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Kamen Rider W photo
Kamen Rider W

S.H. Figuarts (Shinkocchou Seihou) Kamen Rider W gets a half-boiled trailer

Now, count up your sins!
May 20
// Salvador G Rodiles
To this day, Kamen Rider W still holds the top spot on my list of favorite Kamen Rider series. Due to my love for the show, I always feel joyful when a new thing that's related to the detective-themed tokusatsu gets announce...
Ultraman photo

Prepare to unite with Gecco's glorious Ultraman statue

Giant monsters and invaders beware!
Jan 08
// Salvador G Rodiles
I haven't gotten the chance to pick up Viz's release of the Ultraman manga by Linebarrels of Iron's creators yet, but it's hard not to notice the amazing detail that was placed into collectibles company Gecco's ...
UFO Catcher photo
UFO Catcher

Prizes beware: Only in Japan's crew uncover the UFO Catcher's secrets

Practice makes perfect
Oct 29
// Salvador G Rodiles
When it comes to crane games, I'll admit that my luck varies. On some occasions, I can manage to nab the special item; however, there are still moments where I fail miserably. Speaking of which, John Daub and his comrades de...
Gundam photo

Check out this amazing 'anime-style' Gundam model

3D goes 2D
Nov 24
// Josh Tolentino
Rejoice, otaku, for the utopia that is the 2D world is much closer than we thought. All it is is a matter of shading, if the jaw-dropping work of Gunpla builder Mumumuno is anything to go by.  The champion builder has co...

Gundam Unicorn photo
Gundam Unicorn

This ad for a Unicorn Gundam model goes full Psycho (Frame)

Due this December!
Nov 19
// Josh Tolentino
I've never been that much into model-making, Gundam or otherwise, so I've never had much of a reason to pay attention to commercials for the things. Then again, if they're all as cool as Bandai's new ad for an upcoming ...
Kamen Rider Drive photo
Kamen Rider Drive

Vroom! Kamen Rider Drive's design has entered the parking lot

This new Rider is ready to show us his wheels!
Aug 14
// Salvador G Rodiles
It's finally time for us to take a look at the new car-themed, I mean Rider's design. Overall, the new Rider's appearance looks great, since Drive's Type Speed Form is basically a fusion between Kamen Rider Accel Tr...
Kamen Rider Summonride photo
Kamen Rider Summonride

What?! Kamen Rider Summonride contains a Skylander-like system

It's time to toy around with with our favorite Riders
Aug 11
// Salvador G Rodiles
Oh my. I never expected to see the day that the Kamen Rider franchise would receive a game that'd be similar to Skylanders, Disney Infinity, and Nintendo's Amiibo toys. Then again, both Kamen Rider and Super Sentai have their...
Kamen Rider Gaim photo
Kamen Rider Gaim

S.H. Figuarts Gaim Pine Arms and Baron Mango Arms give off a nice tropical vibe

Pineapples and Mangoes are serious business, people
Aug 06
// Salvador G Rodiles
I probably don't say this around here too much, but I'm a huge fan of pineapples and mangoes. Actually, my passion for the latter is bigger than the former, as I find ananas to be great on certain occasions. That said, I woul...
Sailor Moon photo
Sailor Moon

Bandai shows next Figuarts ZERO Sailor Scout

Spoilers: It's Sailor Venus
May 09
// Pedro Cortes
Bandai's excellent Figuarts ZERO line expands by one more gal, with their announcement of Sailor Venus. Originally revealed at Winter Wonder Festival, the figure will be going up for pre-order some time this month, likely as ...
CCS Toy photo

PSA: Nendo Card Captor Sakura up for preorder!

Apr 25
// Jeff Chuang
Ever since the Nendoroid concept was a thing, I have wondered which anime characters would make a great Nendo. The whole miniature-super-deformed style made normally average looking things really cute, and already very cute t...
Sailor Moon photo
Sailor Moon

Banpresto's Sailor Moon arcade prizes are precious 'Girls Memories'

Why is it 'for girls' when the series is aimed at adults?
Apr 23
// Brittany Vincent
Another day, another set of Sailor Moon toys, replicas, or all-around awesome merchandise that I want to hoard and keep all to myself. Is there no end? I don't think there is. Banpresto has just launched a new brand of figure...
Aniplex+ photo

