Disgusted fans in various threads on several different anime forums complained that Mobile Fighter G Gundam (made in 1994) ripped off the plot and major themes of Zoids: New Century (made in 2001). Their apparent reasoning was that because Zoids was the first show to air on Cartoon Network, it must have also been the first show to have been made in Japan.
Similarly, Mazinger Z often faltered in international releases due to people accusing it of ripping off shows it inspired, such as Voltron and it's own spinoff/sequel UFO Robo Grendizer.
Many people seem to think anime/manga invented the Mecha idea when actually Jules Verne and H. G. Wells had everyone beat by more than 50 years with a steam powered mechanical elephant and Martian Tripod Terror.
Many people seem to complain that the video game series Tengai Makyou (AKA Far East of Eden) is a ripoff in many ways of Naruto, its main offenses being that it's overly Japanese, it features a character that can summon giant frogs, and has characters named Orochimaru, Jiriya (Ziria) and Tsunade. Tengai Makyou first came out 1989, 10 years before Naruto, and parodies much of the same Japanese mythology that Naruto draws on.
This also applies to anyone who thinks Jiraiya, Orochimaru and Tsunade originated in Naruto. They're characters from Japanese folklore.
The concept of a ninja named Sasuke is also far older than Naruto, and it's pretty much the standard "ninja name" in Japan, this is due one of the most famous Ninja of the Bakumatsu Period was Sarutobi Sasuke.
Any series that features ninjutsu as a main theme will be accused of ripping off Naruto; for example, Ranma ˝ (manga 1987, anime 1989).
Neon Genesis Evangelion was a culmination of increasingly darker takes on the Super Robot genre. Many Gurren Lagann fans believe that it is the first anime to address this trend. However, GaoGaiGar both did it long before Gurren Lagann by being specifically written as a Reconstruction of super-robot manga, which the author felt had been written from an increasingly dark and unpleasant angle.
Likewise, many elements and concepts that people assume originated in Gurren Lagann were actually derived from the Getter Robo series — particularly ludicrously oversized mecha, Combining Mecha that combined with anything, and the idea of an energy source that has strong links with the principle of evolution - and the risk of overusing it. And drills.
Eva had spiral energy - background material gives the source of the S2 organ's power as the double helix of DNA (which may just be the reason why Gurren Lagann has its universe centered around it).
Speaking of Neon Genesis Evangelion, while it is commonly viewed as Deconstruction of old Idealistic Super Robots show, some of the more notable ones actually have been done before. Most notably, the idea that giving a teenager the power to destroy the world will have bad consequences was used in Mazinger Z, right during the second chapter of the original manga, making it much of an Unbuilt Trope. Also, Tetsuya Tsurugi from Great Mazinger deconstructed the arrogant, HotbloodedAce Pilot archetype long before Asuka Langley Soryu. Also, Zambot3 deconstructed the whole genre including the Kid Hero trope - in the late seventies, and Space Runaway Ideon in the early eighties.
People accuse Alucard's design of being a ripoff of Dante's, thanks to the fact that they both dual-wield black-and-white guns and wear bright red dusters. Devil May Cry: 2001. Hellsing: 1997. Dante's design is in fact a tribute to the main character of Space Adventure Cobra (1978).
It's funny people should accuse DMC for ripping off Alucard when at first he elicited cries of "Vash rip-off!" To get even crazier: Vash is a guy who dresses in red, has blonde hair, a huge revolver and a gun hidden in his arm while Cobra is... a guy who dresses in red, has blonde hair, a huge revolver and a gun hidden in his arm.
When NEEDLESS began, many people complained about it shamelessly ripping off of Gurren Lagann due to its animation style and characters (most notably, Blade, who resembled Kamina). What they didn't know was that the manga of NEEDLESS started in 2003, 4 years before Gurren Lagann.
Besides, the notion of a wasteland populated by super-powered people was already explored in Scryed.
There are Twilight fangirls who seriously think Vampire Knight is a Twilight rip-off. It's hard to say, really, because both of their source materials were published in 2005. but it's safe to say mangaka Matsuri Hino began working on Vampire Knight before the Twilight book was actually published, and translated and reprinted in Japan. Although this is still debatable, Twilight fangirls took it a little too far when they targeted Karin (because, you know, Karin has vampires that can walk under sunlight!).
Many so-called Dragon Ball "purists" insists on not using the term "Saiyan", the anglicized form of Saiyajin, since it's a purely American invention according to them. What those people don't know is that the anglicization of "Saiyajin" to "Saiyan" was first used by Bandai for their Dragon Ball Z toys, such as the "Super Battle Collection" action figures, which predated any of the American adaptations.
It's not even an anglicazation. It's a translation, since the "jin" ending denotes being from that area, in this case "saiya", so the English way of saying that someone is from "saiya" would be "Saiyan."
