Friday, December 4, 2015

The 1st Annual Anime Nostalgia Holiday Gift guide!

Looking for ideas to get for a friend that enjoys older anime? (Or maybe you're shopping for yourself, hey, I'm not here to judge!) Well, I'm here to help! Here's a sampling of cool things sure to please fans old and new, with options for every budget.

As always, there's nothing better to get someone you care about than something on their respective wish lists. But if you want to really surprise someone with something they might not even realize they want, then read on! (Keep in mind, I'm strictly keeping to licensed products for this list. While fan-made gifts can be fun, there's just SO MANY out there that it's much faster to browse licensed things.)

Onto the list!

 In case you've been living under a rock the past couple of years, Sailor Moon is back (and EVERYWHERE) thanks to being picked back up again in the US. So finding gifts for a Moonie has never been easier! But if you want to give something other than yet another t-shirt, GE Animation has been very good at releasing everything from Winter Hats to Purses & Wallets (and even Belt Buckles!) The best part is that if you know who their favorite character is, they've been great at releasing merchandise for each, giving you plenty of options! Prices range anywhere from $12-25. You can also find other various styles in select Hot Topic brick & mortar stores.

If Sailor Moon isn't your recipient's thing, a Gainax "Cut" Tote bag would be perfect for the fan who's patiently waiting for their Otaku no Video Kickstarter rewards. An Evangelion fan might enjoy a pair of NERV earrings in their favorite color. Or, if you've got some cash to spend, you could pick up a pendant of Parasyte's Migi, or a Berserk Griffith ring. All of these are available at Tokyo Otaku Mode and range in price from $26 for the tote and a whopping $432 for the ring. (Hey, at least you get $5 credit for making an account there.)

But if all else fails, Kei & Yuri buttons or an Arale phone charm always make nice, affordable stocking stuffers.

Today's anime figures are generally MUCH better looking (and more detailed) than ones that came out in the 80s and 90s. Most even come with multiple heads or faceplates nowadays, along with lots of cool little accessories and optional parts, making them even more expressive and fun to pose. So what better gift to give an older anime fan than some cool anime toys? Figma has some beautiful Space Adventure Cobra figures available, perfect for 80s sci-fi anime fans, priced between $50-80 each, depending which ones you want.

For the magical girl fans, a whole line of Sailor Moon Figuarts figures from SH Figuarts have been steadily coming out, making it easy to find anyone's favorite character, generally ranging in price from $25-50. We're also getting petite figures of Sailor Moon VILLAINS for the first time, and they're super cute! (And around $40 for the whole set.) There's been a BUNCH of new Cardcaptor Sakura figures coming out as of late, in different costumes & various sizes (even Nendoroids!) going from anywhere from $20-100.

If you're looking to impress the robot/mecha fan in your life, you could pick them up a Soul of Chogokin GX-34R Gunbuster Buster Gokin...for only $220! Or, for slightly less (around $30), you could settle for the Super Robot Chogokin Gunbuster Figure instead (which is still pretty damn cool.)

I can't praise Dark Horse's release of The Art of Satoshi Kon enough. A beautiful, large hardcover book with amazing artwork of the late Satoshi Kon's various projects, including English translations of all Kon's notes. Anyone who has loved his work from Perfect Blue to Paprika would be thrilled to get it. (And at less than $25 it looks a lot pricer than it actually is!)

Just in time for Christmas, Udon's releasing not one, but TWO different Osamu Tezuka artbooks in English, and both sound like perfect gifts for fans of classic anime and manga. Osamu Tezuka: Anime Character Illustrations will feature artwork from beloved Tezuka anime series and movies; while Osamu Tezuka: Anime & Manga Character Sketchbook collects his rough concept art. Both will be under $30 each.

And if the person you're shopping for loves 80s series and doesn't mind a Japanese-language artbook, Izumi Matsumoto's "Sketches of Madoka: 1st Season" is an artbook featuring all new artwork of Madoka,  Hikaru, & Kyosuke (but mostly Madoka, as the title suggests) from the creator of Kimagure Orange Road. While vintage Kimagure Orange Road artbooks often sell for a hefty price online (since they're out of print), this new book is very affordable at $26. And since it features brand new art, chances are they've never seen them before!

Buying media for an anime fan (esp. ones who're older and/or love older titles) can be tricky because they most likely already own all the old standards from Akira to Sailor Moon. So what to pick up for them if you're dead set on getting them a DVD or blu-ray? Here's a few suggestions.

A fan of Studio Ghibli films might be interested in the documentary The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, which follows around key members of Studio Ghibli as they were completing the film The Wind Rises. While not anime, it shows a peek behind the curtain that anime fans don't often get to see in the production of things they watch.

