Lawyer-Friendly Cameo

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Somebody is very lost.

Leela: Who are you people? Haven't I seen you in some copyrighted movie?

Glurmo (singing): We resemble-but-are-legally-distinct-from the Lollipop Guild, the Lollipop Guild...
Futurama, "Anthology of Interest II"

Sometimes fiction leans towards a rather lax interpretation of trademark issues. You may find characters who are not merely an imitation of a character from a popular show, film, or comic, but literally are that character. Somehow.

You can blur their face a bit or simply not name them. Still, this trope is known enough you can expect any work that featured these frequently will get modified a bit if the adaptation's sponsors are worried about pissing anyone off.

On the other hand, if said cameo character is famous enough, you're liable to get away with a more overt reference.

Often used as part of a Take That, but just as often a friendly Shout-Out. See also Writing Around Trademarks. Compare Captain Ersatz and No Celebrities Were Harmed.

Examples of Lawyer-Friendly Cameo include:

Anime and Manga

  • Yakitate!! Japan's American character Kid is nearly identical to Brad Pitt, for no good reason. Conan from Detective Conan also makes a thinly-veiled appearance.
  • Cromartie High School's Freddie was so obviously Freddie Mercury that the character couldn't be used in another adaptation for fear of lawyers. This was lampshaded with obscure references nearly every time Freddie appeared, and lampshaded most overtly with the brief appearance of another character, Mr. Mercury, who was noted by the other characters as looking exactly like Freddie (except for his clothes- although both Freddie's and Mr. Mercury were wearing exact copies of outfits worn by Freddie Mercury on stage) and who made a very loud emphasis on a number of dissimilarities between himself and Freddie (and, as a result, contrasting Freddie Mercury as well) It should also be noted that a number of other Queen references, such as many of the chapter titles, and literally hundreds of inside jokes and subtle references were present, making the manga a constant source of knowing grins from Queen fans everywhere.
  • In Irresponsible Captain Tylor, a chainsaw-wielding, hockey mask-wearing fellow named "Jason" is a member of the crew of the Soyokaze (mirroring the common Western misconception Jason ever used a chainsaw).
  • In School Rumble Harima stays home and watches a movie that is pretty much a rip off of Star Wars that at first covers the opening of episode 4 with Lego like star ships, and what some lines that seems to be taken from episode 6. Needless to say this is quite funny to watch.
  • In Project A-ko, it's hinted a few times that Eiko's parents are Superman and Wonder Woman, though they've never appeared onscreen in costume. (Although they have appeared with costume—Mrs. Magami is shown sewing or repairing a Superman outfit at one point.) Dad is also shown reading the Daily Planet.
  • Colonel Sanders shows up a lot as a figure of menace, thanks to the legend of the Curse of the Colonel. A few examples:
    • At one point in Project A-ko, the main characters watch a horror movie - itself a parody of Rin Taro's scifi/horror anime Harmagedon - wherein a victim, panicking, yells "The Colonel! The Colonel!" His pursuer is... Colonel Sanders.
    • One of the villains in the first series of Slayers dresses up as Colonel Sanders, complete with what appears to be a roast (not fried) chicken, in a particular episode.
    • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni starts saccharine-cute but quickly becomes the story of a town under a terrifying curse. The first sign that we're about to experience Mood Whiplash? A statue of the Colonel.
    • Albireo in the later chapters of Mahou Sensei Negima insists on being called "Ku:nel Sanders" (originally just to cover up his identity, later because he liked it). At one point during his insistence, an image of Colonel Sanders appears behind him (eyes blacked out, of course, as though to protect his "anonymity"). (For those interested, "Ku:nel" turns out to be the title of a Japanese leisure magazine, an involved Japanese pun about the purpose of living as well as a play on "Colonel".)
      • This becomes even more funny to those who've lived in Asia and seen the various KFCs around. Take a close look at the Colonel outside these establishments, people. He has ASIAN eyes.
        • He looks Asian even in a lot of the American designs for him. I actually thought he WAS Asian until I saw the documentary about his life on A&E.
        • Which is ironic, because as a kid he was often kidded for looking like an old woman.
    • In a Doraemon movie about Nobita and friends making a toy land with animated dolls, toys, and statues, one of them is a Colonel Sanders statue.
    • Directly referenced in a chapter of the Eyeshield 21 manga, where Hiruma uses a statue he "found in a ditch" as a stand in for Homer, the quarterback for the Nasa Aliens. Said statue has its face covered by a poorly-drawn copy of Homer's face, but it's obviously supposed to be a Colonel Sanders statue.
    • The Colonel also appeared in Super Milk Chan as a selfish, greedy, sexist man who hires assassins to kill a pair of pigs who escaped from one of his meat-packaging plants.
    • In Ranma ½, there is a plotline that involves a man's soul wandering around even though he's not dead yet. In the manga, this was called "the Colonel Sanders Effect".
    • The Colonel also appears briefly in Excel Saga at least once, where heavy rains flood most of Fukuoka, floating by as debris. Excel even comments on it in the English version.
    • A lot of Hentai features rape by Colonel. So yeah....
  • In one chapter of Bobobo-Bo Bo-bobo, Yugi Mutou from Yu-Gi-Oh pops out of Bo-bobo's afro and summons Sky Dragon Osiris (AKA Slifer the Sky Dragon) to help battle Halekulani. (This is even more lawyer-friendly, as the scene in which this happened was drawn by the original creator of Yu-Gi-Oh.)
  • Doctor Slump featured "Suppaman", essentially a short, pudgy version of Superman. He popped up during the Dr. Slump Crossover in the original Dragon Ball series.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya episode 11 had a pixelated version of a Gundam launch, and referred to it as the "Gun3** ".
    • Also, in episode 1, Haruhi holds up magazines to Kyon and Mikuru, featuring other anime series, one of which is SHUFFLE!, with Kaede and Asa on the cover. Note that Yuko Goto voices both Mikuru and Kaede.
  • As it usually tries to avoid censoring, Lucky Star references titles and locations only indirectly, Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu being the major exception. However, in one episode, Konata tells a 'ghost story' about a bus driver singing "Danzen! Futari wa *** cure", and in another a thinly-veiled conversation about Gundams between Konata and her father seems to be an exercise in "how far can we go before we get sued?"
    • They once made a reference to Pocky beyond obvious when they had Misao say the name twice, the first time having the last half blanked out (Po*** ) and the second time the first half blanked (** cky), alongside having chocolate milk or juice sucked up a straw to a certain point before being held in place to look like the snack.
    • Konata's "fight" with Guile actually has two separate Street Fighter references. The first is the obvious Guile clone, but the second shows up in the form of the "VS screen". The background is taken right out of Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike.
      • And the "stage" is Ryu's from Street Fighter II. Finally, she knocks him out with the Tatsumaki Senpyukyaku (Hurricane Kick), one of Ryu and Ken's signature moves.
    • One episode has Code Geass and Lelouch's name censored out. Ironically, Bandai Entertainment would later pick up the rights to localize both that and Lucky Star.
    • Tsukasa's Keroro Gunsou keychain is worth noting here.
    • During the Initial D parody, Kagami refers to Initial D as "chomei-chomei D", "chomei-chomei" being a placeholder name for something well-known.
      • Kadokawa-Bandai dub: "Bleepin'-D."
    • Cousin Yui reading manga with Rider on the cover. Also, episode 10, when Tsukasa's gentle nature and Kagami's Tsundere nature become blatantly obvious to Soujirou.

