I am not sure how many people know this, but anime is an art form. It can’t be a medium, because it fits in the in the category of animation with things from Disney, Pixar, Dream works, Cartoon Network, and Nickelodeon. It can’t be a genre, because many anime productions go under different genres. It sits happily in the middle of the too. It still has its own style and flair that separates it from the rest.
Anime is comparable to movies, books, comics, and video games, with its vast categories of entertainment. The main face of it may seem to be kid shows with things like Naruto, Pokémon, and Yu-gi-oh taking the lime light, but that is only the surface. There is a major world of this art form that needs to be explored.
As a quick example of this, here is I am currently watching (This may sound like a lot, but watching one episode of each a week is pretty easy):
-Active Raid, Genres: Mecha, Police, and Science Fiction
Police Unit 8 uses exoskeletons or suits like Iron Man to handle crime against other exoskeletons. (Currently Airing)
-Snow White with the red hair second season, Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Romance
This series is like your classic Disney tale in animated form, which is in rare supply these days. It’s a very sweet love story that anybody can watch.
-Erased, Genres: Psychological, Supernatural
A struggling manga author, who has a fear of expressing himself, is forcefully given a supernatural ability to turn back time to prevent deaths and catastrophes around him.
-Dimension W, Genres: Science Fiction
This show is what you get when you combine the space western triumverent of Trigun, Cowboy Bebop, and Outlaw star with Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. It’s a cyberpunk action series.
-Durarara!!x2 Ketsu, Genres: Action, Mystery, Supernatural
It is impossible to explain this show completely. It’s a crime drama, it’s super natural creatures, it has people who can lift up vending machines and throw them at people, and most of all, it’s completely amazingly insane and fun.
-HunterxHunter (2011), Genres: Action, Adventure
This is honestly one of the best battle shonen series that I have ever watched. It starts out basic, but it can get real heavy when it feels like it with topics of crime dramas to all out wars and genocide. The power of friendship is going to solve anything, so main characters have to train hard and use tactics to defeat their enemies. Also, this show has some of the best side characters ever.
-Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans, Genres: Action, Drama, Mecha, Science Fiction
This is a great gundam show for beginners. The main plot is a Martian coup de’etat against Earth. It sounds basic, but it is one of the best executions of this plot.
Sekkou Boys, Genres: Comedy and Music
This is a short anime with 7 minutes an episode, but it’s about four stone idols with a female manager. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s great comedy series out of awkward situations.
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, Genres: Drama
This one is a historical drama using the medium of Rakugo or traditional Japanese story telling as it’s center point.
Note: If you are interested in the currently airing shows, they just started so I cannot fully vouch for their quality at the moment.
Even this list is still scratching the surface of what people make with this amazing medium. If you want a cyber punk story with a complex plot, a high fantasy story, a realistic love story, a not so realistic love story, musical dramas, shows that have normal people turning into monsters, or anything else that you can think of, there is an anime series of it. I favor anime slightly over western cartoons because of this.
While western cartoons have this capacity too, there is still a huge bias in the United States and other western countries that anything animated is aimed at children. This is why series like Batman: The Animated Series, Gargoyles, Avatar: Legend of Korra, or Young Justice do not appear very often and/or gain a wide audience. The Japanese do not hold the same qualms as western audiences, but this is a topic for a different time.