December 13, 2010

Bento Bako Weekly: (Mostly) Manga Gift Guide 2010

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Written by: Kristin
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Christmas is just around the corner. Maybe you have a manga or anime fan to shop for. Maybe you need some help finding the perfect gift. Well, take a deep breath and relax! I’m here to help. Here are some select titles for the various types of fans that may be in your life.

For the sports fan: The absolutely wonderful Cross Game Omnibus volume 1 (review here) from Viz Media. Safe for the young baseball fan in your life, but equally entertaining for any age. Guys, you can even read this along with your girls.

For the girl who loves period romances: The Story of Saiunkoku from Viz Media is sure to be a hit (review here). With a strong heroine and an intriguing story, this is one of the strongest new titles of 2010. It’s also available in anime form.

For the Sci-Fi fan: Try Vertical Inc.’s Twin Spica or Viz Media’s Saturn Apartments (review here). Twin Spica follows a young girl who strives to be an astronaut, while Saturn Apartments follows a group of window cleaners who clean the outside of a massive ring hanging in the upper atmosphere of the Earth.

For the thriller/mystery fan: Viz Media will release the first Death Note Black omnibus volume just after Christmas on December 28. They also released the surprisingly excellent and suspenseful MAOH: Juvenile Remix (reviews here and here) this year.

For the woman who loves boys with other boys: Digital Manga Publishing’s In the Walnut (reviews here and here) is a beautiful, touching yaoi series perfect for newcomers and yaoi veterans. Bonus if you’re an art fan! The main character runs a very unique art gallery.

For the person who likes crime drama like CSI or hospital drama like House: You can’t go wrong with Tezuka’s Black Jack from Vertical Inc. A genius doctor who works outside the law.

For fans of steampunk: Give Viz Media’s Tegami Bachi Letter Bee a try (review here). Mail carriers deliver their letters across dangerous, permanently dark lands populated by giant insects.

Got a girl who likes the occasional zombie attack?: Try Kaori Yuki’s new gothic tale Grand Guignol Orchestra from Viz Media (review here). A traveling orchestra fights zombie-like dolls as they search for their purpose in life.

Does your friend or loved one love adorable things?: Give them Vertical Inc.’s Chi’s Sweet Home, the adventures of the world’s most adorable kitten.

JRPG fan?: If they have a PSP, Persona 3 Portable (review here), an updated version of one of the best PS2 RPG games. For the Xbox (or PS3), NIER, a lovely melancholy game about a man searching for a cure for his ailing daughter. For the Wii, the beautiful and excellently creepy Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon. For the DS, the newly released Golden Sun: Dark Dawn.

For Fumi Yoshinaga fans: Not Love But Delicious Foods, which comes out just before Christmas from Yen Press, on December 21. Also a good choice for the foodie in your life.

For vampire fans (of the pretty boy variety): The Vampire Knight Official Handbook (review here) from Viz Media. You could also buy any of the DVDs of the Vampire Knight anime, or pre-order for late gifting the entire first series, which comes out in January from Viz Media. Also newly available is a box set of the first ten volumes of the manga (a $100 set currently on sale for $62.99 at Amazon).

For the young-uns: I think the best thing I can do for you is to point you to the Yotsuba&! Manga Moveable Feast review archive. This MMF spotlights Yotsuba&!, but also points out various other excellent kid friendly manga.

If your giftee enjoys older, classic manga: Look no further than Tezuka’s Ayako (review here) from Vertical Inc. A dark and tragic Tezuka masterpiece about a twisted family who pins all their problems on an innocent child, Ayako.

If there’s a Japanophile in the family: Make it simple (and easy on yourself) and give them a gift certificate to J-List, which has an enormous and incredible collection of all kinds of Japanese items, from the traditional to the bizarre, and everything in between.

If your otaku loves anime: Give the gift that gives a lot with a gift certificate to Right Stuf. With their regular and amazing sales, a smart shopper could gift themselves with a sizable addition to their collection without hurting your or their wallet.

For more gift ideas, Daniella of All About Manga has collected manga gift guides from across the web. If you’d like further suggestions from yours truly, or more explanation on suggestions already given, please leave a comment or drop me an email! I’d be happy to help out.