Soujirou: (hands in the air) Sakura! Tohsaka... Tohsaka's your sister!

    • The Gundam discussion segment is meant to parody the ridiculousness of the censoring. Both Konata and Soujirou's eyes have a censor bar over them, and every third word is bleeped out with a different sound.
      • That said, the corresponding manga was published in an official Gundam magazine, so...
    • The Image Song "Yuuchou Sentai Dararenjaa" (A Super Sentai-esque song) mentions, by cutting short instead of censoring, a certain "Lucky Clo---."
    • In episode 19 Hiyori draws Apollo Justice and Klavier Gavin from the Ace Attorney series.
  • In episode 21 of Keroro Gunsou, thinly-disguised versions of Lupin III and Jigen get run off the road by the Hinata family car in an obvious parody of a scene from The Castle Of Cagliostro. In episode 48, there is an inexplicable appearance by a human-sized version of the giant floating Rei Ayanami from End of Evangelion.
    • Lupin and Jigen also appear as characters in a video game in one episode of Super Dimension Fortress Macross parodying the car-chase scene from The Castle of Cagliostro.
      • Actually, the cameo is of a real arcade game called "Cliff Hanger" that reused footage from the Lupin III movie, making it a TRIPLE Cameo.
    • It's also highly likely that there is a Jigen sighting in an episode of Animaniacs (specifically the "Sir Yakksalot" episode) as a wagon driver bearing a very distinctive slouched fedora and pointed beard drives by the screen. Tokyo Movie Shinsha provided animation work for both the Lupin III franchise and Animaniacs.
      • Yet another one is an episode of Samurai Jack where a thief that's basically Jigen in a white suit with light-brown hair tries to steal a time traveling jewel.
      • Or, rather, he looked like Jigen but acted more like Lupin III.
  • At one point in Great Teacher Onizuka, Onizuka challenges an entire gang to arm wrestling and winds up beating look-alikes of Jason Voorhees (from Friday the 13 th), Heihachi Mishima (from Tekken), and Giant Robo.
    • Onizuka himself actually dresses as Doraemon and explicitly calls himself as such when forced to fight a gang with his hands stuck in bowling balls.
    • At one point he shatters the bowling balls and draws a bunch of Cross-Popping Veins on himself, screaming about a woman named Yuria. Now, he calls himself Kenshiro and even draws Ken's seven scars. To top it all off, in the anime, he beats the gang with Ken's signature Spam Attack, the Hokuto Hyakuretsu Ken.
    • He also dressed up as Devilman (apropos of nothing, naturally) once, and made Tomoko wear a Cutey Honey outfit.
    • The first chapter of Shonan 14 Days includes Onizuka painting Haruhi Suzumiya on the hood of Uchiyamada's car and threatening to write his name into a Death Note.
  • An episode of Full Metal Panic!: Fumoffu had a gangster referring to 'Ambassador Mama', a reference to Ambassador Magma from Astro Boy, with an accompanying pixellated image of his spaceship.
    • Also a couple of Death Note characters happened to be at the same place at the same time when Sousuke was getting his haircut
  • Yu-Gi-Oh often has characters in the background, while not outright named, Vash the Stampede (Trigun), Ino, Shikamaru, Choji (Naruto) and Ryoma Echizen (The Prince of Tennis) all have brief appearances (Vash is in the background of the characters walking down the street, the other four in the stands of a duel).
    • The cards for the game are no better. In the card game plenty of cards are named/designed after other Konami products (Gradius games, a card explicitly named DDR, Goemon characters). However, in the anime they do one for another Shounen Jump series. The card Illegal Summon in GX features a character scene from Naruto of Naruto's Frog Summoning training. Big Bang Shot has a picture of Vegeta performing Big Bang Attack, and Giant Ape is a Saiyan in Ozaru form, and Sonic Duck is a member of One Piece's Supersonic Duck Squadron. There's a card in 5 D's that increases your D-Wheel's speed counter... featuring a thinly-veiled Eyeshield 21.
  • The Prince of Tennis anime has Makunouchi Ippo of Hajime no Ippo fame appear briefly in the stands at a baseball game during a chibi episode. He is voiced by the same seiyuu as Prince of Tennis's Kaidoh, making this an Actor Allusion cameo.
  • Gintama runs its entire series off of this.
  • Ken Akamatsu, being a video game fan, has dropped numerous character cameos into both Love Hina and Mahou Sensei Negima: the "Mahora Budokai" arc in Negima! featured crowd cameos from M. Bison, Sakura Kusanago, Akuma, Hugo, and Adon from the Street Fighter games as well as Athena, Terry Bogard, Ryo Sakazaki, Chris, Yashiro Nanakase, and the Maximum Impact version of Kyo Kusanagi, all from The King of Fighters and related series, and several others.
    • Later, when the robot army arrives, one of the characters makes an extraordinarily blatant Lawyer Friendly Shout-Out:

"Wow! Are those Gu_dams? They have to be Gun_ams!"

