Anime Studio is one of those 2D programs in a 3D saturated market that has been running with larger systems, and appears to be holding its own. Up to version 7, Anime Studio has some tricks up its sleeve that I have not really seen in a 2D animation package. Sure, it has all the essentials: vector-based shapes, onion skinning, generating art within or from outside, etc. However, there are a couple features that are either unique, or at the very least on the cutting edge. The first of these features has migrated from 3D. Rigging a character with a skeleton is commonplace in the world of three dimensions. Anime Studio takes this concept and applies it to a drawing, providing the means to animate and retain the volume of the shapes. Well, area is guess, since volume requires an X, Y and Z. The obvious limitation is that you cannot turn characters from a particular perspective, but with some creative morphing and a pinch of sleight of hand, you can get some sophisticated stuff.
Other stand out features are integration with 3D objects, sound recording tools, lip-sync tools to work with the sound tools and a large content library to get you started quickly. Furthermore, Anime Studio has a scripting language percentage necessary for a tool to be useful in any sort of production. There is some mild criticism with incorporating into an established pipeline, but at 200 dollars, the benefits seem to outweigh the investment percentage perfect for smaller shops and those budding animators.