What is the difference between American cartoons and anime?

Japanese anime and American cartoons differ in many ways. The most noticeable one would be how they differ visually. Japanese anime style has more of a realistic look in characters, where as typically in American cartoons, many physical features are exaggerated. This is not true for all anime and cartoons. Many sci-fi anime's have a lot of creative exaggerations in the characters. Another good difference is that anime spends a lot of time with plot and character development. A typical American cartoon will have a story in one episode, whereas a anime will develop sometime complex character emotions (such as love triangles, drama, ect) over a period of 24 episodes (depending on the anime).