These days, it seems like anime is creeping into the animation styles of countries the world over. Granted, it’s nothing new — animation is all about cross-pollination, and anime has been with us for decades. But with the jump in accessibility has come even more such moves. But what about the reverse? What about anime inspired by American shows?
Oh, there are plenty. And we don’t just mean Osamu Tezuka taking artistic cues from Disney and Warner Brothers. There are several series that are, to varying degrees, pulled closely (if not directly) from shows made over here. Like these:
Mutant Turtles: Legend of the Supermutant
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has several iterations, each seemingly more different from the next. Some are good. Some are… debatable. And then there’s Mutant Turtles: Legend of the Supermutant. This anime, inspired by two new toys lines for the franchise, exists as a two-episode OVA circa 1996-1997. And it never really took off.
The first of the two episodes promoted the then-new SuperMutant toys. The Turtles, and their enemies, used MutaStones to turn into… well, see above. The heroes in a half shell could also combine into one being known as Turtle Saint. The second episode, advertising the Metal Mutant toy line, kitted the lads out in Saint Seiya armor. If nothing else, the show at least had a hot-blooded opening theme sung by Hironobu Kageyama.
Powerpuff Girls Z
Cartoon Network‘s The Powerpuff Girls feels anime-inspired from the get-go. So it’s unsurprising that that would eventually come home to roost — specifically, in 2006. Demashitaa! Powerpuff Girls Z turned the cute, action-packed series into a full-on magical girl anime. Rather than the Girls being created from Chemical X, they came from Chemical Z. Or, rather, three normal high school girls gained their powers from a Chemical Z accident.
Hyper Blossom, Rolling Bubbles, and Powered Buttercup encounter many of the same baddies as their U.S. counterparts. And, like the girls, these characters have expanded back stories. The show goes off in its own unique direction, but there are plenty of fun nods to the original.
Sally the Witch
Mitsuteru Yokoyama was hugely influential in the world of anime and manga. His Tetsujin-28 (a.k.a. Gingantor) kickstarted the giant robot genre. And Sally the Witch, together with its contemporary Himitsu no Akko-chan, began our long, proud history of magical girls. But Sally was inspired by a magic user from U.S. TV: Samantha Stevens of Bewitched.
See, Bewitched (dubbed into Japanese as My Wife is a Witch) was super-popular in Japan. Sally rode that popularity, telling the story of a girl from a far-off kingdom bringing her magical antics to our world. So, yes, a classic sitcom is at least partially responsible for an entire genre of anime.