    • Love Hina also has references to Star Wars quite often; in amongst Keitaro/Naru sniping Naru is stabbed with a lightsaber, Motoko wins Su a mini Death Star, and Seta's van has the license plate number R2-D2.
    • One chapter of Negima had a number of people dressed up as different anime and toku heroes, such as JAKQ, Kamen Rider X, and the main heroines of Futari wa Pretty Cure
      • That's nothing: in the official English of Chapter 11, Su asks, and I quote, "Star Wars: Episode One, what is the name of the actor who played the young Obi-wan Kenobi?!"
  • In Hellsing, Alucard's and Seras's main weapons are named Jackal and Harkonnen respectively. Though not explained in the anime, their namesakes show up in the manga as the characters' "spirit guides" during dream sequences: the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen from Dune in the case of Seras, and Bruce Willis (who starred in the movie Jackal) for Alucard. (The Baron does appear briefly in the anime's Omake-style "next episode" teasers.)
  • In Rozen Maiden, Buu, the doll that attacks Jun early on, is quite clearly Winnie the Pooh. In the anime, Pooh is replaced with a generic clown doll.
    • In turn, Jun makes a brief cameo early in the first episode of Ultimate Girls.
  • The anime version of Hayate the Combat Butler is full of lawyer-friendly mentions, although the ones in dialogue are always bleeped out. Being a fangirl, Nagi rattles them off quickly enough that it's common to have half of her monologue melodically beeped out.
    • This happens in the manga as well, although it's so inconsistent (as with the Negima example above), anyone who can put two-and-two together can figure it out.
    • Honestly, the anime hangs a lampshade on the trope and dances in circles around it, pointing at it as a Running Gag in its own right. And episode where Nagi doesn't make a reference is rarer than one where she does.
  • Seto no Hanayome features the Terminator as an important character. With lines like "I'll be back" and "You must die, human! TERMINATOR!", and "Who's your daddy? TERMINATOR!", it's kinda hard to miss.
    • And then there's Bunta Willis, whom Sun is a die hard fan of.
  • Reversed in Ray the Animation: In the manga, Osamu Tezuka's Dr. Black Jack 'cameos', but his face is never shown and he is never referred to by his full name, due to copyright concerns. In the animation, Black Jack doesn't fall under these restrictions anymore, seeing as how it was produced by Tezuka's animation studio, which of course holds the copyright on the character.
  • Amaenaideyo!! had the Show Within a Show Kamen Ranger, and continued to reference it throughout the show's run. The featured Kamen Ranger, Hayabusa 20, could've easily passed for Faiz.
  • Miami Guns has several of these, such as Bruce Tsuji, the "Die Hard detective" from one episode. The most significant example in the series is the father of "heroine" Yao Sakurakoji—who is a bleached-blonde doppleganger of Gendo Ikari, right down to the design of his office. (For some reason, he has a pet dog who's a parody of Muttley. Hey, why not?)
  • The Legend of Black Heaven features a scene where Mulder and Scully from The X-Files are investigating a mysterious event at a cemetery in the U.S., where a grave has been dug up in an incredibly precise manner. Former band member Watanabe's body had been stolen by the enemy in order to create a clone to defeat the remaining member of the band. The two agents are unceremoniously pushed into the hole by Layla's sidekicks.
    • There's also a ripoff of the power rangers in it called the Flying 5.
  • One chapter of Yami no Matsuei had the main characters in a book world. In the background of the wedding scene you can see the figures of Cloud, Aerith, Sephiroth and Rufus Shinra from Final Fantasy VII.
  • In the North #2 arc of Naoki Urasawa's Pluto, blind composer Paul Duncan recants a tale in his childhood where he was pulled from the brink of death by a Japanese black market doctor at the cost of his already weak eyesight. Said series is set in the Astro Boy universe. Said doctor was dressed in a black cloak and, according to North #2's investigations, charged his mother a ridiculously high fee for the procedure. Wild Mass Guessing aside, this doctor's identity should be obvious to any Tezuka fan.
  • Episode 27 of Zettai Karen Children has Konata, Kagami, Tsukasa, Miyuki, Yutaka and Minami appearing in the background briefly; the first four had realistic hair colors and all of them have their backs turned to the camera except for Miyuki, whose face is obscured by a leg. In addition, because Gonzo helped produce the episode, it also has Strike Witches cameos (but how could they get away with their lack of pants in that world?).
  • Samurai Champloo featured Ogami Ito and Daigoro from Lone Wolf and Cub at the end of the episode "Cosmic Collisions".
  • Volume 7 of Faeries Landing has a brief one panel cameo of Luffy D. Monkey from One Piece.
  • Sorcerer Hunters includes a number of these, exemplified by the chapter "Seaside Days in the Springtime of Youth, one of the series' many Beach Episodes. In it, a magical potion turns the protagonists into cosplaying cameos from other series such as Sailor Moon, Urusei Yatsura, and Darkstalkers. Also, for a Fan Service laden Shōnen manga series, the frequent cameos from the decidedly Shojo and chaste dating sim of Angelique were amusing, especially when the game's resident Cute Shotaro Boy showed up as a slave boy belonging to one of the manga's villains.
  • In episode 49 of Shaman King, the members Team LCT/Team Insane Asylum were based off Pro Wrestlers Mark LoMonaco (Bubba Ray Dudley/Brother Ray), one of the Hardys (Matt Hardy or Jeff Hardy) and Adam Copeland (Edge) who used tables, ladders and chairs respectively as their weapons in the WWE.
    • And of course, earlier the heroes had to fight the corpse of a world famous Chinese martial artist from Hollywood movies, who developed his own fighting style, whose favorite weapons were a pair of nunchuks, and who died mysteriously at the peak of his popularity. So, totally not Bruce Lee, then.
  • My Balls has Angel*** Jolie in Chapter 28.
  • Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei has innumerable instances. In speech, one syllable of the word/name in question is either bleeped over or pronounced "maru", in text one letter is replaced by a circle.
  • Nobuhiro Watsuki (Rurouni Kenshin) did that so many times with Samurai Showdon that the owners of SS asked the author to draw some of the new characters on SS V.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has... Squidward. You have to really be watching to find him though.
  • In Bowling King, a nefarious physician bears an eerie resemblance to Black Jack... and in a Lampshade Hanging, claims to have strived to be like Black Jack his entire life.
  • In Rescue Me Mave-Chan, a parody of Sentou Yousei Yukikaze, the villain of the short, For-Getter (which looks like a combination of Gunbuster and Getter Robo G), shows off different characters who have been forgotten by fans, including Lum and EVA-01.
  • Wild and Horned Hermit, one of the official Touhou manga adaptations, had a chapter that involved a mythological creature that emits electricity. Cue Sanae wondering if they were talking about an electric rat while her thought bubble showed a picture of Pikachu with a censor bar placed across its eyes.
  • Tiger and Bunny has several Lawyer-Friendly Cameos. The mayor of Sternbild, for example, apparently bears a resemblance to President Obama.
  • In Smile Pretty Cure, Yayoi's alarm clock bears an a superhero resembling a Kamen Rider, most likely Kamen Rider Scissors of Kamen Rider Ryuki.

