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  • The rise of anime and manga out to the North American continent would definitely have to count as an entire genre spreading sensation within the likes of the Japanese Bubble Economy Rise of the late 1980s the world before had seen. A residual ripple made by Japan Studies college majors during the late 1980s and very early 1990s, anime would later make an explosive tsunami into North America; various factors helping to facilitate and mesh reception well out west included:
    • The Japanese dominated video game market, which also boasted anime art design, stylings, story direction, and inspiration to many masterpiece and well recieved video games, helping to familiarize future fans of anime with its themes and visuals,
    • The Comics Crash of 1996, which exposed the admittedly creative dearth of the American comic books industry due to immense censorship since the 1950s and its utter backlash of decadence and unchecked indulgence caused by this creative repression,
    • The rise of The Simpsons and even to sitcoms like Seinfeld and Friends, the former's immense popularity helping to whet the appetite for more grounded storylines and relatable scenarios for animation as a whole and met with a perfect balance of the fantastical, surreal, and unreal with the realistic, with both helping to present more adult themed situations like romantic lives, coping with the challenges of living life in general, and did not pull punches, unlike the majority of more lighthearted fluff of late 1980s family orientated sitcoms,
    • The rise of anticipation and excitement for the next millennium and the year 2000, which many believed would signal a zeitgeist of profound and accelerated technological advancement the likes of sci-fi, including space habitation and travel, the spread of the internet, and the increasing use of automated robotics in the workplace and in everyday society; anime was also seen as a new wave form of entertainment with its popular sci-fi series and its association with scenes like techno and rave, and even to genres like cyberpunk and speculative future sci-fi,
    • A rise in interest in alternative media as signaled by the 1990s music world, specifically the Milli Vanilli lipsynching debacle and turning interest into grunge, alternative rock, and gangsta rap,
    • A pressure cooker of Fundamentalist Christian direction orientated politics trying to pry its way into the public mind in the face of the new millennium, believing that Nostradamus's prophecy of 1999 and Y2K correlated with the End of Days, and trying to "help the people" with censorship and crusades over publicly accessible media and introducing "Christian for the Family and Children" orientated entertainment to convert people to their side, resulting in a backlash of many people not heeding their preachiness and fearmongering, and especially the youth of America and Canada,
  • In turn of anime and manga's own merits, anime and manga:
    • Introduced forms of entertainment that was fostered by an industry not lorded over by political and religious watchdogs, encompassed all spectrums of demographics and audiences, and helped to foster and encourage new talent to help maintain the thriving industry,
    • Introduced story elements and plots with coming of age and mature themes in mind, taking its teenager and young adult crowd seriously with helping to introduce the more toned and darker side of life everyone will have to deal with sooner or later,
    • Beared stories created by female writers with their own freedom to create and appeal to the female audience as well, getting even girls and women, an audience even the US Comics Industry admits was a hard sell to at the time, to pick up comics,
    • Was not hampered down by restrictions on what they could do, as opposed to how comics were regulated only for superheroes and animation to children's fare, wacky slapstick comedy, and semi musical theatrical features, the latter which even Walt Disney himself was displeased with the public for thinking,
    • In the wake of its crash into North America, comprised a style that went beyond the restrictions of mediums, with anime, manga, and video games being a shared (and into the present day even) foundational triumvirate collective hobby for anime fans, creating a community that is practically alive and thriving,
    • Showcased outright evidence that animation, comics, and sequential media is a legitimate form of entertainment and sequential literary media, with integrity and the creative freedom to do so, and especially in a time when the western world was beginning to harbor stigmas and beliefs that animation is but "an excuse for bad storytelling" and an hourly babysitter with little value, and to comics being only edgy pretentious preadolescent and manchild power fantasy schlock.
  • If anything, is it any wonder how or why anime and manga caught on into the next millennium worldwide? Unlike at The Trope Wiki That Shall Not Be Named, the "Animation Age Ghetto" exists only due to societal factors out west, and for good reasons which to which the aforementioned censor happy and moral purist crusaders would be happy and are still happy to exploit. This translates to how Japan's general everyday anime industry and hobby world that's just a natural part of life is a renegade underground creative escape oasis out in the West that has thrived with its own tastes and culture like the beautiful mutant it is. It can be agreed upon that those nostalgia tinted glasses are not perfect in hindsight and that the world is rough around the edges when you walk and look around enough, but the history is there.
