The 1996 version was actually the first version I watched... which I first watched only Nov. 2012 last year. LOL. Nice coincidence I did not have to wait so long for another Japanese version. But anyway, personally, I wouldn't watch the 1996 again. There were entertaining moments but I just wouldn't lol. Kotoko was obnoxiously loud. Even more than that, I just never followed how Naoki developed feelings for Kotoko. It's like for 90% of the storyline, he was either really annoyed (even disgusted lol) by her or just hated her guts - and it didn't seem like pretense at all. It was painfully embarrassing to watch Kotoko desperately pursuing a guy who showed no affections for her. Especially because this was also the first Kotoko I met and I was still not accustomed to her character.
I just don't remember perceiving any real romantic connections between the characters in the 1996 version. Whereas for all other versions (although I did not watch every episode and part - especially the Korean version lol), I believe viewers are able to observe how Naoki falls for Kotoko despite his cold character not displaying overt expressions.
Although it's only been three episodes, character-wise, I think I prefer 2013 Naoki and Kotoko to all other Naokis and Kotokos from the other versions. 2013 Naoki shows a wee but more emotions and 2013 Kotoko is not as clingy as the other Kotokos. But plot-wise...the Taiwanese version is probably the most comprehensive and faithful to the manga.
I can actually watch the anime again and again. 555555