Comic Books

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 gives us an utterly pointless panel that has exactly one purpose: A lawyer friendly cameo of The Tenth Doctor and Rose. See what I mean? On the bright side, you get to go insane trying to put the conflicting universe together.
  • An issue of Angel: After the Fall featured a background cameo by Jay and Silent Bob.
  • In the Asterix story Asterix in Belgium, the two Belgians who announce Caesar's arrival are dead ringers for Thomson and Thompson, the pseudo-twin detectives from the Belgian comic Tintin.
  • During Walt Simonson's run on The Mighty Thor, the thunder god becomes permanently separated from his mortal alter ego. He must disguise himself as a mortal, and as "Sigurd Jarlson," does so using glasses for a secret identity. One scene humorously includes a quick cameo by a well-built reporter named Clark.
  • Tintin had a number as well. War profiteer Basil Zaharoff is portrayed in The Broken Ear transparently as "Basil Bazarov", right down to his distinctive appearance. In the earliest edition of Tintin in America, a Mary Pickford-looking movie star named "Mary Pikefort" attends a dinner where Tintin is honored. Professor Calculus is also loosely based on scientist Auguste Picard.
  • In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in which every character is either a literary character or a literary character's ancestor, Fu Manchu is never mentioned by name, because he's still under copyright. In the movie, Fu Manchu was replaced with the Sherlock Holmes villain Prof. Moriarty (who also appears in the comic) disguised as The Phantom of the Opera.
    • No, just a generic scarred villain called Fantom - a name which has been used with various spellings by a large number of pulp villains and heroes. And incidentally, Moriarty appears in the comicbook, as well, as the (still-villainous) adversary of Fu Manchu. Then again, he's also described as "operatic" for no reason at all in the movie... And might be equally based on Fantomas, the French archvillain.
    • And the Black Dossier includes British secret agents named "Jimmy", who is obviously James Bond (He won't stop talking about "some business in Jamaica" and all that, and he's also the grandson of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen original character Campion Bond), Miss Night, who is clearly Emma Peel, and Uncle Hugo, who is Bulldog Drummond.
    • To say nothing of the new M, who dislikes being referred to as "Harry" because Harry died a long time ago, in the sewers under Vienna.
    • And then there's Paint it Black in which Mina meets a tall dark haired gentleman who claims his first name is Tom, his middle name is a marvel and his last name is a conundrum.
  • Alan Moore's Swamp Thing had a story "Pog", whose title character was Pogo in a spacesuit. Amusingly, Pog had a brief cameo in a later issue by another writer who didn't seem to recognize the reference.
  • A recent Invincible storyline had the title character being bounced around alternate universes. While he had a full issue experience with Spider-Man in Marvel Team-Up, he also encountered Batman (though only his arm is seen and his name is implied without having to say it outright thanks to a running joke from the MTU issue), a world similar to Y the Last Man and possibly the world of The Walking Dead, one of Robert Kirkman's other books.
  • Wanted by Mark Millar features lawyer-friendly versions of every supervillain (and some heroes) ever. Ever. In addition, it's implicit that the characters in the story are the real versions, and the comics are a half-baked attempt by the world to tell their exploits. But who reads comics anymore anyway?
  • If you look closely in crowd scenes during DC and Marvel Crisis Crossovers, you can often make out characters that have been Exiled From Continuity (the hand of Swamp Thing in Infinite Crisis, for example).
  • In one issue of The Punisher, the titular Anti-Hero guns down thinly-disguised counterparts of Lupin III and his gang.
  • Throughout Preacher (Comic Book), Jesse Custer has a spirit advisor called The Duke, who is clearly meant to be John Wayne but never explicitly referred to as such and always drawn with face in shadow. However, his father, John Custer, is shown and referred to as meeting the flesh-and-blood John Wayne while serving in Vietnam. Also, in issue #53, Jesse gives a lift to a fat, aging Elvis (this one's a lot harder to identify, but it's definitely him). Plus there's the sequence where Herr Starr meets (and insults) a number of unnamed world leaders - we only see Starr's face, but can identify who he's addressing by the insult (e.g. "You've got a girl's haircut, Colonel.")
  • Alien groups scenes in Legion of Super-Heroes like to slip in famous aliens or other odd looking characters. Recently, an alien resembling Dr. Zoidberg of Futurama was seen being arrested by the Science Police. Another comic had a pair that looks suspiciously like Kermit and Miss Piggy.
  • In Action Comics #579, Superman is sent back in time to 253 AD, where he finds himself in a Gaulish village that has been fighting off the Romans thanks to a magic potion - so successfully, in fact, that they're unaware the Empire has fallen. Jimmy Olsen puts on the outfit of their unnamed "greatest warrior", while a mind-controlled Superman fights "Columnix", an overweight Gaul with a white dog, who fell in the potion as a baby.
    • That's a beautiful Did Not Do the Research. The roman empire didn't fall for about 200 years more than that.
      • Not quite. They were referring to the fact that at that time, Gaul was not under Rome's control but under the breakaway Gallic Empire. Rome took it back a few years later, though.
        • Except that the "Gallic Empire" is a historiographical term created by latter-day historians. The Gallic emperors and government claimed to be the true rulers of all the Roman Empire. The Gallic Empire was not a secessionist state, but a rival government whose area of control was the Gallic provinces of the Roman Empire.
  • An early Usagi Yojimbo comic features a Lawyer Friendly Cameo from a young Godzilla, who ends up saving Miyamoto Usagi's life in return for rice cakes. Just in case you somehow missed it, Usagi actually asks "Are you a god, Zylla?" to which the creature responds "Godzylla?"
  • In a X-Man issue, there's cameos of Ken, Chun-Li and Guile on the background, watching X-Man's power demonstration. How appropriate.
    • In a backup story in an issue of X-Men Classics (earlier issues has a secondary story featuring "before they were X-Men" or "between the issues" tales), a story is recounted of an inadvertent meeting between Logan (while he was a roughneck on the run from Weapon X) and Banshee (while he was just a humble Interpol agent). Banshee is hot on the trail of three jewel thieves, one of whom is named Arsene, and who look like the Lupin Gang with a few cosmetic alterations. Guess who that makes Banshee, of course...
    • Chris Claremont has put Lawyer-Friendly Cameos of anime in quite a few of his stories. Both the Dirty Pair and Speed Racer, for instance show up in an issue of Excalibur, and yes, the lawyer friendly Dirty Pair are as destructive as the genuine article.
    • The Ghostbusters made a rather extensive appearance during the Inferno storyline during Claremont's run of Uncanny X-Men, then appeared again when Jubilee was introduced. One notable change is that the Ghostbusters' secretary, Janine, was a member of the group.
  • The Howard and Nester comic strip in issue #9 of Nintendo Power has Howard accompanying a duck on an expedition to the moon (with Nester stowing away). The duck in question is never addressed by name and doesn't look like it, but the reader can probably guess, judging from the fact that this particular installment was based on the Duck Tales NES game, that he is supposed to be Scrooge McDuck.
  • One Marvel comics from the 80's involved many of the Marvel speedsters, who were getting some help from an amnesiac speedster from another dimension... Wearing a torn red suit (with a few yellow elements), saying his name was "Buried Alien, or something like that", and who quickly disappeared in some Speed Dimension afterwards as all he could remember was that he had to keep running. Oh, and he was much, MUCH faster than all the other Marvel speedsters. As this story took place not so long after an important cross-over from the Distinguished Competition, this can be seen as a Homage to a certain character who died during this event.
    • You mean this guy? Nah, never heard of him.
  • In Black Summer by Warren Ellis, you never actually see The President or any pictures of the President, and his name is never given, but, he was in office in July 2006, made a lot of questionable decisions during the events of September 1, 2001, he's implied to be something of a Warmonger, and the Liberals weren't happy with him.
  • In Superman/Batman Annual #1, as a reference to Deadpool's origins as a Deathstroke Captain Ersatz, had an Alternate Universe Deathstroke who looked like Deadpool, acted like Deadpool, and had powers like Deadpool, but was always interrupted whenever he attempted to reveal his name (including one panel where he screams "DEADPOOOOooooo~") since Deadpool is the property of Marvel Comics.
  • Also in Superman/Batman the story arc, With A Vengeance features the "Maximums" who are thinly veiled analogues of The Avengers from the other guys..
  • Darth Vader once fought the Rebel Four.
    • This occurs several times in Star Wars Tales, there are minor appearances of characters from outside the franchisee who appear in the background. Such as Buzz Lightyear, Bender, a Predator...among the few characters who sometimes pop up.
  • The Batman Elseworld Detective #27 features Bruce Wayne being inducted into the Secret Society of Detectives. Apart from Alfred and the Crimson Avenger, none of the other members are named, but from the way they're drawn, they're clearly intended to include Sam Spade (or maybe Philip Marlowe), Hercule Poirot, Nick and Nora Charles, and Nero Wolfe, amongst others.
  • Archie Comics Sonic the Hedgehog had tons of Lawyer-Friendly Cameos, especially in its early days, like the picture above shows. This even continued on when Knuckles got his own short-lived series. This was actually done by turning them into the various races that live on Mobius or one of Robotnik's robots. Amongst more recognizable ones were a recurring set of Mobians that resembled Mihoshi, Ayeka and Sasami of Tenchi Muyo, the infamous Sally Moon, Chibi Rose and Tuxedo Knux, Sonicaman, Spawnmower, and a group of robots resembling Crow T. Robot, Tom Servo, and Cambot (fourth image from the top here).
  • Johnny Turbo, being a "spokesman" for NEC and the TurboGrafx-16, led his personal crusade for the console's superiority not against real-world rival Sega, but against their robot-run counterpart Feka. It's probably pronounced similarly, too, as in "Fake-uh".
  • In All Fall Down, appearances are made by Bruce Banner, Alfred, Tony Stark, The Powerpuff Girls, and others.
  • The Rocketeer has appearances by several unnamed pulp characters including The Shadow and Doc Savage.


