Many people have asked me what it is about anime that makes it so special and fun to watch. Although most people classify anime purely by artistic convention, there are a number of other unique aspects that make anime enjoyable. I like anime because its characters are well developed, its stories are engaging, and the artwork is outstanding.
Characters in anime titles are often more developed and "three-dimensional" than their Hollywood counterparts. Since most anime titles are serial rather than episodic, characters grow gradually throughout the entire series. It is not uncommon for the audiences' perceptions of a character to change drastically as their thoughts and motivations are revealed. Antagonists are handled particularly well in anime, because their hopes, dreams, and aspirations are not classified and dismissed as simply "evil". In anime, conflicts are more realistic because the motivations of all characters are valid, and not immediately delineated into good vs. evil.
Anime plots tackle many genres that American filmmakers rarely address. However, even in fantastic settings, anime writers are able to create plots that are realistic and compelling. Many of the best series have a timeless quality to them because the stories portray emotion and conflict so well. With a few exceptions, the plots to anime series are dramatic and unfold unpredictably. Anime plots also contain many literary allusions, particularly biblical references, which add depth to the characters' motivations.
The stylistic techniques used by anime and manga artists are surreal, vibrant, and aesthetically pleasing. The landscapes rendered in high-budget animated films are breathtaking and allow anime artists to immerse their characters in surreal sci-fi and fantasy settings. The conventions used in drawing facial expressions allow the characters' emotions to be expressed more fully, and the conventions in drawing facial proportions create aesthetically-pleasing characters. Anime illustrators pay close attention to detail, and their animation is fluid and consistent.
In conclusion, I enjoy anime because it places realistic characters in fantastic settings with compelling plots. Anime combines the technical merits, aesthetics, and imaginations of many talented artists.
If you would like to read more about anime, visit: http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/mcs18/anime/anime.html.