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Anime gifts run gamut from classic to modern


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POSTED: Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Today we say goodbye to the “;Cel Shaded”; holiday gift guide season with a look at anime sure to please fans and would-be fans.

A disclaimer: The suggested retail prices I'm quoting here might seem high, but smart shopping will likely turn up some serious discounts. Even so, be prudent in your bargain-hunting and make sure the publisher's name is prominently displayed on the packaging. You don't want to pick up shoddy bootleg DVDs, after all.

» ”;Dragon Ball”; first and second season box sets (Funimation, $49.98 each): While I love “;Dragon Ball Z”; - and indeed, Funimation's offering their gazillionth DVD re-release of that series this year with the first “;Dragon Box”; of 42 episodes - I don't think the first “;Dragon Ball”; series gets as much love as it deserves.

Akira Toriyama's early “;Dragon Ball”; manga stories were whimsical and humorous, the tale of a younger Goku and his development into the powerful fighter seen in “;Dragon Ball Z.”; These episodes - the first 13 presented uncut for the first time in the U.S. - showcase that development quite nicely.

» ”;Genshiken 2”; vols. 1-3 (Media Blasters, $29.99 each): For those who missed the first “;Genshiken”; anime, hurry and get that already. That series, about a group of college students in an anime/manga appreciation club, will remind you of the people in your own fan circles. “;Genshiken 2”; continues the story with a blend of fan activities - the club sells dojinshi (fan comics) and cosplays - and real-world dilemmas (romance and job searches play a bigger role).

» ”;Monster”; first box set (Viz, $59.99): This series is one of a dwindling number being broadcast on television these days -in this case, on SyFy. With its pedigree - original manga by Naoki Urasawa (the writer behind the oft-screened “;20th Century Boys”; live-action movies), twisting suspense centered around a serial killer who can mentally manipulate weak-willed criminals - it's easy to see why this series was picked to appeal to a wider audience. For mature audiences.

» ”;Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl”; first box set (AnimEigo, $134.99): There was a time when AnimEigo was one of the biggest names in the anime industry. These days, the company is content with releasing classic (read: older) anime in impressive packages that include extensive liner notes and meticulously restored footage. “;Yawara,”; the story of a teen girl who wants to live a normal life but is instead pushed to become a judo champion, is AnimEigo's latest old-school charmer to be worth a look.

Pups on the Road

The Christmas craft fair season is winding down for Audra Furuichi and Scott Yoshinaga, co-creators of the online comic “;nemu*nemu.”; Their last event of the year will be the Moanalua High School Craft Fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the school, 2825 Ala Ilima St. Look for them at table 134, near building H.

For more information, visit www.nemu-nemu.com.

Meeting roll call

» MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists will be meeting from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Academy Art Center, 1111 Victoria St., Room 200. For more information, visit www.manga-bento.com.

» University of Hawaii Anime and Manga Society: The group will host its annual Christmas party with a “;white elephant”; gift exchange from 5 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Kuykendall Hall, Rooms 306-310, on the UH-Manoa campus. Visit www.hsblinks.com/1gg.