Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Guest Post: Great Gifts for Anime Fans



What constitutes a great gift for Anime Fans?? With me being on Vacation, today I have a lovely guest post by Isa!! 

Gifts are a huge part of our collective cultures. Whenever some special occasion comes around (even something as silly as Pirate Day), we love to give gifts. We send them to friends, family, as souvenirs and even as simple keepsakes.

Yet what constitutes a great gift for the die-hard anime fans you know? Getting something thoughtful and cool at the same time requires a little bit of research and knowledge. Once you’re in, though, there’s a near endless list of cool and unusual gifts for anime fans. So let’s take a look at some geeky and awesome items!

Let the Plushies Flow Forth!

Plush toys have always been a favorite amongst the anime community. From cute animals to chibified characters, you’ll find a huge variety online. One of the best sources is actually EBay, as you’ll find tons of different sellers offering both new and old plush toys.

Some are direct from stores. Others buy and ship items to other countries (after a huge markup). Amazon has a fairly large selection as well. In some cases you’ll find a few good things on hamee.com or jbox.com, though they tend to mostly have Studio Ghibli characters.
Modern comic book and hobby stores are also a good place to look for plush dolls. A tiny stuffed character from a favorite show is always appreciated.

Proplicas

Something that makes a somewhat expensive but insanely cool gift is what’s known as a “proplica.” Unlike the ‘90s where a huge amount of low grade imitation merchandise appeared on the market, a new “faithful to the show” type of item has begun to take the forefront.

For instance, fans of the Megaman franchise will love to know Capcom has begun selling this exact replica of Protoman’s helmet. It’s a tad pricy at $200 (except when on sale for $160), but it’s absolutely faithful to the original.

Similar items have been created for other series such as a Moon Stick Proplica or the Dominator from Psycho-Pass. These are generally more expensive, high profile gifts that might be more appropriate for very special occasions

Gear and Accessories

With the expansion of Hot Topic, we’ve started to see a lot more anime related items for sale at regular retailers. Other clothing vendors have also followed suit, producing shirts, backpacks, pants and even shoes with characters on them. Hot Topic has some awesome gear, but you should know it sells out quick since they artificially limit supply.

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous and want to try your luck with Teefury.com or yetee.com, you’ll sometimes find some really great shirts for as low as $10 or $11. The designs are all independently created and will have anything from video games to anime on them.

As accessories go, you’ve got a lot of different choices. Jbox.com often carries a large selection of anime accessories. You can find other similar merchandise on hamee.com, but their main focus is on cell phone gear.

Anime Box Sets and Manga Collections

Purchasing a box set for someone or the manga source material is a great way to say “add this to your awesome collection, you deserve it.” Box sets mean the person will always have the show available, even if there’s no internet available. It probably beats having to wait until the show is airing on TV or in the right notation on Netflix. Some people will even set up a VPN (as this guide by Secure Thoughts explains) to get access to a different country’s anime offerings. A DVD, when available, is usually pretty great.

Manga requires you to actively seek it out. Amazon is probably your best bet to acquire current works. EBay is the place to go for finding older series that are no longer being produced.
If you’re working with someone that’s new to anime and is just starting to get interested, you might instead want to just pick up single discs or individual manga books. I purchased a single One Piece volume for my niece and she absolutely loved it.

Custom Goods

Etsy is an incredible resource for just about everything else. Just about anything that can be made is there, including jewelry, pens and even unique food items. Even if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, some sellers on Etsy are willing to make goods just for you.

If you’re more of an “in person” shopper, conventions usually offer the unique opportunity to purchase goods that aren’t available anywhere else.

The best example of this is Comiket, a huge convention in Japan that regularly attracts close to a half million visitors. It’s a worthwhile experience, even if you aren’t going to buy gifts.

Your Turn!

No one person is the ultimate repository for shopping knowledge. If you’ve ever gone shopping in person or online for anime gifts, please share your secrets in the comments! It may be the dead of summer, but gift season is slowly creeping forward. There’s no time like the present to be prepared.

About the Author: Isa loves giving gifts, especially the geeky and thoughtful kind. As an entertainment and technology blogger, she writes on a variety of different topics and is glad so many of them are the things she loves. You can find some of Isa's Stuff at Culture Coverage.