I'd actually say that the 2000s was a golden age of western animation. There was alot of garbage but basically everybody was getting a budget to make something cool.Because Jojo is amazing:
In all seriousness, I was out of anime for a very long time. I used to watch it in the 1990s, but anime was way different back then. You basically didn't have series as such coming to the states, but movies. When the Sci-Fi channel was still Sci-Fi, it had all this great fucking anime on it. Project A-Ko, Lodoss War, Macross, all classic shit. Around college I got into it because of Hellsing, but I was more used to US schedules for TV, so I fell out of it. Anime, until relatively recently, was usually relegated to one or two series. This is because of the massive costs involved and sometimes you wouldn't get another series until YEARS after the first, because of how ridiculously expensive it was. This still happens today, the gap between AoT seasons was so excessive that many forgot it even existed. That's probably my biggest gripe with anime, is that it is so costly that sometimes good anime won't get another season or just stop mid-arc. Or it takes a VERY long time to get another series.
But its getting better. So I got more into it. The thing for me is multi-faceted: The way that anime tells stories is different than Western shows. The unique cultural aspect and its pure Japanese-ness is so different its attractive. A lot of times, the art is fucking beautiful. You can't even compare it to Western cartoons. That's because the West has not evolved.
Check out the Real Ghostbusters (1980s, 1990s):
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Art has gone backwards from the 1980s and 1990s in the West. Even the cheapest shows have better art than the shows now. Also the 'Real Ghostbusters' for kids, had scary and terrifying stories and each character was good and unique on their own. Shit was good. But animation in the West has largely been relegated to dogshit. Everything is either badly drawn comedy or badly drawn for little children. The exceptions are Avatar and The Boondocks. But that's about it. And even the Boondocks is comedy. There's nothing really 'serious'. Maybe Avatar. Even that was more aimed at children. And then, its still fucking UGLY. Its not appealing to look at.
But there's really nothing that can compare to it. Especially since the art style in the West has rapidly been degenerating. When in anime there's tons of different ways to do art. Some is simplistic to a point, then gets complex. Good anime can tell its stories through its own artistry and visuals. Even anime with simple drawing style can get complex when it wants to do unique emotions or story-telling. The reverse is also true, well-drawn animation can go simplistic. There's also the music too.
There's also cases where you're basically looking at your own culture through the lens of another. Like in anime that is set in the US you get the unique perspective of how someone from Japan views the United States. Or even your own culture. I'm a spaghetti nigger, and this season of JoJo was set in Italy. So it was fun for me to see how the Japanese interpret Italian culture.
Another thing others have mentioned is that anime is generally free from the restrictions of the West in terms of creators. They don't have to worry about including this, or that. Or offending anyone. They tell the story they want to. And a lot of it can be fucking strange, weird, abstract. And that's fascinating. Its also the reason why Manga is raping American comics in its asshole. Its because Manga has no creator restrictions. It does what it wants and that's appealing. You don't really get a sense of a political message or being lectured to, if it even has one. Its trying to entertain you. The characters are also all typically visually appealing. Sure, there's fan service, but who gives a fuck? Is that really terrible? I think its better than nowadays where they're trying to pass off ugly, fat dumpy women as 'beautiful' and covering every beautiful woman in the equivalent of a burka. I mean, I don't watch a lot of fan service anime, so maybe that's it.
I mean, there's all sorts of dumb shit too, but there's dumb shit in every form of entertainment. But in anime and manga, you can get stories that Western creators are too fucking terrified to tell. And I'm generally getting tired of cowardly entertainment. Its why people have left American comics behind. They're not daring. They're not compelling. They're dumb, boring dogshit. With manga, there's so much out there and its so simple to follow. I also don't have to be afraid of being lectured to, or being dressed down for liking something or faced with SJW power fantasies that no one else has. My patience has ended and I no longer buy entertainment that tries to lecture me, has diversity in it for no reason or insults its audience in any fashion. I'm done. If someone wants my dollar, don't fucking talk down to me. Don't try to teach me anything. I don't need your faggot lessons. I work hard enough, intellectually and work wise. I want to be entertained, told compelling and thrilling stories and see beautiful art, animation, people, etc. I'm tired of being told those are 'bad' things to want. Anime provides them. The West no longer does.
Basically, Western pop-culture has a dulled edge that's made it way too safe and a lot of time lectures to, dismisses and insults its audience. Even when it tries, you can still feel the hesitation and need to compromise because of inter-sectional culture and the fear of Twitter. The East is more daring, stranger and more appreciative of its audience and doesn't care what Baizuo Western faggots think and isn't afraid to tell them to go fuck themselves. That's really what it comes down to, and why I've gotten back into anime.
Adult Swim was actually putting out stuff that was insane and most govts were pretty willing to subsidize small projects.
Avatar, Megas XLR, Kids Next Door, Boondocks and many more.
You had all of these cool pet projects lead by passionate people. The animation was cheaper but the stuff had soul.
I also have no problems with lessons. The Cartoon Recess is probably one of the greatest "slice of life" shows ever.
I'd say the show that represents the final decline of the west is Korgoth the Barbarian - insanely good but never made because Adult Swim plays it safe.