The Ultimate Anime Gift Guide for 2023
Are you looking for the best anime gifts for 2023? Whether you are shopping for a long-time otaku or a new anime fan, this article will help you navigate the best anime gifts this holiday season, regardless of your budget size.
Best One Piece gifts
Most anime lovers are fans of Eiichiro Oda‘s best-selling manga series One Piece. In 2022, the series broke the Guinness World Record for most published comic work by one author, with 516.6 million copies in circulation. So, if want to get the best One Piece gifts for an otaku in your life, we have a couple of suggestions.
One Piece TCG won’t get lost in the shuffle
Everyone loves attending anime conventions for their own reasons, with many fans loving to attend them for tabletop gaming tournaments. If your giftee is a longtime fan of tabletop card games, the new One Piece TCG plays like the child of poker and chess and comes with the collecting magic of Pokémon. With expansion packs already available for purchase, collectors are already having fun trading the cards decorated with characters from across the franchise’s history.
Transponder Snail coin bank to keep track of loose change
Looking for a place to store loose change for the laundromat can be the pain in the butt, so consider a coin bank for that nerdy adult friend of yours. From ToyQube, there’s a limited edition resin coin bank (currently $56) of the transponder snail from the 2023 Netflix live-action adaptation of One Piece.
Adorable One Piece nautical holiday sweater
No holiday gift guide would be complete without at least one ugly X-mas sweater. While there are a lot of amazing anime-themed ones available this year, Crunchyroll’s exclusive One Piece red, white, and blue nautical sweater ($55) is at the top of this Straw Hat Pirate’s list this year.
Best anime cookbooks
My time working in Disney’s Food & Beverage department whipping up themed food rubbed off on me, and I could make Donald Duck whipped cream butts for days. So, I’m a sucker for IP-themed cookbooks, which means I’ve tried recipes from a lot of them. While the recipes from these cookbooks vary in quality, I’ve never been truly disappointed in the final nerd-tacular dish. So, rest assured, if you get an IP or fandom-inspired cookbook, the recipes will give them the taste of the shows that fire their imaginations.
Gastronogeek Anime Cookbook
Gastronogeek Anime Cookbook is penned by veteran cookbook author Thibaud Villanova and contains 40 recipes inspired by the most popular anime like Tohru’s rice balls (Fruits Basket) and Hanji’s Stew (AoT), refering to characters and situations found in each show, respectively, and are sure to delight any fan.
Witch Hat Atelier Kicthen, Vol. 1
It was announced in 2022 that there would be an anime adaptation of Kamome Shirahama’s beloved manga series Witch Hat Atelier. Released this fall in advance of the manga’s silver screen debut, the cookbook tie-in is a great introduction to the series and its cast of characters. Plus, I have it on good authority that the recipes are rather scrumptious (a friend of mine has tried several).
Gudetama: The Official Cookbook: Recipes for Living a Lazy Life
Other good cookbook gift recommendations for the otaku in your life are Cook Anime: Eat Like Your Favorite Character—From Bento to Yakisoba: A Cookbook by Diana Ault, Gudetama: The Official Cookbook: Recipes for Living a Lazy Life by Jenn Fujikawa and Sanrio, and if you can find copies, the manga series Oishinbo: Japanese Cuisine by Tetsu Kariya and Akira Hanasaki is a great gift option for anime fans who love to cook.
Gifts for the Pokémon fan who’s gotta catch ’em all
Do you have someone in your life who has been a fan of the Pokémon games and anime since the days of Pokémon Power? Full disclosure: I do, and she’s shopping for Pokémon gifts as I write this. My wife has been eagerly catching ’em all since Game Freak first released the U.S. edition of Pokémon: Red Version and Blue Version on the Game Boy in 1998 (the game was previously released in Japan in 1996 as Pocket Monsters Red and Pocket Monsters Green, with the special edition Pocket Monsters Blue). And my wife is not alone; Pokémania has swept the world.
If you’re like most of my family (wife not included) and the only thing you know about Pokémon is that it was an extremely popular cell phone game, Pokémon Go!, you’re likely wondering why the franchise is on an anime gift guide. Well, you’re in for a treat because Pokémon video games have spawned eight sequential anime series. With over 1,200 episodes adapted for international TV markets and one of the most-watched series on Netflix, Pokémon is regarded as one of the most successful video game adaptations ever. So, if you are looking for gifts for the otaku in your life, it’s almost a surefire thing that they will like a Pokémon gift.
Adorable Pokémon Center finds
Five years ago, I purchased a knit beanie at the Pokémon Center Store in New York City, New York, and it is still one of my warmest hats thanks to its thick material and elasticity. Seriously, after all this time (and several cat piss incidents), the hat still stays on my head through thick and thin. Luckily, you don’t need to go to NYC or Tokyo for these adorable gifts; they are available online.
This year, the Pokémon Center offers adorable clothing options for your Pokémon-loving otaku, including the Pikachu and Eevee red and black plaid knit beanie for $19.99. Even better, if your friend or loved one has a birthday during the holiday season, make them a pokéball layer cake to accompany the gift.
Eevee mini backpack for the convention goer
Are you looking for a one-stop gift shop for all things anime? BoxLunch, also the parent company of Loungefly, is a great option. This year, BoxLunch has an exclusive Loungefly Eevee mini backpack for $80, and it’s super cute (without sacrificing utility)! I’m always jealous of people with Loungefly mini backpacks at conventions. Given the lines always at BoxLunch, I don’t think I’m alone.
