Skip the checkout lines and shop from the anti-social comfort of your home with these top ten gifts you can buy online for the otaku (geek) in your life. This list features manga, anime, video games, and anime/game merchandise that would make any weeaboo smile!
Note that all prices listed below are for the English versions of each item (when applicable) which are eligible for international shipping. Any suggestions for cool geeky gifts? Let us know in the comments below.
1. Your Name mini-planetarium
This mini planetarium is the perfect gift to help your beloved otaku get to sleep at night. Compact at about 6-7 inches in diameter, it’s also completely cordless so easy to take back home with you if you’re ordering in Japan. The planetarium lights up the ceiling with the famous twilight scene from Makoto Shinkai’s 2016 smash hit, Kimi no Na wa, or Your Name. Choose one of the three hit songs (“Sparkle,” “Nandemonaiya,” and “Zen Zen Zense“) from the film to help lull you to sleep. The projection itself changes as the songs play, too.
Good for: Kimi No Na Wa fans (i.e. everyone)
Price: Available for ¥11,198 (approx. $100 US) on Amazon Japan
2. A tiny arcade system
As a retro gamer at heart, I am completely in love with these mini retro arcade systems from My Arcade and Super Impulse Limited. While they make similar consoles, the two companies are separate and have licensed rights to different games. Both companies produce miniature arcade cabinets perfect for the coffee table at home, or your desk at the office.
My Arcade consoles are about 8” in height with a 2.75” screen, while Tiny Arcade consoles are much smaller at about 4” in height with a 1.5” screen which makes for a transportable gift. Of course, the most important aspect is the games, and each company has an awesome library.
3. A Silent Voice from Kyoto Animation
In light of the tragic event this year where Kyoto Animation employees lost their lives, we should support the company by highlighting a few of their best anime that you can still buy today.
Released in 2016, A Silent Voice had to compete with Kimi No Na Wa which came out just months before. Despite that, it is one of the most critically acclaimed anime of this decade. The film follows high school student Shouya Ishida, a former bully looking to make amends to a deaf girl he abused back in elementary school. Eventually, the two former classmates become friends and together, they embark on a messy yet inspiring journey to heal traumatic emotional wounds and help each other find meaning in their lives.
4. Smartphone magnifier stand
This is the perfect stocking filler for the people in your life who are glued to their smartphones. There are numerous companies that produce them so the quality will vary, but smartphone magnifier stands all use a special lens to magnify the screen of your mobile phone for a more enjoyable viewing experience.
I noticed that there is inevitably some light refraction and glare from other devices in the room that impact the experience so the device works much better when used in a dark room. While they may not be that easy to use when traveling, they’re perfect to use at the dinner table when you want to watch a video on your phone and take a break from the family’s Christmas conversations (it’s ok, everyone does it).
Good for: Those who watch a lot of videos or play games on their mobile phones
Price: Available for $17.95 US (approx. ¥2,000) on Amazon.com
5. Death Stranding on PS4
One of the most-anticipated games of the past ten years, Death Stranding is the brainchild of Hideo Kojima, the creator of the beloved Metal Gear series. The game follows Sam Bridges (Norman Reedus) who must help reunite post-apocalyptic America after monstrous creatures and invisible apparitions have plagued the land. While the game is far from mainstream, its revolutionary “Stranding” system has led some reviewers to say that Death Stranding is a new genre in its own right. In the Stranding system, players can see each other’s contributions to the game world. Effectively, the players build the world and experience it together.
Good for: Those who like open-world games, action games, and the works of Hideo Kojima.
Price: Available for $59.88 US (approx. ¥6,500) on Amazon.com
6. Bilingual manga
Bilingual manga is one of the best gifts you could give that has the added bonus of not breaking the bank. There are multiple Japanese bilingual manga available from Japan, with English-Japanese being the most popular language swap. A couple of popular bilingual manga include Cardcaptor Sakura and Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name). These titles will either have Japanese kanji and hiragana in the main text and English subtitles in the margin or vice versa. A great choice for any loved ones who are studying Japanese right now.
Good for: Those who like manga and want to study Japanese
Price: The full bilingual Your Name set is available for $38.98 US (approx. ¥4,200) on Amazon.com
7. Ugly anime Christmas sweaters
What better way to spread the holiday cheer than with an anime or video game take on the classic ugly Christmas sweater.
The producer and distributor, Anime Ape, has an impressively large catalog on their website with dozens of sweater designs from the most famous anime and video games. Some of the coolest designs include The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy 7, Pokémon, and a bunch of Studio Ghibli films.
Good for: Anime and video game fans of all ages.
Price: Varies per design, starting at $29.95 US (approx. ¥3,200) on animeape.com