With as notable and widespread anime has been in the last few years, it's a surprise that Rick and Morty has not made any major allusions to the medium in any of the episodes thus far. Spanning multiple kinds of science fiction premises and worlds, it's odd that not even some of the most famous anime productions have gotten even a joking reference in the fan-favorite science fiction comedy series. Well, that changes with the premiere of its long awaited fourth season as Morty goes full Akira in the attempt of getting something he wants.
Read on for a breakdown for how Rick and Morty's Season 4 premiere finally brings anime into the mix, but be cautious of spoilers if you wanted to go in completely blind. But this article won't spoil anything major.
In the Season 4 premiere, Morty becomes obsessed with a special crystal that allows him to see multiple potential deaths. Wanting to follow the life that ends with him dying of old age alongside his crush Jessica, Morty begins stealing a bunch of technology in order to take down anyone getting in the way of this future. This eventually leads him to use a device to go full Akira, and transform into an amorphous blob much like Tetsuo does in the original when he's swallowed by his own desires.
When everything goes back to normal at the end of the episode, Jerry chastises Rick for "turning [his] son into an Akira" (even pronouncing it a bit oddly). Rick then follows this up with, "Eat my ass Jerry! He turned himself into Akira!" After some time, Jerry finally ends the argument between the two with, "I don't want to see anymore Anime (pronounced as "Ah-knee-may") stuff happening to my son, buster!"
Rick and Morty is known for its cheeky riffs on popular culture, and it seems like the series has finally made some time to poke fun at anime. With the rest of Season 4 there's even more potential for references such as this, and you can read our full review of Rick and Morty's Season 4 premiere here. Here's an excerpt to get you started:
"It doesn't matter which type of Rick and Morty episode is your favorite (serialized stories, the demented clips shows, or high-concept eps like "Total Rickall") — the Season Four premiere throws a little of all of it at the wall and gets most of it to stick. It's a total fan-service endeavor that does, in fact, serve the fans — which is exactly why it's strange to see. Rick and Morty has seemingly never cared about fan-service, at all, but popularity inevitably changes any series over time."