The European experience with Japanese animation, and what it can reveal about the transnational appeal of anime

Marco Pellitteri*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This article discusses the impact of Japanese animated cartoons (or ‘anime’) in two European key markets, Italy and France. It first provides a theoretical perspective on anime’s features that appeal to global audiences, pointing out ‘universal’ and ‘particular’ aspects of this medium’s contents, morals, storytelling, and visual styles. The author posits that the notion taken for granted in much scholarship as well as among Japanese government agencies, according to which anime’s popularity would be mainly due to its being ‘cool’, is overrated, arguing that it is elsewhere that the audience’s affection is to be identified. The second part discusses the success of anime in Italy and France from the late 1970s, showing how its deep popular penetration in the two countries was due to its sudden and massive presence in an age dominated by a model of media consumption based on nationwide broadcastings and theatrical releases. The crisis of such model due to changes in media content’s distribution and consumption, which occurred from the 2000s on, did not severely affect anime’s popularity in these two markets, by virtue of the depth of its previous mainstream circulation: a phenomenon the author reads also through the Gramscian category of ‘national-popular’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-42
Number of pages22
JournalAsian Journal of Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • European contexts
  • Gramsci’s national-popular
  • Japanese anime
  • mainstream & subcultural
  • media consumption

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