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- An issue of Spider-Man involving Time Travel and alternate universes had the phrase Bad Wolf appear as a graffiti in one panel. Bad Wolf was the Arc Words in the first series of the new Doctor Who.
- One Astérix comic involved a war between two groups of aliens over the Gauls' super strength potion. One group was based on Mickey Mouse, and their name was Talidsweny. The other one? Nagma. The Nagma are Always Chaotic Evil.
- The Super Young Team of The DCU aren't that referential on the surface. But then you notice that Big Atomic Lantern Boy looks exactly like Hayashida from Cromartie High School.
- Big Science Action is more appropriate in this case, though, because while they're all based on heroes from Japanese media, Senior Waveman is based on the super obscure Marine Boy. The others are more familiar; Ultimon is Ultraman, Boss Bosozoku and Boss Bishounen are based on Kaneda from Akira with elements of Ghost Rider, Goraiko is My Neighbor Totoro (though he was originally conceived as the Hulk Captain Ersatz in the Ultramarine Corps), etc.
- Apparently Deadpool is a fan of Naruto.
- The Justice League of America series infamously has a scene in which the Martian Manhunter disguises himself as a young Japanese woman, and is recognized by Batman based on his alias. The name in question? Hino Rei.
- An issue in the Secret Wars (2015) storyline showed◊ Illyana Rasputin casting a spell using Kamen Rider Wizard's trademark magic circle.
- A 1998 Marvel Comics had The Hulk get an armor◊ that made him look suspiciously like The World, DIO's Stand from the third part of Jojos Bizarre Adventure. The creator confirmed the Shout-Out is intentional.
- In later years, Iron Man's Artificial Intelligence Friday got an avatar that gives her the appearance of Orube.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- There's this cop movie from Hong Kong where a jaded veteran cop has accepted his lot, having been crippled in the line of duty but winding up with a promotion. He says that his daughter got him hooked on manga, where he learned about something the subs called "fair trade". Think the actual translation might be "equivalent exchange"?
- Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium has a Sgt. Frog doll appear.
- Sunny is a Korean film about a group of woman being reunited due to the illness and later death of their friend. A large amount of it is flashbacks to them as high schoolers during The '80s. There are multiple references to Western media, especially the song "Sunny" by Boney M.
- The Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami does this a lot, and it's considered one of the distinguishing features of his popular style from more traditional Japanese literature. It also makes sense, as he lived in the U.S. for much of his life. Examples include:
- The novel Norwegian Wood is named for the song by The Beatles, which plays a pivotal role in the story. (It's also a bit of a pun, since the song refers to "Wood" as in lumber and the novel's title refers to "wood" as in a forest.)
- Kafka on the Shore: the title character is named after Franz Kafka and the plot alludes to Oedipus Rex, which are not so unusual for literature, but the novel also features Colonel Sanders (as a pimp!), and Johnnie Walker as a cat-killer and possibly Kafka's father.
- The title would also seem to be a riff on Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach.
- In the first Night Watch book, Anton briefly considers telling Egor he can be a Jedi of the Light, but quickly decides it's a bad idea. He also specifically explains that Night Watch agents are different to Superman.
- Another book has a girl named Alita wearing a t-shirt of Battle Angel...Alita.
- 'Who is James Bond?' 'A mythological character.'
- The Canterbury Tales, written in the 14th century, has The Squire's Tale, about none other than Genghis Khan. Ironically, medieval Europeans knew of him, but not of many of the places he conquered.
- In Dance of the Butterfly, Skothiam is explaining the two rival families' secret duty and how they breed or find demon hunters, and Lilja likens it to force-sensitives becoming Jedi or Sith.
- Ai Qing Bian Fu Xia by Alvin Kwok (Kwok Siu Lam) is a song about love.
- An American example: Twilight: 2000 has some of the early modules set in Poland after WW III. Some of the Polish gamers can't believe that this game exists.
- The Mad Butcher enemy from Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia looks an awful lot like Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. He even has the chainsaw, despite the game taking place in the 19th century. There's also the Jersey Devil that shows up in the Agila Swamp.
- Battalion Wars II's last boss was described by Kaiser Vlad as a "fully armed and operational mining spider". You do the math.
- The Final Fantasy series has recurring minor characters known as Biggs (occasionally mistranslated as "Vicks") and Wedge, named after Luke Skywalker's fellow Red Squadron pilots in Star Wars.
- In addition to "Biggs" and "Wedge," Final Fantasy VIII had a character named "Piett" (as in The Imperial Admiral from ESB and RotJ) as well. The characters Nida (like "Needa") and Martine (who was named "Dodonna" in the Japanese version) are also Star Wars references.
