10 Awesome Gift Ideas to Amaze Your Anime Geek Friends!

  • OTAKU
  • CULTURE
  • In Japan, it is the general custom to pick up some “omiyage”, or “gifts” for your loved ones whenever you visit a different place. It is somewhat similar in other countries, where we encourage the idea that if you go somewhere, particularly a different country, you should buy some kind of gift for your friends and family waiting for you at home. As well as the usual keyrings, t-shirts, mugs, and postcards, it is always nice when you can find something that they would personally like; it shows that you were really thinking about them while you were out shopping. If you are in Japan and you have friends who you could describe as “otaku” – huge fans of anime TV shows, manga comics, video games and the like – then you might want to grab something extra special for them that is not only a unique item from Japan, but caters to their personal interests. You may also want to get something great for an upcoming birthday or event.

    Anime fans are in luck when they visit Japan because of course, being anime’s country of origin, there are entire stores dedicated to anime-related merchandise, clothing, accessories, figurines, and much more. Do you have some friends who would be delighted to receive an item featuring their favourite anime show? Even if you don’t know much about the anime that they like, it is pretty easy to find a suitable “omiyage” for them. Here are 10 fantastic gift ideas for the certified anime geek: check out this unique and sometimes bizarre stuff you can get in Japan, all ready to wrap up and give as gifts to your “otaku” friends and family.

    1. Canned Bread with Anime Prints

    Canned bread, or bread in a can, is easy to carry, perfectly edible, and affordable, which are a few of the common reasons why a number of people love to have this very unusual snack stuffed in their backpacks. Of course, we are not just talking about any kind of unusual bread commodities here. We mean those that are packed in cans with ANIME PRINTS! Yes, you read that right!

    Rather than keeping their bread in boxes and packets where they spoil within a few days, several bread producers like the Pan Akimoto added a twist to this canned bread by printing anime designs on its packaging. If you want to draw out that smile from your friend, then this simple treat can be a perfect choice. It stays fresher for longer and will be fine to take home as a strange but cool gift.

    2. Anime Figurines

    This is one of those general types of gifts that you can see around common otaku shops. Areas in Tokyo where you can easily find anime figurines include the Electric Town and otaku heaven of Akihabara, the less crowded but still otaku-rich area of Nakano, and the fun district of Ikebukuro. Figurines tend to be much more affordable in Japan than in foreign countries, and they generally come in packages so they’re easy for you to pack, wrap, and present as gifts. If you have an idea of your friend’s favorite anime show, you may just ask assistance from the sales personnel to show you their best collections.

    Anime figures are perfect for people who like collecting stuff for display and interior design to brighten up their bedroom. Imagine the look on your friend’s face when you present them a quality figurine of their favourite character!

    3. Japanese Language Learning Resources

    Japanese is a great language to learn and studying it is the hobby of many. Lots of people who are into Japanese anime or music become interested in the language as well. If you’ve got a friend or family member who is intent on learning how to speak Japanese but may not have access to lessons or learning resources, then you might just be doing them a huge favour by helping them out. It would make a great gift for someone who does like anime, but would benefit more from study materials.

    This could come in textbooks, audio lessons that they can listen to, and even some video games about forming accurate Japanese phrases and sentences. Try any bookstore in Japan for effective Japanese language learning materials. Then if your friend ends up passing a Japanese exam or getting a job at a Japanese company, they will know who to thank!

    4. Anime-Themed Character Bedding

    A post shared by *ぴよ* (@25piyo) on

    You are never too old to lie in bed with the bedding of your favourite cartoon character! All otakus share the fancy and there’s a good chance that your friend may as well. So if you don’t mind the expense and would just want to treat your pal to something really cool and anime-like, then giving them a full bedding set with custom anime prints would be a real treat for them.

    If you can’t find anime bedding in physical stores in Japan, there are plenty of places online to get sheets and duvet covers, such as Amazon and Ali Express.

    5. Anime-Inspired footwear

    There are generally two kinds of anime geeks. First are those who don’t mind flaunting their fascination to the world and are very much proud of wearing stuff that screams “ANIME LOVER right here!” Second are those who prefer having all of their things stuffed inside their homes, displaying them in various areas in all their glory for every visitor to see.

    For the second category, figurines and bedding would be good so they can enjoy their hobby privately at home. However, if your recipient is among the former category of nerds, then giving them some custom-made footwear with an anime style such as the above sneakers with the red cloud of Akatsuki (from Naruto) design would be very well-received. If you’re on a budget, then there are now more affordable slippers and sandals with a quality print out for your choosing.

