As the holiday season approaches, we take this time to partake in the capitalist tradition of showing our affection and care for others in our lives by the purchasing of digital and physical goods. There is something nice about getting something for that special someone who reads, collects, and enjoys manga. Here’s a quick opportunity to share some of the gift suggestions I think the manga head in your life might appreciate this holiday season.
It’s not a comprehensive list by any means but consider it a jumping off point for you and anyone else who needs some recommendations as we head into December! I wrote this with support and acknowledgement of the boycotting and alternative gifting ideas in support of Sudan, The Congo and Palestine. Carry on!
A Gift for Them that’s Really a Gift for Everyone (Because Sharing is Caring)
I’m talking about manga box sets. While box sets *can* be pricey, they are a terrific gift for the manga reader in your life who wants a complete series to pour over and immerse themselves in. A box set for manga readers is ideal for someone who just started a series and knows that they want to read more, a lot more of it. It is also an ideal gift for someone who always wanted to read so-and-so and now–they can when they open up your gift! The fun thing about these is that you can read them and share them around–if that’s your thing. Sure, it’s a gift for them that they also can share with you!
Additionally, manga box sets usually come with extra goodies like double-sided posters and other exclusives that aren’t usually found just anywhere. It used to be that manga box sets were a little hard to find but now, you can find them in multiple places like big chain stores like Walmart to Bookshop, BooksAMillion and more! One tip with Black Friday and other sales coming up is that you shop around and price check if there is a certain box set that you’re thinking of buying and gifting!
For the Folks who have (Almost) Everything
We all have *that* person in our lives who loves manga and has nearly everything–so what to give them? Can I suggest an official guidebook to a series that they may adore, artbook, or better yet, a spin-off manga that focuses on food? From the more popular Spy x Family: The Official Guide-Eyes Only for those who love the anime, have all the manga volumes and would devour anything related to the series, this guide book Includes behind-the-scenes details covering the first nine volumes of the hit manga, as well as tribute illustrations from 16 artists, including Hajime Isayama (Attack on Titan), Yuji Kaku (Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku), and Kazue Kato (Blue Exorcist)!
For a more unique gift idea not tied to a hugely popular IP, I’d suggest the Steam Reverie in Amber artbook by Kuroimori. Seven Seas Entertainment published the full-color steampunk artbook & manga collection hardcover–includes all 22 Major Arcana as removable tarot cards! This is such a beautiful release from an award-winning Japanese artist who contributed to Final Fantasy art that some creative in your life who enjoys artbook might adore. Here’s a quick flip through of the gorgeous book if you want a look!
Lastly, what about a cookbook…or manga that can function as one? The wildly popular Witch Hat Atelier manga series is still going strong, and the spinoff manga series focusing on the magic in the kitchen is now available with an English translation. We’re told that this “culinary spinoff that lets readers try their hand at recreating a variety of sumptuous recipes. This time, the magic is in the kitchen as Qifrey and the gang whip up everything from sizzling stews to crackling croquettes”. The manga Includes a variety of real sweet and savory recipes with step-by-step instructions.
For the Anime Watchers in the Chat:
Here’s an overlapping category for this gift guide–manga series for the more recent anime series that finished seasons–are that overlooked and overrated! Like, sure you could pick up One Piece or anything else edging towards that longevity and popularity and that’s fine. Here are some series that may have gone under your radar: Bocchi The Rock! follows a shy, awkward, and lonely high school student who dreams of being in a band. Both the source material–the manga and the anime adaptation have wowed folks with its tackling of social anxiety and a heartfelt exploration of the struggle and joys of one girl’s teenage years. I would label it slice of life for teen readers.
Heavenly Delusion aka Tengoku Daimakyou certainly pushed the envelope on adapting a manga with an incredible story about dreams, adolescents, and reality. So much so that I considered the anime (my review here) a hidden gem of sorts, earlier this year. The manga’s story takes place after some calamity has befallen Japan, and the place is mostly a wasteland with survivors here and there. (I wrote a bit about my first impressions here.) Some children are hidden away sheltered in a sort of paradise, and others eking out a living. I found myself immediately invested in this engaging dark story of survival, growing up, and living a life–manufactured or not. It is without a doubt for older readers 16+ and up!
Kids Just Want to Have Fun
Kids check out manga from the library. Kids read manga. Kids buy manga. Kids love manga. Kids are certainly recommending manga to each other and telling their peers which series are mid and which series are must reads. If we know all this to be true, why wouldn’t you consider buying the kids who are manga lovers in your life, a volume or two–or three? If the question on your brain is: what to buy? I’ve bought Witch Hat Atelier and Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun for a friend’s middle schooler who loves female protagonists and also spooky things.
I’ve also recommended Haikyu!! for a teenager who loved Edward Elric of Fullmetal Alchemist and hilariously requested another short king. I gladly offered up to volleyball loving Shoyo Hinata. I personally follow updates from Ashley Hawkins’s blog, the Manga Librarian and would also recommend Sara Smith’s blog, The Graphic Library. Barnes & Nobles has a kid-friendly guide for manga and graphic novels for the younger ones. I like this list of titles of Manga & Light Novels for Middle School. Other faves of mine that I always recommend are My Neighbor Seki and Yotsuba&! which are series read and loved by kids and adults alike.
For the Digital Only Folks
Consider purchasing access to a manga app like my favorites: Azuki! and buying them a Premium membership! Gift memberships cost $4.99 for one month of Premium and codes never expire. I have covered a number of titles from the app like My Dear Detective: Mitsuko’s Case Files, SUZUKI JUST WANTS A QUIET LIFE, Tsukiko and the Satellite and Other Stories and Wakakozake. There are a number of manga apps out there but in my research I couldn’t find many gift options or gift subscriptions.
I found that you also can gift folks manga and related items like light novels on the Bookwalker website. The one catch is that I believe that they must have an account to read said manga, gift codes are valid for 180 days from its purchase, and can be only used once. I do like Bookwalker for its web-based reading format as well as its mobile one.
Fancy Disclaimer: I have not received any of these items in consideration of making this gift guide. This is just a short and sweet fun little guide that I wanted to put together! If you find it helpful in your holiday shopping, please let me know in the comments or on social media!
See our gift guides from previous years here.
Love manga? So do we! Check out more manga reviews and related content here!