I love anime. I would say my first anime would be Slayers Try - we had just recently moved to the Northwest from Texas, but were flipping through channels on a Friday night and caught the tail end of a Slayers Try episode (it was either the first/second episode of the show - ended up going online to check out the channel and made sure I got to watch it every Friday).
I did grow up watching Sailor Moon and Tenchi Muyo on Toonami but had no idea what anime or manga was (I even saw Project A-Ko thanks to my dad) - however Slayers Try was what really got my attention and made me look into what anime was which is why I considered it my gateway into the anime world (also, Internet was more prominent when I saw Slayers). I checked out Cardcaptor Sakura (a friend who I had gone to junior high with in TX had been reading them and I loved the one volume I got to look over) and Inu Yasha from the library a few minutes away from the apartment we lived in (CLAMP is now one of my all time favorite manga-ka). The new friends I made were also into anime and got me even more hooked. I went to Sakura-Con for the first time during 10th grade I think and the rest is history. I ago to a couple of cons each year and I cosplay as well. Going to conventions lead to a great love for Japanese pop and rock music as well. Naturally, I wanted to learn the language; I had to wait till college as my high school had decided to no longer offer Japanese classes.
I took Japanese courses during the two years I went to community college and loved them. My first quarter after I transfered however did not go well. I probably should have checked if I could have taken a placement test to see whether or not I was ready for a 300 level Japanese class. I didn't take any Japanese the rest of the time I was at school so I could focus on my major (sociology). However, I'm determined to get back to learning the language - learning the language was always a lot of fun and I miss it. I've signed up for Japanesepod101 and have been listening to the various lessons on the site - I've been focusing on the beginner lessons, though so far it's mostly been review (I'll probably start listening to the intermediate lessons as well). I'm hoping to take a continuing education japanese class during the spring quarter at the community college that I went to. My ultimate goal right now is to take one of the JLPT tests next year.