  • The film versions of Akira and Ghost in the Shell are relatively obscure in Japan; in the West, both are revered classics regarded as landmarks in the medium and among the first breakout anime titles to garner attention outside of the pre-existing Otaku community.
  • To a slightly lesser extent, Cowboy Bebop was popular, but not massively successful in Japan; in America and Europe, it is one of the most-beloved anime of all time.
  • Similar to the above, Escaflowne was quickly forgotten in Japan, but is a revered classic in the West to this day.
  • During The Nineties there was a huge demand for anime in Latin America after the success of mainstream series such as Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball. There were therefore many series that received cult status in there, even when they were quite obscure in Japan or the USA. These include Irresponsible Captain Tylor, Bt X, Hell Teacher Nube, Ghost Sweeper Mikami and Dotto! Koni-chan.
    • It is specially notisable in the case of the later, Koni Chan. The series is practically unheard in Japan, but it's big in Lat Am. Try to Google Koni Chan, and you are more likely to find the LatAm Dub than the original version.
  • Remi: Nobody's Child was a huge failure in Japan and was credited to have nearly killed The World Masterpiece Theater series, but found success in Latin America, where it received a superlative Mexican dub and is remembered quite fondly there. It is also very familiar to French speakers.
    • It enjoyed a modicum of success in Indonesia, partially due to (or perhaps despite of) its 3D feature.
  • Corrector Yui received cult status in Latin America, especially in Mexico and Brazil after airings on Cartoon Network.
  • Trigun is a moderately popular series in Japan, while in America, it is regarded on the same level as Cowboy Bebop as one of the most beloved anime of all time. Because of this, the Trigun movie is set to premiere at Sakuracon, months before the Japanese premiere.
    • The Trigun manga however, is much more popular in Japan then in America.
  • In Japan, GoLion and Dairugger XV are obscure, stereotypical early 80's Super Robot series. In America, Voltron, its heavily edited combined counterpart, became a smash hit, and is still popular. Media Blasters, the company releasing the DVDs, has mentioned it as its most popular title, by far, and the only thing currently holding back a live-action movie is a minor legal dispute between World Events Productions and Toei, while World Events continues to expand the franchise via comics and whatnot.
  • World Events Productions actually pulled this off twice; nobody remembers Sei Juushi Bismarck in Japan, but most kids of the 80s will at least remember the name Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, and probably have a few nice memories of the show (not to mention having that damn theme song stuck in their head). Due to some Gag Dubbing, Saber Rider is fondly remembered in Germany and some other European countries as well.
  • Sport animes in general, but especially soccer based ones like Captain Tsubasa, tend to be quite popular in Europe, especially in Spain. It helps Tsubasa himself ends playing on a Spanish team. And it helps even more if you consider it's from Catalonia, home of one of the most successful teams in Spain: the FC Barcelona "Barça".
    • In fact, If I remember well, he ends playing on the FC Barcelona.
    • Captain Tsubasa is very popular in South America as well. Some professional players even cited the show as the reason why they started playing soccer in the first place.
      • Anybody remember Goal FH? You might know it as Goleadores instead. It was pretty popular in Latin America around the time of the 1994 FIFA World Cup... perhaps not as popular as Captain Tsubasa, but it's well-remembered. However, outside of Latin America not many people know it. The number of times it is mentioned in this wiki can be counted on one hand and you'd probably still have about four fingers left when you're done counting. It doesn't even have an article (not even a stub) at The Other Wiki. Goes way beyond "obscure," more like almost non-existent, really...
    • Captain Tsubasa, while massively subject to Dub Name Change, was huge in France too.
    • Under the Dub Name Change of Captain Majid, Tsubasa was beloved throughout the Middle East. Proof? The Japanese Self-Defense Force (during their stay in Iraq), bought fire trucks decorated with Captain Tsubasa. These were left untouched by terrorists during their stay.
    • Captain Tsubasa was also extremely huge in Italy under the Dub Name Change Holly e Benji.