Aniplex+ store becomes a thing, now taking orders for Saber and Homura

Aniplex Special Store now Aniplex+
Apr 02
// Jeff Chuang
As if you need another store to sell exclusive merchandise--well it's not that bad. Aniplex of America today announced that they're branding their "Aniplex Special Store" as Aniplex+, following their Japanese counterpart. We ...
Nendoroid photo

Pre-order your Kill la Kill and Fate/Stay Night Nendoroids

Act out your own episodes with Mako and Ryuko
Mar 28
// Brad Rice
Goodsmile Company has three new Nendoroids available for fans: Kill la Kill's Mako Mankanshoku and Ryuko Matoi, and yet another version of Rin Tohsaka from Fate/stay Night. These will make the perfect gift for yourself o...
JoJo Exquisite photo
JoJo Exquisite

How much money will you drop for all this JoJo bling?

More like 'JoJo's Bling-zarre Adventure'!
Mar 26
// Josh Tolentino
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has always been one of the most fabulous things around. It's no surprise that creator Hirohiko Araki's striking art style has been used to create work for luxury brands and fashion lines like Guc...
Gunpla photo

Gunpla Banzai: Barnes & Noble selling Gunpla kits

Build Fighters to follow?
Mar 15
// Josh Tolentino
It's actually funny: For as much access as North American anime fans have to Japan's pop culture output these days, there really are some things that are still difficult to find over there. For example, it's easy to get your ...
May'n photo

May'n gets an adorable nendoroid

Still not as cute as her though
Feb 07
// Josh Totman
As you know, I love May'n. Her voice, her eyes, her legs, and her love of taiyaki steals my heart every time I see her. Oh how I wish I could have her here in my house to bask in her wonderfulness. Well, I can now in a way. A...
Hayao Miyazaki photo
Hayao Miyazaki

Get your Miyazaki figure soon

Pre-orders are starting in a few days
Jan 16
// Amber Hunt
A new figure is being released in honor of Hayao Miyzaki, and it's not Ghibli themed. Martin Hsu has designed a 6 inch tall figure of the man himself. That's right, we finally get a Miyazaki figure! How cool is that? Bigshot ...

Japanator's 2013 Holiday Shopping Guide: Music and Misc.

