See there lies the problem in your argument. You act like people watch anime because it's anime... that's not the case. He watched pokemon because it was a good show, and part of that was the superior animation compared to really badly drawn cartoons, as well as the better plot. Pokemon is a simple concept, but coming up with a concept like that, and its' entire world is a whole other beast.
If you enjoy an anime, regardless of age, you enjoyed it, so you can count it. He may have watched pokemon when he was young, but shows such as Naruto, Dragonball, and some other less impactful yet popular shows were also airing on western TV at the time.