The List
7 Anime Cameos

by Lynzee Loveridge,

Cameos by well-known celebrities or creators are common across all visual mediums, whether it's Stan Lee appearing in most every Marvel film, or Quentin Tarantino and Alfred Hitchcock in many of their works. In anime, characters from other series might appear as visual gags, in-jokes for the audience, or acknowledgement of the creator's other works.

7. Monogatari Series The anime series based on NisiOisin's light novels are full of fast-paced dialogue, quick visual cuts, and Shaft-style angles and symbolism. Interspersed in what can sometimes be described as a complete visual assault on the viewer's eyes are yet more gags to other popular anime series. Mayoi dons some familiar glasses à la Detective Conan, while in other episodes Koyomi is redrawn in the style of Tetsuya Chiba's Ashita no Joe and Fujiko Fujio's Doraemon.

6. Excel Saga Hands down the pinnacle of the absurd anime comedies of the time, Excel Saga is like the Ai Mai Me! of 1999, but the episodes were full length. The episodes were also so chock full of anime references and cameos that the American DVD release included a "Pop-Up Videos" style trivia track. Some of the many, many references included Excel meeting the same fate as Minky Momo in an early episode, her voice actress Kotono Mitsuishi making veiled references to her other role as Sailor Moon, and on-screen appearances of characters from Urusei Yatsura, Mahoromatic and Trigun. Excel Saga also famously includes director Nabeshin's in-series appearance, which continued in Puni Puni Poemi, Tokyo Pig, Nerima Daikon Brothers, Nurse Witch Komugi, and a ton of others.

5. The World God Only Knows: The show's protagonist Keima Katsuragi is known for his otaku behavior (specifically bishojo games). The series' audience is expected to have familiarity with the same kind of interests, and the humor routinely hearkens back to that. Keima goes full Tezuka as the creator's famous surgeon, Black Jack. The series directly references Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki's Heidi, Girl of the Alps more than once, and later includes visual spoofs of Ouran High School Host Club, D-Frag!, and the original Super Mario Bros. video game.

4. Durarara!: Baccano and Durarara were both written by author Ryohgo Narita, so when the latter first aired in 2010, several homages to Narita's earlier work were snuck into the series. A tie-in website was launched that asked for a password (hint: it was Baccano), and several replicas went up in other languages. The series proper is peppered with references to Baccano, as well as Toradora!

3. Crayon Shin-chan/Sailor Moon: Crayon Shin-chan and Sailor Moon had a back and forth ribbing at one another while both shows were airing on TV Asahi. Both shows hired mutual voice actors (Michie Tomizawa, Kotono Mitsuishi, and Megumi Ogata) while other characters from each respective show guest starred on the other. Sailor Moon, and later Sailor Mufoon, appears a few times on Crayon Shin-chan (voiced by Sailor Chibi Moon's Kae Araki). Sailor Moon dedicated episode 104 to a less-than-subtle parody of Shin-chan. Chibi-Usa encounters a boy who ends up being a personality copy of Shin-chan (and voiced by Akiko Yajima) and his mother (voiced by Miki Narahashi).

2. Lucky Star: The girls spend two different episodes among cosplayers dressed up as some of the most popular characters of the time. One is a cafe where Konata works and cosplays as Haruhi Suzumiya along with her coworkers who are dressed as Mikuru and Yuki. The series' iconic ending dance is performed in the cafe. The girls run into Fullmetal Alchemist look-a-likes a few episodes later, while other episodes include Tsukaka running into Guile from Street Fighter, cameos from Pani Poni Dash, Initial D, and Cromartie High.

1. Gundam Build Fighters: Fans of Gundam got a special treat in Episode 23 of Gundam Build Fighters. Main characters from across the franchise showed up as background and bit characters to take part in the the Gunpla Battle Championship World Tournament and corresponding festival. Some the characters that stop by include the one and only Char Aznable (Mobile Suit Gundam), Lalah Sune (Mobile Suit Gundam), Rain Mikamura (G Gundam), and Mineva Lao Zabi (Zeta Gundam) and Haman Karn (ZZ Gundam). There are also characters from Zeta Gundam, 0080: War in the Pocket, Gundam F91, Victory Gundam, Gundam X, and Gundam 00. You can watch the whole episode legally on YouTube.

The new poll: You already voted for your favorite, so what was the WORST anime series of 2014? Try to vote for series you were able to evaluate by watching at least an episode or two.

The old poll: What's your favorite TV anime studio? (results under 1% omitted)

  1. Madhouse 16.9%
  2. ufotable 14.0%
  3. Kyoto Animation 13.7%
  4. Production I.G 11.5%
  5. Bones 7.8%
  6. SHAFT 7.6%
  7. P.A. Works 4.9%
  8. A-1 Pictures 3.7%
  9. JC Staff 3.5%
  10. Sunrise 3.3%
  11. Toei 3.0%
  12. Trigger 2.9%
  13. Pierrot 1.1%

When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as Associate Editor for Anime News Network, blogs about women and LBGT topics in anime and manga on her blog Engendered Dilemma, and posts pictures of her son on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

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