Dec 02 // Jeff Chuang
For all the Miku haters in your life... [embed]30581:3143:0[/embed] Mitchie M - The Greatest Idol (album)MSRP: 3000 yen (~$31 USD) A lot of people think little of Miku because, in the end, she's just a highly mixed, computer-generated set of sounds. Maybe it's more a statement on the heavily edited and tuned pop music of today than anything else, but to my ears, Mitchie M's Miku sounds no different than half of Perfume's library--or most high-energy pop female vocalists out there. While there is still a gap for those with a keen ear for the human voice, I wonder how well songs like "Weekender Girl" can do in a blind A/B test? This is all just to say Mitchie M is one of the best at using Miku as not just another instrument in the mix, but crafting a sound that makes the vocaloid capture some of the warmth of a human vocalist. If you spring the extra 900 yen (~$10) for the deluxe version of this album, it comes in a LP form factor, featuring a bigger version of Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's illustration of said greatest idol. Of course, The Greatest Idol is not just good for fooling people about Miku, but it features the best of Mitchie M over the years, including his popular tracks from the Project Diva games. You can check out an abridged sample mix in the video up top, with Miku introducing the tracks herself. For your karaoke friends who like hot blooded, full-metal, screaming encores... [embed]30581:3144:0[/embed] JAM Project - Thumb Rise Again (album)MSRP: 3000 yen (~$31 USD) JAM Project does a lot of theme songs, but in recent years they haven't done a normal, solo album. The anime music power group has taken a lot of the time over the years touring, and while that's a great way to forge a new audience all over the world, they've been doing largely the same playlist. Now, with a new album this autumn, I'm glad they'll have an opportunity to sing some brand new stuff. Thumb Rise Again takes all of what JAM Project stands for, mixes it up and distill it back to its true arena rock essence. I think for anyone who had a great time at a JAM Project concert, this is a no-brainer buy. Just listening to the first track sends chills down my spine, it's so good. JAM Project played a set on Youtube back in October and demoed the PV for the titular track, Thumb Rise Again. Check out the video above to get a taste. For the alternative, fun-loving idol fan... [embed]30581:3145:0[/embed] Momoiro Clover Z - 5th Dimension (album)MSRP: 2667 yen (~$28 USD) Momoiro Clover Z is a relatively new idol act--but in this day and age, it sometimes takes no time for a quality idol group to go from zero to sixty in popularity. I think the group's sophomore album demonstrates the kind of chops that propelled them so far and so quickly; having a couple solid anime music tie-ins also helps, like the ending to Joshiraku and Bodacious Space Pirates. The best thing about Momoiro Clover Z is that they are a group focused on unabashed, full-throttle fun. There's the usual pandering-to-the-lowest-common-denominator going on, but they do it with such panache you're more likely to laugh it off than to find it offensive or awkward. Or maybe it's because the whole thing sounds just a little bit on the ludicrous side of "Oh Japan" that you won't mind too much. This is one idol group that has mass appeal without all of the baggage, and these five ladies sing their hearts out. For those who likes rock music and Psycho-Pass... [embed]30581:3146:0[/embed] Ling Tosite Sigure - i’mperfect (album)MSRP: 2913 yen (~$30 USD) Supercell - Zigaexperientia (album)MSRP: 3000 yen (~$31 USD) Okay, to be honest, for many people who love music, Ling Tosite Sigure may be hit or miss. I think they're definitely a quality alt-rock band who've taken the hard road from indie to major. They have an interesting, if unique, sound, and this album is one way to get a taste of that. What sweetens the deal is all their Psycho-Pass tie-ins. For those who are interested in the always-developing J-rock cycle, i'mperfect is a good start. For those who prefer to stay on the more pop/anime side of things, the new Supercell album is probably what you want. Or both! They both are really good rock music! Supercell's third full album probably doesn't need much of an introduction, but I think the two new vocalists really knocked it out of the park. Just also note that besides the rocking opening number embedded above, Zigaexperientia also features the theme songs to Magi, BRS TV, Nerawareta Gakuen, and Psycho-Pass. For that one disgusting seiyuu otaku in your life... [embed]30581:3147:0[/embed] Kana Hanazawa - claire (album)MSRP: 3000 yen (~$31 USD) Confession: I check out a lot of seiyuu music. Over the years, one constant I found out is that most of it just isn't very good. It's not even because the seiyuu can't sing; quite the contrary (and more and more in recent years), many of them can hold a tune. Rather, more often than not they're just not well-produced. It's not unusual to find a song that doesn't fit the vocal range of the singer, or with poor delivery, or a song that would've sounded much better if it wasn't sung in character. So when I ran into Kana Hanazawa's solo debut, I was definitely surprised by how effective all of those elements came together in order to produce a very listenable product. Granted, this is still all about Kana Hanazawa. Do you like her voice? I think most of us do, given how many popular character she has voiced--although some may be getting a little tired of her, to be honest. But from the addictive vocals of Renai Circulation, there are few better ways sweet nothings can be whispered into one's ears (and not just because it takes a special kind of kimoi otaku to play this with a boombox, in public). If someone forces you with fire and/or poison to pick out a seiyuu album, choose this one. For your friend who never gets tired of "One Winged Angel"... Theatrhythm Compilation AlbumMSRP: 3800 yen (~$40 USD) Some people just cannot get tired of Final Fantasy music. Square-Enix knows this, which is why they came out with Theatrhythm and packaged it with DLC, making a shiny dime on rearranged music from ages ago. Of course, for people who love the music, this means a soundtrack for said Theatrhythm game is now a thing. I've long lost count the number of Final Fantasy compilation-type releases out there (including at least a couple this year), but the Theatrhythm Compilation Album is pretty neat in that it's both a compilation and it has music from a totally new game, as Theatrhythm has its own original compositions. This 5-disc set is also a good value at just a little more than the price of a normal CD album. That's good, because you might be gifting some things a Final Fantasy music nut may already have...not that any of them will mind, from my experience. For those who love bombastic music and Attack on Titan... Attack on Titan SoundtrackMSRP: 3000 yen (~$31 USD) We already know that