My earliest anime memory is from waaay back in the 70s. I was 5 years old, and had a huge crush on the character from Speed Racer. Yeah, I said it!
That being said, I hope I've come a long way since then. ;-P
Nowadays, I tend to prefer anime with deeper themes running through them (eg. Ergo Proxy, Casshern Sins, Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (Season 1, not the Way-Too-Emo season 2), and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time). I lean toward Seinen with Shoujo elements, and really enjoy sci-fi anime. However, other than the recent Gundam stuff and Samurai 7, I am not generally a huge fan of mecha anime; I much prefer GitS:Stand Alone Complex or Witch Hunter Robin to Evangelion or Escaflowne.
I will also confess to enjoying epic anime like Naruto and D.Gray Man. There's something about those kids who've been picked on or left behind, yet overcome it, that really moves me. However, Bleach lost me after season 2 when it became more of a fight-of-the-week anime. I'm not really interested in who is "the strongest." Boooring...
My taste in manga runs more to the shoujo side. I absolutely adore Vampire Knight, Fruits Basket, Lovely Complex, Maid Sama, and xxxHolic! I love a good romance, but it's got to have a touch of the bittersweet to really get me going. If I have to reach for tissues while reading, I will love it forever (thank you Fruits Basket and xxxHolic!). For me, character development is of primary importance, and plot is secondary. I can look past a few plot holes here and there if the characters are believable. And the smarter they are, the better I like 'em!
I have similar preferences with the fantasy and science fiction novels I adore. My favorite authors are Michelle Sagara West, C.S. Friedman, Guy Gavriel Kay, Lois McMaster Bujold, and David Eddings. Occasionally, I like a mystery; one of my longtime favorites has been Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels. Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot is my favorite detective of all time--gotta love those "little grey cells".
My philosophy when rating anime and manga tends to be as follows:
5: The best thing ever, and everyone should see this!
4: All around good, and most people will enjoy this.
3: It was okay, but I wouldn't buy this one for my collection.
2: I don't care for the subject matter (anime with incest-seen-as-normal, or lolita subject matter will always get a 2 or 2.5 from me, sorry)
1: Poor all-around execution. If I can't understand what it's about, or it was unbelievably stupid, it's going to get a 1 from me. I tend not to see too many of these, mostly because I consult anime-planet first before watching! :-P
I look forward to discussing anime with everyone, and can also be found on FB in the Anime Debate Center group. Come say hi and join us!