I heard at least one anime interview where the person (sorry, I don't rmember which animator, not even gender, just that they were of a relatively early generation, and I don't think it was Miyazaki, though part of the context was in fact Disney's purchase and release of the Miyazaki movies in NA) did say that most anime style began with borrowing certain tropes from Disney (Big eyes, small mouths & noses, certain poses & gestures, and, of course, the pale skinned look) -- but that succeeding generations have built on that and taken it to heart as part of Japanese tradition, deny it has anything to do with North America, except in how current North American animators are adopting aspects of Japanese anime style.
Sort of a "They don't know their own history" point.
I do tend to assume that anime characters going to japanese schools, or in stories that use medieval Jpanese tropes, would be played by Japanese actors if they were ever made into live-action versions, and my mental images of them do tend to flex accordingly. (This is less true with fantasy setting characters, my bad.) Though i'd argue very few animators draw realistically enough to presume race as it is.