Berserk was virtually unknown in the US until the 1997 anime fansubs gained a cult following. Because of this, it and the licensed game were often described as taking elements from otherworks with giant swords. It was actually their inspiration.
It doesn't take much effort to find people who accuse Code Geass of being a rip-off of Death Note. However, Geass was in development for five years before it came out in 2006, while Death Note first appeared in 2004.
Code Geass and Death Note don't really have that much in common besides some superficial similarities: both involve Xanatos Speed Chess and brilliant, hammy, young men with self-righteous ideals who gain some sort of supernatural power through a chance meeting with an immortal partner, becoming Drunk on the Dark Side but temporarily reverting during a period of amnesia until it comes flooding back with a vengeance and die at the end of the series. That's it.
Osamu Tezuka's Kimba the White Lion series has received some flack for bearing similarities to Disney's The Lion King... even though the original manga was created 30 years ago. Tezuka was dead for almost 5 years by the time The Lion King came out! Sensibly, more people make the opposite accusation in this case.
Many people also mistake Astro Boy for being the first anime character ever, which isn't true since Japan tried their hand at cartooning before Tezuka got to it.
This was parodied in The Simpsons: "You must avenge me, Kimba. I mean, Simba."
As he was writing Astro Boy and Asimov's stories started getting published apparently a bunch of people accused Tezuka of ripping of Asimov outright. Surprisingly enough Tezuka did come up with the concept of laws that had to be obeyed by robots before Asimov (or at least published such a thing first). Chances are that him and Asimov having the same idea was more than likely a coincidence.
The idea for Asimov's laws were actually suggested by his editor. He noticed that in Asimov's work, his robots seemed to follow a set of rules, so he pointed it out to Asimov, who decided to make it blatant text. When thinking about it, the idea that robots need a set of rules to abide by is just logical.
Among Defense of the Ancients players, knowledge of “Lina Inverse, The Slayer's origins is sparse enough where fanart (her appearance is a reskin of WC3's sorceress unit) and fanfic has been created with no connection whatsoever to the original character.
Similarly, people seem to think that the nickname "the white devil" is simply one created for Nanoha, whereas it is in fact a a description of the original RX78-2 Gundam from in-universe, applied to Nanoha for ironic purposes.
The "Flat chest is a status symbol!" quote is always associated with Lucky Star protagonist Konata, as opposed to its original user Mayumi (from SHUFFLE!). Which is weird, since Konata flat down says when she uses it she got it from "an eroge character". Admitedly Mayumi doesn't use it on the anime, but still.
When Space Battleship Yamato first aired on US tv, it was sometimes derided as a cartoon rip-off of Star Wars. However, Yamato (pilot episode premiered in 1974) came out 3 years before Star Wars (first theater screening in 1977). Productions came even sooner than that.
Both are slightly arranging and quoting Mobile Suit Gundam character Char from the '70s, "Dren, who do you think I am?"
Multi-route adaptation of a Dating Sim: If somebody thought Amagami SS was the first to do this, they must not have read Kimikiss - Various Heroines. Developer Enterbrain must has preferred both of their franchises being adapted that way.
When in Naruto the Nine Tailed Fox's name is revealed as Kurama and the Four Tailed Gorilla's was revealed as Son Goku, some were up in arms, claiming Kishimoto ripped off of YuYu Hakusho and Dragon Ball Z, despite the name of the former existing in Japanese folklore in a relevant tale, that of Tengu Kurama, while the latter is also a reference to Journey to the West, a very pivotal book in Chinese Literature. It has been confirmed however that the Nine Tailed Fox's name is a reference to YuYu Hakusho.
Quite a few Western Naruto fans who see a kanchou being performednote surprising someone by shoving one's index fingers into their butt crack will assume it's a reference to the "Sennen Goroshi" scene. Kanchouing is actually a popular real-life prank in Japan, the local equivalent to the American wedgie.
Likewise, whenever a character named Jiraya appears in anything it's almost always viewed as a Naruto reference. The character of Jiraya dates back to an old Japanese folk tale that just happens to get referenced a lot in Japanese pop culture: Naruto's Jiraya, Yosuke's Persona in Persona4 and Greninja in Pokémon X and Y, among others, are all based off the folk tale.
When Digimon came out, it was blasted as a Pokemon ripoff because of its use of 'evolution' and monster collecting. Whether or not that Digimon did rip off Pokemon is debatable but it is also moot considering the Shin Megami Tensei series already did the concept of monster collecting (with the use of computers even) long before either did.
Digimon grew out of the Tamagotchi virtual pets while Pokémon was an RPG. While they both have the idea of raising monsters to fight for you, the original games were otherwise very different. As far as other media, both had stuff appearing in summer of 1997, Pokémon with its anime while Digimon had a manga. Digimon's release of an anime in 1999 may have been to ride the success of the Pokémon anime, but the concept of the series existed before that. The point however is that neither one invented the kid with the remote control trope.