- When Celes is introduced in Final Fantasy VI, if Locke is still wearing the stolen Imperial soldier uniform when he releases her, she'll remark "Aren't you a little short for a soldier?" and then he switches back to his regular clothes when he realizes he's still in disguise.
- There's also the final boss of the ninth game quotes Yoda: "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering."
- Vicks, Wedge, and Piett also appear as part of a guessing game in Chrono Trigger.
- Aside from Balthier's uncanny resemblance to Han Solo, Final Fantasy XII also throws in several Homage Shots to Star Wars.
- The very first game had numerous creatures, spells, and even a major character (Bahamut) lifted directly from Dungeons & Dragons. A few were name-changed, such as Kary on the NES who received her real, D&D name of Marilith in later releases, and Wizard and Sorcerer on the NES, who are clearly Mind Flayers. Others, such Lich and Nightmare, keep their D&D origin. Finally, some that D&D took from mythology appear closer to the D&D form than to myth, such as Kraken and Tiamat.
- Bahamut is a recurring character in Final Fantasy, and his visual reference almost always evokes his Dungeons & Dragons origin, though he doesn't always take on Bahamut's significance. Exhibits: Bahamut in the Final Fantasy Series and Bahamut from one of many Dungeons And Dragons settings.
- While Viva Piñata is native to Britain, the Ponocky species' Punny Name references the popular Japanese cookie snack Pocky.
- Shin Megami Tensei tosses in a few of these. Possibly the most famous are a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Michael Jackson and Lawyer Friendly Cameos of Audrey Jr. and Betelgeuse in Shin Megami Tensei II, but they take demons and other things from such diverse sources that they're hardly the only ones. Among others, the inhabitants of the Velvet Room in the Persona series have theme naming from Frankenstein that goes far deeper than the cursory knowledge one would expect, and Persona's Philemon is derived from a Jungian figure that's obscure in cultures you would expect to be familiar with his work.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- At one point in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Link must go through a quiz to become an honorary member of the Goron village. This quiz is rather reminiscent of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, including the whole "final answer?" routine, increasing prizes for each question, and having a lifeline to eliminate one of the wrong answers. It's not a coincidence; there was indeed a Japanese version of Millionaire on Fuji TV.
- Even the very title character of The Legend of Zelda is a case of this: Word of Miyamoto states that she was indeed named after Mrs. F. Scott Fitzgerald.
- Jo, Beth, Meg, and Amy from Little Women all show up in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask as ghosts you defeat.
- One was actually removed in the English version, probably due to trademark issues: the Magic Hammer in the Japanese version of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was called... the M,C Hammer.
- The Metal Gear series contains so many Shout Outs to American and British action movies you could easily forget it was made in Japan. The surprise was Metal Gear Solid 4 including a Shout-Out to Police Squad!.
- The NES game Monster Party would have been released in Japan as Parody World: Monster Party, with parodies of Alien, Gremlins, and Planet of the Apes. These references were removed in the US release.
- When Gig of Soul Nomad & the World Eaters is asked about any of the other World Eaters, he responds by describing Superman, Martian Manhunter, a generic Green Lantern, and The Flash.
- EarthBound was made in Japan, but has a huge number of Shout Outs to The Beatles and others, though a few references, including one to Monopoly, were decidedly Lost in Translation, some deliberately to avoid potential lawsuits.
- In Dragon Age: Origins you are asked a riddle that begins 'The smallest lark can carry it...'. One of the multiple choices is 'A coconut'. However, Monty Python and the Holy Grail probably has more cultural penetration than any film you can think of. How often do you hear "I'm not dead", "It's just a flesh wound", etc. More than one game has sentinels asking "What is your name", "What is your quest" followed by something difficult. And the ancient game Wizardry 1 has the Vorpal Bunny that had only a few hit points but could suddenly do 100 damage.
- The first Silent Hill game, during a level in the school you can obtain a list of teachers, which reads: K. Gordon, T. Moore, L. Ranaldo, S. Shelley. A much larger list of references is available on That Other Wiki.
- Nostalgia features a minor pair of NPCs, the newlywed Anastasia and Dmitri. Yes, like the Don Bluth Anastasia movie.
- The references range from the overt (a lot of the gameplay in Undefined Fantastic Object is one big Space Invaders reference) to the subtle (Flandre's theme music and one of her Spell Cards take their names from Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None) and everything in between.
- Another overt reference comes in Urban Legend in Limbo, where every character has a super move based off of an Urban Legend; Mamizou's is based off of The Men in Black, and has her using a Neuralizer on her opponent.
- In Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro Na: Moonlight Cradle (a collection of side-stories), there's a scene in which Stars and Stripes Forever appears as background music.
- The Quox in The Tower of Druaga is apparently named after a dragon from Tik-Tok of Oz.