  • The Japanese producers of Dragon Ball often cite how its DVDs and merchandise are still selling very well all over the world, including North America (they even say their best sales come from western sales). However One Piece has almost completely taken Dragon Ball's place in Japan, with its DVDs and merchandise far surpassing those of Dragon Ball. However, One Piece hasn't caught on as well in other countries, especially North America. This probably is in part because of One Piece's turbulent broadcast history in North America.
    • Character wise, Goku consistently tops the polls in Japan, while in North America, the fandom generally latches onto every character but Goku.
  • For some reason, Go Nagai's Super Robot anime, particularly UFO Robo Grendizer are hugely popular in Spanish-speaking countries and also Italy. There is even a life-sized replica of Mazinger Z in an abandoned estate near Tarragona, Spain.
    • That's because of the older fans (generally in their 20s or 30s) who basically grew up watching them. The children who were raised watching them on TV are now adults and have their own incomes, which often translates to some of them saving some money to buy Super Robot merchandise.
    • Grendizer is also incredibly popular in French-speaking countries, where it's known as Goldorak, for pretty much the same reasons.
    • It's also popular in Arabic speaking countries. In fact, it might be responsible for popularising Anime in the Arabic part of the Middle East, to the point any time Lebanese singer Sammy Clark (who sang the Arabic versions of both the Opening and Ending) sings the opening theme on stage, the crowd gets a case of nostalgic joy . There's even a shop dedicated to the series in Kuwait. It's almost a phenomenon over there, possibly because it was also one of the early serious cartoons to air in that part of the world. 
  • Combining Mecha Voltes V, while notable for featuring more serious storylines than the typical Super Robot show of its day (this was a few years before Mobile Suit Gundam, whose forte is the more detailed Character Development aside of the Real Robot stuff), is largely overlooked in its native Japan today. However, it has become an adopted cultural icon in the Philippines. This is partly due to the fact that it was banned during the reign of the hated Ferdinand Marcos, allegedly due to the fact that the show's Big Bad reminded the dictator too much of himself.
    • Due to Voltes V's popularity, other Super Robot shows that came alongside and after it also did well in the Philippines; like for example, Daimos, taking its Star-Crossed Lovers (KAZUYA RICHAAARD!!!! ERIKAAAA!!!!) premise in consideration. However, Combattler V didn't, for it felt too similar to Voltes V, even though it came first.
      • That's largely because Combattler V was aired in the Philippines twenty years after Voltes, when the latter has already entrenched itself in Filipino pop culture deeply.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho is fondly remembered in the Philippines (where it is re-named Ghost Fighter) by the generation of males that came of age in the mid-'90's, as there was nothing else like it at the particular time when it first aired (this was just before cable tv, the internet, and disc-based movie/consolegaming piracy became mainstream in the Philippines in late '90's). Many other dubbed anime series had come before and would come after, which had and would be hits, but this particular shonen series singularly captured the imagination of an entire generation of Filipino schoolboys.
    • Slam Dunk as well among Filipinos, as the Philippines is infamous for being basketball-obsessed unlike any other nation on Earth.
      • There's also Lupin III, which was such a mainstream crossover hit with normally non-anime-watching demographics, that it was even remade it as a short-lived licensed live-action primetime series.
  • Major example in Japanese animation is Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin (known also as Silver Fang, which may be considered sort of unofficial English title), which was released in most Nordic countries and Hungary in the 80's. While this release was dubbed and heavily edited, the series gained notable popularity at least in Finland (and probably at least in Denmark and Sweden as well). Eventually the popularity resulted in uncut DVD releases in Finland and Sweden in 2003 and in Denmark in 2006. In addition to this, the animated adaption of the sequel, Ginga Densetsu Weed was released in both Finland and Sweden in 2006 just months after the series had reached its conclusion in Japan. While both series have been fansubbed in English, neither of them has had any official English release.
    • In 2010, the manga version of Weed was released in Finland. This is beyond awesome for the fans.
  • The English dub of Rurouni Kenshin is apparently a popular source for MADs in Japan, many featured on Nico Nico Douga. FUTAE NO KIWAMI AAAAAAAAH!!!!, indeed.