The best anime books to gift
There are countless books about anime, so the first rule is choosing one based on the person’s interests. The second rule is to look for a book with exclusives, one-of-a-kind art, creator interviews, or unique histories. That being said, I do have a few recommendations.
By Your Side: The First 100 Years of Yuri Anime and Manga
By Your Side: The First 100 Years of Yuri Anime and Manga by Erica Friedman is a landmark work about the history of lesbian love in Japanese animation and manga, edited by one of the Western Hempishere’s foremost scholars.
The Osamu Tezuka Story: A Life in Manga and Anime
Anime may not exist today as we know it if it wasn’t for Osamu Tezuka. A perfect gift for anime fans who have it all is Stone Bridge Press’s 2016 English language edition of the 900-page manga The Osamu Tezuka Story, translated by Frederik L. Schodt. The Walt Disney of Japan’s beautiful and massive biography explores his life, Japanese postwar society, and how Tezuka changed Japanese culture forever.
Spy x Family: The Official Guide—Eyes Only
To coincide with Spy x Family season 2 this fall, VIZ Media released Spy x Family: The Official Guide—Eyes Only, packed with art and commentary.
Luca Designs manga and anime leather jackets (in vegan leather, too!)
I know a jacket from Luca Designs is a good gift in terms of quality. A few years ago, I was given a Luca Designs vegan leather jacket designed like Cheryl Blossom’s (Madelaine Petsch) iconic red Southside Serpents on The CW’s Riverdale. I love my jacket, and luckily, designer Luca Giorgio also makes anime-inspired designs.
Because I can think of an anime fan (my cuz) who’d love this Shotaro Kaneda-inspired fiery red leather jacket from the ’80s animated movie Akira, I will recommend it to the Akira fan in your life. The handmade leather designs are on the pricier side, retailing at $269.99–369.99 (real leather) or $189.99–289.99 (vegan leather) for the “men’s” version and $279.99–399.99 (real leather) or $199.9–299.99 (vegan leather) for the “women’s” version. (Buy whatever gender jacket you like!)
Out of this world Goku sneakers
Los Angeles-based sneaker designer Anthony Wang creates otherworldly sneakers perfect for a burner otaku’s annual pilgrimage to Burning Man. These black and yellow Goku-inspired kicks will ensure they are the talk of the town (the makeshift town, that is), and it will only cost you $165.00.
Uniqlo UT Graphic Tees
I’ve had the privilege of checking out most items on this list, and Uniqlo’s UT graphic tees are no exception. Two things to consider when buying these anime t-shirts for someone else are fabric quality and the wearer’s preferences in terms of softness. So, remember that the fabric varies in softness depending on the line, but I’ve been happy with each of my UT graphic tees.
Anime Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2
Gege Akutami’s manga Jujutsu Kaisen was adapted into a TV anime series by MAPPA about the Jujutsu Sorcerers who must exorcize powerful curses born from negative human emotions; in July 2023, the second season of the Jujutsu Kaisen anime premiered on Crunchyroll, making it a perfect time to gift the Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 UT short-sleeve graphic t-shirt ($24.90). Satoru Gojo’s words, “Tenjō tenge yuiga dokuson,” are incorporated into the design in kanji.
Hunter x Hunter
On November 24, Uniqlo will drop its Hunter x Hunter t-shirt line. Stay tuned!
Best vinyl for anime fans
There are two options when purchasing music-themed gifts for the otaku in your life. First, if you feel confident in your loved one’s music or anime tastes, the creative idea is to get them original music from an anime voice actor. Right now, everyone is talking about the band Necry Talkie, who just released “bloom,” the theme song for Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, and anime studio Pony Canyon, which signs its voice actors as musical artists. Second, you can purchase an anime soundtrack on vinyl.
Jujutsu Kaisen deluxe edition vinyl soundtrack
Exclusively for purchase at the Crunchyroll store, you can buy the complete Jujutsu Kaisen soundtrack on vinyl for $134.99. The deluxe release comes with the whole soundtrack across five vinyls and includes a 20-page liner note booklet containing song lyrics and interviews with the musical production and creation team.
Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack for the first time on vinyl
While Godzilla debuted in animation in 2017, the best merch is still related to the live-action iterations of the kaiju—and there is a lot of it. But one of the most unique items I’ve seen this year comes from Mondo and Toho, and it’s the Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack Original Motion Picture Soundtrack ($45), composed by Kow Otani, for the first time on vinyl.
Crunchyroll streaming membership
One of the best gifts for an anime fan is access to more anime. Giving them a gift card to their favorite anime streaming service lets them know you hope they can always watch an episode of their favorite feel-good anime.
Crunchyroll is the largest in the genre. It offers a digital gift card to access its premium streaming membership for one month ($7.99), three months ($22.99), and 12 months ($79.99).
DIY anime gifts (it’s more special when it’s homemade)
We’re all nerds at The Mary Sue (why else would we be entertainment writers?), so we know buying a gift for the geek in your life can be expensive. Whether you needy to make DIY anime gifts or your bank account is overflowing with Zeni, the gifts on this list are perfect for your favorite otaku.
(featured image: Journey Press/Uniqlo/Crunchyroll/Anthony Wang/Titan Books/Netflix/ToyQube)
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