Linked Horizon is going to perform on Kohaku, so this is a sure way to get a piece of that hot Jaeger popularity and familiar yourself with that catchy line in German before the Dec. 31st TV show. To me, the Attack on Titan soundtrack celebrates not just a popular anime this year, but the body of work of Hiroyuki Sawano. This young composer (only 33 years old!) burst onto the scene and created some really great scores for shows like Blue Exorcist, Psycho Pass, Guilty Crown, Gundam Unicorn, Sengoku Basara, and probably his latest hit, Kill la Kill. I think that alone justifies this gift for anyone who appreciates soundtrack music, even if they don't care too much about that anime with tall walls and giant man-eating monsters. Attack on Titan might be the "biggest" sound that Sawano has produced for an anime, so it's at least sure to amuse. Hopefully it'll be a gateway for people to explore Sawano's other scores, so they'll discover the diversity of his work. Keep in mind, if you know your giftee doesn't love Attack on Titan, the Kill La Kill soundtrack-- also out just in time for Christmas-- makes a great alternative. For the master-grade figure collector... Max Factory 15th Anniversary - Belldandy with Holy Bell (fixed-pose PVC figure)MSRP: 19800 yen (~$200 USD) To celebrate its 25th year, Max Factory decided to release one of their resin kits as a prepainted PVC figure. What you get in the box is a towering 1/10 scale of Belldandy of Ah My Goddess, with Holy Bell coming out of her back. Yeah, Ah My Goddess is not as popular in 2013-2014 as it was back in the day, but for those who appreciate fine craftsmanship, you can't go wrong with Bell. This is simply one of the most amazing fixed-pose PVC figure that you can buy off the shelf, without touch-up, painting and assembly (well, very minor assembly is still required). As of this writing you can actually buy this thing from the usual importers like HLJ, Hobby Search, Amiami, and the like. Each figure of this limited edition release is individually numbered, so when it's gone it is most definitely gone. Sure, it probably won't fit in a Detolf, because it deserves better than that. This is a figure that can anchor or be the centerpiece of a collection, the kind that comes by once every few years, and even among those, few are as classic as this. You can find more pictures and more places to order from via Tomopop. To those well-versed in Tankery... Girls und Panzer StuG III (Team Hippo colors)MSRP: 4775 yen (~$50 USD) You can buy Girls und Panzer on DVD and Blu-ray this Christmas. Great. Now get a tank to go with it. Our own Josh Tolentino recommended it, probably because Team Hippo is great, and frankly a tank with this look is simply the best. By best I mean it will bring your friends and family a lot of laughs, strange stares, and general hysteria (in a good way, surely). That said, this well-modeled StuG III has optional parts you can swap in for a more, shall we say, conventional look. There is even a third option to change the paint job to mirror its later evolution within the anime, once the tankery practitioners realized that tall flags and wild bright colors do poorly in combat. So, yes, the option is there to disguise this very eye-catching conversation piece. On a separate note, if the gift can wait until after Christmas, I would also recommend the ending version of the Team Anglerfish Panzer IV which ships in January. To those who have mastered the digital... Japanese Playstation Network cards, Japanese iTunes cardsMSRP: Varies To some people gifting gift cards may be cold and impersonal, but to some otaku it's a great favor, assuming you give the right cards. Some things are only available as a digital purchase, and some of us prefer to do things the futuristic way-- because the future is, like, now. Last year I recommended the Playstation Store point cards. Confession: I probably spent more than 30,000 yen on [email protected] digital purchases, just on the Playstation Store. And that is just [email protected] This year we're adding Japanese iTunes gift cards to the list, because regardless of what's happening in the industry, iTunes Japan is simply the best one-stop shop for your Japanese music needs. In fact, probably all of the music recommendations on this list will end up on iTunes, if they are not already there. As usual, the issue of setting up a Japanese account is going to be a barrier to entry, either for the Playstation Store or the iTunes store, but there are a lot of guides online to help you with it. Helping someone set up an account can also be a great gift you can give to your friends or family, on top of obtaining these cards for them. Speaking of which, J-List and Play-Asia are just two of many sites that offer these for the holidays. With that new-found purchasing power, you can buy, say, most of Square-Enix's music library. Most major label (and many smaller label) music publishers also go to iTunes as Japan's biggest digital music shop. You can access the growing number of games on the iOS app store as well, if language is not an issue. On both iTunes and Playstation Store, a ton of raw anime (available to rent or purchase), plus the Playstation Store's game library, is just a few button presses away.  For the stationary otaku with the best handwriting... [embed]30581:3148:0[/embed] Hobonichi Planner 2014MSRP: Starting at 2500 yen (~$26 USD) The concept is simple--combine a planner with a journal, and here you have it. The Hobonichi Planner is a planner that opens up with a page a day, with monthly views and a day-by-day view. You're encouraged to doodle or otherwise be creative with the planner and use it every day. Draw in it, use it as a scrapbook, use it as a diary, whatever you want. The first English-language version of the Hobonichi Planner is now available for 2014, so it makes a natural present. Kristina has reviewed the Hobonichi Planner for us. What's kind of neat are the special covers you can buy and customize your planner with--including two very sweet North Face covers. For those interested, you can order the planner (also called a techo) directly from Hobonichi. More importantly, there's a community of stationary-oriented people around the Hobonichi Techo, which may be helpful to get you (or the giftee) up to speed in terms of what you can do with it. Well, there you have it-- that's all of our holiday shopping guides for this year here at Japanator. We hope you have something special picked out for every otaku on your list, and maybe even some non-otaku. If you're currently scratching your head over what to get the remainder of the folks on your list (should any remain), when in doubt, go with chocolate. 
Shopping: Music photo
Jam some bombastic tunes in your stocking
You've already seen our holiday recommendations for anime, manga, and video games; what could possibly be left? Quite a lot, actually. Not only do we have recommendations for music lovers (and we hope that group includes pret...

