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Suddenly the characters can hear the ominous background music or the disembodied narration, they can read the subtitles at the bottom of your screen, and they can tell when it's almost time for a commercial break.Generally, this awareness is brief; it's used for a joke or two and then never mentioned again. Some are simply non-Japanese creators deciding to mimic the style, while others are genuine co-productions.France and Canada are especially known for cooperating with Japanese producers in this way.Oddly enough, in Japanese, "anime" is a broad term for anything animated, so technically, all of these examples are "anime" whether or not they are classic Japanese-style anime.
See also Genre Savvy (which doesn't involve the Fourth Wall) and No Fourth Wall.
No explanation is necessary for why our hero can hear a ringing telephone but not the movie's soundtrack, or why the space ship is menaced by the Negative Space Wedgie, but not by the opening credits drifting by outside the ship: it's something we accept as part of our Willing Suspension of Disbelief.