Anime can be a tricky gift both in terms of buying and giving: it can be difficult to find, it's usually pricey, and persnickety otaku (obsessed anime fans) will almost certainly chastise you for buying them the wrong version of whatever you happen to get them.
Still, anime makes a great gift because those who want it would be happy to have somebody else spend the money on it, and those who only casually like it would never think to get it for themselves.
If you're looking at buying for someone who is new to the anime scene, you might wish to start out with just the first volume of an anime that sounds appealing to that person (rather than a box set), or any film by Hayao Miyazaki, such as Spirited Away or Tokyo Godfathers (so far, my two favorites of his).
If you need some inspiration, here's a list of some animes (films, series, and franchises) by genre that are great places for newcomers to begin, taken from our introduction to anime post:
- Action: Black Lagoon, Blue Seed, Full Metal Alchemist, Read Or Die, Trigun
- Comedy: Azumanga Daioh!, Lupin III, Ranma 1/2
- Duel: Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!
- Family-Friendly: Doraemon, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro
- Fighting: Dragon Ball Z, Naruto
- Historical: Peacemaker Kurogane, Rose of Versailles
- Horror/Violent/Disturbing: Akira, Perfect Blue, Witch Hunter Robin
- Little Bit of Everything: Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
- Magical Girl: Cardcaptor Sakura, Sailor Moon
- Mecha (giant robots): Fafner, Gundam SEED, RahXephon
- Ordinary person in extraordinary situations: Escaflowne, Fruits Basket, Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
- Romance: Air, Paradise Kiss
- Slice of Life: Haibane Renmei, Honey and Clover, Tokyo Godfathers
- Space: Captain Herlock, Cowboy Bebop, Tenchi Muyo!
- Sports: Major, Speed Racer
- Steampunk: Steamboy
- Vampire: Blood+, Hellsing, Vampire Hunter D
You can search for more information about these series at:
Akemi's Anime World: http://animeworld.com/
Anime News Network: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/
For people who are into anime but who don't own or haven't watched much of it, it's generally okay to be a little less discerning with what you buy. Anything from the right genre on the list above should be perfectly fine, and older or more obscure animes might be worth investigating.
Don't forget that it is possible to find bargain bin anime for less than $10. These make great stocking stuffers and Secret Santa gifts, so if the person for whom you are buying isn't looking for any specific anime, or if he or she has a broad range of tastes, you really can't go wrong here. Sometimes it's more fun to watch a truly terrible anime and make fun of it, and you might even find a few gems like some of the Lupin III movies.
Now, concerning the potential gift recipients who have more anime DVDs in their room than air particles: As with any other extremely dedicated fanboy or fangirl, it's best not to take any chances. Ask exactly what they want, exactly which version they want, and then go out and buy them some festive socks.
We'll be back tomorrow with more Gifts for Geeks.