Dragon's Crown figure photo
Dragon's Crown figure

This Dragon's Crown Tiki figure is looking pretty swell

Everybody's favorite drunk fairy
Nov 01
// Elliot Gay
I quite liked Vanillaware's latest game, Dragon's Crown. Josh's review of the game definitely matches my experience with it. I've always been a huge fan of side scrolling beat-em-ups, and DC's special brand of ass kicking was...
Miss Monochrome Nendo photo
Miss Monochrome Nendo

Miss Monochrome goes to 11 on meta with own Nendoroid

Yo dawg they heard you like Nendos
Oct 23
// Jeff Chuang
The Yui Horie marketing machine in the form of anime short series Miss Monochrome now has a Nendoroid release, announced yesterday. What is noteworthy is not the fact that yet another Nendoroid release is coming, nor the...
Persona 3 Aigis figure photo
Persona 3 Aigis figure

No more assembly for Daibadi's new Aegis figure

Now you can worship with me!
Oct 22
// Josh Tolentino
It's no secret that I've selected Persona 3 android Aegis as my very own 2D bride, so I'm naturally curious whenever news comes down the pipe of model-makers attempting to immortalize my beloved in the fine art of sculpt...
Artist Reference photo
Artist Reference

SFBT-3 Artist Figure is so poseable it's scary

No excuse for bad manga anatomy now
Oct 07
// Karen Mead
I've devoted a fair amount of energy over the years to gathering good artists' reference materials, which is kind of a shame since I'm usually too lazy to use them. However, if you're a more responsible artist than I am, you ...
Terrifying Vocaloid  photo
Terrifying Vocaloid

Pre-order Calne today, get free nightmare tonight

Mikudayo is child's play in comparison
Oct 06
// Jeff Chuang
Sometimes there's just a figure so out there, that it's probably worth your attention--if you can stomach Shi-e Calne Ca. This Miku-derivative figure comes from the hit vocaloid music video "Bacterial Contamination" back in 2...
Project Phoenix  photo
Project Phoenix

Nice! Project Phoenix and GSC team up to make a new prize

The Phoenix is going all out again.
Sep 09
// Salvador G Rodiles
As Project Phoenix enters the final countdown in its Kickstarter campaign, a new prize enters the battlefield. Thanks to their efforts in joining forces with the Good Smile Company, backers that pledge at least $950 will get ...
WonFes Summer Impressions photo
Beware the Colossal Titan
I had the pleasure of attending Wonder Festival for the first time last weekend. As an added bonus, it was also my very first nerd convention in Japan! I wasn't sure what to expect, though the main thing folks have always to...