    • Also on the subject of Rurouni Kenshin, the controversial second OVA was in fact funded from ADV Films, due to the series and the first OVA's popularity in the West.
  • The anime series Super Dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber Mospeada are very obscure in Japan; however, they are both far more recognized in the US, due to their inclusion in Robotech. The US DVD releases of both series in their untranslated form was subsequently imported into Japan for local re-release there.
    • Reportedly, the Japanese reaction to the "Southern Cross" segment of Robotech was along the lines of "How the hell did they make Southern Cross watchable?"
  • The anime adapation of Captain Future was really loved by German (and French) viewers back in the days.
  • Science Fiction Saiyuki Starzinger was a smash hit in Sweden in the late eighties, where it was known simply as Starzinger.
    • Heck, Captain Future is a double-example. Started out as a series of American pulp novels that basically nobody today remembers (and which cost an arm and a leg to get anymore), was adapted into an anime which was then dubbed and broadcasted in France and Germany where it became extremely popular.
    • The German version having a brandnew kickass soundtrack (due to dubbing issues) probably also helped the series to become so popular.
    • Also reached cult status in Latin America, due to the Mexican Superlative Dubbing.
  • The Hellsing TV series was so popular in America that they're the primary reason Geneon produced the Hellsing Ultimate OVAs, a more faithful adaptation of the Hellsing manga.
  • Kyatto Ninden Teyande flopped, but its Gag Dubbed English dub Samurai Pizza Cats was a huge hit in the U.S., and was broadcast around the world. Even Tatsunoko Production said they preferred the dub.
  • The anime of Kinnikuman Nisei in North America, where it was called Ultimate Muscle, so much so that 4Kids bought another season.
  • Lupin III is so beloved in Italy that the Italians have forgotten he's French/Japanese. He's got localized comics, a live-action film, clothes with him and his gang on are considered "cool" to wear, and smoking a cigarette downward is called "Jigen-style".
  • The Big O did poorly in Japan and ended up only making 13 of a planned 26 episodes. However, its overseas popularity was enough that it was Un Cancelled four years later for another 13 episodes co-produced by Sunrise, Bandai Visual, and Cartoon Network. Keiichi Sato, the show's designer, said this was exactly what he expected.
  • The Cyberpunk manga Blame, despite receiving a mostly lukewarm reception in Japan, maintains a strong cult following in western countries, notably France and Germany. Tsutomu Nihei (the creator) admits to having been heavily influenced by western styles in the creation of his Manga. The series has even inspired a German Industrial/Electronica band of the same name.
  • In Bleach, Toshiro Hitsugaya is consistently #1 in character and sword popularity polls in Japan, while in the US he's overall less popular and a sizable portion absolutely hate him. Conversely, Kenpachi Zaraki is extremely popular with many American fans, but didn't even place in the top 10 characters in the Japanese polls.
    • Interestingly, the characters are pretty much opposite: Kenpachi is a big brutish ugly Badass who wins almost all the time, whereas Hitsugaya is a short cultured boy genius Bishonen who jobs almost all the time.
    • And guess which character is Mexico's favorite? Chad, half-Japanese and half-Mexican, has a big fanbase over there and some of Latin America. In fact, most of the arrancar are loved in Spanish-speaking countries.
    • In Brazil, the most popular character is possibly Kisuke Urahara. People make Urahara-themed hats to sell in the events, and boy, do they sell well.
    • In the villain category, second Espada Barragan Luisenbarn appears to have picked up a sizable American fanbase, as noted on the Bleach character page. This may be similar to Kenpachi's popularity compared to Hitsugaya; like the two heroes, Barragan is much more evilly bombastic and over-the-top than Aizen, king of Dull Surprise.
    • Shunsui Kyoraku who only has moderate popularity in Japan, has a fanbase that possibly rivals Kenpachi in America. This is quite ironic, considering the two's personalities are about as different as night and day.
