The short-lived but beloved Toonami cartoon Megas XLR features many references to loads of classic anime. Here are the five best parodies in the show.
Megas XLR is a cult classic Toonami series that ran for two seasons from 2004-5. It follows two slackers, Coop and Jamie, who find a giant mech in a junkyard. They soon learn that the robot, called Megas, was sent from the future by the last humans who are losing a war against aliens called the Glorft.
However, when the robot’s original pilot Kiva Andru comes back in time, she finds that Coop has modified the robot so only he can use it and that the Glorft has followed her through time. The show is a love letter to the classic mecha anime creators George Krstic and Jody Schaeffer watched in their youth, and the show is packed full of anime parodies. Here are the five best spoofs the series had to offer.
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The episode “Space Booty” introduces viewers to Captain Jean-Michel Warlock. With hair covering one eye and a military uniform with a large oversized collar, Warlock’s design is an obvious homage to the title character of Space Pirate Captain Harlock (some foreign releases of the anime actually changed Harlock’s name to Warlock).
Warlock has a thing for redheads and instantly falls in love with Kiva and immediately plots her capture. Warlock eventually gets her on board his ship by promising her a time drive controller, but when she arrives, he takes her captive, promising to make her his Queen. He also captures Coop and Jamie and tells Kiva he will kill them if she doesn’t give in to his demands.
“Ultra Chicks,” the Season 2 premiere, sees the group face off against the Ultra-Cadets. This gang of four sailor fuku-wearing girls comes to Earth, hoping to find someone who can help them fight a creature called Kurdock. However, they end up taking the cowardly Jamie rather than the heroic Coop.
These girls are obviously inspired by Naoko Takeuchi’s classic Sailor Moon. The girls resemble Sailor Jupiter, Sailor Mars, Sailor Mercury and Sailor Moon due to their colors, and all have Sailor Moon’s extremely long pigtails. One of the Ultra-Cadets is named Galaxia, the same as the main villain of Sailor Moon‘s Stars arc. The funniest detail is that the Sailor Moon parody takes longer to transform than the other Ultra-Cadets, in reference to the extended transformation sequences that Sailor Moon had in the anime.
Gatchaman (and other sentai teams)
So popular they appeared in two episodes, “Bad Guy” and “S-Force S.O.S.,” the S-Force is a group of five heroes from the planet Sarus. Each S-Force member wears a space suit themed after a different animal, and each has access to a robotic Zorp. When needed, these Zorps can combine into one giant robot.
The S-Force is primarily based on 1972’s Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, specifically the Sandy Frank Entertainment adaptation Battle Of The Planets. Their appearances and even theme music are similar, but that’s not where the sentai references end. The Zorps is an obvious reference to the Zords from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, and their combined form resembles the original Voltron. S-Force is a love letter to the trend of adapting and redubbing Japanese media that was popular in the 1980s and 1990s.
In the episode “Coop D’Etat,” Coop accidentally teleports the gang to the Halcyon Worlds, a place occupied by massive robotic alien warriors. However, Coop accidentally destroys the planet’s sacred treasure, the Flame of Azeroth, drawing the planet’s anger and forcing the group to go on the run from the robotic warriors.
This episode is full of robots resembling famous ones from film and anime, but the most obvious reference is a robot called Zanzor. Zanzor’s bulky black body and red chest piece, along with his horned head and vent-like mouth, make him resemble a cross between Mazinger Z and Great Mazinger from Go Nagai’s legendary Mazinger Z anime and manga franchise.
Megas XLR is packed full of Gundam references throughout, but the two-part series finale “Rearview Mirror, Mirror” has possibly the most overt references in the whole show. In this finale, Coop is forced to face off against an evil version of himself. Evil Coop pilots a mech that strongly resembles the MSN-04 Sazabi seen in the movie Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack.
Evil Coop also has access to an army of drones that bear a striking resemblance to the Zaku suits frequently seen in the Gundam franchise. Continuing the reference, the evil version of Kiva pilots a mech that has large fins coming out of the back of it. These fins resemble the Wings Of Light emitters found on the Victory 2 Gundam suit seen in Mobile Suit Victory Gundam.
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