It is often thought that Sword Art Online was inspired by the .hack series, when in fact, both had started around the same time. Author Reki Kawahara had started SAO back in 2002, but was actually a web-novel series until 2009 under a pen name.
Making fake bloopers for animated films came to popularity when Pixar started doing it. However, the anime Maris The Chojo did it back in 1986!
After Osomatsu-san took off, many fans were shocked to discover that it was based on a manga that started in 1962, and that it had two anime series (one in 1966 and another in 1988) prior to -San. The first episode outright references the original series but many non-Japanese fans thought it was making fun of old anime in general.
In countries where the series caught on decades later, the release dates of chapters aren't well known. So in cases like Geb homaging Tremors, there are fans who think JoJo came out before its inspiration.
Studio Trigger's Little Witch Academia, released in 2013, is the story of a human girl who loves magic so much she wants to become a witch. Her beliefs about magic and being a witch go heavily against what "real" sorcerers had hold as tradition for centuries, so naturally she becomes the black sheep among the magic community. In her misadventures, she's always accompanied by two apprentice witches who befriended her despite even them barely sharing her enthusiasm. What many people may not know is that this exact premise had already been used back in 2004, in Tweeny Witches, a series realized by Studio 4°C.
Your Name: Although without the "Freaky Friday" Flip shenanigans, there have been previous works involving characters communicating across time, including but not limited to Frequency, Il Mare and its Hollywood remake The Lake House. All the three mentioned here also have one side being Dead All Along and Set Right What Once Went Wrong elements. Frequency also has the communication being tied to a cosmic event - the aurora borealis in its case, Comet Tiamat for here.
Yuri!!! on Ice is considered groundbreaking for portraying a Queer Romance between the two male main characters as of episode 7 and while this is true as far as mainstream and sports anime goes, No. 6 had already done years prior, making an Official Couple out of the Shion and Nezumi duo in a dystopian setting. No.6 though never got much attention outside of a niche group while Yuri!!! On Ice became an anime with a gigantic fandom that attracted Yaoi Fangirls, LGBT Fanbase, professional skaters and basically most anime watchers, being very likely one of the most popular anime of 2016.
The gap between localization and the original release can do this for series. For example, most of the English speaking fans of Naruto associate the series with the mid-2000s. The manga actually debuted in 1999 and the first episode aired in Japan in 2002.
Throwing uprainbows became a meme in the West around 2006 before gaining noticeable, mainstream animated examples in the 2010s. Except when anime and other Japanese works like Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku o! do it, it's as a decades old sight gag parodying Ashita no Joe 2 from 1981, with its over the top beautifying of upchuck using vibrant colors and sparkles. As an old method of censorship, luminous barf still gets played straight sometimes like in a scene from JoJo's TV adaptation.
Aside from being an often paraphrased classic like in the examples above, Gundam is a large franchise that has been branching into a lot of different areas since The '70s. Having taken a few decades to catch on in the West, there are a few parts that passed us by.
Gundam Build Fighters may have seemed like a zany new idea, but its concepts rooted in a manga that began in 1982, Plamo-Kyoshiro. Part of the competitive hobby genre of comics, Kyoshiro was heavily tied to the Gundam franchise and spiced things up by having the plastic models duke it out using whatever excuse. There were naturally other manga that followed in its footsteps using other merchandised franchises.
SD Gundam Force was likewise part of something decades old. SD Gundam began in 1985 and almost reached the US sooner as The Doozy Bots. The child-friendly franchise steadily grew into multiple thematic universes and at one point it eclipsed the Universal Century verse in popularity.
Every time a competitive cooking anime like Yakitate!! Japan or Shokugeki no Soma gets fairly mainstream recognition, there are inevitably a fair amount of fans who see it as something strange and recent. Cooking and gourmet manga, which technically includes other food-related series like Toriko, boomed around the late eighties following series like Mr. Ajikko and Oishinbo, though not every one gets animated and fewer are spotted overseas. The genres and their varying levels of hyperbole have been such a staple in Japan, though, there have been somewhere over 400 such titles so far. Even oddball shows like Iron Chef are thought to be taking cues from them.
A lot of people only familiar with Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid through its anime think that Kanna is based off of the main character from Fire Emblem Fates (since she has both the main character's default Japanese name, "Kamui", and the name of their child, "Kanna"), unaware of the fact that both characters were actually named after an Ainu deity (not to mention the fact that the manga predates Fates by two years).
Believe it or not, Ranma ˝ isn't the first manga about a boy named Ranma who changes into a girl under certain conditions. That honor goes to Cinderella Boy, a manga by Monkey Punch, from 1980.
Also, the idea of a teenage boy changing forms due to a change in temperature was first used in Turbo Teen back in 1984 (although in that case, it's the "cursed" form that's triggered by heat, and the temperature change isn't limited to water).