Titan Nendoroid photo
Titan Nendoroid

All hail and fear the Nendoroid Colossal Titan

The only thing that's big is its head
Jul 23
// Josh Tolentino
It was the year 2013. And on that day, mankind received an adorable reminder. We lived in fear and awe of Attack on Titan's merchandising potential, and no walls could protect us from the colossal head of the Colossal Titan Nendoroid. [Courtesy of our figure-lovin' pals at Tomopop!]'s new shows  photo's new shows

Streaming GET! adds DBZ, One Piece, and more

Toei is finally adding things!
Jul 03
// Salvador G Rodiles
I'm not sure what the hold up was with Toei in the past, but has assured us that Dragonball Z and One Piece have finally landed on Daisuki's turf. As they say, better late than never. Hopefully, this is a sign tha...
Saint Seiya figure photo
Saint Seiya figure

Behold, a figure that costs 60 million Yen

Golden indeed!
May 15
// Josh Tolentino
Yes, friends, you read that headline correctly. Sixty million Yen. As of this writing, that's a shade under $586,000. What a way to celebrate Saint Seiya, right? In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of Saint Seiya's Sain...

Best of 2012: Kristina's Top 5 Toyetic Anime

Dec 27 // Kristina Pino
Fifth place: Sword Art Online Sword Art Online is one of those anime that I didn't expect to get too popular, but it sort of did, and now figure companies are churning out merchandise like nobody's business. Asuna and Kirito are all the buzz recently, and Kirito especially is lucky to be one of the few, the proud male Nendoroids to stand alongside their leading female counterparts. SAO barely made it into this list, but only because even while the show was airing, the merchandise made it all the way up to a scaled figure iteration of Asuna. Fourth place: Dog Days The basic way to gauge whether a show is popular in the world of figures is to see if the main female character has been iterated as a Nendoroid, figma, and a scaled figure. The way you know that a show transcends basic popularity is if more than one character from the same anime gets figure status, garage kits, and more. Dog Days, though completely off my radar as an anime, has been getting some figure love this year in the way of some truly adorable Millhiores, Leonmitchellis, and more. Besides regular figures, the characters are even seeing official doll releases! And they're all absolutely adorable. Third place: Evangelion 3.0 You know that saying, friends come and go, but Evangelion is forever? That's kind of the story of figure collecting, right up there with endless iterations of Hatsune Miku merchandise. With the popularity of the most recent Evangelion animation we've seen all kinds of merchandise, ranging from old or alternate out-of-character designs to new characters, which obviously include Asuka and Rei, but now also Makinami Mari and Kaworu. There are even Evangelion-themed rocking horses for toddlers. The possibilities are endless. Second place: Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Whether you're a fan of Haganai or not, it looks like enough people loved it enough to support several Nendoroid releases of the characters. Now most of the cast has made it to swimsuit figure status while Sena and Yozora enjoy figures by no less than seven different manufacturers. As if that weren't enough, now you can get all kinds of merchandise: iPhone covers, key chains, file folders, albums, plushies, and much more. Yozora and Sena are a hit. First place: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Do I really need to explain myself with this one? With the immense popularity of the anime, Madoka has inspired several different figures for all of the main girls, and even figure extension kits of the various little spirits, along with plenty of Kyubei plushies and more. The Nendoroid and figma iterations have all had multiple releases and the demand is still there for more. And that isn't even the start of it. This concludes my quick list! Do you agree with it, or think I left something out? Be sure to agree or disagree with me in the comments in the most articulate way possible!
Which anime ruled the sales?
While all my fellow Japanator writers are busy picking and choosing the best anime, music, and games of the year, I'll be bringing in a look at which anime inspired the most merchandise based on what I've seen in the way of f...

