Anime is the form of japanese animation. The first known animations in Japan where created on the year 1917 but the commonly known initiator of Anime is Osamu Tezuka(All praise him if you call yourselves otakus) who started our great and honorable culture with his master pieces of Astro Boy and Black Jack, both animes however are mostly unknown to most new otaku who havent lived in that age. Anime first became popular outside Japan on the 1980s where it created what is now almost a religion known as Otakuness...no really...from that time on people around the world started following Japanese series and the Mangakas(Gods in their own dimension).
With the years anime has become increasingly more popular, its ability to transmit worlwide as the episode is airing on Japanese TV, generally Tokyo TV for large animes, has contributed greatly to this expansion as people dont have to wait for VIZ Media to dub, censor and modify the original episodes to see them but instead can enjoy them online the same day they air thanks to the work of the Fansubbers who work hard as fast as they can to bring you anime with subtitles so that the ones of us who arent fortunate enough to speak japanese can understand them.
Anime is and will always be a popular form of animation around the world, whatever Disney does to compete with us(as if they have made something good in the last 10 years...) itll keep spreading and making more people Otaku and enticing them to maybe even someday try making their own anime which will ultimately lead to even more expansion of our Japan-loving kind.