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"OMG French animated film captivates Japanese audiences!"

Kirikou and the Sorceress

Here's a bit of goofiness unearthed in the old scrap clippings pile. It's such a minor thing that I hesitate to apply my frequent "A dose of dumb:" preface to the title. Anyway:

The October 2003 issue of JETRO's Focus Japan magazine reported that the French animated film Kirokou et la sorciére (Kirikou and the Sorceress) proved popular in Japan. The tidbit of commentary notes:

...it is extremely unusual for a European offering to be a commercial success here in the home of anime. This particular film was a hit in France, where it was released in 1998, but it was seen as unsuited to the Japanese market. Its unexpected popularity reflects skilled use of media coverage in advance of the local release. 

Setting aside the odd bit about difficulty succeeding in "the home of anime" (I'm not aware that European animated films are big sellers outside of Europe at all), I had to chuckle at the reason given for the "unexpected popularity". May I offer the alternative hypothesis – just a possibility, mind you – to explain the success? Perhaps the diagnosis of "unsuited to the Japanese market" was silly to begin with, and Kirikou succeeded simply by virtue of being a good movie?

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