With a new Magic: The Gathering trading card game coming out every few months, they have the chance to stay and feel modern. This means that many of their cards reference current pop culture and entertainment, even reminiscent of nostalgic and influential shows.
Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty was no different, and the set’s Japanese cyberpunk aircraft aesthetic allowed artists and designers flexibility when it came to cleverly hiding Easter eggs and references to their most beloved inspirations.
8 Mechtitan Core
Any kid who grew up a Power Rangers or Voltron fan probably found the idea of multiple robots transforming into one big robot to be the coolest thing ever. The Mechtitan, a 2/4 converted two mana cost artifact in the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty set appears to be a reference to either the Megazord from Power Rangers or Voltron.
The card lets you turn five separate cards into one giant 10/10 Artifact and lets you live out the fantasy or transform into a Megazord from the safety of your home or local game store.
7 Skyscrapers on foot
Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty is full of interesting artifact maps, including Walking Skyscraper. This converted 8/8 mana for eight appears to be a direct reference to the Mortal Engines series as it features a giant building that moves on six legs, like some sort of architectural spider.
Mortal Engines is a series where entire cities on Earth are mounted on wheels and are constantly moving, functioning as large living vehicles. The film released in 2018 was not very well reviewed and failed at the box office, but the fantasy novels have a large fan base.
6 Nezumi Road Captain
When the Okiba Reckoner Raid enchantment transforms into Nezumi Road Captain, the art shifts from strong cyberpunk vibes to a reference to one of anime’s most iconic films. In the film Akira, the main character rides an iconic red motorbike. He performs a maneuver called “Akira Motorcycle Slide” which appears to be the direct inspiration from the neon-infused jacket art featured in the card, Nezumi Road Captain.
It’s nice to see people paying homage to such a classic part of anime history.
5 Shorikai, Genesis Engine
You could say that Shorikai, Genesis Engine simply refers to any mecha-related pop culture. The fact that this card summons pilots and has the word “genesis” in it seems to be specifically inspired by Neon Genesis Evangelion.
This anime was released in 1995 and was praised for its complex and rich narrative that delivered a story without fear of going where most anime series have dared. It’s likely that many artists and designers working on the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty set for Magic: The Gathering watched it in their youth.
4 Silverfur Master
At first, it might seem like a stretch to say that a rat who knows martial arts is a reference to Splinter from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, but the card makes the connection almost true. Not only is this martial arts rat called a master, but it also aids all ninjas you control, giving them +1/+1.
Add to the fact that the Kappu Tech-Wrecker card also in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty looks like a Ninja Turtle, and it’s clear Master Silver-Fur is that plane’s Master Splinter. Let’s just hope Shredder and Krang don’t also run around the cyberpunk streets, causing mayhem. They would likely take advantage of futuristic technology to create the sense of power and control they’ve always wanted.
3 Yoshimaru, always loyal
Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful sports art that features a very loyal Shiba Inu dog apparently waiting for his master. The Futurama episode titled “Jurassic Bark” is known for a scene in which Fry’s dog awaits his return, lying in one spot until he dies. This heartbreaking episode of anime television appears to have been partially based on a dog named Hachiko.
It is the name of a famous Japanese Akita who waited for its owner after its death, for more than nine years. Dogs are extremely loyal and there is nothing sadder than seeing them show loyalty despite the death or non-return of their owner.
2 Enormous Energy Blade
Anime in general is home to many tropes that fans make fun of. They tend to appear across generations, spanning dozens of shows. One of those tropes is the characters wielding giant swords that are referred to as BFS in the meme world.
The Enormous Energy Blade card is probably a legend of this specific trope and mocks the most famous examples such as the sword Guts uses in Berserk and the famous Buster sword from Final Fantasy 7 owned by Cloud Strife. It looks like there’s a new addition to the Land of Weapons that no one should be able to functionally use.
1 Explosive Singularity
Explosive Singularity is a card featuring dazzling art of three fire mages summoning and activating a large fire-based spell. As they hold their hands up and the fireball is infused with their life energy, it’s reminiscent of a famous Dragon Ball event.
When Goku summons a Spirit Ball, he makes the same gesture with his body. You could say that Explosive Singularity could refer to the powerful firebending displayed in Avatar: The Last Airbender by Lord Ozai and others.
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