Japanator Holiday Shopping Guide: Anime


If you're like me, you're probably going to wait until the very last minute to get your gifts for friends and family. I don't blame you. People should be thankful they're even getting gifts, right? Who cares when you buy it, as long as you do. After all, it's the thought that counts. if they want to complain, you can always  not buy them something next year.

If, on the other hand, you're like the rest of my staff and want to get a jump on your holiday shopping needs, then you've probably already seen our other lists and created one of your own, no doubt filled with all kinds of games, movies and manga. Good for you. I bet you feel special, like one of those kids who always had his hand up first in class. Just in case you haven't already picked out a gift for everyone you know, Danica and I are going to tell you exactly what anime to buy them.  

Hit the jump to see our recommendations.

danica Danica's Picks

For the friend who’ll give forgive a good anime for having a bad name:
 Princess Tutu

Princess Tutu: Complete Collection (Amazon, $33.49)

Please, forgive Princess Tutu for its title.  Like many people, I initially didn’t want to watch it because it sounded so . . . er . . . sugary, cutesy and annoying.  Well, I actually sat down and started watching the thing, thinking I’d maybe see an episode.  I ended up watching the whole series and thinking it was great.  Yes, it has ballet, but get over it.  It’s actually in many ways a very mature series with all sorts of dark fairy tale elements.  

For the friend who likes strong-willed heroines:

The Third

The Third: The Girl with the Blue Eye Complete DVD Collection (Amazon, $71.99) 

The Third impressed with me with its background animation and music, but there’s also the lead girl.  Honoka is smart, sassy and strong, all of which makes her a real role model.  I like stories where the girl takes charge of the situation instead of letting someone else handle it for her.  There’s a mix of humor and drama here, making it all well-balanced.  

For the friend who likes bishonen craziness:

Kyo Kara Maoh
Kyo Kara Maoh Season 1 Box Set (Amazon, $71.99)

Thank you, FUNimation, for picking this series up. It all starts with a boy who gets flushed down a toilet and ends up being king.  If you think that doesn’t make sense, don’t worry, you’re not alone.  Odd as it may be, Kyo Kara Maoh is really fun.  The more you watch, the more things make sense (or maybe you just get used to the oddness).  And did I mention all the men in it are insanely good-looking?

For the friend who likes Shakespeare . . . but not too much:

Romeo x Juliet

Romeo x Juliet: Romeo Collection, Part 1 (Amazon, $50.49)

Some people might be offended by anime’s take on Romeo and Juliet.  I, however, thought it was a blast.  Anything with flying horses and swashbuckling heroines is bound to get my attention.  If flying horses and swashbuckling heroines weren’t in the original play, well, too bad.  And, as a shameless self-promotion, did anyone see the review I wrote on this for Play Magazine

For the friend who likes any good story:


Monster: Part 1 (Amazon, $32.99)

I strongly feel that Monster has the potential to bring in a wide following, and not just of anime fans. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been glued to the screen every Monday to watch it on SyFy.  Poor Dr. Tenma saves a young boy’s life, only for that boy to be a serial killer.  Ouch, that makes you brain hurt over the moral and ethical layers of it.  Oh, but it’s good fun. The box set is coming out on December 8, so be first in line.

tim Tim's Picks

What to give a friend who enjoys slightly dominant women and firearms:

Black Lagoon

Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage (Amazon, $36.99)

I really love women and guns, and when they're as damaged as Revy, it can get to be down right irresistible. If you or someone you know likes action and hasn't given this series a try, then they really should consider picking it up. While it's entirely possible to pick up the series from the second season on, I'd be lying if I told you that you weren't missing out on something good. Deadly vixens, guns, mercenaries, pirates, yakuza and more. What else could you want?

What to give a male friend who enjoys breasts and martial arts, in that order specifically:

Ikkitousen Dragon Destiny

Ikkitousen Dragon Destiny Vol.1 (Amazon, $25.99)

Women again, but this time no guns, unless you count their breasts. I know some of you might be wondering why I'm recommending this, and I know, the story is terrible, but it's not like you'd want to get it for that--at least, I'd hope not. After all, it's basically just fan service, and while it's a bit of a guilty pleasure, I have to admit that it didn't take much else to sell me on the series. If it helps matters any, I think Dragon Destiny was probably the most work-safe of all the season to air so far.

For your friend who loved Haruhi, Lucky Star, and still quotes Azumanga Daioh like it aired this season:


Kannagi Vol. 1 (Amazon, $26.24)

It's moe, but with an actual plot. Amazing right? The story's about a kid who messes with a tree and ends up waking a goddess by accident. After discovering that she actually kind of likes being a human, she goes about trying to cleanse the impurities of the world with the help of the boy who woke her. It's pretty hilarious at times but also a tad sad here and there. Still, if you loved most of the moe or slice-of-life shows, you owe it to yourself to give this a try, and your friends won't be disappointed either.

For the friend who enjoys a bit of action, mecha, and a healthy dose of comedy:

Full Metal Panic

Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid (Amazon, $27.99)

While a good portion of the show is littered with intense action, Full Metal Panic comes with a bit of everything else that makes anime so enjoyable. A little bit of nudity here and there, some comedy, and  even a bit drama. Yes, Full Metal Panic has it all, and best yet, you don't need to see the first season to enjoy The Second Raid. Again, I'd be lying if I didn't say it helps to watch it, but you'd be okay if you didn't. Also. the bonus OAV is amazing and will have you dying of laughter.

For the friend who loves his samurai anime, but doesn't want to put up with Afro Samurai:

Samurai Champloo

Samurai Champloo: The complete series (Amazon, $44.99) [blu-ray] [DVD]

I know some of you think Sam Jackson has no place in anime, and while I tend to agree with you--I love his movies, but Afro Samurai? No--there's only so many Samurai anime to choose from. Samurai Champloo, if anything, does a great job of giving you that experience without having to submit yourself to the Wu Tang Clan. Besides, all the cool kids watched it, so it must be good right? Look at it like this, it's Cowboy Bebop meets Tokugawa-era Japan. If that doesn't sell you or your friends on it, I don't know what will.

You are logged out. Login | Sign up


Click to open photo gallery:


Tim Sheehy
Tim SheehyContributor   gamer profile

Tim is the former Editor-in-Chief of Japanator, a content media specialist by day, and pro-blogger by night. His posts can be found scattered throughout the Modern Method network. Also, he writes... more + disclosures


Filed under... #anime #Holiday Shopping Guide #Japanator Original #top stories



You're not expected to always agree, but do please keep cool and never make it personal. Report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community team. Also, on the right side of a comment you can flag nasty comments anonymously (we ban users dishing bad karma). For everything else, contact us!