The way you can think about it is that Anime is simply an animated story so instead of using real people, it uses drawings and animation. It’s just a series of pictures but why i has a impact in people’s souls
Since it is simply the visual means through which a story can be told. The Japanese guys know how to form a character and how to test him and walk his way through the journey of life. They even focus on the supporting character ! it’s like you will never know how the hero is and who’s the supporting role.
A cultural difference is that anime (and manga) have traditionally been divided into which audience it is mainly addressed to: shonen (boys), shojo (girls), seinen (adult boys), josei (adult women) and Kodomomuke (very young kids) — these are divisions that Japanese manga writers make.
Anime is also divided in different genres. To only cite some of the most popular ones: Death Note falls more into the Psychological Thriller category, Naruto into the Martial Arts/Action/ Drama, FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood would be a Drama/Fantasy/Action., Vampire Knight falls in the Romance/Vampire genre, Hellsing into the Horror/Drama/Action one, Nana into the Romance/Drama.
So basically, the reason why anime is so popular is exactly the reason why traditional visual storytelling is popular. Since it is offered in different formats, genres and levels of maturity, any anime can theoretically find its audience. I’m a strong believer that there’s an anime for everybody.
In my opinion, Anime had more connection because the first anime that I saw was Naruto and it was a whole universe to watch and its process for me as bit tough because I was able to watch the subbed one which was tough to relate the dialogues but on the go it was so fun to see it. As i have never seen a story play like naruto. As for now I have some of the anime like food wars, Naruto, Death Note, High school Assai nation, FullMetal Alchemist and so on . Why Naruto is soo related to me the most is because of his childhood and how others treated him when he was a child. As was i able to relate his mental trauma of what he was undergoing. From that i stated watching anime and finally left the American sitcom of what i was watching in the middle and now to balance it is bit of a challenge an I am accustomed to it.
To sum it up:
Anime is popular because:
it is offered in different format especially series and movies, so people have a choice;
there are many different genres to choose from;
theoretically, there are anime for people of different ages and gender; and finally
it has space for a lot of very creative and innovative story arcs/plots that would be very hard to realistically produce or translate with real actors.