Michael Sporn has an interesting post comparing animation styles.
The US tradition came directly from the wonderful work done mostly after hours at Disney’s studio in the 30′s. They learned how to time animation for weight, for mood, for expression and for balance... These people all mastered their timing. They knew what they were doing and did it as planned. The animation never does what IT wants to do, but it is controlled by the animator and his (her) timing.The European style is a very different animal. The timing is flat. It’s usually even paced and moves robotically forward, not always by going in a straight line. The weight is always soft; the emotion is almost nil. The drawings are often beautiful, but there’s no real strength behind that movement.
And then Japan, mostly Miyazaki, but Sporn also mentions Satoshi Kon:
The Japanese market, of course, is very different than the rest, and, thanks to what Miyazaki has been doing and his success in doing it, things are changing radically. Where he once blended in with the Anime animation that was all present, things are now changing to more of an emotional, Western appeal. My Neighbor Totoro started something, that changed wildly when he did Spirited Away and Ponyo. When I saw The Secret World of Arrietty, I knew things had changed completely. There was real character animation on the screen. One character was different from the next, and a lot of it had to do with the movement.