Jonouchi.
Kaito is an expy of Kaiba (the obsessing over his brother)
Astral and No.96 being expys of Atem/Dark Yugi and Dark Bakura, respectively.
This is the basic formula of all shows: Main character tends to be The Ace and has a 2500 ATK trademark monster (Yugi, Jaden, Yusei, Yuma, Yuya). They are backed up by a Good Is Not Nicelancer who has a 3000 ATK dragon as a trademark card (Kaiba, Chazz, Jack, Kite, Declan). A girl will be The Heart (Tea, Alexis, Luna, Tori, Yuzu). And there will be at least one supporting character with supernatural ties (Bakura, Atticus, Akiza, Astral, Sora).
Jack Atlas in 5D's is clearly Kaiba. The dub plays this aspect up.
His assistant Mikage also seems to be an Expy of Scheris from Scryed in both appearance and her relationship with Jack.
Bruno looks like an Expy of Johan from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, with his blue hair and instant Ho Yay relationship with The Hero to the point of making other characters jealous. Johan himself was actually an Expy of Judai. So Bruno is an expy of Johan who is an expy of Judai who is an expy of Yugi/Jyonouchi.
Thankfully, the similarity between them exists only within the role they play. Personality and backstory-wise, they are radically different characters.
In a nutshell, Kazuki Takahashi seems to love mixing different characters together to create new ones, usually combinations of the three original main characters.
Yusei Fudo has Yami Yugi's facial structure and eye shape, Jonouchi's height range (middle height of the main trio) and obviously, Kaiba's blue eyes, humble (coming from Satellite) origins and 'no-nonsense' attitude.
And of course, Jack Atlas with the majority of Kaiba's personality.
And ZONE of 5D's would seem to be the ADAM to Aporia's Gendou. Sherry has similarites to Rei Ayanami, being a key part of the end of the world.
The relationship and design of Louise and Saito in Zero no Tsukaima is greatly similar to Shana and Yuuji in Shakugan no Shana. They even have the same voice actors. While she doesn't have a Yuuji/Saito counterpart, Taiga from Toradora! is also in their mold.
Much more. Kugimiya Rie voice-acted Shana of Shakugan no Shana (animated by J.C. Staff), Nagi of Hayate the Combat Butler (Synergy SP, J.C. Staff for the second season), Louise of Zero no Tsukaima (J.C. Staff), Taiga of Toradora! (J.C. Staff), and Yuuhi of Akane-iro ni Somaru Saka (TNK). Each character after Shana is an Expy and textbook Tsundere (although Taiga is closer to a deconstruction), is the female lead of the show, and is designed similarly (especially in the shows animated by J.C. Staff). Shana's "Urusai! Urusai! Urusai!" (Shut Up! Shut Up! Shut Up!) Catch Phrase is often shouted out (literally and figuratively) by the various characters. From 2005-2008, at least one, and usually more, Tsundere characters voiced by Kugimiya have been airing simultaneously on Japanese TV. Despite the obvious Hey, It's That Voice! effect, Kugimiya has avoided becoming a Pigeon Holed Voice Actor and continues to play a broad range of characters.
Speaking of Hayate the Combat Butler, resident Student Council President Hinagiku Katsura began as a clear Expy of Utena from Revolutionary Girl Utena, being an assertive and somewhat tomboyish girl with long, pink hair, good and school and sports, and being idolized by pretty much the whole school for being beautiful, talented, and kind if somewhat aloof. Including the hoard of adoring fangirls gushing over her. She's basically Utena if she was on the student council instead of opposing it, although she's also the Kendo Team Captain much like Utena's first opponent Saionji. Heck, for the early part of the series Hinagiku was even drawn in a different, much more flowery style than everyone else which heavily resembled the Utena art style, and her intro chapter cover even showed her with a suspiciously similar-looking rapier and lots and lots of the iconic Utena style roses. While she quickly became her own character, the heavy similarities combined with many elements of the actual plot bearing a striking resemblance to aspects of Revolutionary Girl Utena - including the student council being atop a clock tower on a nexus of magic/spirit energy, a magical castle called "The End of the World", the "Pillars of Abraxas", and a "power of the gods" which may or may not bring revolution - are a prime source of speculation as Hinagiku becomes more and more entwined in it.
Dot Hack: Justified example (as similar player-characters in actual games often have the same base model), but it doesn't stop the trope from being lampshaded and played with; for example, BlackRose and Mimiru actually argue over this in a SIGN omake episode, accusing the other of being a copycat; in the same episode, Bear is killed by Orca but everyone assumes one is the other. A similar incident occurs in Roots and the G.U. games, where Haseo finds himself being befriended by a character who's nearly identical to a close friend of his, who was PKed and put into a coma. Mistral and Mirelle are an interesting example as Mistral and Mirelle are the same The World character, but Mirelle is played by Mistral's player's four year-old daughter. (She changed the character's name to Mirelle at an event.)
The character of both Kite and BlackRose has been used many times, particularly Kite. Aside from Kite himself, there's Shugo (Legend of The Twilight Bracelet), Azure Flame Kite (G.U.) and Azure Flame Knight (LINK). Oh and, Kite (Sora) in LINK as well as Sakuya in Quantum (both being played by females, incidentally).
On another note, some has noted the physical similarity of Kite's X-Form with Kaworu. Hey, Sadamoto is the character designer after all...
Ai Yazawa's series tend to borrow designs from whatever series she made that preceded them. For example, Tsutomu is a more fleshed-out Ken Nakagawa (this is lampshaded in-series). A more obvious example comes appearance-wise from Mikako to Miwako. (Justified, though, since they're sisters.)
Dragon Ball's Master Roshi is an expy of God from his earlier manga Dr Slump: they look the same (plus sunglasses and a turtle shell for Roshi) and are both perverts with plenty of wacky moments.
Reading into some of Hiromu Arakawa's non-Fullmetal Alchemist works shows a few oddly familiar faces. She openly admitted that Jean Havoc and Lust were based on Jack and Kuo from Shanghai Youma Kikai. Then there's Dr. Tachibana, who looks like Ranfan with glasses. And her latest offering, Manga/Silver Spoon features Alex Louis Armstrong transplanted into a farming school in Hokkaido Japan, complete with sparkles.
Silver Spoon is full of these - the main character is a male version of Shezka, one major character is the spitting image of the first Greed, and one background character appears to be a younger version of Roy Mustang, to name a few instances.
Leiji Matsumoto is another writer who uses 'actors' to the extreme, which considering the number of crossover characters in his series, can be confusing as hell. It's particularly noticeable in Galaxy Express 999, when after watching enough episodes you can predict a character's personality, and even their chances of surviving the episode, the first time they appear. Strangely enough, this doesn't make the series any less awesome.
The hero's rival. Hiei, Kaiba, and Sasuke; they're all Expies of Vegeta.
Dufaux, the bookreader of Zeon, is an Expy of an unused design of Kiyomaro Takamine in Gash Bell. Similarly, Ted bears a strong resemblance to one of the original designs of Gash.
Zofis is a rather blatant expy of Frieza, both styled as gender ambiguous, extremely cruel and powerful lords. Though in contrast with Frieza's penchant for physical torture, Zofis prefers watching, and causing the breakdown of the human spirit.