Japanator's 2012 Holiday Shopping Guide: Goods and Music

Dec 02 // Josh Tolentino
Marcus Speer suggests: For the religious Nujabes / jazz-hop fan: [embed]27301:1865[/embed] Marcus D - Melancholy Hopeful MSRP: $14.99 [USA], $17.99 [International] Aside from having a dope, rad first name, Seattle hip-hop artist Marcus D also makes really awesome beats. Definitely taking inspiration and love from some of Japan's most influential hip-hop artists like Nujabes, Shing02, Uyama Hiroto and Taku Takahashi, Marcus D (who is signed with Nujabes record label, Hydeout Prod.) dropped a bomb this year, his second album Melencholy Hopeful that crosses jazz-hop styles from both the East and West into something fresh and soulful. If you dug the Samurai Champloo OST (which I've been outspoken about in terms of being one of the greatest among anime soundtracks ever made) and find yourself nodding along with the electronic, jazzy beats and soothing piano notes in Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei titles like Persona and the pseudo-SMT game Catherine, then this album is definitely something to look into. It seriously just oozes coolness; there's a flavor to the songs that can get you pumped up for the work day or relaxed for the ride home. I deeply recommend it!   Chris Walden suggests: For the mysterious young girl fan: ClariS - Birthday MSRP: 3059 yen/$35 [USA] This will most likely not be the first time you've heard of ClariS. You may have somehow dodged hearing of them if you've never seen OreImo, Puella Magi Madoka Magica or Nisemonogatari, but the chances are that you will have heard their music. Still, if you've managed to avoid it thus far, congratulations. Now go and give their album a listen, it's pretty good.  All of these songs are on their debut album Birthday, plus a good nine others (or eleven if you find that version with the Nendoroid song plus one other). They don't stray too far from the upbeat and cheerful music they've released before (with perhaps the exception of Connect), but that's far from a bad thing. It is perfect for lifting your spirits, so long as you can get behind some good ol' J-pop.  Plus there's the big mystery about the singers themselves. They've released three popular songs and have done well with an album, and still they've managed to avoid being seen/revealed in public? That certainly takes some skill! Still, it's the voice that matters, so they can take my money and perhaps some of yours too!   For the Kill Bill/catchy rock/curious music fan: [embed]27291:1874[/embed] Tomoyasu Hotei - All Time Super Best Price: $28.99 [USA] I'll have to admit, up until about a month ago my only contact with Tomoyasu Hotei music came from Moero! Nekketsu Rhythm Damashii Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2, more commonly known as the second Japanese Elite Beat Agents. It seems crazy that it isn't more commonly known, but this Japanese rock veteran is responsible for a very well known tune from Kill Bill, namely Battle Without Honor or Humanity.  So what changed? Well, he showed up at Hyper Japan here in the UK to announce his one-off December gig. As the gig-lover I am, I looked into whether it'd be worth turning up by listening to his All Time Super Best album. It may be almost seven years old now, but it's certainly sold me on just how special this upcoming gig will be. But aside from this, his music is definitely going to be a good place to point newcomers to Japanese music. With a big hit like the one from Kill Bill adding to a very solid selection of songs (see the video above), this might be what is stopping your friends from experimenting a little with their music library.    Salvador G-Rodiles suggests: For the Super Sentai and/or Power Rangers fan:  Super Robot Chogokin Daizyujin/original Megazord MSRP: $60.99 $52.40, 3,520 yen If there is one thing that most Sentai And Power Rangers fans have in common, it's that both parties got into both franchises through the exposure to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. For many folks in the west, it was the gateway drug that would eventually spark their journey into the realm of tokusatsu. And what better way to cherish your childhood memories by owning the Super Robot Chogokin figure of the Daizyujin/original Megazord from Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger/Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Just look at the GLORIO detail placed into the body of this prehistoric combination, which feels like the actual Daizyujin was standing right in front of you. And not only does it look nice, it also comes with the effect pieces that lets you reenact the powerful attacks that lay waste to Bandora/Rita Repulas's monsters. A piece like this doesn't come by very often, so get your Dino Bucklers/Morphers out while you still can.    Jeff Chuang suggests: For your glee club buddies Tari Tari Music Album - Utattari, KanadetariMSRP: 3300 Yen Tari Tari has one of the best selling anime soundtracks in 2012, and it's easy to see why. The show is pretty much a music show, complete with song and dance numbers. It employed a pretty solid voice acting crew to back the image songs and the ending song, and it hired an award-winning high school choir to sing the choir parts. All of this adds up to a very interesting and competently put-together album. Tari Tari Music Album collects, on 2 discs, all the insert vocals and the key background music pieces from the show. If someone you know enjoyed Tari Tari, this is the perfect way to relive it.    