The first thing that should be addressed in this series of guides is the simple question of what anime actually is. If we want to go about this in an academic way, we could go with the Random House dictionary’s definition:
A Japanese style of motion-picture animation, characterized by highly stylized, colorful art, futuristic settings, violence, and sexuality.
However, what does this mean in plain English? My definition won’t make a lot of friends, but anime can basically be summed up as Japanese cartoons. Animated shows, films, and Computer Animated titles all fit under this umbrella term. Some also use the word to describe a particular art style, which mimics said TV shows.
The term anime is actually a loan-word from Japan. The word is an abbreviation of the Japanese term animēshon, or “animation”, that was adopted by fans in the west to classify the medium.