The Anime Cartel was a criminal (later evil) organization that smuggled anime-related items into the Mushroom Kingdom during the time of the anime ban. It became the main antagonistic faction of the second half of The Anime Arc, as its members abducted manga artist Axol (ironically their idol), stealing his magical pen Inkweaver to use to create an army of duplicate anime characters to do their bidding. Francis was the leader before his death.
Shortly after Princess Peach banned anime in the Mushroom Kingdom due to extensive damage caused by citizens who are obsessed with anime, the Anime Cartel was formed, with Francis becoming their leader, with Lemmy Koopa joining at some point. Since then, the organisation became infamous due to breaking the newly-made law.
Lemmy manages to bring Mario and Fishy Boopkins to become members and tasked them with smuggling a truck filled with crates carrying anime-related content. However, the goods were later destroyed by Swagmaster69696969696 using an RPG when the A.S.S. set up an ambush to try and capture Mario and Boopkins. Furious at the destruction of an entire truckload of Anime, Francis was about to execute Mario, Boopkins, Bob and the A.S.S' Lieutenant-Major SMG4, until the latter convinced him to spare their lives and give them one last chance. He complies and ordered them to escort Saiko to Japan. Before they go, Francis orders Mario to stay, because he has a mission for him: pay the group back for the money they lost, or else he will break his kneecaps.
Mario agreed and opened up a lemonade stand as a way to make money, but he soon found competition in the form of Jeeves, who wanted revenge after Mario ruined his milk company. Luckily, the Anime Cartel arrived to help Mario and Tari (who somehow wasn't arrested by the A.S.S.) since Jeeves was an obstacle to the former's debt. A battle then ensued but was stopped by a restless Meggy , who shot cruel words at them. As a result, Jeeves and Francis cried and hugged each other, while Mario and Tari were dragged away by Meggy to the Splatfest.
Three weeks after the anime ban, the cartel was still fighting the authorities, as shown in SMG4: The Japan Trip.
In SMG4: Mario Saves Anime, the Anime Cartel swooned over Axol when they saw him upon hearing notice from Saiko Bichitaru to come and aid her, causing him to kill most of them and showed the remaining four members (including Francis) what he could do with his magic pen. Soon after, the Cartel proceeds to overwhelm the A.S.S. agents guarding Peach's Castle, allowing Mario and the others to sneak by.
When Peach unbanned anime from the Mushroom Kingdom, the cartel seemingly disbanded, as there was no reason to secretly smuggle in anime anymore.
However, it is revealed in SMG4: Mario and the Experiment that it was not the end of the Anime Cartel as Francis has remade it into an evil organization. He ordered them to kidnap the Inklings (including Meggy), and also kidnapped Axol so that they could torment him. They stole Inkweaver so that Francis can use the Inklings' ink to fully power up the pen, so he can create his own waifu island.
In SMG4: Final Hours, Francis was slowly killed in a spare zuccer used to drain Inklings of their ink by Saiko, as payback for what he did to them and for killing Desti. As he was trapped in the machine when the island exploded due to Goku's self-destruction, he perished in the blast, though it is currently left unknown if any of the Anime Cartel survived.