Let's Help a Gamer Get Into Anime

Commenter SecretMoblin has yet to experience the joy of sitting in a darkened room at 3AM sobbing hysterically over a Japanese cartoon. He needs anime suggestions, so its time to Speak Up on Kotaku.

I've never seriously watched any anime, and I'm looking to start. I've seen a couple episodes of Ranma and a couple episodes of Cowboy Bebop (though I don't remember a thing about either one), but other than that my only experience is watching Dragonball Z over my brothers' shoulders or the occasional Pokémon episode. So I'm going to list some preferences, and any and all help you can give would be very much appreciated.

Stuff I like:
+a lonely atmosphere, alienation, etc.; either a single character or a small group by themselves
+it must have subtitles as an option. Years of foreign films have spoiled me, and I don't know if I can handle a dubbed program even if it's done competently.
+I would prefer a show aimed at adults
+a setting that isn't contemporary; I enjoy sci-fi, historical fiction, apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic fiction, etc.

Stuff I don't like:
-excessive cuteness. I'm not a fan of little girls with long pigtails or cheery happy animals that sing J-Pop.
-poorly localized stuff. I know it's especially difficult with some anime as there isn't a budget for really high quality translators, but I know some anime can be heady and I don't want to suffer any more than the normal cross-cultural losses of meaning.
-simplistic, good vs. evil story
-anything too expensive or difficult to obtain

I'm willing to subscribe to an online service (like Hulu or Netflix) or purchase a box set, assuming those are available. I have basic cable, and I know Cartoon Network has some shows. I don't pirate, so I'm really not looking for sites trafficking in that kind of stuff.

Again, any and all help is appreciated!

About Speak Up on Kotaku: Our readers have a lot to say, and sometimes what they have to say has nothing to do with the stories we run. That's why we have a forum on Kotaku called Speak Up. That's the place to post anecdotes, photos, game tips and hints, and anything you want to share with Kotaku at large. Every weekday we'll pull one of the best Speak Up posts we can find and highlight it here.