So this year, like the past few, I’m doing some gift-giving over the internet. There are some charitable causes I usually support, such as Penny-Arcade’s Child’s Play. I also do my usual holiday gifting just to personal friends and family. It can be hard to find a good present for the occasion, for the person, and for the price.
So I’m not going to worry about it. That’s part of the charm point of a thoughtful giver, after all. Instead I will share a couple things.
Secret Santas. Secret Santa is sort of a North American/Europe thing that’s caught on the recent years. It’s yet another true example of retail-driven culture but this one is fun over the internet. I know some of my RL friends do it just to save money because it makes no sense spending little money to give little presents to all your friends and they to theirs, when we can do a gift chain and buy something nicer. But in some of my online circles we do this just because it becomes the only way feasible, once you include shipping and the fact that we may be in very different circumstances financially.
If you don’t know what Secret Santa is, you can read it on Wikipedia or something. The way we do it online is using some smart guy’s code (who…should really package this as some kind of web service and make a killing selling ads…) that will allow people securely sign up, deposit their names and addresses without anyone knowing, during a set period. At the end of the period everyone comes back and confirms their participation in the SS, in the period of a week or so. After that the software will automatically create a Secret Santa chain. With a computerized service you can add preferences such as shipping (in the country? out of country?), gender matching (if necessary, such as in a professional/business setting), and even cost of gift desired. Within the limitation of the friends you participate with, of course. You may have one administrator who keeps the ball rolling and keep the participants up to date, but the system can even keep the personal information of everyone secret from the admin until you get someone who is delinquent on sending presents. Unavoidably, your Secret Santa will have to know your address to get your present delivered, but that’s part of the game.
It’s fun! Over the years I’ve gotten all kinds of things, and found others who received all kinds of things. And sometimes it’s good to receive random Simoun DVDs in the mail >_> Anyways, just wanted to share with you all another mean and reason to give and share. It’s good stuff.
The other thing I want to share is, well, along that “Simoun DVD” line of thought. And hopefully not too, heh, harsh.
That’s right, it’s a shopping guide. Sort of.
For your mainstream seiyuu-pop fan who doesn’t import much: Nana Mizuki – Great Activity. It’s probably the best selling seiyuu album since who-knows-when, if ever. Go buy it for your friends if they don’t have it already.
For your seiyuu-pop fan who imports way too much: Claymore Character Songs Image Album. It’s not something you want to be caught buying or listening, but that’s why it makes a good gift. If asked you can feign ignorance by listing the famous voice actresses that’s a part of that monster of a CD, from the likes of Houko Kuwashima to, hey, the 17sai oi oi club.
For your Yoko Kanno freak: AKINO – Lost in Time. Not to mention that a typical Kanno freak would have had all those songs on their soundtrack collection, isn’t she pretty on this cover? Plus there are two more tracks unique to this CD that won’t be worth their money, but would make a pretty good present. And you can always borrow it from them afterwards!
For the anime soundtrack soaker: Heroic Age – Original Soundtrack 1 and 2. I ranted on this before, but for that grand symphony stuff, Naoki Sato is doing something right with these. The vocals aren’t too terrible either, IMO. Regardless if you’ve seen the anime, this is some great stuff.
For the old-school anime pop fan: Halko Momoi – Kappa Densha Cover Best. It’s an older item but I recommend it only because I’ve yet to see anything this year that held so much sentimental potential in it. I’m not really a Momoi fan but this CD manages to get a hold of me simply because she choose some very, very remarkable songs and delivered them well. And I mean it not just in the vocals (as she’s a bit of love-or-hate) but also in the arrangement by other musicians.
For your epic live goer: Animelo 2007 – Generation A. This is probably one of the best DVD of anison show this year. And if that doesn’t do your I CAN FLY, scream-your-lungs-out fanboy or fangirl, last year’s Animelo DVDs are half the price! (Ok, so they add up to the same, but that’s way less than what I paid.) Oh, Animelo also features a good bunch of anison artists, from Momoi (this year) to even Chiaki Ishikawa (last year), so there’s a huge range of ’em on these discs.
For your old school hardcore anime connoisseur: Escaflowne Remastered Box. The problem with this set is not just the price but also lack of the English language subs. But if you’re like me, you probably don’t need subs for a show that’s been viewed so many times. And if whoever you’re giving it to is old school enough, you can just whip that genlock out and plug the script in, and sub it yourself?
For the well-traveled, neophyte otaku: Pop Japan Travel tour. They’re a LA based travel agency that does…well, you know. It’s probably too late for fuyukomi but there’s still time for Jeff Lawson to sign up for their Sapporo Snow Festival. Kita E amirite? I think they’re taking sign-ups for some silly gothloli tour and a trip to Otome Road, too.
For the figure collector’s girlfriend: A. Oryzae plush. If that is too hard to find, then you can just buy the first volume SE as it comes with a talking version of said thing. From your latest Noitamina show about agriculture, Moyashimon, bacteria and microscopic fungus take shape and leap off the pages of your biology textbook.
For the yuri-inclined: Oh, right, I mentioned Simoun ($14 for like 6 episodes!), but there’s this Candy Boy nonsense that might be a good buy as well, which you can view for free before buying from the Amazon link there. The 8-minute feature is on a DVD and comes with a CD.
Lastly, for the tame anime fan who does not import: Kamichu boxset. Get it while it’s still available! Totally not because I’m biased or anything, but this is the rare little gem people just don’t know about. From what is used to be Geneon Entertainment’s DVD distro branch.
And that’s it (for now). I hope that helps.