  • Aside from color and extra limbs, the dragon form of the emperor from the third film in The Mummy Trilogy is virtually identical to the Godzilla villain King Ghidorah.
  • A reporter named Clark, who knows a reporter named Lois, and, uh, might be able to fly, shows up in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.
  • A rather strange version occurs in Spider-Man 2; as Mary Jane runs away from her wedding, she passes by a man in a long black trenchcoat. The audio commentary reveals that this man is Thomas Jane's stunt double from The Punisher, and that the character is in fact meant to be Frank Castle; however, as the rights to the two films are owned by different studios, they couldn't have Jane appear as the character.
  • Action movie parody Loaded Weapon 1 includes a cameo by Bruce Willis. The funniest part is that he is still in costume from Die Hard.
  • Coming to America has McDowell's, which not only is an obvious ripoff of McDonalds, but is treated as such in the movie. It even has a scene where the owner has to describe the subtle differences between his store and the McDonalds that is right next door. When they actually made the building for filming, the owner of the adjacent McDonalds actually threatened to sue.
  • Murder By Death was little more than a showcase for such cameos, referencing famed literary/movie detectives:
    • Sidney Wang = Charlie Chan
    • Sam Diamond = Sam Spade
    • Dick and Dora Charleston = Nick and Nora Charles
    • Miss Marbles = Miss Marples
    • M'sieu Perrier = Hercule Poirot
      • There was also apparently, going to be a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo for Agatha Christie, in the form of "Dame Abigail Christian." The character was dropped when Katherine Hepburn pulled out (due to Myrna Loy refusing appear as Dora Charleston—she had originated the character "Nora Charles" in the Thin Man movies)
      • The film originally ended with a cameo from two characters who looked and acted very much like Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. In fact, the resemblance was close enough that Arthur Conan Doyle's estate eventually got this scene excised from all home video releases.
  • In The Teaser of For Your Eyes Only, James Bond kills off a bald man in a wheelchair who looks a lot like Ernst Blofeld. Blofeld and SPECTRE had been Exiled From Continuity when the film was made.
  • Goldmember had this exchange after the protagonists crash into a parade float:

Man #1: Run! It's Godzilla!
Man #2: It looks like Godzilla, but due to international copyright laws, it's not!
Man #1: Still, we should run like it IS Godzilla!
Man #2: Though it isn't!

  • Bob Hope's Western comedy Alias Jesse James has a series of famous Western stars making unnamed cameos (James Garner, James Arness, Fess Parker, Roy Rogers, and many more—all in their trademark characters' memetic outfits) to help Hope's character hold off Jesse James and his family.
  • Played with in Wreck-It Ralph. The title character is basically a human version of Donkey Kong from the 8-bit days, but plenty of other videogame characters cameo as themselves - Bowser, Robotnik, M. Bison, Qberts, Pac-man ghosts, etc. Ralph even goes to an Animated Actors-style therapy group for depressed villains.


  • House of Leaves: Features appearances by Steve Wozniak, Stephen King, Walter Mosley, Anne Rice, and Camille Paglia, among others, all of whom have quite a bit to say about both the house and the film that it's the subject of.
  • Western example that is not a cameo and features a Real Life individual. Ben Elton's novel Chart Throb features Prince Charles as a major character but he is never named, just called "The Prince of Wales", "The Prince", "Wales", "Sir", and humourously, by himself, "Muggins" and "Buggerlugs". Camilla also appears, referred to solely as "His Wife".
    • Similarly, Prince Harry appears (by name) in John Birmingham's Axis of Time cycle. His character is from Twenty Minutes Into the Future and has become a Badass military officer - Harry himself (who is pursuing a military career in Real Life) would probably approve of the portrayal.
  • In the Solar Pons story "The Adventure of the Orient Express", Pons encounters several characters who are thinly disguised (very thinly) famous fictional spies and detectives, including Ashenden, Hercule Poirot, and The Saint.
    • Pons himself is something of a Lawyer Friendly Star based on Sherlock Holmes.
      • He's one of many pastiches of Holmes. It's a popular mystery fiction sub-genre.
  • The Destroyer practically lives on this trope in almost every one of its 144+ books.
  • A short story by Kim Newman in the Unforgivable Stories collection features an unnamed teenaged journalist who has an uncontrollable cowlick and is accompanied by a small white dog who is a Nazi collaborator in occupied Paris.
  • Fanon has agreed that Fantastico and his group the Good Ol' Boyz (the G.O.B.) in the Whateley Universe are George W. Bush and his cabinet and staff, but with superpowers. It's pretty obvious, since Fantastico is a Texan named Bert Walker Jr. and he's even used some famous George Bush lines. The weird part is that the author writes Phase as a millionaire who is a serious Republican and fiscal conservative, and defends those positions.
    • It's possible that the author is a serious Republican and fiscal conservative... who hates Bush. (Not unheard of: GWB was not a fiscal conservative, and was highly unpopular among certain kinds of Republicans by the end of his second term.)
  • In Night Probe (part of the NUMA Series), the British bring one of their old spies out of retirement, who had changed his name to Brian Shaw to avoid assassination attempts. It is strongly implied that Shaw is actually James Bond.
  • The Bernice Summerfield novel Ship Of Fools by Dave Stone features a 25th century space-liner filled with Great Detectives In Space, including Emil Dupont (Hercule Poirot) and Khaarli of Czhanos (Charlie Chan).
  • The Roger Rabbit short story "Stay Tooned Folks" features such toons as Sir Lanced Alot (an Arthurian knight with a bowl haircut), Poopdeck the Pirate (a bulging-armed, spinach eating sailor) and (in a sort of double-whammy) Dr Ignatz Cats, Head Shrinker to the Muckety Mucks.
  • Michael Chabon's novella The Final Solution is about a retired detective who, while never named, is clearly Sherlock Holmes.
  • A major element of Neil Gaiman's short story The Problem of Susan is that the character of "Professor Hastings" could be a much older Susan Pevensie (Hastings also being just along the coast from Pevensey, Sussex), although the narrative never outright confirms it.
  • In Good Omens there is the alien that looked like a pepper pot, described as beeping, so... the shout out/lawyer friendly cameo becomes a bit of a twofer.
  • The Dresden Files is Reference Overdosed enough as it is, but in Proven Guilty, the Monsters of the Book happen to be taking on the forms of horror movie monsters. Most of them just have the names changed a tiny bit (Chucky becomes Bucky, for instance), but the obviously-a-xenomorph is just described. And Harry quotes the movie at it.
  • The Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Camera Obscura had an appearance of William the Bloody Awful Poet, which was the nickname Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer had as a human. Also, the Past Doctor Adventures novel The King of Terror has a character from Southern California mention Dingoes Ate my Baby as one of his favorite bands.
  • Towards the end of Esther Friesner's Harpy High, the main character's mother started dating Dr. Faustus and drawing a comic strip called Mr. Mephisto which, in the words of the main character's best friend, was about "this wizard and this demon and they go around with this fat orange kitten that thinks all these funny things and eats lasagna and-"
  • Simon Scarrow's Historical Fiction novel The Fields of Death, set around the Battle of Waterloo, includes an English rifle commander who looks and sounds exactly like Sharpe. Oh, and he's named Richard.

