I've been an anime/manga fan for about three years now. My favorites are Rurouni Kenshin, Inuyasha, Yuyu Hakusho, Naruto, Yuugiou, Nightwalker, Wolf's Rain and Fullmetal Alchemist. There are others too, but those are the main ones. I think anime is inifintely superior to any of the crap that's put out in America. In the 80s, it was exactly the opposite, but since the 90s, animes have improved immensely.
That said, I strongly prefer manga to anime. Manga is the original medium that many animes are based on. The animes often leave out characters or even entire plots. Violence, blood and swearing are often removed from the story to make it more palatable to the masses. The manga usually has all the good stuff intact.
The Kenshin fanfics I write are all based soley on manga canon. That means no references to crazy train trips, no Ayame/Suzume, no sumo wrestlers, circuses, crazy pseudo-Christians, German invaders, feng shui artists and absolutely no Seisouhen! I believe Watsuki's genius can never be improved upon by TV executives.
A note on the ages of the characters: Up till 1902, the Japanese counted the time a baby was in-utero as part of its life, thus when a person was born, they were counted as a year old. Kamiya Kaoru was born in June, 1862 and met Kenshin in February, 1878. By our standards, she'd be 15 going on 16. In Japanese standards, she's 16 going on 17. Thus, when I say that a character is so many years old in a fic, they are a year younger by our standards. I just thought this was interesting.