      • Not so ironic when you consider that they embody the things that would look meh for Japanese, but totally awesome for Americans: MANLINESS
  • If an Axis Powers Hetalia fan is from a country represented by a nation-tan character in canon, chances are very good that nation-tan will be said fan's favorite character - hence why America and Canada are much more popular in Western fandom than in Japanese fandom. The popularity of some pairings also tend to fluctuate from fandom to fandom; Russia×America and Prussia×Canada are almost nonexistent in Japanese fandom but very popular in Western fandom, and vice versa with most Japan pairings. Additionally, France×England appears to be more popular among fans from the UK than America×England, the most popular pairing in both American and Japanese fandoms, and Russia×China is hugely popular with, you guessed it, the Russians and Chinese.
    • The Hetalia fandom is the anime fandom amongst Western anime fans right now, particularly those in the slash and cosplay scenes. Go to a good-sized anime convention and try not to lose track of how many Hetalia cosplayers are around.
  • While Mahou Sensei Negima is fairly popular in Japan, it's one of the best selling manga in America and one of the few that can put a dent in Naruto's numbers.
  • In Japan, the Fullmetal Alchemist manga is much more popular than the 2003 anime loosely based upon it (though the latter still had a good deal of success). Compare western countries, where the opposite is true (though with the advent of Brotherhood, which was much more faithful to the manga, popularity between the two in western countries has balanced out).
  • Bakugan Battle Brawlers as a whole caught on more in North America than it did in Japan, resulting in the creation of Sequel Series Bakugan: New Vestroia, which debuted in Canada and the US far earlier than in Japan.
  • In the American Strawberry Panic fandom, there is a good deal more fanart of Shizuma Hanazono than in Japan.
  • The localized versions of the Aishite Night anime were quite successful in some European countries; especially in Italy, where it spawned a live action sequel that lasted four seasons, had some of the characters' dubbers take the roles of the characters themselves, and the singer of the Italian theme song played the main character -- they made her join Bee Hive (her boyfriend's band) as a singer in the show.
  • For English-speaking fans of the Sketchbook Full Colors anime, the popularity of Kate completely eclipses that of every other character -- so much so that people who have never even seen it know who she is. This may have something to do with Self-Deprecation.
  • According to commentary in the Keroro Gunsou manga, Kululu was very unpopular in Japan due to being a Jerkass, a Mad Scientist who kept tricking people into being test subjects, and being yellow. However, countries like America love Jerkass characters, making Kululu a lot more popular overseas. This is lampshaded in one chapter where Keron sells merchandise of Keroro's Platoon and Kululu's merchandise goes virtually unsold.
  • Sailor Moon is one of the first anime series ever distributed in Russia, and even being not so popular today, it spawned a whole generation of Russian otakus back then.
    • The Dark Kingdom, a group of villains from the first season of Sailor Moon, is impressively popular among Russian fans (female fans, at least), so much that it often overshadows the show's actual protagonists in fanfiction. This is likely related to the fact that many fans discovered Yaoi thanks to Zoisite and Kunzite.
  • The Vampire Knight manga is fairly popular in Japan, occasionally getting in the top 10 seller list, but it has become a heavyweight in US manga sales, consistently being in the top 5 and is the most popular Shojo title by a significant margin.
    • Other manga about vampires can be expected to rank highly in the charts as well. Including Shonen manga.
    • The New York Times Manga Bestseller List cements this. Naruto, Bleach, and Vampire Knight were all released at the same time in June 2010, and Vampire Knight actually sold more copies than Bleach.
  • Zoids: New Century was a flop during its original run in Japan; however, it was much more successful in the West.
  • In Suzumiya Haruhi, Mikuru comes last in popularity behind the other two girls in Japan. In Spain, this is reversed: Mikuru is either the most popular, or near enough.
  • In an interview, Hironobu Kageyama said this:

 Last year, I realized that the show’s preferences between American fans and Japanese fans are different. I realized this during a panel at Otakon. An American fan asked us a question about “MD Geist” which I sang a song for. That was a show that couldn’t draw any attention from Japanese fans at all. (laughs)

  • Saint Seiya was well received in Japan. But it achieved its greatest success in Europe and Latin America, where it's really, really big, thanks to the excellent dubbing.
    • Oh God, Saint Seiya. Ask a Latin-American fan in their 20's about it, and it's highly likely that they can mimic their favorite attacks and correctly give you their dubbed names. And that's just the start...
