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The Hermes Visual Gag In Futurama That Means More Than You Think

Futurama is almost as famous for its references and Easter eggs as it is for its social satire and humor. The show is funny, for sure, but it's also filled from start to finish with nods and callbacks. Some are simple, and easy to spot. Others are much more obscure, and go years without being noticed.

Since the show takes place in a fictional world roughly 1,000 years in the future, the writers had a great deal of science fiction elements they could use to weave these references into: After all, in a world that doesn't exist, you can create anything you want as a vessel in which to hide an Easter egg. The creatives behind the show use every medium to deliver these references to their fans, too, from the background and scenery to spoken dialogue, naming conventions, and visual gags. 

In one of these more difficult to notice visual gags involving the Planet Express accountant, Hermes Conrad, there's a reference that may mean more than you think, if you've noticed it at all.

Is that Samurai Hermes?

The final episode of season 8, aptly titled "Reincarnation," takes the Planet Express crew on three miniature adventures, each one in a different cartoon style that has been used by other productions throughout the ages: the first section uses the old black and white of the first Disney cartoons, the second one employs pixelated video game image, and finally, the third is Futurama's take on anime. 

It's that last one on the list that hides this special Hermes Easter egg. As the third and final mini-episode, "Action Delivery Force," opens, we see the professor at the signature Planet Express round table, only now he's dressed as some sort of Morpheus type. "Action Delivery Force, assemble!" he states, and the crew comes to the table one-by-one, each being introduced in the type of unique anime power-shot you'd expect to see on Sailor Moon

When it comes to Hermes' entrance, he's pictured in a style suggestive of Samurai Jack, wielding a sword as he slices through a stack of papers labeled "Employee Benefits." Now, as Reddit user MeatQuaad points out, all of the elements of the shot that are suggestive of Samurai Jack are probably, in fact, meant to point to that exact cartoon — and there's a good reason for that.

The voice actor for Hermes in Futurama, if you didn't already know, is none other than Phil LaMarr, the same voice actor for Samurai Jack. The clip seems like an obvious nod to the talented voice-over artist, who was working on both shows at the time the episode rolled out. As a bonus, the production features Hermes wearing a piece of futuristic samurai armor while the rest of the crew goes into "space battle." We can't say for certain that the production crew slipped this reference in on purpose, but if they didn't, it would be one heck of a coincidence.