Back in 2009 or 2010 (can't really remember when), I was an avid fan of the whole Channel Awesome thing, and basically consumed the stuff made by every producer there. There, I stumbled on a list called the Top 10 Anime Openings and Endings (which has been lost due to the change in site and the shutdown of Blip), which included entries from Tenchi Muyo, Fist of the North Star, Ranma 1/2... And Evangelion. The opening, A Cruel Angel's Thesis, was the first time that I was exposed to Evangelion.
However, this experience ended up being forgotten shortly after, as it slept in the back of my mind, dormant, as I went along with my life, unconcerned for it. At the time, I didn't really have that much fascination with Anime (the only one I had seen by that point, I had no clue they were even foreign productions until way later on) at the time, so it just became a small part of my memory for the time being.
The summer of 2011, however, ignited a still strong interest in the medium with Gundam bringing me back to it (I had grew up watching Gundam SEED on TV and with vague memories of it floating in my mind), and I had been searching the corners of YouTube for episodes (since they were still up before Bandai shut down its America division that same year, I think) and the openings. That's where I managed to stumble upon A Cruel Angel's Thesis again, in its entirety, with that video made for the DVD releases (at least, that's what I keep hearing that's where its from) accompanying it.
I was still a burgeoning consumer of Anime, with only a handful of titles under my belt, and with no knowledge as to where I could watch the original series in its entirety, I kept it on my personal planned to watch list for sometime, leaving it there for sometime (probably to stagnate like a corpse left without much care or attention towards it). Late 2011 was when I had moved, and where I had resided in the house where I finally watched something Eva-related... The Rebuilds, or at least half of the quadrilogy that was available. Out of what I feel is just sheer obliviousness, I didn't bother to watch the 1995 anime, feeling that the two Rebuild movies were enough to make me a fan of Evangelion. This was around the same time I had started up a sort of presence on the site Wikia (because I had wanted to put my ideas somewhere that wasn't on paper, for all to see).
Before I continue, I know I may be expanding beyond where I got introduced to Eva, but to hell with it, much better to talk about the road I took in order to actually watch the original in some fashion. Sounds much better than saying I got introduced into what Eva is via a Top 10 list, wouldn't you agree?
Anywho, Wikia. The summer of 2011 got me into Gundam Fanon (under the name CarlosIXA, which is still in use, as you can see here), where the most shameful stuff I've made used to be hosted. From trying to mix Gundam with my warped view on what Evangelion was, to just poor writing skills, I practically alienated every user there with my antics and general disregard for the rules. Significantly shameful time in my existence on the internet.
Two months later, with very little experience under my belt, I had the nerve to actually start up a fanon site for Evangelion on Wikia (still stands to this day, though very little has happened on the platform for a long time, only two edits by me just a few days ago on its .css). Again, with very little experience, I had crafted a place that now lays rotting in its own filth. Again, my writings were the stuff nightmares were made of for writers; littered with typos, inconsistent continuity, characters who were basically shallow in every sense of the word, and overall terrible prose that couldn't be save even with a face lift.
Eventually, on YT, I had found the End of Evangelion and, due to not having context as to what was happening in the film, I could only look at it and give a confused "huh". Because I had not bothered watching the series, most of the emotional scenes which would completely overwhelm most Eva fans simply left me in this state of "okay". "Alright, okay, huh" are the three words that were muttered from my lips as I watched the EoE for the first time, with very little context, as I keep mentioning.
To skip ahead to the Eva-relevant parts, we get to 2013, where I got around to watching Rebuild of Eva 3.0, where my excitement for the movies was killed firmly like a beast ripping into a carcass with its bare fingers and devouring the exposed gore like it was dying of hunger. It was at this point where watching Eva reviews which cited the whole franchise and story of Eva was completely atrocious and not worth all the praise it had garnered since 1995 began to twist my views on Eva. Having only seen the Rebuilds at that point, and my experience with EoE, I couldn't help but agree with this sentiment. Doesn't help that, at the time, I was easily influenced by anything that came my way.
2013 through 2015 were spent ignoring Eva as I looked at the continuing deterioration of the Gundam franchise, with the final release of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn leaving me angry and frustrated with the OVA in its entirety, Build Fighters marking the beginning of a small footnote in Gundam history which left me confused about where the franchise was going, Try being ultimately a disappointment in its quality, and Reconguista in G leaving me even more pissed off than I already was. Soon, I turned back to Evangelion and finally watched the original series in its entirety.
I didn't know what had kept me from watching this, as it expelled all the anger I had built up and left me in this state of amazement as episode after episode past me by, leaving their distinctive mark on me as they did. Episode 25 and 26 being the highlight of the series and where the message of the piece became clear enough to see in its entirety, especially after rewatching the End of Evangelion immediately afterwards. It felt like I finally understood what the film was attempting to communicate with me, and I was finally able to appreciate how masterfully it portrays itself and the story its telling.
That basically sums up how I finally, after so long, got into Eva for what it is. Sorry for the elongated length, once again. I just felt like this sounded much better than saying that a Top 10 list introduced me to this large franchise. I have not experienced much outside of the animated productions of Eva (I've read bits of the manga, but that's about it), and I don't really plan to do so for the time being. I'm just happy knowing I now have Evangelion under my belt.
Evolved Genesis A
rvongelion - go here