How Do I Get Into JRPGs?

Those who know me know that I'm not the biggest fan of the Japanese gaming industry. It's next to impossible for me to enjoy the bad anime plots that most JRPGs I've encountered have put forth, even when I want to. I definitely want to play some of these--particularly Skies of Arcadia (I own a copy of Legends), Final Fantasy XII (same), and Panzer Dragoon Saga (ditto).

But... I'm an ex-otaku. I grew out of anime a long time ago. I can't stand the tropes. I hate the predictability. Knowing what people are going to do and why is just... so irritating. The gameplay generally bothers me as well; I've never been a fan of turn-based games, but my recent endeavors with XIII-2 made me want to punch everyone at Square in the face.

But I want to be a well-rounded gamer. At the very least, I need to give things a good try. So far, the only JRPGs I've actually put significant time into are Pokemon: Fire Red, which I enjoyed right up until the point where suddenly nothing mattered and I just stopped playing, and Earthbound, which I enjoyed right up until the point where Zippy got kidnapped and I had to go find her in the mall and I had terrible luck when it came to my attacks or the number of enemies who spawned.

Other than that... yeah, no. Games like Rogue Galaxy and Drakengard look interesting to me. I'd like to give them a go... but... something keeps me from enjoying them.

Lately, I've been working on the theory that people can play games wrong. It's a subject I'll have to go into in more detail later, but for now, let's assume I've been playing them all wrong. What JRPGs are great introductions to the genre? What things should I know (for instance, I've been playing them like RPGs, so non-RPG, more gamified things like grinding are alien to me)? What mindset should I approach the genre with?