Now for the comparisons. To begin we have RE: Cutie Honey, and the most egregious example: the jewelry store robbery scene.
Is this completely traced? Not really, but neither is that one Bleach comic that everyone acknowledges as a ripoff. There are small changes, but the composition, poses and designs are still far, far too similar.
It wasn’t completely traced, but it sure as heck looks like the original frame was imported and the “tribute” it was drawn over it on a different layer. The lines overlap REALLY heavily in some areas. Look at the goddamn hats!
Cue a transition shot of a bunch of jewels with a little cross-shaped sparkle, then another stolen composition.
Then you have the issue of the nameless goons themselves and the way they’re presented in other shots also being straight from Cutie Honey, and the Re: Cutie Honey intro in particular, right down to thet checkerboard pattern transitions.
Then there’s the helicopter scene. This one is once again pretty shameless.
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Lastly the shot with the city and the giant creature, where the composition of the background was very heavily referenced. The difference is that in RE: Cutie Honey, the scene focuses on the tower that the creature is situated on, while Emara just has the creature right there.
“But”, you say, “the creature itself looks very different. Is that not a completely original design?”
Not really, no. It’s pretty much a silhouetted Eva unit:
The only reason the angle of the first shot isn’t a copy of Kairos is because it came straight from the copied RE:CH composition instead, as shown above. The action is the same.
Then we have a shot of the protagonist, on the right side of the screen, running to the left over a crowd of enemies while making a very similar expression:
The protags both jump further away from the screen and strike the same goddamn pose and expression.
An explosion happens, and the protagonist uses it to throw themselves closer to the screen, kicking an enemy in the foreground.
The individual poses can vary, but the choreography of the scene is the goddamn same.
Next, Lupin. A very similar scene putting itself together as if it were made of cardboard.
The next two are a bit different since they don’t come from modern sakuga-clique openings. Instead, they come from mainstream 2000s shonens, which a lot of people probably forgot already in terms of visuals.
Bleach’s first OP: Chain link fence, check. Goggled character, check. Letters in the background, check. Then there’s the very specific posing and animation of the character, with both Emara and Ichigo being still, automatically motion-tweened illustrations except for their clothes that are flapping in the wind? Check check check.
The shot right after this referencing the Death Note OP is more different than the others, but it’s also a lot less technically elaborate and is still an example of the general lack of conceptual creativity.
Also kinda in this category is the first Kill la Kill OP where the scene flows very similarly and the final drawing is very reminiscent but the rest of the drawings don’t coincide.
If you’re nice about it you will think “well obviously the rest of the drawings in the scene have to be 100% original right”? But the problem here is, if so much of it was copied, how can we be sure? The scene at the end with the mechanical fist is conceptually reminiscent of this scene from Dead Leaves but I suspect the actual drawings are from somewhere else; same goes for the gang-up on Emara.
Now for some counter-arguments to points that are already flying around
1. No, this is not comparable to things like the Akira motorcycle scene and other brief references to extremely iconic things. The difference lies in the popularity of the material copied and the amount of copied material. Akira is hugely mainstream. RE: Cutie Honey is obscure otaku material even in America and is going to be even more obscure among kids and teens in the middle east. The only really popular Youtube upload of the series has the title in the original Japanese and doesn’t even appear if you search “RE: Cutie Honey” in English. Then you have the Kairos trailer, an animated commercial for a French comic book that people outside of France or the turbo-niche “sakuga community” are EVEN LESS likely to have heard of.
Also, this is not a web series for the internet-savvy but a TV show that’ll air in the United Arab Emirates. Even openings that are iconic to Americans who had those shows dubbed on their local channels are not going to be familiar to UAE audiences, unless those audiences are really into downloading fansubbed anime – a minority of cartoon watchers everywhere. A bunch of internet nerds will notice it, but the normies whose only social media (if any at all) is Facebook won’t and that’s what matters.
That “EVERY ANIME OPENING XDDD” video is a moot point since it references some insanely creative OPs that only use one or two small visual cliches in a way that’s not nearly as flagrant as most of these examples. The idea of Cowboy Bebop of all goddamn things being like “every OP ever” is insulting.
2. It’s extremely suspicious that the staff only came out and said “UHH YEAH WE REFERENCED A BUNCH OF THINGS, WE WANTED YOU TO NOTICE IT” after people noticed what was going on. But let’s say they’re 100% right and the intent was for people to notice it; given the points I made above, this is EXTREMELY misguided. Only a tiny handful of people will have gotten the references; everyone else was going to think the creators invented all those drawings, compositions and directional choices.
3. A short reference can be a little nod. However, when practically everything that makes your trailer look cool is taken from something else, you’ve got a problem.
4. No, this is not “something ALL artists do!“; good artists mix together many influences with their own unique inventive touch and a healthy dose of observant life studies. Copying someone else’s cartoon is copying someone else’s cartoon.
Lastly, we have the horrible, horrible PR. Dogpile on animation website admins and call them racist if they dare to point out the similarities. Lie about not having worked on the show, even though you did. Talk shit about your critics behind their backs, and if they dare defend themselves, announce to all your followers that they are “harassers”. Use every manipulative derailing tactic in the book to draw attention away from the core issue.