    • The same thing can be asked to an Indonesian fan, with similar result.
    • Basically ask any male (and quite a few female) Chinese age 20-30, they can at least quote 2 lines from the show. Pegasus Meteor Punch and Cosmos were so popular it had meme status in China even before memes were classified. Just watch this affectionate parody of one Chinese comedy show about a bunch of guys doing an online profile for their Japanese manga artist friend living in Shanghai(the show is much less weird than it sounds...) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJSPUGE Fsa Y
  • Macross II, as the only entry in the Macross franchise not to have significant involvement from the original creative team, has been mostly shuffled aside and ignored in Japan. In North America, being one of only two Macross sequels to avoid No Export for You status, it was popular enough to get a series of RPG books and an English-language manga sequel.
  • The Street Fighter II V anime is usually seen as a weak anime. In Brazil, however, it is something of a cult classic - everyone who watched it as a kid (yes) has fond memories of it, and there are even some people who get some characters' backstories confused with their anime counterparts. It was one of the most popular shows on TV Network SBT's morning cartoon block.
  • The obscure ninja-themed comedic anime Iga no Kabamaru is basically forgotten, but it gained cult status in Greece and Arabic countries, of all places. It had also an Italian release named "Ninja Boy".
  • Although Junjou Romantica is by no means lacking in popularity, there is a significant amount of Western fans who enjoy the Egoist storyline and avidly dislike the rest of the manga. Likely this is a result of the pairing having less Unfortunate Implications (including Victim Falls For Rapist), a smaller age difference, and Hiroki being a by-the-book Tsundere (a more popular character type in the West).
  • Fist of the North Star has a huge following in Italy, where it is known as Ken il guerriero ("Ken the Warrior"). Not only did they get the entire manga translated, it is also the only country in Europe where they got all 152 episodes of the anime TV series dubbed in their language (the French dub only got to Episode 90, and that was mainly a Gag Dub). Due to the franchise's popularity there, the Italian release of Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage has actually gotten plenty of pre-release hype, with a press conference held hosted by Tetsuo Hara (via a video message), an exclusive new cover art (different from the other European releases) and the same pre-order bonuses that were given out in Japan.
  • Hunter X Hunter is very popular in Latin America and Arabia, to the point that Youtube searches often bring up the Latino or Arabic dubs and many comments on Hx H related videos being from Latin users.
  • The manga Psyren mostly had subpar ratings during its run at Weekly Shonen Jump and only mediocre volume sales, but it still got licensed very early on by Western publishers because it showed promise. It also seems to be immensly popular with Western readers of scanlations as it ranks 1st to 25th place on major scanlation sites (which include virtually every manga ever made), a far higher position than almost every other series from WSJ.
  • Bobobobo Bobobo was fairly popular in Japan, and has a very, very Broken Base in most of the west, especially in America. However, Spain positively adores this series (especially the anime), and was dubbed into some local languages there.
  • Elfen Lied in Japan was so bloody and full of nudity it was only allowed to air on midnights on satellite TV, to the point that rating-wise its only purpose was to advertise the DVD release. In America, the show turned out to be so shocking and spectacular it spread through pure word of mouth from anime club to anime club, which led so many people to buy ADV's DVD release it ended up as one of ADV's top selling series of 2005.
  • Your Japanese best friend probably hasn't seen Fooly Cooly and has no idea what the phrase even means. That's because Adult Swim single-handedly introduced this strange and obscure anime to several generations of Americans, who love it.
  • For some reason, Magical Girl shows and old-school shoujo series have done quite well in Europe and Latin America, but are forgotten in its native country and just can't make in the US. Examples range from Aishite Night, Majokko Meg-chan, Tokimeki Tonight to more mainstream fare like Sailor Moon and the Pretty Cure Franchise.
    • The above-mentioned Tokimeki Tonight is also remembered quite fondly in Arabia. Also in Italy, in addition of having the anime aired, is the only country outside of Japan to have all 30 of the original manga translated as well as the 9-volume spin-off manga.
    • While Rose of Versailles was also a smash hit in Japan, its fame in Europe is a sight to behold. Especially in France and Italy, with the author Riyoko Ikeda got formally honored.
