The first anime I ever watched was Neon Genesis Evangelion with Aseuk, a friendship born in PSO and razed in FFXI. Perhaps a baptism of fire, some people think NGE is a complete mind fuck, a mess. To me, that was what made me love it. Witnessing the psychological torment of Shinji, what he was going through, the way people treated him and how it fucked him up more and more was unlike anything I'd ever seen before. The scene from End of Evangelion where he jerks it to Asuka while she's laying in a coma and says "I'm so fucked up" was so poignant that it has never left me. It will always be the epitome of what NGE represents to me and what it opened my eyes to in anime. The ability to use a cartoon setting to forgo realism and enable scenarios and stories that would be hard, stupid or simply impossible to pull off in any other format yet narratives and relationships tackled in a grounded, realistic, adult manner.
Shortly after NGE I watched another Gainax special in FLCL. Despite not remembering a great deal about it now I do know that I enjoyed it immensely. Still, for reasons I cannot explain, I never watched any more anime until Highschool of the Dead in July of last year. That's ten years of letting it pass me by.
4chan has played a large part in reintroducing me to anime. As anyone who can stomach more than five minutes there will know, one board bleeds into another. If you can go on /v/ and find a video game thread that hasn't derailed into doubles, bravo. Unlike the ones that claim to hate that though, I love it. I've been introduced to so much stuff because of rampant crossposting that I can only be grateful. It was seeing a lot of chatter about Highschool of the Dead and the ecchi underpinning it that made me curious enough to investigate further. The same kind of thing happened with Kirino Kousaka reactions.
Without MMOs and with the money and will to find entertainment to fill my now precious time, I found myself using anime to bridge the gaps between games. Championship Manager 01/02, Rock Band amd Team Fortress 2 have and likely always will be my constants that I drop in and out of between the Uncharted's and Final Fantasy's but sometimes I just don't want to play games. Sometimes, after work, I want to just sit in my chair with a cup of Earl Gray and run through the gamut of emotions.
My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute (Oreimo) sealed the deal for me. I'd never experienced anything like that before in any genre, let alone anime. And (worringly?) I liked it. I didn't even know what it was I'd just watched really so I decided to find out. Slice of life. That's what I'd enjoyed so much and decided to persue. Not exclusively of course; Black Butler, Mahou Shoujo Madoka and K-On are far from slice of life and I love those.
It's fascinating to me at times why I enjoy them. Clannad, especially After Story, is by some distance my favourite anime and it's about watching somebody go through unbelievably painful experiences. Even closer to home, watching Welcome to the NHK could be downright uncomfortable. Being able to relate to some of the stuff he was facing in his day-to-day life of nothing rung too true. When he started getting addicted to what was very obviously supposed to be Final Fantasy XI and sunk to a new depth was really unsettling. The scene with Megumi's brother was so bad it actually lead me to rescind my suggestion to BTB that he watch it.
So that's my new hobby and how I got there. I feel like I have more to say on the matter but it's also devolving into a check list of what I do and don't like. If you have anything to suggest I add to my anime list go ahead and I'll get it watched in due course.