When asked what got us interested in Japan, many Japanese learners like me will mention how anime was our "gateway drug". For people who came of age back when Adult Swim played that 6-hour block various anime episodes from late night Saturday to early morning Sunday, that limited exposure to Japan had a profound effect.
Case in point. I'm going to show you how anime led to me adopting my dog Julia.
If I hadn't been introduced to anime (especially shows like InuYasha, Blood+, Samurai Champloo, and others that had bomb soundtracks and opening/ending theme songs) in high school, I might not have been inspired to study Japanese in college.
If I hadn't studied Japanese in college, I might not have studied abroad at JCMU. If I hadn't studied at JCMU, I might not have met Aizawa-sensei. If I hadn't met Aizawa-sensei (who asked me what I do to help the causes that I claim to care about), I might not have signed up to volunteer at an animal shelter near my university when I got back to the States.
If I hadn't volunteered to walk dogs at that animal shelter, I might not have been exposed to pit bulls on a regular basis. If I hadn't been exposed to pit bulls, I might not have been open to adopting one. If I hadn't been open to adopting a pit bull, I might not have adopted Julia in 2016.
Do I even watch anime anymore? No.
Is anime the cause of every good thing that's happened in my life over the past 10 years? No.
Am I making arbitrary connections between events in my life? Maybe? I don't think so.
All I'm saying is that you never know how one thing might lead to something else...