Mt. Mograph’s Matt Jylkka shows how you can easily create an anime style electrical effect pretty easily in After Effects using the turbulent displace effect. The idea is to use some Ae native effects to build up something that might look like it has a more hand crafted look to it – rather than spending the time to hand animate.
Sometimes no one wants to hand animate fire or electricity. Luckily, there is an easy way!
You will notice Matt use his Motion After Effects script quite a bit. Motion offers a panel that houses some most often used controls for animation in After Effects. This can speed up the animation process by quite a lot. Check out the post Motion After Effects Script Offers Great and Easy Control Over the Graph Editor, and Motion AE Script on Mt. Mograph for more information.
If you are looking for something a little more “Lightning” like and less electrical, there was a post a while back where Trapcode MIR user BaKaAfter showed ho you can Design Anime-Stylized Lightning With Trapcode MIR in Ae.