The holiday season is fast approaching, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming it, it is time to start making those gift lists and checking them twice. However, holiday shopping for an anime fan has never been particular easy, especially when you are dealing with people that have no idea what it is and especially when you don’t know what someone has and has not seen.
While if you are one of those people that give out specific gift ideas, like “I wanted to see Love Live!, get me the box set” and then get slapped because Love Live!? Really? Anyway, if you give specific series requests, that’s great for people giving you gifts. However, not all anime fans are so great.
Instead of trying to navigate the impossible maze that is their MyAnimeList to find out what they have or even want to see, why not instead get them something that isn’t a box set they will watch a few times and then never again?
Aside from physical copies of anime or manga, T-shirts are typically the realm of the non-anime-oriented gift giver. However, it also a particularly great option if you know they have a particular series that they favor. T-shirts are not without their pitfalls, though. You have to be adept at guessing sizes and knowing if they like their clothes skin tight or super loose.
Why Funko figures and not just any sort of anime figure? Well, if your anime fan isn’t super hardcore into figures, any figure is probably awesome to them. Yet, if they are a hardened figure collector, brands and details matter. Both are things you might not want to really get into. However, both hardcore figure collectors and casual enthusiasts will appreciate the super deformed nature of a Funko, especially if they don’t have to buy it themselves. Funko is a pretty well-rounded brand too. They have expanded past the realms of anime, gaming, and comics into broader realms. They even have a Gilmore Girls line coming out soon because who doesn’t want one of those?
If you want super deformed figures, but aren’t a fan of the Funko style, you can also try the Nendoroid brand. You get the chibi-ness of it all, but still get the awesome details that make the character unique.
Who doesn’t have love that can’t be bought by food? I, personally, am a big fan of big box o’ junk food as a Christmas gift and still get at least one each year. While Cheetos and Oreos can go a long way, if you want to make a gift of food a bit more special, you can make it something they have never had before. I like exploring the assorted Japanese snack options, but you can delve deeper into Pocky, Pepero (or any other brand of reverse Pocky), or Hello Pandas in bulk by trying some daring new flavors or go with something completely weird which is basically everything in the “make your own snack” section of Japanese junk food.
Not sure what I mean by “weird”? Here are my favorite super strange recommendations:
- Furikake Packs (Not actually that weird, but rice has never tasted so amazing)
- Black Garlic Doritos
- Wasabi Candy
- Fanta Melon (Again, not too strange, but melon soda needs to be a thing in the West)
- Pocari Sweat (It’s Japan’s answer to Gatorade)
If you aren’t sure what they would want, you could leave it up to fate. There are a lot of snack-based subscription boxes out there. Subscription boxes like J-Box let you buy subscriptions for yourself or others and then send an awesome myriad of different snacks straight from Japan. Plus it allows you to have no culpability for what was in the box if they get something super odd.
If you are looking for an affordable anime swag subscription, there are a few options. However, (surprisingly) Loot Crate’s anime box is still the most affordable and highest quality option out there. However, if you are looking for more expensive, but still great quality Anime Bento and Akibento are good options as well.
As I mentioned before, the J-Box snack box is still my favorite option, but I just have a weird obsession with foreign snack food.
Japanese Language Resources
Being able to watch anime in the original Japanese without subtitle is kind of the dream, isn’t it? We all know that one person who also has aspirations of running off to Japan one day too, even if that person is us. While you don’t NEED to learn the language, it is a good way to enjoy your favorite media and at least attempting to learn before going to the otaku mother land shows a good bit of respect to the country.
That being said, there is a lot of different ways to learn, some being better than others and wholly dependent on the person. Some good options include:
- Rosetta Stone (It is a classic option for a reason, but still pricey)
- Flash Cards (For the learner already in progress)
- Learning Specifically for Communication
- The Words Not on the Test (Just for funzies)
If there is a hardcore cosplayer in your life that you need to shop for, they likely don’t want you to buy them a full costume because they probably prefer to make their own, and thank god for that because costumes are pricey. However, that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t appreciate some other things, like accessories they can’t make or other things that make the event go more smoothly. This can be something they can’t make, like rings or necklaces, to something that is useful for multiple cosplay projects, like hair wax.
While prop weapons are fun, everyone likes a weapon made of good old fashioned metal. It doesn’t even have to be an anime-themed weapon. It can be a particularly cool-looking katana that they can pretend is the lost Honjo Masamune or something more fun like a zombie apocalypse-ready multi-tool. However, if you are giving a showcase weapon as a gift, they better be a special person because these things don’t come cheap.