Ani-musement: Our Favorite Anime Parodies in Pop Culture
Bears, foosball, deliveries, kids - all better with anime!
From Star Wars to disaster movies, no one is safe from being lampooned every now and again and anime is no different. American creative types love giving knowing winks to anime from time to time, but sometimes only a full-scale sequence, subplot or even whole episode will satiate them. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then parody is the sincerest form of gushing fanaticism. To celebrate having the ability to laugh at ourselves, here are our favorite anime parodies from mainstream pop culture.
South Park - Here's the thing: kids shouldn't play with weapons; bad stuff is bound to happen. Beginning the show's 8th season (eight years ago, holy moly), the boys buy real ninja weapons at a county fair and become powerful, wandering heroes. In their minds, of course. This episode perfectly illustrates the absurdity of little kids playing by showing Anime sequences to illustrate what they believe is happening. The most perfect moment comes when they have a "battle" with Craig and his band of rival ninjas accompanied by Trey Parker's take on anime theme music. "Let's Fighting Love" will echo in our brain through eternity.
Clerks: The Animated Series - We love a good absurd anime as much as the next guy and when an episode of Kevin Smith's Clerks ended in an insane giant rat vs. Tom Cruise showdown with back up from Axel Foley and Judge Reinhold, we shot orange soda out of our noses for a comically long time. The joke of allowing the Korean animators to finish the end of the episode leads to all manner of sight gags from Asian pop culture and the nature of anime in general. "Who is driving? Oh my god! Bear is driving! HOW CAN THAT BE?!" And that's really all you need to know folks: Bear is driving.
Community- Our favorite anime heroes have to power up in battle. While we're not one hundred percent sure, we think their need to yell exposition at their rival may be the key to that extra boost. On the Dan Harmon-created Community, a grudge match over foosball gets decidedly more epic when Jeff and Shirley flash to an anime foosball arena in hell. The animated argument amped the effect of how angry the characters were and genuinely made the episode better. "You are a genuinely good person!"
Futurama - When Futurama got a reprieve from cancellation by Comedy Central, the humor became a lot more topical, but that didn't stop the writers from finishing the season with "Reincarnation," a non-canonical jaunt down Other Animation Styles Parkway. The third segment, "Action Delivery Force," featured spot-on pastiches of Robotech, Sailor Moon, Voltron, Speed Racer and Neon Genesis Evangelion. This should be a whole series of its own, complete with Cubert's pet seal and Zoidberg doing an interpretive dance weekly. The list of things we've seen would then contain everything.