Anime is short for Animeshoon(written in katana) in japanese. In short it's Japanese Animation. Japanese Animation is nothing like North American animation. I'm not much of an expert so check out these links for more info.
AnimeNation
What is Anime and Manga
rec.arts.anime.misc FAQ
What Anime should I watch
Anime FAQs

Usenet Anime Resources
alt.binaries.pictures.anime
alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.anime hey whatever floats your boat
alt.fan.bgcrisis
alt.fan.sailor-moon
alt.manga
rec.arts.anime
rec.arts.anime.games
rec.arts.anime.info
rec.arts.anime.marketplace
rec.arts.anime.stories
rec.arts.manga

For those interested in Japanese here are some good links. I'm am currently learning Japanese and believe that if you want to learn the language, you really need to enrol in a class and learn it with a native speaker.
Japanese proverbs and idioms
sci.lang.japan FAQ
Jeffrey's Japanese<->English Dictionary Server
York U's Japanese homepage my school's japanese program!
Internet Guide to Japan Information Resources
The Quick and Dirty guide to Japanese

Usenet Japanese resources
alt.japanese.text Postings in Japanese; Japanese language software.
sci.lang.japanThe Japanese language, both spoken and written.

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