Anime is the term coined as a catch-all phrase for most popular animation that emerges from Japan.
The typical anime style tends to have characters that conform to actual human proportions. The head acts a measuring unit and the typical body is seven to eight heads long depending on the exaggeration of proportion. Shorter or taller characters can be stretched even further, but tend to look highly unrealistic. Torsos tend to be shorter than actual body proportion in anime, especially on female figures. Long legs are favored and thus the length must be taken out elsewhere. The bodies themselves generally move in an anatomically correct fashion, but some room has been made for other movements that are not necessarily realistic, such as stretch and squash.
Faces of anime figures are generally what sets anime apart from animations of other cultures. The face is set in an anatomically correct plane with the eyes and ears falling in a horizontal centerline while the nose and mouth fall in a vertical centerline. However, features are generally distorted. Most figures have large eyes, and in some extreme cases (generally female) the eyes can take up nearly half the face. Noses and mouths are simple lines that generally are not elaborated on unless a character needs some sort of definition (i.e. an old, wrinkled man may have a larger nose to exaggerate his age.) The most notable aspect of anime faces is the hairstyles that most characters ==generally adopt. Hair can be multicolored, multilayered, and gravity-defying.
As with Western animation, anime can cover a wide range of genres. Japanese anime tends to lean towards futuristic or fantasy storylines, but other genres can be found, ranging from realistic fiction, to historical drama, to folk lore. The possibilities, given the medium, are truly limitless.