I got an IPad for school ('twas issued to me) and a lot of other kids had Netflix, naturally. Followed the crowd and surfed Netflix (other kids were not neccisarrily watching animes though.) At first I watched all of south park, family guy, and futurama. But then when there were no more episodes, I was lost, what could I possibly watch now! (I had video games, but those were lame and I usually played Starcraft while watching on my iPad anyways)
One day my friend came over and was like, "Dude check out this crazy video" (Reread that in a stoner's voice) I watched the video, (it was the Soul Eater: This is Halloween, AMV). Liking the video and figuring the anime must be pretty good, I watched Soul Eater (All 52 episodes. In. One. Freaking. Week)
After I finished that, I got hooked on animes, at first I tried to watch only action type ones, or ones that were dark, (Elfen Lied, Ga Rei Zero, D grey man, Full metal Alchemist, corpse princess, damn Rin, ) Then comedies, (Baka and Test, Girls Bravo, Baccano!, Sekirei) Then I started watching some emotional ones, or whatever genre they are, (Xxxholic, Clannad, .hack, Chobits, Spice and Wolf)
I've also seen a few not on Netflix, like Pokemon, deadmans wonderland, one piece, bobobo-Bo-bobobo, some of Naruto, Sword Art. But the only reason I watched them was because of a fad, unrelated to animes and a subsequent video that was shown to me.
I can't say I prefer animes over Western shows/movies, nor can I say I prefer mangas over comics, considering I like to be in the grey area of things, (Favorite comic is Scott Pilgrim, favorite series is Xxxholic, favorite movie is also XXXholic, and animes are really sad, but AI think western humor is generally better, if not more tame.)