Honestly? I think it was Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi lmaoooo but if that doesn't count, it was 100% Sonic X!
Sounds like we're around the same age with this list haha and I actually went to Anime Central most years since my first one in 2003! That is the large Midwest USA anime convention. I've been a nerd a long time sheesh.. Those Anime Central Ads are so nostalgic too hahaI don't which I saw first. It was either Pokémon, Sailor Moon or Dragon Ball Z.
Irish TV didn't have much anime until Pokémon aired in 1997. After that The Den (RTÉ 2's kids program block) got a bunch more.
Digimon, Cardcaptors, Astro Boy (2003), Sailor Moon (briefly according to my older sister), Cyborg 009, Beyblade, Medabots and of course Yu-Gi-Oh which was really popular. I wish Irish TV info wasn't lost media as I really want to see the Cyborg 099 ad again. It was basically Tears for Fears AMV.
If you had satellite TV you would get access to more anime from British channels like Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, Bobobobo, Shin Chan, One piece and of course Ghibli season on Film4. Did you know there was a channel called Anime Central that barely lasted a year.
I was obsessed with Tokyo Mew Mew on Pop Girl when I was 11. Since half the series wasn't dubbed. I watched the rest subbed on YouTube in 3 parts which was the style at the time. Fast-forward to today were a kid on the Late Late Toy talks about anime and drew the host Patrick Kielty in different art styles.
It was very cute.
I have some fun related links:
Irish kids show Cyber Stream from 2000. There's a Pokémon segment.
Mew Mew Power Pop Girl Promos: Ad 1 - Ad 2
CN Austrailia's Linkin Park Gundam promo. (This is what The Den's promo for Cyborg 009 felt like)
Shin Chan Fox Kids UK ad
That time Murphy's Stout hired Studio I.G. (yes really) for an ad. (It was the Celtic Tiger, there was money to burn)
Anime Central ads. AD 1 - AD 2 - AD 3 (mild flashing warning) - AD 4
I realy went down the rabbit hole and found Anime Central Cosplay Interveiws: Part 1: Intros Part 2: Why do you like anime? Part 3: What's your favourite? Part 4: Who are you cosplaying Part 5: What is cosplay? Part 6: Do people think you're strange?