Still, next to anyone else I've ever met who likes anime, I'm a rookie and a casual fan at best. I watch a combination of maybe a half dozen films and series a year, I write up a post if there's one like Fullmetal Alchemist or or ClannadGurren Lagann or Black Lagoon that sparks a strong enough reaction, and then I go back to Star Trek and Mega Man and whatever else it is that everyone thinks I exclusively do. I'm neither diehard enough nor well-versed enough to feel inspired or qualified to say very much about the medium most days.
I've got my favorites, though: Blue Seed, the formulaic and often intentionally funny action series that acted as my first formal introduction to anime; Trigun, the slightly sci-fi western with a satisfying balance of goofiness and thought-provoking seriousness; Azumanga Daioh!, the cute, innocent, and hysterical slice-of-life heartwarmer; Neon Genesis Evangelion, the classic mind-bending show that starts off about kids piloting giant robots and ends in buh-wha-huuuuuuuuh!?; and the first seven episodes of the aforementioned Black Lagoon, before everything gets all stabby and uncomfortable. There are plenty of honorable mentions, too: Panda-Z, FLCL, Fruits Basket, Dirty Pair, Read or Die, Spirited Away, Perfect Blue, Onegai Teacher, Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki, Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, Tokyo Godfathers, Crying Freeman, Soul Eater, Doraemon, and Sekirei—and if you know anything about these anime, this is a weird list of honorable mentions.
Not as weird as it could be, though. I have no stomach for graphic violence, little or no interest in the supernatural, no particular attachment to steampunk or traditional fantasy, no patience for series that take five episodes to tell a story that could fit into one, and a slew of other preferences and intolerances that tend to rule out sticking with certain films or series, assuming I bother with them in the first place. Drastically dissimilar as some of my favorites and honorable mentions may be, there are some commonalities between many of them: funny or lighthearted, action-oriented, intellectually challenging, emotionally uplifting, beautifully animated, excessively cute, populated with compelling female characters, family-friendly, and light on censorship. Anything I've mentioned probably meets at least four of these criteria.
Evangelion remains my favorite TV anime, and I've been looking forward to adding the reboot series to the collection, just as soon as I'm positive it's all been released and I have any idea how to decipher installment titles like Evangelion 3.141592: You Will [Not] Figure This Out Anytime Soon. However, there's one series I enjoy even more than Eva, and it's one that holds a special place in my heart: you see, I might not be married if it weren't for Lupin III.
My wife and I went to the same college and ran in many of the same geeky circles. One fateful night, things were slow at the video game club, and we opted to skip out early. We talked on the way back to our respective dorms, decided neither of us was tired, and she invited me to watch anime in her dorm. Enter Lupin III and his merry band of elite and stylish thieves. (Hopefully you have a mental picture of Lupin, Jigen, Goemon, and sometimes Fujiko piling into the dorm room with us, with Zenigata and his army of policemen behind them, because that's exactly how it happened.) I loved everything about it: the characters, the dynamics between them, the sight gags, the over-the-top action sequences ("He cut a plane in half with a sword!")--Lupin III was pure fun. Getting to share that time with someone equally fun made it even better.
We ended up staying awake until 4:30 in the morning just talking after the anime ran out (and I hope you're now picturing Lupin and the gang making a hasty egress through the door and window). We were good acquaintances before, but Lupin III is, for me, the start of where we became good friends and eventually a couple. My wife informs me this actually happened on a different occasion watching Read or Die, which just reinforces my sentiment that I'm not qualified to talk about anime.