I wouldn't quite call myself an anime fan or anime nerd, but I do like some anime and western cartoons and would say that I have an open mind about things. Some of my favorite anime are:
Ghost in the shell
Neon genesis evangelion
SDF Macross [Robotech Dub]
Also, I recently watched Nausicaa of the valley of the wind which was good, though a bit too much of a kids movie.
My question, though, is what happened to the epic Anime movie of yore? Like what is a modern equivalent to something like Akira or GITS? It seems like all there is now are series of lesser production values and lesser artistic value. Forgive me if I'm ignorant, but it seems like there is mostly just character driven, 'tune in next episode to see how the drama unfolds'. At least Neon Genesis was artistic when it comes to a series, where as guyver and macross, though I enjoyed them, were kinda just basic drama, action, characters, etc... Hopefully I'm conveying what it is that I feel is missing in modern anime.
Actually, I just remembered a movie that I saw recently, called 'from up on poppy hill' which I would say approaches the status of masterpiece, but its not really one of the genres that I typically look for when I think anime (eg sci-fi/action/fantasy/thriller etc.)