Every Saturday morning I would watch cartoons. This included Pokemon, Kirby, Yu Gi Oh, etc. As well as Static Shock and Justice League (super dope right). At the time I saw all of these shows as cartoons which is understandable. But know that I am older and can further analyze these shows and differentiate between an anime series and a cartoon. I have grown to understand that there is a culture behind anime while in the states, cartoons are left for the children.
In Japan, anime is every where. This art is positively expressed in the Japanese culture. This includes anime being put on posters on billboards, on the sides of buses, and on the walls of buildings. State side, this is not the case with cartoons.
Anime, in my opinion, is a spectrum. They can be very cartoonish or they can be heavily produced and have a riveting story line. Growing up, we were exposed to anime that was created specifically for young children, but later, many were exposed to gory and deep anime like Attack on Titan and Cowboy Bebop.
Anime caters to everyone, regardless of their background.