There are definitely varying levels of success for anime. You can have modest niche hits like FLCL. You can have all-out huge successes like Ghost in the Shell. There's the middle ground as well where a following seems to grow the deeper the series get. One way that I always look to see how well accepted/established an anime series is is by waiting for a game adaptation.
If an anime starts to gain some steam via popularity, you can bet that the companies involved are going to look for more ways to make money off the brand. Anime is an industry, and character/show licensing can be a very hot commodity if given the right treatment. Just look at the absolute juggernaut of Pokemon, which continues to be a huge moneymaker in many areas to this day. A lot of that success came from the game.
Some anime are much better suited to games as well. Stuff like Dragon Ball and Naruto are veritable playgrounds for developers to create interesting game experiences in multiple genres. When you can take an anime's content and spread it believably through multiple game genres, you know you have something special. That's why Naruto, One Piece and Dragon Ball games continue to come out to this day.
What interesting anime to game adaptations have you played? I've experienced a bunch, and unfortunately some of them were just plain bad. Then there was that Ghost in the Shell game that was just strange...not at all what I expected. Maybe that topic could be turned into an article in and of itself! That's for later...but for now, I want to hear from you guys!