  1. […] Comic Attack- Bento Bako Weekly: (Mostly) Manga Gift Guide […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Peter Sanders, Angela Blossom. Angela Blossom said: Bento Bako Weekly: (Mostly) Manga Gift Guide: For vampire fans (of the pretty boy variety): The Vampire Knight O… […]

  3. Jade

    These are some nice picks, even on some titles I know you aren’t particularly thrilled about. I always appreciate how objective you are while still being able to give some personal asides.

    What are some titles you’re hoping to get or give to yourself? I’ve had to put my manga habit to the side for a while, but I might treat myself to the new Yotsuba and Spice and Wolf.

  4. Why thank you! I try to be objective; I know my tastes aren’t everyone’s tastes. 🙂

    I never ask for manga as gifts. No one will ever know what the hell I’m talking about. It’s not worth the trouble. Last year I think I made a more general gift guide, and I included my own wish list. I do have one for this year, which has some anime on it (that I’m not really expecting to get; was just trying to pad out the list for variety and had nothing else I wanted):

    White House Diaries by Jimmy Carter
    EARTH The Book by The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
    Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff

    Resonance of Fate (Xbox 360)
    Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood (Xbox 360)
    Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep (PSP)
    Golden Sun Dark Dawn (Nintendo DS; November 29)
    Lego Harry Potter (Xbox 360)
    Fable 3 (Xbox 360)
    Final Fantasy XIII (Xbox 360)

    Elvis Costello – National Ransom
    John Legend and The Roots – Wake Up!

    The Twelve Kingdoms Complete Collection
    X The TV Series complete set
    Kamikaze Girls (live action film)
    The Last Quarter (live action film)
    Yu Yu Hakusho season 3
    Full Metal Alchemist collection 2
    Paradise Kiss series
    Hana (live action film)
    Curse of the Golden Flower
    The Emperor and the Assassin
    Any Mel Brooks film (except Spaceballs, Blazing Saddles, and Men in Tights)

    I try to give my family a good variety of various things at various prices. I’m pretty spoiled, and I’ll probably end up with the next largest pile of gifts this year after my step-son (who always has the most, of course, as the only kid in the family). Between my parents, my in-laws, and my husband, I’ll have a sizable, possibly embarrassingly large, stack.

  5. Jade

    Oh! I have Curse of the Golden Flower, it’s a good movie, but it’s all Shakespearean-style drama, not the big flashy wuxia thing some ads and trailers have been pushing it as. Emperor and the Assassin is really good too, but you might have a lot of weird Hero deja vu moments if you’ve seen that or vice versa.

    I’ve always liked Asian cinema, but HK movies have gotten pretty lame, in general, since they started producing for a market of a billion hyper-conservative people. I’ve been falling asleep through recent John Woo productions, that’s not good.

    I just watched a trailer for Hana a week or so ago and want to see it. If you could see your way to a quick review of that or a quick round-up of a few movies, I’d be really grateful. Decent movie reviews are hard to find since everyone decided the snobs on Rotten Tomatoes are the only ones with an opinion on the subject. Grawr! I can’t stand that site, it’s like walking into a video store run by five Joss Whedons competing for your attention with two rednecks more interested in their fantasy football league.

  6. Oh, I’ve seen both Golden Flower and Emperor and the Assassin. They’re both Li Gong movies, which is why I want them. I adore her. She’s one of my favorite foreign actresses.

    I found Hana very charming. I think it’s worth a watch. I don’t think I remember enough about it to review it now, but I enjoyed it. I remember sending a couple tweets FUNimation’s way, thanking them for licensing it. It’s totally delightful.

    Try this:
    That has my reviews of: The Promise, the Korean Antique Bakery LA film, Kamikaze Girls, the Gokusen LA TV series, the Mushi-Shi LA film, Last Quarter, and the Korean Goong/Palace LA TV series. I’ll try to remember to write a little something up for other films of that type I end up watching. But I will say, that I haven’t been led astray yet by a film starring Li Gong.

  7. […] at, Kristin has a gift guide that includes some of my favorite new manga of the year, including Twin Spica, The Story of Saiunkoku and Grand Guignol […]

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