Beloved cult favorite Unico was recently re-released on blu-ray by Discotek as a double feature including both films. While not technically "new" (it came out last year), I still come across fans who had NO IDEA these films had finally been re-released after all these years! If you know someone who grew up with Unico that now has children of their own, this an especially fun gift that they'll be able to share with their family (and is a steal at $20 for two movies).

And speaking of Discotek, this year they re-released Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro on blu-ray and it is a MUST own for any older anime fan. Chock full of extras with a beautifully restored picture, this is the definitive release of Cagliostro that would appeal not just to Lupin fans, but to Miyazaki fans too, as this was the first movie he ever directed. Afraid to buy because your gift recipient doesn't know a thing about Lupin III? No worries--this movie can be enjoyed without any prior Lupin knowledge! Bonus: lately you can pick this gem up for under $20 online.

If you really want to go all-out, Animeigo's Bubblegum Crisis: Ultimate Edition blu-ray set is sure to impress any fan of 80s sci-fi and cyberpunk. Released via Kickstarter campaign last year, it's ONLY available to purchase via Animeigo's website--and when it's gone, it's gone! The Premium set will set you back $130, or you can get a basic set with keychain or challenge coin for $70.

Much like anime, many older fans will already have the standards when it comes to older titles. But here's some suggestions they might enjoy if they haven't already!

Ok, so Gundam: The Origin isn't super old, but it IS an amazing retelling of the classic Gundam story as told by the immensely talented Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, the character designer of the original Gundam anime. Fans old and new can read The Origin with fresh eyes and enjoy Gundam in a whole new way. These handsome hardcover books make an EXCELLENT gift and at $30, they are worth every penny.

Viz recently started releasing the classic Jojo's Bizarre Adventure manga, in beautiful hard-cover editions that are more than gift-worthy. But most Jojo's fans had those books on pre-order the second they were announced. So, in celebration of next year's new anime adaptation of the highly anticipated "Diamond is Unbreakable" story arc, why not get the Jojo's fan in your life a copy of Rohan at the Louvre? A stand-alone story featuring Rohan at France's most famous museum, this Jojo's story is printed in full color and will tide fans over while they wait, and is well worth the $20.

Master manga artist Shigeru Mizuki's recent passing reminds us how the Grandfather of Yokai manga is not nearly as well known to the English-speaking world as he should be. And if your gift recipient is a fan of classic manga AND ghost stories (that aren't TOO scary), Kitaro would be a fantastic gift. Or if they're more of a history buff, Showa: A History of Japan is a masterfully crafted look at 20th Century Japan that is sure to please. Both less than $20 a volume, too!

Speaking of manga, Crunchyroll has digital manga alongside their streaming anime service now that includes several older series, including "Doll: The Hotel Detective", by Takao Saito (who did a little series you might've heard of called "Golgo 13").  Why do I bring this up? To segway to our final category, of course, which is...

That's right, streaming services! Lots of people have em, but plenty don't for various reasons. Maybe they don't think they'll find anything they like to watch. Maybe they're just nervous about trying it out. Whatever the reason, it's super easy to gift a month or year of streaming services now!

Crunchyroll has been REALLY stepping up it's game recently. Not only does it have streaming anime and live-action dramas, but as I mentioned earlier you can also read digital manga. Crunchyroll's steadily been adding older titles to their back catalog, too alongside what's new and currently coming out of Japan. A Premium membership also gets your gift recipient a discount in their online store, and is very affordable for a 1 month gift of about $7 (you can also chose 3 or 12 months--12 months giving you the best deal for your money.) A Premium+ membership is just a little more at around $12 for 1 month, but also gets you convention perks (like access to special members-only events & goodie bags, which is handy if your gift-ee is a frequent anime convention goer).

Hulu Plus costs about $8 a month for "limited commercials" service, or $12 for commercial-free. While they're not exclusively targeted towards anime programming like Crunchroll is, they've grown a sizable catalog of anime over time, including a pretty good amount of older titles (along with newer ones, of course). Bonus, you can easily pick up a physical Hulu gift card in some physical stores, making it easy to just pick up while you do your regular Christmas shopping. Hulu stands out much more than Netflix at the moment for older anime fans simply because Netflix carries very little in way of older titles. (Understandably, as Netflix generally wants to focus on newer things to draw in more viewers.)

Hopefully now you have some ideas for what to get that fan of older anime in your life (or maybe even a few ideas for your own wish list!) What do you think, readers? Was this helpful? Anything to add? Feel free to leave a comment!

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