    6. Manga or Anime Inspired Flash Drives

    It can be hard to imagine how exactly we can keep track of all the things we are working on our computers without securing them on a separate drive. Enter those manga or anime inspired flash drives, and you just gave your friend a practical gift he or she can use every day!

    7. Anime Branded Hair Wax

    A post shared by Fabieberegas (@fabieberegas_hy) on

    Believe it or not, this product exists! More specifically, we’ve got this Dragon Ball Z Hair Wax sold by the cosmetic brand, Creer Beaute, which is owned by Bandai. For friends who love dressing up and cosplaying, this accessory will undoubtedly help them achieve that immaculate, spiky hair that no amount of wind can knock out! The wax can also be used for every day hairstyles and is perfect for friends who use it on their hair every day.

    8. Full cosplay attire

    Speaking of friends who fancy dressing themselves up just like their favorite or chosen anime characters, other than the hair wax as the accessory, you might as well consider giving them a full outfit of a character!

    Of course this will cost more, granted that you’ll need to spend not just for the basic clothing but also for the footwear, headresses, weapons and all. It would be costly, but generally worth it, and it is no secret that your friend would be eternally grateful for such a thoughtful gift. Just remember to consider the size of the outfit you want to buy. Ideally, they should feel comfortable when worn by your friend. Head to a cosplay convention with them and watch as they show off their new costume!

    9. Accessories

    There are a variety of these accessories out there so it shouldn’t be that difficult for you to find some. You can have those popular Sailor Moon inspired necklaces for female friends, or those Attack on Titan bracelets for the males. Other bestselling selections include hair bands, caps, earrings and even artificial nail designs.

    All around Tokyo and beyond, you are guaranteed to find bags, jewelry, hats, shirts, patches, and more themed to popular anime shows and manga comics. Keep an eye out for your friend’s favourite show and consider getting them a cool accessory as their gift.

    10. Casual Shirts with Anime Prints

    Giving them some collectibles is one thing, but choosing the more practical stuff is another. And if you are looking for practical goods, going for shirts with anime print outs is an easy pick. One can never have too many t-shirts, and they are sure to love something with their favourite character or show on it. Plus, you have ample of options for customizing the prints you would like to have. You can even have your friend’s name printed on them to make it extra special.

    Anime in Japan: A Brief Overview

    History

    Anime has been a dominate part of Japanese culture for many decades now, having been first introduced at the beginning of the 20th Century.

    Until the 1980’s when anime became mainstream in Japan, it was mostly an underground or niche tool, often used to communicate messages. For example, anime was used often during the Second World War to try to maintain a national pride among the public. Anime cartoons depicted brave Japanese soldiers winning against the West.

    Throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s anime emerged as mainstream entertainment in Japan. Given that the world was now in peacetime, anime began to gain traction in the West, too.

    By the time the 1970’s came about, anime was becoming more experimental and explored themes such as space. A new counter culture developed called ‘Otaku’, symbolized by people who were interested in anime and devoted their time to it.

    Up until today, anime continues to transform itself and receive critical acclaim and attention in Japan and around the world. Anime is now a national treasure, giving Japan a spotlight it had not had before and allowing it to express its own story in a creative way.

    Significance

    Anime in Japan has proved very significant in representing national ideas, portraying cultural trends, and as a means of communicating ideas and emotions through creative channels. Although many people may at first assume it is mostly for children or that it is purely comedy or romance, it is much much broader than that, providing a platform get messages across.

    Internationally, anime from Japan can give the rest of the world an insight into Japanese life, culture, and society. It is important to remember that until relatively recently Japan was a very isolated country, particularly during the Second World War.

    Anime has allowed Japan to enter the world stage in a cultural and authentic way, drawing people to visit the country and teaching them about some of the issues in Japan.

    Anime, manga, video games, and other “nerdy” aspects of pop culture spans across different genres and it will help if you know the specific one your friend likes. In giving gifts, what matters more is the interest of the person rather than the price. If you have a bit of spare money on your trip, why not grab some anime-themed goods to take home and give as very special presents to your loved ones?

    Not all the gifts on this list have to be expensive. If you know where to look and are conscious of your exact budget range, then you can start looking for some of the best selections out there. So finalize your list and start looking for potential gifts before the best ones get sold out!

    For wider selection of anime goods, feel free to visit the following sites:
    Amazon
    Japanimation
    Rakuten Global Market

    *Featured image: jp.fotolia.com/