- World of Warcraft:
- There is a quest called "A Tiny, Clever Commander" featuring Commander Nazrim of the rat-like kobold race, all of which is a rather unexpected Shout-Out to Touhou, specifically to Nazrin and her Leitmotif, "A Tiny, Tiny, Clever Commander".
- The Singing Pools in the Mist of Pandaria expansion are a fairly blatant Shout-Out to Ranma ½, especially with the pandas running around.
- In one part of the game there is also a quest line that goes as follows, "See the Invisible", "Touch the Untouchable", "Break the Unbreakable", "Fight the Power".
- In Tales of Innocence, Iria's father comments that her siblings are called Monica, Ross and Gunther — characters from Friends. Some actually believed this to be an attempt at Woolseyism by the game's fan translator, but when questioned about it, he confirmed that yes, that's in the Japanese script too. He was as surprised as anyone else.
- The Witch and the Hundred Knight has one of eponymous characters (the protagonist, though not the player character) named Metallica. The localization took out the c to avoid lawsuits.
- Animal Crossing, despite being a Japanese game, has two different references to the 4th of July (American Independence Day):
- The villager Apollo, a bald eagle (the USA's national bird) whose birthday is on July 4. It's also speculated that his name (which, unlike most characters, is the same in both the Japanese and English versions of the games) is a reference to Apollo 11, the first manned spacecraft to land on the moon.
- In the original game, July 4 is the anniversary of the opening of the town's train station. This "holiday" is celebrated with fireworks, Redd giving out balloons and pinwheels, and Tortimer giving you a model bottle rocket.
- Harle, one of the Loads and Loads of Characters in Chrono Cross, is apparently based on Harley Quinn from the Batman series. She even had the same color scheme in an early prototype.
- If you enter your name as "SOUTHPARK" in Ao Oni then the game's sprites will be drawn in the South Park paper cutout style, complete with plentiful references to the series with characters saying catchphrases from the show and rats eating the corpses of any of the characters who die.
- Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti was only released in Japan, yet most of its Boss Battles reference American Horror Films.
- Yo-kai Watch:
- Secret of Mana has werewolves strike a Michael Jackson pose when they heal themselves. If that's not enough, zombie enemies sometimes moonwalk.
- Splatoon is what happens when Nintendo takes a look at 1990s Nickelodeon and rolls with its aesthetic. It is noticeably western in style and has an emphasis on Americasia. The most blatant cross-cultural reference is in Splatoon 2's Octo Expansion. In it, Pearl and Marina dress up like the famous '90s rappers Biggie and Tupac respectively.
- The Ace Attorney games include multiple references to Perry Mason and Sherlock Holmes in Japanese, including the "MASON System" in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney.
- In Steins;Gate, the cast names their time-travelling e-mails "D-mails", short for "DeLorean Mail", explicitly after Back to the Future.
- Kotomi is quite fond if this. Her often repeated "Day before yesterday I saw a rabbit, and yesterday a deer, and today, you." is a quote from The Dandelion Girl. Also, for her Magical Girl incantation, Kotomi uses an invocation from the De Vermis Mysteriis, a grimoire found in H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos.
- When Tomoya asks Fuuko to act like a zombie, Fuuko acts like zombies in Thriller
- Higurashi: When They Cry:
- One of the club games is noted to be a "foreign game", and it becomes clear that they're playing a modified version of Clue (with the board game's characters replaced by cards with the club member's names on them and instead of moving from one location to another to guess they just take turns).
- Keiichi helps Rena retrieve a discarded Kenta-kun doll (Colonel Sanders statue) from the dump because she thinks it's cute.
- The creators of Dangan Ronpa seem to be fans of Nirvana, since Chapter 4 of the first game is titled "All All Apologies",note and the sequel has Princess Sonia Nevermind from the Kingdom of Novoselic who used to attend a high school called In Utero. The latter game also has a music live house called "Titty Typhoon" and styled after From Dusk Till Dawn's Titty Twister bar.
- One of the most famous (and/or notorious) H-Games ever made is Bible Black. About a decade later, the same people produced an even more outrageous game called Starless. Hang on a second... Starless and Bible Black?
- Dice The Cube That Changes Everything is a Korean Webtoon that references anything from Death Note to 300.
- Chinese Yuri Genre webcomic Magan&Danai has the characters blatantly watching Supernatural in one strip.
- Da-Jeong makes a reference to Harry Potter in The Friendly Winter. However, Min-Seong doesn't understand it.
- Sangwoo from Killing Stalking is fond of the song "Killing Me Softly" by The Fugees.
- South Park:
- An episode of The Transformers has a Godzilla poster in the background. Reversing this, an episode of Transformers: Super-God Masterforce, Shuta compares Ginrai to Superman.