For the extremely practical importer Japanese Playstation Network CardMSRP: 500, 1000, 3000, 5000, 10000 Yen  Invariably for anyone hooked on [email protected] 2, or just want to watch Gundam Unicorn right when it comes out, there's not much you can do but to hit up the respective online stores on the console of choice. For most of us, that would be the PS3. Since the Vita is still somewhat region-free, the PSN point card makes a very shrew gift for people unafraid of setting up that Japanese PSN account. It really isn't very hard, and the reward is bountiful even if just in terms of the free demos you can play.   For those people who still remember the name of the swimsuit they saw that day Max Factory's Meiko Honma Swimsuit ver.MSRP: 7500 Yen I'm generally not a fan of swimsuit figures, but sometimes it's just done so well. Max Factory's Menma is just such a thing. This is entirely separate from my emotional attachment to a great character from a total tear-jerker of a story from 2011. Simply put, it's somewhat rare to see a swimsuit figure that isn't all about body lines and shapes, but balances that with some bold design elements, color choices, and having the right accessories. Kristina at Tomopop agrees as much, if you need more convincing. The tragedy here is that for people that actually like Menma and want a figure of the iconic Ano Hana character, there are several less exciting, but more characteristic, figures to choose from. That makes this Menma just a bit less popular of a choice for the average Menma fan. The silver lining is that you can still pick up this fragment of summer at an off-season price. It's definitely a below-the-radar gem.   Josh Tolentino suggests: For the true Sengoku BASARA fan that demands only the best in thematic madness... [embed]27291:1892[/embed] Abingdon Boys School - Teaching Materials (or Abingdon Road if unavailable)MSRP: EU9.99 (via iTunes), or $22.99 for Abingdon Road Now, these two are releases from 2010 and 2009, but I think it counts in this case since the best song on either album, "JAP", was in 2012's release of Sengoku BASARA: The Last Party. Yes, I'll say it now: Abingdon Boys School's best song is "JAP", at least with regard to Sengoku BASARA. Why? Just as lead vocalist Takanori "T.M. Revolution" Nishikawa wanted to return to his rock roots when forming ABS, Sengoku BASARA's a pretty rockin' show. "JAP" perfectly captures the the blend of lady-fan-baiting fabulousness and testosterone-drenched excess that led Capcom's series to usurp Koei's Dynasty Warriors throne. It's a little ironic that the franchise's best musical encapsulation comes from the anime and PSP spinoff and not a theme to the main games. Fans of anime songs with access to the European iTunes store will get more out of picking up Teaching Materials, seeing as that compilation contains most of ABS' best anison, including "JAP" the inferior "Blade Chord" that they did for Sengoku BASARA's 2nd season., "Nephilim" from Folklore, "Innocent Sorrow" from D.Gray Man, "Strength" from Soul Eater, "Kimi no Uta" from Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, and "HOWLING", from Darker Than Black (aka the "now I've lost it" song).  Folks who pick up Abingdon Road will miss out on "HOWLING", but will get a good number of other songs, and either is better value than picking up the single for their actual 2012 song "WE aRE" (sic), for Sengoku BASARA HD Collection.   For the Busou Shinki anime fan that wants to explore the source material "down to the last screwhole"... Busou Shinki Arnval Mk.2 TempestaMSRP: 5,180 Yen I'll readily admit that my enjoyment of the Busou Shinki anime comes not from being a fan of the figurines but from my nerding out over imagining a world where Shinkis are a real thing.  Well, this here is the real real thing that a Shinki is - an action figure made my Konami. That's not inherently a bad thing, and all things considered, it looks pretty damn cool. This Arnval Mk.2 Tempesta's is good for fans of Ann. The colors may not match, but the original white-colored Arnval Mk.2 model (originally a pack-in for the Busou Shinki Battle Masters PSP game) is now super-limited, and is going for up to five or six times the price of the Tempesta.   At prices like that, I'd only buy a Shinki if it actually is as presented on the anime, i.e. a living, sentient six-inch-tall mecha girl that would love me unconditionally and call me "Master!".   For your lucky lottery-winner best friend... [embed]27291:1893[/embed] A KR-01 Kurata piloted robotMSRP: $1.3 million (minimum) Awww yeah. Now this is some GUNVARREL stuff right here. Yes, you're reading it correctly. It's not a hoax, but a real live pilotable mecha. You can move it by mobile phone or motion control, and it comes with a pair of smile-activated BB Gatling Guns. Yes, smile-activated. I want one. And you should to! Sure, for that kind of money you'd be just short of the scratch needed for a Bugatti Veyron, but a Bugatti Veyron is not a 4.4 meter-tall giant robot. Artist Kogoro Kurata and Suidobashi Heavy Industries' hand-built monstrosities certainly have that going for them.
Watching you stuff your stocking this year
The time is now, dear readers, as we come closer and closer to the time of gift-giving, and also to the end of Japanator's shopping guide season! We brought you our gift suggestions for videogames, anime and film, and printed...

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