Live Action TV

  • Perhaps the biggest example of "Pushing it" with this trope would be an Ultraman episode where the hero fights a monster that looks a lot like Godzilla with a neck frill attached (And in fact it was an old Godzilla suit with a collar attached). Said frill is then torn off by Ultraman about halfway through the fight.
  • In the 1983 reunion TV-movie The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E., Robert Vaughn is helped by a British agent driving a heavily-modified Aston-Martin played by George Lazenby. His license plates have only two letters: "JB". Who could it possibly be?
  • Goodness Gracious Me did a parody of The Sooty Show with Sweep's face pixelated to hide his resemblance to the original puppet.

Tabletop RPG

  • The disowned joke module Castle Greyhawk for Dungeons & Dragons does this a LOT. Some levels in the dungeon are nothing but Lawyer-Friendly Cameos to '80s pop culture icons including Doctor Who, Michael Jackson, Marvel Comics, The Blues Brothers, and even Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken!
  • Gary Gygax's own seemingly aborted version of the castle (of which only the top levels have been published due to his untimely death) were a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo storm of their own—many names and locations had to be changed since they were Wizards of the Coast IP, even though Gygax tried to keep as much of the Greyhawk feel so that canny DMs could fill in the blanks if they wanted to. In one section, he takes a brief Take That against TSR, talking of the corrupt city of Dunfalcon...
  • A Pyramid Magazine article about the possibilities of giving superheroes a connection to the Cthulhu Mythos had several examples, all Lawyer-Friendly Cameos of Marvel Comics and DC Comics characters. For instance there was a millionaire vigilante who had been possessed by the Great Race of Yith, and was reluctantly considering asking "the Martian" to scan his mind; a note from industrialist "L.L." to his research teams about how the alien fungus samples seem to have the ability to take human form, possibly with powers and abilities far beyond mortal men; a powerful telepath unable to prevent his mutant-detecting machine from broadcasting the chant of "Tekeli-li!" to his students; and a chant to Nyarlathotep which reveals his many names include the Surfer in Silver and the Blackened Racer.

