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When Pamela Anderson becomes her own comic strip heroine, it’s a sign that American animation has reached a whole new level. The bombshell is set to launch her own Stan Lee-created series, “Striparella,” on the new Spike TV network (a.k.a. MTV’s male channel) on June 26.

But anime — the Japanese word for animation — is taking over Hollywood-style entertainment on all taste levels, with “The Matrix” creators Andy and Larry Wachowski’s recently released DVD box set “The Animatrix,” a collection of nine short animated films, and a collection of anime-inspired clothing and accessories for “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” on the way. Stylishly retro animated film titles, like those seen in “Catch Me If You Can” and “Down With Love,” are all the rage. And, in case you missed it, Disney Pixar’s “Finding Nemo” had a record-setting $100 million opening weekend.

This story first appeared in the June 16, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

What’s anime’s appeal? For Charlotte Bavasso, cofounder of Nexus productions, the London-based collective that produced the “Catch” titles, the answer is simple: “You can do a lot of things in the animated world you can’t get away with in real life,” Bavasso says.

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