Back in 2008 when I was in 5th grade, a friend of mines was obsessed with this show, and back then i've only watched a handful of anime, like pokemon/hamtaro/yugioh all that stuff.
I decided to try it out when I got home by watching the subbed version on youtube. I fell in love almost instantly and I just watched an episode online everyday I came home from school (took me about half a year to finish all the seasons RIP), and I guess i'm here, now.
It's so interesting seeing people that actually had the experience of watching this show on TV with their friends. It must've been awesome!
It was indeed awesome, but your experience also sounds awesome. I graduated from high school in 2008, so to compare, I was in 5th grade before you were even in kindergarten. I wish we had something like YouTube when I was 10 or 11!
I already loved Power Rangers so Sailor Moon was a natural fit for me. Like many others, I was watching TV sometime in late 1997 or early 1998 and an episode of Sailor Moon came on. I was interested in the opening and since I was only like 7, I was interested in the "blue" girl (Sailor Mercury) because blue was/still is my favorite color. Wouldn't you know, that episode ended up being Mercury's debut episode.
So I was absolutely hooked.
But since I was so young, I didn't do a good job keeping up with the episodes. I didn't know what the schedule was like, so I just watched what I could find whenever I caught it on TV. It was definitely a different time back then. My parents bought me some Sailor Moon VHS tapes that I must have watched over and over again because I don't remember watching an entire season of Sailor Moon on TV, just episodes here and there (and mostly the ones I had on tape). I started using the Internet around age 8 (with adult supervision...at first, lol) and eventually learned everything about Sailor Moon (including Japanese names, etc.) that way before I ever saw an entire season. I remember thinking it would be "so cool" if there were Sailors for the outer planets and I even tried designing/drawing my own...guess what the first thing I learned about Sailor Moon while surfing the Internet was?
Catching Sailor Moon on TV was an interesting and fun experience, especially after 1996 since it was between its initial airing and its "return" (the remainder of R and S-onwards). I remember one summer, my family went on vacation and we checked into a hotel room. I wanted to go to the beach, but my parents were still getting ready, so I lazed around and turned on the TV and I happened to find Sailor Moon. I remember thinking "It would be really cool if this were the episode introducing Sailor Jupiter because I haven't seen her yet!" Lo and behold...that's exactly what it was.
Sorry for rambling.
Catching shows on TV back in that time period + being very young and not knowing about airing schedules + late 90s Internet access which was slow and completely unlike today's Internet = a very interesting fandom experience. Trust me when I say that you don't know how lucky you are to have been so young and to have access to something like YouTube!