    • Candy Candy, another old-school shoujo series, is also considered to be a classic in Japan, but in Latin America and in Europe (especially in France, where it is the first shoujo to be shown there), the series' fame is enormous and it's fondly remembered by people who grew up watching the series. Same thing happens in Catalonia, everyone knows Candy Candy and everyone loved it.
    • And yet another one: Haikara San ga Tooru. The anime gained popularity in France, Italy and Arabic-speaking countries while it's being largely forgotten in its native country.
  • Likewise, Cat's Eye and City Hunter, two series by Tsukasa Hojo, were somewhat popular back in the days in Japan and are considered classics of the Seinen genre. Yet, their popularity is gigantic in Europe, especially in France, Germany and Italy. While the former is obscure in the Americas, the latter garnered some fame up there, especially in Latin America.
  • Among the female protagonists of Neon Genesis Evangelion, fiery, outspoken and aggressive Asuka Langley Soryu has traditionally been embraced by Western fans far more than the taciturn, quiet and repressed Rei Ayanami, whereas in Japan the opposite is true (though Rei is still quite popular in the US and Asuka popular in Japan, too.) The characters' difference in reception between regions has been so significant that even Word of God has commented on it.
    • Neon Genesis Evangelion is very popular in Spain, specially in the province of Catalonia, where there is a huge fandom due to local networks tradition on anime.
    • In Japan, the Kaworu/Shinji pairing is very popular. But in America, the Kaworu/Rei Crack Pairing is the popular one.
  • Definitely Gundam Wing. While certainly not unpopular in Japan, it was the first Gundam work to get any real exposure to the rest of the world, and the combination of action and Bishonen leads helped it become an international smash hit. Gundam as a franchise eventually dwindled in the overseas markets for varying reasons, which is rather unfortunate since it wasn't until 2010 that Sunrise decided to acknowledge Wing's popularity with more sequels and merchandise.
  • Supercar Gattiger was a short-lived anime that sank without a trace in Japan, but it became very popular in Italy.
  • Speaking of Italy, another series that's very popular there is Yatterman. Sure, Japan remembers it fondly and remade the series in 2008, but Western fans are almost all Italian and Italy is the only other country in the world where all 108 episodes of the original anime were translated and broadcasted (other countries such as Poland use the Italian dubbing as basis), and later sold on DVD. It is also the only country where the live-action movie was dubbed and shown in theatres, even if only two years later and only for a very limited period of time. In the early 2000s there were even plans for an Italo-Japanese collaboration with Tatsunoko Production to create a new Time Bokan series, but that never came to be.
    • Italians who were lucky to watch the film noticed that the final battle is somewhere in the Southern Alps...In Italy! That's right, Italy had the only real world set of the movie.
  • Italy again: Olympus no Poron was a comedic manga that spoofed Greek Mythology, which spawned in the early Eighties an anime series, "Ochamegami Monogatari Kolokolo Poron". "Poron" is obscure in its home country and almost everywhere else, but in Italy was renamed C'era una volta... Pollon ("Once Upon A Time... Pollon) and gained a strong following that more or less goes on to this day: it is considered a prominent example of kids' programmes in the '80s, and they even got to publish an Italian version of the decades-old original manga!
  • And yet again... Attacker You, a 1984 volleyball-themed comedy-drama manga and anime, achieved its greatest popularity in Europe, dwarfing its reception in Japan. In Italy and France, the local dubs were so popular that they singlehandedly increased enrollment in girls' school volleyball teams.
  • And yet again: the anime Heidi, Girl of the Alps was one of the most popular animes ever in Italy, as it had a huge following between the 70s and early 90s and most Italians who were children at the time remember watching it.
  • Dragon Half wasn't very well-received in Japan (the reason only two episodes were made), but its combination of Widget Series, a total lack of seriousness, and a beloved Good Bad Translation resulted in it becoming a beloved classic in North America.
  • Naruto is definitely the most popular manga/anime series in America, whereas in Japan, while far from obscure, it doesn't sell as well as One Piece.
    • Also, Sasuke Uchiha is a Base Breaker in the Western fandom with the tendency to be outright hated than loved, but the Japanese are quite fond of him. The situation is completely reversed with Sai, who fares as a significantly less liked character in Japan than in the Western fandom.