Video Games

  • Sonic the Hedgehog features the Death Egg as Eggman's ultimate weapon to destroy Sonic.
  • Pokémon Platinum features a detective who talks weird, shows up in a lot of places, wears a long, brown coat and gives the player futuristic equipment.
    • Actually, Pokémon makes quite a few references. For starters, Rotom is based off of Pulseman and Volt Tackle is based off of Voltman's signature move. It helps that the creator of Pokémon also made Pulseman, however. Anything outside of that is rare.
  • In Romancing Sa ga 3, there is a Zorro-esque character called Robin, and in the credits, said character pulls off Zorro's infamous Z cut (Strongest Foil technique)
  • The first print versions of The Revenge of Shinobi for the Sega Genesis featured Spider-Man, Batman, The Terminator, and Godzilla as some of Joe Musashi's adversaries. To avoid any potential lawsuits, Sega released a revision of the game which replaces Godzilla with a metal skeletal dinosaur and Batman with a winged bat-like creature. Spider-Man was kept as an official cameo (with a new copyrights screen acknowledging Marvel Comics' ownership of the character), since Sega had the Spider-Man license for a couple of other games (namely the Spider-Man arcade game and the Genesis game Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin). In the Virtual Console rerelease, Spider-Man is now colored pink (Due to Sega losing the rights to use Spider-Man to Activision). Ironically, The Terminator has appeared in all versions of The Revenge of Shinobi.
    • Shinobi III, on the other hand, was able to get away with Mechagodzilla.
  • In the VGA remake of Space Quest I, the Droids-B-Us shop (which itself features an android Geoffrey the Giraffe as its logo!) has a "Dalick" for sale, which bears a striking resemblance to a certain creature from Doctor Who. There's also the robot from Lost in Space, as well as another droid, HA-Y-AO, which clearly was inspired by Hayao Miyazaki's Castle in The Sky. The Blues Brothers also have a cameo as bar singers.
    • ZZ Top had a cameo in the original, but this wasn't so lawyer-friendly, as Sierra got slapped with a lawsuit and had to remove them in the remake. The robot shop was originally called Droids-R-Us, which also attracted a lawsuit; apparently changing the R to a B was enough to satisfy them.
      • ZZ Top was replaced by a band of similarly-dressed midgets, while The Blues Brothers were replaced with a pair of blue-skinned MI Bs. Their respective musics were also changed. The former's sprites could still be found Dummied Out in the game data.
    • There was a robot called the "Def-Tech" resembled a Rifleman 'Mech
    • SQ II had a Xenomorph-like alien and an ersatz of ED-209 from RoboCop, and Vohaul resembles Darth Vader unmasked.
    • Space Quest 3 has Arnoid, a killer robot (Terminator).
    • Space Quest IV features a Radioshock store which suffered the same case with Droids-R-Us which was renamed to Hz. So Good.
    • Space Quest V featured the rear end of the USS Enterprise in the Starcon hangar bay. Captain Picard also appears in the conference room on the station. There's also Spike. No lawsuits, somehow. Of course, the entire series is filled with this sort of stuff.
  • Shin Megami Tensei 2 featured lawyer-friendly cameos from Mr. Thriller, Audrey Jr. and Betelgeuse. Yes, that Betelgeuse.
  • StarCraft has a few hero units with oddly familiar names hidden away in the map editor. Examples include the flamethrower-wielding Gui Montag.
  • Street Fighter has the character "M. Bison", a boxer, in the Japanese version. However, his name was changed to "Balrog" in the US release to avoid lawsuits. It's still obvious who he's based on, however.
  • While Burnout normally uses Bland Name Cars, one can download in Burnout Paradise what are called the Legendary Cars which in no particular order are the Cavalry Bootlegger (complete with Dixie Horn), the Carson GT Nighthawk, the Manhattan Spirit, and the 88 Special.
  • Final Fantasy has the recurring characters Wedge and Biggs, named for the pair in Star Wars.
    • Who also cameo in Chrono Trigger.
      • Chrono Trigger even did one better; Star Wars also contains an Admiral Piett, who cameos alongside "Vicks" and Wedge.
    • Final Fantasy I basically used the original Dungeons & Dragons bestiary (complete with their original names) in its original Japanese release. To prevent a lawsuit, many of the monsters were renamed (not always sensibly) when the game was first ported, turning many of the monsters into this. This has slowly been reversed as remakes have been made with names more closely matching the originals.
  • An early conversation in Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World has Emil and Marta discussing whether the mask that Lloyd dropped reminded them of the one from "Phantom of the Operetta", "F for Foe", or "The Man in the Aluminum Mask".
  • Every Quest for Glory game features a cameo by at least one famous comedian. The list includes The Three Stooges in the first game, the Marx Brothers in the second, Redd Foxx as Fred Sanford and Abbott and Costello in the third, and a sound-alike of Rodney Dangerfield in the fourth.
  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness does this quite obviously with the infamous Prism Rangers.
    • And how could you forget Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth!
    • The second game also features a conversation with a member of monster-type demon race that's usually considered female for pretty much the rest of the game. At the end of the conversation the monster reveals that it is, in fact, a boy. At this point, you realize/remember that the monster in question is named Bridget.
    • And then there's the third game with not one, but two of the Diez Gentlemen. One is Bo Tie (flip his name around). Then there's Se-To-Oh, who ironically, summons a bunch of monsters in one turn.
  • Classic H-game Season of the Sakura features characters from Magic Knight Rayearth, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Tenchi Muyo, Saint Tail, and Pia Carrot, but given how blatant the references were, this may simply be a Shout-Out (or an excuse to let fanboys pursue anime girls popular in the mid-90s, when the game was made).
  • In Prototype, a fellow who looks suspiciously like Chinese superstar Andy Lau is one of the random civilians. For reals.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater features a CIA director who is clearly meant to be a stand-in for John McCone (the real DCI at the time), but is never addressed by his name. This was likely done to avoid defaming McCone's person postmortem (since it wouldn't have sat well with McCone's family to depict him as a solicitor for murder), while at the same time maintaining the game's historical setting.
  • The Masters in MadWorld are explicitly said to use the For---- Magnets! (With that exact wording.) And other reminiscent things.
  • World of Warcraft isn't exempt from this either. In Un'Goro Crater, a gnome wearing a green tunic and cap, named Linken, sets you on a long quest line that references everything from "Eastern peninsula is the secret", to tossing a sword into a spring and receiving it tempered, to receiving a magical boomerang that deals ranged damage and stuns or disarms. And not too far away you'll find Dadanga, and the hammer-wielding dwarves Larion and Muigin. The list goes on. The zone is basically one long shoutout to Nintendo, but there are plenty of other examples of this trope in the rest of the game.
  • Gunbird 2 is full of expies and Shout Outs, but the one that takes the cake is the end boss, who attacks with pills, and above all is a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo of Sato Pharmaceutical's mascot.
  • Ownership of Lieutenant Linn Kurosawa from Capcom's Alien vs. Predator game is apparently tied up with Twentieth Century Fox, so while Capcom usually uses any excuse to revisit its own obscure characters, Linn's cameos have been limited to hanging out far in the background of stages in Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Street Fighter III and an unrelated character Cosplaying as her for a split-second during a super attack in Namco X Capcom.
  • Three D Dot Game Heroes has direct appearances by Minwu, Josef, Guy, Firion, and Maria from Final Fantasy II, "Pizarro," Rosy, Alena, Brey, Cristo, Mina, Mary, and Healie the slime from Dragon Quest IV, and the Hero, Bianca, and Flora (and their kids) from Dragon Quest V, among others.
  • The Super Smash Bros.. series has "Lightsabers" and "Blasters" as usable weapons, even going so far as to using the original sound effects (or at least something similar) for when the items are used.
  • Transport Tycoon featured real-life vehicles in the original British release. Just to give a few examples, there were aircraft from Boeing, McDonnell-Douglas, and Airbus; road vehicles from British Leyland, Ford, and Volvo; train locomotives designed by Stanier and Gresley, and later in the game the Eurostar and TGV. For the American release, these were changed to fake companies to avoid litigation. These were carried forward into Transport Tycoon Deluxe and OpenTTD.
  • And of course we have Champions Online, with player created wonders such as The Incredible Haulk, Iron Dude, and Deadsea. These characters of course look almost the same with maybe a slight color change.
  • The 5 to 2 Cafe in Silent Hill 1 is lifted from Natural Born Killers.
  • The title cards for the PARANOIA songs in Dance Dance Revolution display expies of Kraftwerk's robot alter egos.
  • Team Fortress 2 features the Pyro hat Triboniophorus Tyrannus as a nod to the brain slugs of Futurama.
  • Mystery Trackers: The Void centered on the mysterious disappearance of three fairly famous people, one of whom was horror novelist "Kevin Sting." It also featured a teddy bear in a mailbox that when clicked on, sang the nursery rhyme from A Nightmare on Elm Street in a low, growly voice.
  • Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist had a quest that involved a tube of "Preparation G." In addition, Freddy mentioned to his "faithful Indian sidekick" that one of the perks of the position was all the "Rustler's Stove" chocolates he could eat.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

