“Jujutsu Kaisen 0”, “One Piece”, “My Hero Academia”: why are anime fans screaming at the cinema?

It’s toooo! “Screams, spectators standing, brandishing their flash phones on, jumping, taking off their t-shirts … The videos posted on social networks of the preview of the Japanese animated film (known as “anime”) Jujutsu Kaisen 0, organized on Sunday March 13 by the Grand Rex, attest to an atmosphere worthy of a football stadium in the giant amphitheater of Parisian cinema. While the atmosphere of dark rooms is usually one of contemplation, the spectators here are of a rare effusiveness. Manifestations of joy, disbelief or admiration so strong that it is difficult not to see an overplayed emotion, staged in what looks like an overstatement. So much so that the movie itself seems hard to follow amid all the din. But then, what really happens during these cinema sessions like no other?

“These sessions”, because the phenomenon is not confined to Jujutsu Kaisen 0 : at the Grand Rex, previews of other extremely popular anime among teenagers and young adults, such as One Piece Where My Hero Academiawere also the scene of the surge of fervor from the fans, without however reaching the ends of the session on Sunday evening.

On preview screenings, it’s special: it’s specific to this context, to the expectation linked to the film, it’s not an ordinary screeningexplains Pierre-Loup, a Parisian in his twenties. It’s a community event, where you express your enthusiasm. We come for the cosplays – costumes reproducing the outfit of anime heroes, editor’s note. –, the meeting with the fans, and of course the film itself. Pierre-Loup thus welcomed friends who had come from Lille and Strasbourg to his home especially for the occasion.

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If he agrees that things have gone much too far “, Rémi, who attended the stormy session on Sunday evening, explains attending this kind of event” for the atmosphere “. ” The interest is to share this fervor with friends. Previews at the Grand Rex are made to be with the biggest fans of our favorite anime. For Matthieu Pinon, co-author ofA Century of Japanese Animation and D’Modern Manga Storiesthere is indeed a need to come together, a collective need “. ” For many it is a solitary activity, which takes place at home on Netflix or the Crunchy Roll VOD platform. Teenagers talk about the latest episodes with their friends or on the networks, but do not often have the opportunity to share the anime together. Hence the excitement during these previews, during which the credits are sung loudly and the names of the characters are chanted.

“Pressure cookers”

Rémi completely agrees to shout during the film, while explaining that it would not occur to him in front of another work. ” It’s not shouting to shout, it’s cheering, it’s the surprise of seeing something beautiful “, However, specifies the young man. The anime fans interviewed describe themselves more, in the context of these sessions, as supporters than as spectators. This is the case of Salim, 21, who came from Rouen for the preview of “JJK”: ” We are immersed in the action. When you see a nice gesture in a fight, or when a long-awaited character appears on the screen, it’s like seeing a goal or a star entering a football field “, he analyzes.

Matthieu Pinon recalls that the phenomenon essentially concerns cartoons belonging to the genre of Shônen (young boy in Japanese), resolutely turned towards action. ” These are extremely popular licenses, primarily intended for teenagers between 15 and 20 years old, the best known examples of which are One Piece and Dragon Ball. These initiatory stories, very often depicting the struggle against adversity of young adolescents and the opposition between good and evil, obviously have a strong potential for identification. ” It’s a bit like Harry Potter adds Matthieu Pinon.

What’s more, the narrative structure of anime also feeds the fervor of young audiences. ” These films are thought of as pressure cookers: the pressure is increased by setting up liberating confrontations, very impressive from the animation point of view adds the Japanese pop culture expert.


From this point of view, Rémi did not understand the behavior of certain spectators last Sunday. ” Usually there are reactions at specific moments in the plot, during ‘hype’ moments. There it was all the time, unrelated to what was happening on the screen “, he says. He will therefore return to see the film, of which he has ” couldn’t follow for more than fifteen minutes so great was the agitation. The “derailment” of Jujutsu Kaisen 0 does not prevent him from thinking that the sound manifestations are part of a folklore surrounding for some years the anime screenings at the Grand Rex. What Pierre-Loup confirms: “ We talk about it as if it were new: all the people who bought their tickets knew very well that there were going to be these cries, it’s part of the game in this room. »

In fact, the Grand Rex itself seems quite aware of the very specific atmosphere surrounding these screenings, and participates in maintaining it by inviting influencers to warm up the room before the screening, or by broadcasting on social networks white-hot public videos. ” Here is the mood during the commercials. We let you imagine how it will be during the screening “, for example, commented the cinema team on Twitter about a video of the already enthusiastic room before the 8:45 p.m. screening on Sunday.

The Grand Rex, which did not respond to our requests, however split a press release. ” We are proud that our cinema, unique in its size and capacity, generates an exceptional atmosphere. But there is a difference between sharing your joy and doing anything. Unfortunately, over the years, some people in the Japanese anime audience don’t understand this difference. We will therefore be obliged to react more firmly to the next evening. “, said the cinema.

“Show that we are more of a fan than them”

There is probably a form of shallot race, says Matthieu Pinon. These spectators belong to a generation born with a smartphone in their hands. “Afraid that the shambles of Sunday will give a “bad image” of anime, Rémi speaks of “ competition between fan communities on social networks “: ” It’s a gear: they shouted a lot at the last One Piece event, so we’re going to shout even louder, to show that we’re more of a fan than them. And when we can no longer shout louder, we get up, we jump, etc. This competition is all the more absurd according to him since the vast majority of Japanese animation enthusiasts do not limit themselves to a series.

According to Rayane, 20 years old and also a fan of Jujutsu Kaisenthat ” fashion is linked to the videos of “react”, very popular on Twitch, TikTok or Youtube, consisting of filming their reactions while watching a series or a film, or listening to music. What interest ? ” I think it interests people because they want to see how those they follow and who influence them feel. Maybe they want to be ‘validated’ by a community, feel like they’re more part of it seeing that they’ve had the ‘right’ reaction. »

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Rayane does not hide his frustration after his experience on Sunday. ” When we drive two hours and pay twice as much, we tell ourselves that we will still be able to see the film normally “says the young man living in the Paris region. ” It’s good that the room is alive, but what happened is very frustrating when you’ve been waiting for the film for so long, and it’s a problem that is starting to spread more and more. »

So what can be done to prevent the sessions of silent spectators from being parasitized by the most expressive? ” For movies like Mamma Mia there are now special karaoke sessions where everyone can bawl without fear of disturbing anyonepoints out Matthieu Pinon. We could consider an equivalent for anime. It remains an overflow, but an overflow of enthusiasm. This enthusiasm should not be nipped in the bud. »