Giorgia Meloni has been thrust into the spotlight as she’s on course to become Italy’s first female prime minister – and interest in the ‘Meloni Chan’ anime meme has sparked as a result.
Meloni leads Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy), an Italian right-wing political party projected to win Italy’s snap election, as per the BBC. Meloni’s alliance with Matteo Salvini’s League and former PM Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia is set to control both houses of parliament.
Those following Giorgia Meloni will have come across the Meloni Chan memes, an anime version of the politician that has accompanied her throughout her campaigns for leadership.
Giorgia Meloni anime fan art takes off in 2018
During the past few years, an anime version of Giorgia Meloni, entitled Meloni Chan, has appeared online. The use of the hashtag #MeloniChan dates to October 2018 and was popularised by anime artist Hele-Bun.
In fact, in May 2020 images of Meloni Chan were allegedly used by Giorgia Meloni herself, although the Facebook posts have since been deleted. What Meloni reportedly wrote to accompany the Facebook post loosely translates as: “You are sending me some beautiful pictures! Tag my page in your creations, I will publish them a little at a time.”
The anime fan art isn’t on Giorgia Meloni’s social media profiles as of publication date. They are, however, still floating around the internet.
Anime character reflects ‘fight for the future’
It’s not just Meloni Chan who has found herself in the political world, other anime characters have been roped in by Giorgia Meloni.
On April 9, 2019, Meloni used Capitan Harlock, a Japanese manga space pirate, to allude to Harlock’s relevance to her own country.
“Forty years ago he landed in Italy. Capitan Harlock, the space pirate. It was the symbol of a generation that challenged people’s apathy and indifference, fighting against those who wanted to deprive them of the future,” Meloni wrote to accompany a video of Capitan Harlock.
Meloni speaks on love of all things fantasy
Meloni has been vocal about her love for fantasy over the years. She is a particular fan of JRR Tolkein’s The Lord Of The Rings, which she has described as her favourite book series. She first read the novels aged 11.
As reported by the New York Times, while a youth activist with the Italian Social Movement (MSI), Meloni attended a “Hobbit Camp” in which she sang with folk band Compagnia dell’Anello, whose name translates to Fellowship Of The Ring. Meloni’s fellows in MSI took inspiration from Tolkein for their nicknames, such as Frodo and Hobbit.
In her 20s, Meloni appeared in chat rooms under the nickname Khy-ri, naming herself the “little dragon of the Italian undernet”, as reported by Italian website Dr Commodore. Meloni even named her political conference, Atreju, after the Italian rendering of “Atreyu”, the hero of fantasy classic The NeverEnding Story (1984).
Giorgia Meloni believes fantasy reflects ‘what conservatives believe in’
Meloni isn’t just a fan of the fantasy-fiction genre, she and some other Italian conservatives believe it reflects the values they are trying to convey in their politics.
Meloni told the New York Times: “I think Tolkien could say better than us what conservatives believe in. I don’t consider The Lord Of The Rings fantasy.”
Meloni’s use of fantasy-fiction in the real-life political realm doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon.