I'm an Italian student, born 1991, currently studying Japanese and German at the University. Living my life as a would-be rock musician, lover of books, music, videogames, languages, politics, philosophy and, of course, anime. You could call me a long-time anime fan, but my conscious adventure into the territory started only in 2008.
I watched anime for my whole childhood, only I didn't know I was. I grew up with stuff like Dragon Ball, Heidi, Digimon, Lupin the Third, Captain Tsubasa, and so on, but I didn't know it was something from Japan called "anime". Sure, I could tell they were somehow different from Disney or Cartoon Network stuff, but that was it.
Time passed, I somehow found out about the word "anime". My brother-in-law and my sister would often tell me about the anime world THEY grew up with, and, strangely enough, I got nostalgic about the stuff I didn't watch but kind of knew about (a sort of Sehnsucht if you will), like Mazinger Z, Grendeizer, Captain Harlock, and so on. So I started longing for that world I missed.
Then, something...curious happened. At that time, it was probably early 2008, the song "These are the days of our lives" by Queen struck me with the force of a thousand Rasengan. That is one POWERFUL song, it can make you nostalgic about ANYTHING. You'll want your childhood back when you hear it. Well, it made me nostalgic especially about what I had missed in my youth, and about the cartoons that made my childhood. At about the same time, I realised that everyone of them I still had fond memories of was an anime...so I kind of suddently realised that, with that nostalgia and huge fascination of mine, I already WAS an anime fan. So...I decided to throw myself in that world, with three goals: 1)To watch the series that made the 80's and '70's and that I had missed; 2)To watch and live again the series which made by childhood; 3)To watch what that "anime" thing has to offer nowadays.
I owe Freddie Mercury my time-consuming passion for anime and manga, basically.
I decided to start with the series that held (and still holds) the dearest place of the "Nostalgia Department" in my heart: Digimon Adventure. And that's how I discovered the wonderful world of FANSUB and the "Rule of Japanese Dub Supremacy". Italy, too, suffers the horrible phenomenon of censorship, poor scripts, and "let's-dumb-it-down-and-make-it-more-childish-for-kids" kind of adaptation. And then came Evangelion, Harlock, Naruto, and I went on from there.
Note that I'm not counting as "watched" the anime I saw in my childhood, so my "anime-life-o-meter" thingy counts only from 2008 on. Note also that my ratings are for the "general watching experience" I got, technical aspects are taken into account only to a certain extent.