The stories in Japanese animation have a sufficient level of complexity to address a number of otherwise difficult to express concepts.
Young people often relate to the characters because the characters are similar to how they are already.
American children’s entertainment often lacks that level of depth needed.
But Anime doesn’t have the same restrictions and covers a broader range of topics.
When I was 13/14, I’d picked up “Sexual Behavior of the Human Male” by Alfred Kinsey in my public library and snuck it over to the book stacks to read it. I was a big nerd who absorbed the Guinness Book of World Records and stuff like that and this book was no different. There was very little literature in the early 80s for kids to learn about this stuff (except what was leftover from the 70s) as the Reagan era was getting us all into into “prude mode” and that stuff was getting pulled from the shelves in libraries.
That book had sufficient complexity for me to help understand better where I fit and what I saw around me in others. [The closest thing to Anime in my time was “Star Blazers” – the word wouldn’t be invented for another 15 years beyond that]
Sadly, much of our acceptable education is still stuck in a 19th century fear mode, the days of Kellogg inventing Corn Flakes and such.