It's hard to believe it's been a year already, but Overwatch is celebrating its first anniversary with a huge blowout event. In addition to the (super rad) new skins you'd expect, Blizzard saw fit to add dance emotes to every single character in the game. Better yet, some of these emotes appear to make very specific references to movies, TV and anime.
Some are pretty obvious. Tracer's emote is called "Charleston," and sure enough, she dances like a 1920s flapper. Then there's Winston:
Winston here is pretty clearly doing "The Twist," a dance popularized by Chubby Checker. You probably remember it from that memorable scene in Pulp Fiction.
Those are pretty surface level, but Mei's dance is a deep cut.
In the ever so small chance you have no idea what the hell is going on here, Mei is re-enacting moves from the 2006 anime The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. The ending of the show featured the pictured dance, which has become a recognizable routine to anime fans and discerning weebs everywhere.
Zarya's might be my favorite.
The 1988 Crystal Light National Aerobic Championship might not ring a bell to you off hand, but if you've been on the internet long enough you sort of just absorb it. The impossibly peppy 80s dances and earworm music are sort of hard to forget. Someone at Blizzard obviously couldn't get it out of their heads, since one of their fittest heroes ripped a dance straight from one of the routines.
Some of the dances have a bit more history behind them, like Hanzo here:
In his own stiff way, Hanzo is taking moves from the "Soran Bushi," a dance from a traditional Japanese work song. The emote itself is called "Fisherman Dance," which makes sense, since the Soran Bushi is believed to originate as a sea shanty sung by men at sea.
Speaking of historical influences, there's Junkrat.
If you were going to take any Fresh Prince-related moves, well, it would probably be The Carlton Dance. Or maybe from that time Will and Carlton worked a contest to "Jump On It." But Blizzard is too cool for that. They went for a comparitively underused Fresh Prince reference -- specifically the time Will jammed out while Jazzy Jeff played the drums.
On top of history, anime and TV, the Overwatch team seems to have also pulled from real life. Specifically Facebook.
The very talented (and NSFW) cosplayer PocketJen was recorded dancing the Shuffle in full Sombra gear some months back. It's not for certain, but it certainly seems as though art is imitating life here.
Dva's emote is a little less ambiguous.
Hana's mecha moves are straight up taken from a Voltron Dance Off featured in an episode of Robot Chicken. It would be in danger of copyright infringement if Robot Chicken weren't also in danger of that 50 times an episode.
That's about all we found, but knowing Blizzard, every other emote is bound to be referencing something specific. Did we miss any? Let us know down in the comments, or hit me up on Twitter.