Anime has become more popular in recent years due to a shrinking Japanese population leading to an increased export-minded trade. This has meant that anime producers have started to make content more suited to Western tastes, as well as producing anime overseas as it is much cheaper. https://www.thejapaneseshop.co.uk/blog/why-is-anime-so-popular/#:~:text=Anime%20has%20become%20more%20popular,as%20it%20is%20much%20cheaper.
The thing that makes anime so special is that it forms a more stylized result that liberates the animators from stringent adherence to depict the real-time world. https://www.jpost.com/special-content/what-makes-anime-unique-in-animation-world 657662#:~:text=Anime%20forms%20a%20more%20stylized,visually%20striking%20for%20many%20viewers.
It’s also popular because every person enjoys a different story, genre, and style in anime! Romance, comedy, action/adventure, mystery/suspense, and horror are just a few of the many genres explored by anime plots. https://www.geekgirlauthority.com/5-reasons-anime-popularity-is-booming/
Anime also often provides better narratives than cartoons. https://www.breezejmu.org/opinion/opinion-anime-is-better-than-western-animation/article_97e71366-7527-11eb-b635-6333428926e9.html
They also have anime books and sometimes it’s different from the actual show.