Welcome to my bio page, zura!
I'm fairly new to the anime scene. I've watched off and on since about 2005, not counting the few Sailor Moon episodes that I remember seeing as a little girl (English dub) and have only recently become more interested in anime. I'm not an otaku, but am a more casual viewer. I don't read manga often, so I don't compare the anime to the manga.
General Preferences: When it comes to subs vs. dubs, I prefer a dub for some anime and for others, a sub. In some cases, I have no preference or have only seen one version and thus can't make a comparison. As for voice actors, I really like Luci Christian and Chris Patton so far, especially in Princess Tutu.
Likes: magical girl, magic, fantasy, sometimes adventure, Europe (especially relating to France in some way), mystery, suspense, psychological, political, drama, melancholy, slice of life, slow-paced, sometimes supernatural, sometimes person-in-a-strange land, and sometimes romance. I love intellectual battles between two equally matched opponents.
Dislikes: I will never watch anything with animal abuse or dismemberment, no exceptions. I dislike graphic and/or gratuitous violence, torure porn, graphic and/or gratuitious sexuality, incest, rape, other forms of sexual violence, gory horror, ecchi, vulgarity, and crass humor: used sparingly, I can look away for a scene or two, but if the entire anime revolves around those things, I don't want to watch it. I get really bored by action, physical fights, mecha, and sports anime. However, if there are other elements of such a show that appeal to me, I might give it a chance. (Big O is a good example: the battle scenes bored me, but I loved the 'noir' feel and the mystery element of the show and overall it is one of my favorite anime).
Elements and Criteria: The most important criteria for me are characters, character development, storytelling (i.e., how the story unfolds and how it is presented), and plot. (For plot, though, I make exceptions for slice of life or 'talky' anime). Dialogue is also important to me. I can usually overlook (though not ignore altogether) other elements if those are good. I am totally fine with mindscrews, multiple perspectives, non-linear stories, sad endings, bittersweet endings, open endings, cliffhangers, and stories in which not everything is explained. As long as it works with the story and isn't just slapped on to the plot, that's what matters to me. My favorite ending is one that is beautiful, moving, and (artistically speaking) the best ending. I want the anime to end in the way that best fits the story. The type of ending that I hate most is the "marriage, kids, and a white picket fence" sort of ending: basically, any "Disney-fied" sort of ending that doesn't work well with the story. I care more about execution and the elements previously mentioned than originality. I appreciate fresh ideas, but I care more that an anime is done well than if it is something different and new. I'm OK with mature themes, but I prefer to avoid explicit content, especially if it's gratuitous. I will sometimes watch a show with explicit content (with the exception of animal cruelty and other forms of animal abuse), but only if it is limited, crucial to the story, and does not comprise the entire anime.