Parody is a style of work that closely resembles or mocks preexisting material or genres for comedic effect.
The Dragon Ball series by Akira Toriyama, is originally inspired from the ancient Chinese story, "Journey to the West". He has also filled the series with parodies of more recent fictional characters or celebrities for the sake of comedy.
Bruce Lee is a minor appearing character in the Dragon Ball story. He's named after the legendary martial artist and actor Bruce Lee who has starred in such classics as "Enter the Dragon". This fiction representation of Bruce Lee is shown often entering the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament but is defeated in the elimination rounds. This is used as a joke to say that even the legendary Bruce Lee could not compete on the level of these characters.
He is one of many examples of the Bruce Lee inspired characters that appear in manga and anime.
The One Piece series has often had characters in the story created by Eiichiro Oda that are reflective of certain celebrities. These characters have made appearances in the canon anime, the anime adaptation, and feature films.
Jango is an indirect inspiration of the single Michael Jackson. Jango is gauntly thin, wears short-cut pants with long white sock, and his first appearance is seen moon walking, a signature of Michael Jackson. He was a former commander of the Black Cat Pirates, but after their defeat when to work for the Marines.
The connection between Jango and Jackson was made even more clear in the Jango's Dance Carnival animated short that was aired right before the second One Piece film, One Piece: Clockwork Island Adventure. In this short, Jango is seen dancing on top of the bar using classic Michael Jackson moves.
Emporio Ivankov is actually an amalgamation of two people. The design and personality of Ivan bears a remarkable resemblance to the Dr. Frank N. Furter character from the 1975 cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show that was portrayed by the acclaimed actor Tim Curry. Both characters have permed hair, wear revealing female lingerie, pearl necklace, heavy make up, are self proclaimed transvestites, proclaim the attributes of sexual ambiguity, and lead a band of like minded followers. Emporio's tendency to call his followers "Candies" is possibly a reference to the Rocky Horror song "Sweet Transvestite", In the lyrics, Frank N. Furter calls himself the "candy man".
Oda has confirmed that Ivan is partially inspired by on the real life cross dresser Norio Imamura, who was a member of Mayumi Tanaka's acting group. Oda met him and described him as having the face of a boulder (岩, iwa) and he mistook Imamura's name as "Iwamura". Upon hearing that that Emporio was based upon him, he auditioned for the role as the voice actor and got it. However, he was removed from the role after voicing the character for fourteen episodes. This was due to his arrest for indecent exposure after displaying some recent tattoo work on his blog that was apparently too close to his genitalia.
Freddie is a silent supporting character of unknown origins. He not only shares the same name but also has a similar appearance to the late lead singer of QUEEN, Freddie Mercury. Comparisons between this fictional character and the real Freddie are often shown throughout the series.
The Pantybots and Stockingcons are a type of alien ghosts that appeared briefly in the Panty & Stocking anime. These characters are a parody of the Autobots and Decepticons from the Transformers series. In Episode 7, both Panty and Stocking use they steal to transform into robots in the waring factions. They use then power to then transform objects from their bedrooms into robots to fight in their own sibling rivalry.
The ability to transform inanimate objects into sentient robots is closer to the plot of the first live-action Transformers movie that was released in 2007.
The Magician's Academy anime series is originally based on the light-novel series of the same name by Ichiro Sakaki. Much of the humor of the anime is high referential and both mocks and pokes fun at the anime, manga, and otaku cultures.
Since Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt is a referential comedy. It often parodies events from pop culture. The heavy Western influences found in the series has lead to it often parodying events from media outside of Japan.
The concept of Product Parodies is a frequent practice used by artists and writers. Various manga and anime series either take place in a modern social setting. Illustrating certain products can give a sense of realism, but using the name and logo of a copyrighted company can be problematic at best. Whether for the same of laughs or to avoice infringing on an existing copyright, Manga and Anime creative teams will instead opt to parody a product. The name or logo is more often altered or obscured to avoid copyright issues. This is frequently displayed for brand electronics, food or beverages, restaurant chains, credit cards, and store names.
This isn't to be confused with actual product placement that has the real company logos and names. Those are often paid for my the company and signed off on ahead of time. Occasionally, the company could be officially sponsoring the series.
The Inuyasha series mainly takes place in feudal era Japan, but occasionally crosses over into the modern world. One of the main characters Kagome Higurashi often goes to the Wacdonlds restaurant. This is a parody of the McDonalds fast food chain. The only alterations to the logo is that the trademarked "M" is turned into a W and the "o" is removed from the name.
In the Soul Eater series, the character Kilik Lunge is seen wearing a hat at the DWMA party that is labeled as DC and a small mask of Shinigami-sama between the break of the "C". This is a subtle parody of the DC Shoe company. In the original logo, the letters overlap one another and between the "C" is a seven pointed star.
In the Toradora anime, there is a popular brand of chain coffee houses that is called Sudoh-Bucks Coffee. This is a parody of the Starbucks Coffee chain of cafes. The romanized title of the brand is altered from the original "sutābakkusu" to "sudōbakkusu". The green and white logo printed on the cups is also similar to the Starbucks trademarked logo.
Coffee tumblers were produced in the real world that were labeled with not just art of the Toradora characters but the fake Sudoh-Bucks logo.
In Episode 12 of the first season, the character Orito is using a tablet PC to witness the popularity ranking of idols over the internet. The tablet is imbedded at the center with an indistinguishable logo. This is meant to be a parody of the Apple iPad.
In the Anohana series, the character Naruko Anjou is hunting through her room in one episode to find one of her games called Nokemon from the Rindendo company. This is a parody of the popular Pokemon series from the Nintendo gaming company. She then plays the game with her friend Jinta Yadomi on a portable gaming system she calls the "SP", This is a parody of the Nintendo DS system that is often refereed to as simply the "DS".
The Steins;Gate displays some of the most open acts of indirect product placement. Several characters from the series have frequently been seen drinking a brand of dark cola labeled as Dk. Pepper. This title is a parody of the logo for Dr. Pepper. Rintarou Okabe has frequently described the drink as the beverage for intellectuals.
Despite the name alteration in the actual series, the Dr. Pepper company has had a cross advertising in the real world that has promoted the drink with the Steins;Gate label. Due to the popularity of the series, sales of Dr. Pepper skyrocketed to the point where some stores sold out. This is most likely an example of association after the fact.
Another product in Steins;Gate that is displayed with an altered logo is a can of Prangles snacks. The logo is identical to the Pringles brand of snack chips.