I was into anime long before i realised it: Digimon, Cardcaptors, Beyblades and many other shows dominated my childhood.
My obsession with Studio Ghibli came next when my father rented Spirited Away for me: he'd read a review and thought it would apeal to my imagination. It was the first thing I'd seen in years that did.
My best friend Robyn was the real reason I became aware of the manga/anime culture: she started reading manga, and I picked it up through her. I've been hooked since.