- Transformers Animated director Derrick Wyatt cited ABC Warriors as his biggest influence in character design. He also said that Dirt Boss was based on the Lagann of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
- Beast Machines had Jetstorm reference Pokémon's slogan, "Gotta Catch Them All". The tank drones were frequently shown with a single point moving from side to side in their visors, reminiscent of the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica.
- The Simpsons:
- In one episode in which a new comic shop opens, Lisa is revealed to be a fan of Tintin and Astérix. Previous episodes referenced Mr. Bean and Hello Kitty.
- One Couch Gag has the family running in, Cosplaying as various Japanese pop culture icons — Maggie is Pikachu, Lisa is Sailor Moon, Bart is Astro Boy, Marge is Jun the Swan, and Homer is Ultraman.
- Treehouse of Horror XXV ends with dozens of different Simpson families In the Style of... previous non-canon episodes, couch gags and various properties. Anime-styled Simpsons still have Maggie as Pikachu, but this time Bart is Naruto, Marge is Rangiku Matsumoto, Lisa is Mikasa Ackerman, Homer is post-time skip Zoro and Santa's Little Helper is Haku in dragon form.
- Bumblebee Man was inspired by El Chapulín Colorado, and the channel he works at (Canal Ocho) is a subtle reference to El Chavo del ocho.
- Megas XLR is pretty much one big Shout Out to the various anime that has made it to North America over the years, from Captain Harlock to Sailor Moon, and even some that haven't, such as Mobile Suit Victory Gundam.
- A Ben10 Holiday Special featured three kids from Naruto: Konohamaru, Udon, and Moegi.
- In one episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Blue Beetle manifests a gigantic drill and holds it over his head in Gurren Lagann's trademark pose.
- In one sequence in an episode of Codename: Kids Next Door, Numbuh Four and the Delightful Kids fight over a package as Goku and Frieza, respectively. The whole scene parodies the frequent transformation sequences, as when the Delightful Kids transform into a bigger, uglier, and more ferocious monster, Numbuh Four goes Super Saiyan....and only his hair grew longer.
- Dragon Ball Z is pretty common fodder for parody in western animation, being the basis of an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy and one of the longer sequences in one of the Channel Chasers.
- Teen Titans:
- Beast Boy once got a part-time job in order to save up for a yellow Vespa with a white "T!" on a black circle in its front. The episode itself is just as surreal and nonsensical as the series it referenced.
- Along the same lines, in the episode where Robin breaks his arm, there was also a ridiculously-powerful being that emerged from his head and ended up the cause of trouble.
- In the episode where Robin uses a modified version of his costume with a cape that he can use as wings is an obvious shout out to Gatchaman.
- In another episode, Cyborg is dismantled, and Beast Boy tries to reassemble him. One of his attempts ends up turning Cyborg into a limbless version of Giant Robo. Complete with Beast Boy shrinking, standing on Cyborg's shoulder and taking Daisuke Kusama's appearance.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- With emphasis on the "Cultural" part of the trope, the episode "The Show Stoppers" involved a stage act with a Halloween-looking hanging display, with bats, spiders and ghosts - except the 'ghost' is a teruteru bozu.
- In the episode "Trade Ya", one of the items offered for Twilight's books is a Daruma Doll, a Japanese good-luck charm.
- In "Scare Master", Fluttershy's "unplanned guests" at the party are cutout drawings of pony versions of Bulma, Sailor Moon, Utena, Female Ranma and Rei.
- The Justice League episode "Legends" starts off with the League fighting a robot that looks very much like an Eva Unit. It acts as the prologue to having four of them wake up in a Silver Age Alternate Dimension, extending the reference to the ending.
- Matt Burnett, a writer for Steven Universe, said that if you find yourself wondering if it just referenced an anime, the answer is almost always "yes".
- A scene near the end of "The Test" when Steven passes a trial set up for him by the Crystal Gems is reminiscent of the infamous "Congratulations" scene from the end of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
- Pearl's duel with Holo-Pearl in "Steven the Sword Fighter" is near-identical to a fight that happens in Revolutionary Girl Utena.
- The racing scenes in "Beach City Drift" heavily reference the anime adaptation of Initial D.
- The Christmas episode of Peppa Pig, a British show for preschoolers, had scenes where a bunch of cards are hanging near the ceiling. One of them is very obviously Haruhi Suzumiya.
- The Fairly OddParents!:
- An episode showed Timmy watching a TV show that seemed to feature Kamen Rider V3.
- In one of the specials, Timmy gets trapped inside his TV and goes through multiple shows. The final one is a mix of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z.
- In The Loud House, a robot resembling Great Mazinger can be clearly seen in Lincoln's room.