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The Italian anime boom: The outstanding success of Japanese animation in Italy, 1978–1984

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Japanese animated series and films are, today, commonly named ‘anime’. Italy is the western market where the highest number of television anime were aired and theatrical anime released: it is a crucial context to assess the impact of anime on Western audiences. There is a lack of literature in English on the topic. This article provides information on the success of anime in Italy, with reference to the theatrical films released before the boom and a bibliography in Italian; indicates the main differences between the booms in Japan and Italy and gives hints on other national markets for anime; discusses the historical reasons of the arrival of anime in Italy; offers explanations on the stages of the success in this country (and in Western Europe) and in the United States before and during the boom, with the US market being a relevant touchstone; outlines the consumption model of television anime in Italy in the 1980s; provides critical remarks on the social–cultural features of the Italian anime boom as distinguished from the impact of anime on other national contexts. The article is informed by a multidisciplinary approach: cultural sociology, comparative media studies and animation studies.
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Keywords: Italian anime boom; Japanese animation; Japaneseness; consumption models; international fluxes of pop cultures; quantitative record; subcultural Japonisme; trans-acculturation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Kōbe University

Publication date: September 1, 2014

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  • The Journal of Italian Cinema & Media Studies (JICMS) is a fully peer reviewed English language journal, which explores Italian cinema and media as sites of crossing, allowing critical discussion of the work of filmmakers, artists in the film industry and media professionals. The journal intends to revive a critical discussion on the auteurs, celebrate new directors and accented cinema, and examine Italy as a geo-cultural locus for contemporary debate on translocal cinema.
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