In the beginning, anime was horrible. Animators were infamous for cutting corners and not animating complex bodily movements and motions, including facial expressions, and using plain colors. Couple that with sh***y voice acting, and you have a bland and unenjoyable anime experience.
1988, Akira moves from the pages of a graphic novel to the silver screen. This piqued the curiosity of many, which proved beneficial to the popularity of anime in the west. The movie was like an acid trip without the acid. The film used a wide variety of vibrant colors, vivid facial expressions, and bodily movements, and the voice acting was outstanding for anime, at that time. To give you a good visual: every time you watch Akira, your TV blasts you in the face with a laser made of rainbows. When it's over, your face is covered in carbon residue and your hair is standing on end. You enjoyed the rush so much, you decide that you want to watch it again. You watch it again and get another rainbow laser to the face. You do this over and over until your hair is gone and you have second degree burns all over your face. That's what it's like.
So, those who claim to like anime, WATCH. THIS. MOVIE. NOW!!!!