  • Bubblegum Crisis sold poorly in Japan, but has remained a fan favorite in the U.S.
  • Baccano is much more popular in the States than it is on the other side of the Pacific. This is probably helped by the outstanding English dub, and the fact that it takes place in America, and is accurate.
  • The first season of Gunslinger Girl was a modest commercial success and cult hit in the US, even landing a brief stint on cable via the Independent Film Channel. In Japan, where the manga is more popular, the first season was sold as a pack-in bonus for the licensed games.
  • Japanese fans (and the creators) have pretty much forgotten about Outlaw Star and while it's not as popular as its sucessors Cowboy Bebop and Trigun, it is still well liked over in the United States, even gaining the Anime Legends status when it was released in boxed set form.
    • Here's an explanation as to why the series did so well in the US.
  • Doraemon. While obscure in most Western countries, Doraemon is very popular in Portugal (and probably Spain), as it has been running for more than a decade non-stop and in the beginning of the 2000s was actually voted the most popular show of the network where it first aired, beating mainstream stuff like Sailor Moon. A few of the movies have also been released over there.
    • In fact it's one of the most popular animes in Spain. It's been broadcasted continuously since early nineties even in two or three channels at the same time. In fact, it's usually the most watched show on Boing, Turner's free-TV kids channel.
    • Doraemon was also well-liked in Italy and was the first western country to adapt the anime.
    • Its also ABSURDLY popular in Indonesia, for starters, its the only anime series that is still aired in Indonesia as of 2012. alongside Dragon Ball, lots of merchandise is named after the series, and the only manga that is still sold in the store shelf of a Bookstore. This make it rather popular amongst old and young children alike, even those that is born long after the initial run.
  • Peepo Choo bases much of its plot around fictional examples of this trope. The titular Show Within a Show Peepo Choo is an anime that in Japan was an adult-oriented True Art Is Incomprehensible Mind Screw and is supposedly regarded by many as the worst anime in living memory, but it is a huge success in America after being redubbed as an ordinary kids' show and hyped as an example of Japanese eccentricity. In the opposite direction, the manga features a fictional American Gang Banger drama called Brick Side which was a disastrous flop in the States but is worshipped by an Ax Crazy yakuza boss who bases his whole lifestyle on it.
  • Hikari no Densetsu is a popular Shojo manga about rhythmic gymnastics in Japan during the mid 80's. Despite its high production values (being produced by Tatsunoko Production, the same anime studio that produced the aforementioned Speed Racer), the anime adaptation was a huge flop in its native country and was Cut Short after only 19 episodes. But in Italy, where the series was renamed Hilary, the anime was extremely popular and still is to this day; they even released the manga there. The anime series also gained popularity in France, Spain and Germany.
  • 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother ended up being very popular in lots of countries (from the other Wiki) The series was dubbed into several languages and became an instant success in some countries, such as Portugal, Brazil, Spain, Venezuela, Colombia, Germany, Chile, Turkey, the Arab world and Israel. In Israel is was broadcast as a marathon each and every summer holiday, managing to traumatise enough kids, that at least some of them made parodies of it when they grew up. compare the original to the parody.
  • In the beginings of the 2000s Shin Chan was a huge hit in Spain, specially in Catalonia. In fact, on some spanish regions Shin Chan fought and won against the main news broadcasts. Some of the movies were screened on cinemas, and even many of the Shin Chan videogames were localized.
    • To an extent, as many other anime series, started airing in certain catalonian local network, grew in popularity and aired in several other local networks around the country until it jumped into the political ground and was kicked off first from Madrid local network and then from other several province stations. Eventually, the show was sold and aired into a national network and then its popularity fade in...I wonder why...
  • Its Not My Fault I'm Not Popular. A rather recent and obscure web-manga about a socially-awkward girl cluelessly trying to become more sociable. It gained a notable overnight popularity in late 2011 when /a/ found about and loved it. It has led to an interesting phenomenon where many people went to Japan and bought the paper copies of the 1st volume (without knowing the language) just to support the author. Even in the cover it's aknowledged the overseas fanbase.
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