  • In Codename: Kids Next Door a kid dressed exactly like Ash Ketchum (wearing Ash's outfit in the original series) from Pokémon can be seen often in the stands. They were seen together in a couple episodes with large crowds of KND operatives. There was also an expy of Kairi in the Lotus Eater Machine.
  • Done quite often on Drawn Together. In "Gay Bash", Elmer Fudd and Snagglepuss (their faces covered by Pixellation) show up at Xandir's "coming-out-of-the-closet" party. In "Requiem for a Reality Show", a masked Charlie Brown and Natasha Fatale (from Rocky and Bullwinkle) with a black bar over her eyes show up as the new BDSM partners for Foxxy Love and Captain Hero, respectively. In another episode, a down-and-out Wooldoor Sockbat is lying on the street when two characters, one fat wearing a white shirt and green pants, and one slender wearing a blue blouse and off-white pants (whose heads are cut off by the screen) walk by and give him some change. The skinny one, in a voice a little more than very reminiscent of Lois from Family Guy (because it was done by the very same actress as Lois), chastizes her pudgy counterpart for it.
    • In another episode when Toot, Xandir, and Wooldoor get high off Ling-Ling's sweat, the next day following their hangovers, Homer Simpson can be seen lying next to them.
    • "Oh my god! It's Mickey [beep]!" "I can't believe it! It's [beep] Mouse!"
  • One episode of Megas XLR featured a villain who was a dead ringer for Captain Harlock.
    • May not exactly fit this trope, but a Motoko Kusanagi-lookalike can be spotted in one episode
    • There's a character in the Star Wars comics who wears a disguise that makes him look like Harlock, as well.
    • In general, Megas is swimming in lawyer-friendly-cameos. Even the titular 'bot has one - before having it replaced, his head looks exactly like Soundwave's.
    • And then you have the fact that the second time you see Mag Nanimous, his robot has a shotgun and a chainsaw for arms and dresses like Elvis. (Of course, considering who VOICED that particular villain, it's not all that surprising.)
  • An episode of Phantom 2040 features a guest appearance by an "old family friend" who strikingly resembles, but is not named as, Mandrake the Magician, the other famous character created by Lee Falk, the writer who created The Phantom.
  • In the South Park episode "Cartoon Wars Part II", Cartman is joined in his quest to get Family Guy taken off the air by a kid who's obviously supposed to be Bart Simpson from The Simpsons, but is never referred to by name.
    • And in a turnaround, an episode of The Simpsons has Bart and Milhouse watching an unnamed version of South Park.
      • Which was in turn a reference to the South Park episode "Simpsons Did It".
  • In the Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Eddie Monster", the title characters of Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy and a character looking quite similar to Dexter appear briefly in one scene near the end of the episode.
  • One of the episodes of Ben 10 has Konohamaru's team appear in the background. In another, an orange-haired girl dressed like Sakura is on screen briefly.
  • In an interesting case, one episode of Arthur had Arthur and friends writing pilot scripts for a contest. These were all obvious parodies of other popular cartoons. The thing is, most of these parodies were of shows aimed at a- to put it lightly- more mature audience, like South Park, Beavis and Butthead, and Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist.
    • There was also WWE and Dexters Laboratory. What makes this more disturbing is that each of the stories were actual submissions by kids for a contest to generate ideas for the show. So... yeah.

Francartman?: Hey, you squished Buster!

    • One episode had a Domo plush in the background, another referenced a show called "Judo Kittens" whose characters looked pretty familiar...
  • The Simpsons episode where Lisa becomes the school president, which is a spoof of Evita and ends with a note from the directors that says, "based on the advice of our lawyers, we must say that we have never heard of a musical based on the life of Eva Perón".
    • In a Treehouse of Horror episode, Groundskeeper Willie refers to Bart's newfound psychic power as "the Shinning" for fear of copyright infringement.
    • In another episode Homer is thrown out of Riverdale by the Archie Comics gang.
    • "I shouldn't have bought this Lego tee-shirt." "Don't you mean BLOCK-o?" "Oh, yeah, right. BLOCK-o."
  • Possibly due to its anime influence, Kappa Mikey has a few of these. A few of the guest appearances include a fat, middle-aged Speed Racer, a palette-swapped version of Puchiko from Di Gi Charat, and Yugi Muto with ridiculously exaggerated hair.
  • In Beetlejuice, an episode spoofing The Wizard of Oz has the Munchkins (here, giant beetles) greet Lydia (as Dorothy) with "Welcome to the Land of Public Domain!"
    • Let's make this very clear: you do not have to write around any copyrights to use characters from the first book (and a few others, all the ones written before about 1923) of the Oz series (it's in the public domain now)...the movie, on the other hand, is copyrighted. No ruby slippers for you.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has a lawyer friendly version of Ryu seen losing to June at arm wrestling at a bar (he's still there the next time they visit and is part of Bar Brawl).
  • The President on The Fairly OddParents always appears dressed up as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln and has No Name Given, but once you hear his voice you can tell he's a parody of George W. Bush.
  • Various Street Fighter characters make appearances as background characters in Leone Middle School in El Tigre.
  • The Shadowkhan show up in the antepenultimate episode of Teen Titans, fighting Bushido.
  • The opening of one episode of Justice League has a Humongous Mecha that looks a hell of a lot like a turquoise EVA Unit 02.
  • In one episode of Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Shaggy and Velma from Scooby Doo can be clearly seen in the backdrop of a school hallway.
  • Bounty Hamster has a carefully unnamed coyote show up and recommend that the eponymous hamster try a better catalogue than Acme Products.
  • Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: One word. Stu-Pi-Doh.
  • The Venture Brothers plays with this A LOT. Many of the characters on the show are parodies, which doesn't stop them from interacting, or existing alongside, the things they're making fun of. For instance, Dr. Rusty Venture is a parody of Jonny Quest - a boy adventurer with a genius scientist for a father - which doesn't stop his bodyguard/Race Bannon parody Brock Samson from being old friends with the actual Bannon, or Rusty from being in a therapy group with "Action Jonny" himself. Not to mention the time that the Impossible Family won a costume contest by dressing as the Fantastic Four.
  • The Duck Dodgers short "Attack of the Drones" was written by Eric Kaplan and directed by Rich Moore, both of whom worked regularly on Futurama; thus, Zoidberg is clearly visible at the council early on.
    • Same scene had a Klingon and The Great Gazoo in the council. Not to mention the Langoliers.
    • If you are going to mention Duck Dodgers, you have to mention Samurai Quack and the evil wizard Achoo.
      • And the Cheshire Cat as the alarm clock.
  • An early episode of The Boondocks contains a background character who, despite modern attire, is clearly modeled after Jin, from Samurai Champloo. Cowen's a fan. It shows.
    • In another episode, "Guess Ho's Coming To Dinner", there's a girl in the beginning who looks remarkably like WITCH's Will Vandom.
  • Freakazoid!! loves "The guy who hits stuff with mallets". He's obviously talking about 80s comedian Gallagher, who's main schtick was to hit watermelons with giant mallets. But he's referred to as "Gulliver".
  • Sailor Moon's Usagi Tsukino appears in the school lunch line in an episode of WITCH.
  • The Powerpuff Girls episode "Knock It Off", has the villain of the episode sell Powerpuff Girls knockoffs to Japan and when he does, the camera pans to find expies of Great Mazinger, Getter Robo, and Ultraman bowing their heads in defeat, along with a giant, face always obscured somehow, Wally Gator.
  • In The Ren and Stimpy Show pilot "Big House Blues" dog versions of Fred Flintstone and George Jetson can be seen at the pound.
    • The episode "I Was a Teenage Stimpy" features Stimpy inviting a few friends over; although not named they are obvious parodies of Archie Andrews and Jughead Jones. Jughead can be seen tattooing Archie's back with their high school graduation years which date back to the 1950's to the 90's referring to the fact that the characters never age.
  • Nearly every episode of Family Guy has this with characters appearing in a Cutaway Gag.
  • Hilariously lampshaded in Yin Yang Yo when referring to a Batman villain-like villain.

Yin: Is that a peng..
Yang: No, that's a puffin! Can't get sued for a puffin.

Real Life

  • When a movie remake of The Lone Ranger was in production, former TV Lone Ranger Clayton Moore was legally prevented from appearing in public as the Lone Ranger ... so Moore varied his costume slightly and exchanged the mask for similar-looking wraparound sunglasses until he won his countersuit.