A Christmas in anime
And now, a public service announcement: Counting today, there are 13 shopping days left until Christmas.
For those of you who have yet to start your gift search, take heart: "Cel Shaded" is here to help, whether you are a newcomer to this whole phenomenon of Japanese comics and animation who is looking for something that a fan might enjoy, or a fan who wants to drag the uninitiated into the fray.
Unless otherwise noted, these picks are best for teens and older people. That said, here are some proven fan favorites that deserve to be under the tree this year:
» "Cowboy Bebop" (Bandai) and "Samurai Champloo" (Geneon): Both of these Shinichiro Watanabe-directed series feature high-powered adventures set to unconventional soundtracks -- "Bebop" has intergalactic bounty hunters and jazz, "Champloo" has wandering samurai and hip-hop -- that never get old even after repeated viewings.
» "Neon Genesis Evangelion" (ADV Films): This series features emotionally damaged kids, giant battling robots, mind-bending psychology and one of the most controversial endings in anime history. Spring for the Platinum Edition box set, containing the 26-episode series, Dolby 5.1 audio and staff commentaries.
» "Fullmetal Alchemist" (anime from Funimation, manga and novels from Viz), "Inu-Yasha" (Viz) and "Naruto" (Viz): The reigning holy trinity of fandom, and for good reason. The mix of alchemy and intrigue in "FMA," the blend of swords and sorcery in "Inu-Yasha" and the sheer ninja-ness of "Naruto" hold a certain cachet for many people.
» "Fruits Basket" (anime from Funimation, manga from Tokyopop): A house where its members are cursed to transform into members of the Chinese zodiac and a girl who cares for them make for a sweet tale of friendship and love.
Next week: Some under-the-radar titles that should get some holiday love ...
, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. E-mail Jason S. Yadao at firstname.lastname@example.org