I'm surprised no-one has mentioned Honneamise, it has the kind of themes you'd associate more with cinema in general but expressed in a manner that can only be achieved through animation, in a similar vein to Akira but obviously with less psychic children. I do actually think Honneamise is one of those films that people should be obligated to watch. I would agree to an extent with Ayase's point about anime in general though. I think the surface level of anime is probably easily enough accessed but beyond that, the kind of people it appeals to are probably going to be slightly abnormal. But that's no different from any other medium, there's always someone who wants to push the limits and go further, I just think "hardcore" fans are more prolific or noticeable in anime because the entry requirements are higher. For a start, you have to overcome social conditioning as Maes points out and even then there isn't anyone overly pushing it (that's changed a bit now) but unless you know what you're looking for, it's hard to really know where to begin. You stumbled about for a bit before finding your feet. Where as with tv, you have everybody from co-workers to radio hosts talking about shows like Breaking Bad or the Wire, so you don't have to figure anything out, you already have "taste makers" ready to guide you from point to point. Most people just want to be entertained for five minutes rather than being challenged in anyway, so when you have to "work" to find the entertainment you seek, I think it inherently turns off that kind of general audience. Anime just seems to alien or time consuming to really break into but Breaking Bad? Well most people are talking about, so you already know what it is and what it's about and it largely draws on American pop culture (if any, rather than obscure references to Japanese values that don't translate), so it's far easier to plug and play.