Anime News Network's Holiday 2015 Gift Guide
DVD & Blu-ray

by Zac Bertschy,
ANN's Holiday Gift Guide Sponsored By:


FUNimation


Yen Press


Tokyo Otaku Mode


Anime itself is a highly personal gift, and it's tough to know exactly what a fan might actually want. Some tips up front if you're buying anime for someone:

  1. Ask them what shows they like first and narrow it down. Don't ask what they're watching right this moment – for otaku that's going to be of-the-moment fall season shows, and you need to know what's already out on disc that they might want. For giftgiving purposes, if you can find out what they already have, do that.
  2. Make sure they collect physical media, or that having a physical copy of the show they love would mean something to them. Things have changed a lot with the way people interact with and enshrine their favorite shows.
  3. Make sure you know their preferred format (DVD or Blu-ray).
  4. You can't go wrong with gift certificates, but as I said, anime is a very personal gift, and paying attention to your friend or relative's anime preferences and selecting the exact right box set is going to make you a Christmas hero in their eyes.

A couple quick notes about this department: in general, I've tried to link to the place where I found the set cheapest, but prices on all of this will fluctuate a lot (especially during Black Friday week, when this is posted) so expect some jumps and decreases here and there. The listed retail price is always MSRP, but please shop around – a lot of this stuff can be found for 40% or more off that price.


Neon Genesis Evangelion Blu-ray Box





Let's get this out of the way up front: the most anticipated, most sought-after anime Blu-ray this year did not come out in America, doesn't have subtitles on it (or a dub), has to be imported and can't really be had for less than $300.

Here's the rub: it's the entire original Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series, remastered in glorious HD from the original elements, and it comes with all the original films (including End of Evangelion). If you do decide to buy this for your otaku of choice (maybe make sure they're an Evangelion fan first), you are not only a hero, you may be entitled to their first born.

Retail Price: US $308.77
Shopping Link: CDJapan


Fullmetal Alchemist: The Complete Series Collector's Edition




Price-wise, this is one of the most expensive anime DVD box sets ever issued in the US, but there's a reason for that: one, it contains the entirety of the beloved 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist series, the one that spawned an entire generation of anime fans, in HD for the first time. It's a lovely upscale – the best the show has ever looked – and it all comes in a fancy case for the discs themselves, plus a carrying trunk, an enormous hardbound artbook and a bunch of other cool stuff. This is the best presentation this series will likely ever get, and if it really meant a lot to the person you're buying for, they're going to be thrilled. As of this writing Right Stuf has it down to $179, but there's no guarantee how long that will last, so jump on it now while you can!

Retail Price: US $329.98 (On sale for $179 at Amazon, $247.79 at Funimation)
Shopping Link: Funimation, Right Stuf


Space Dandy LE





From the limitless creative power of Shinichiro Watanabe and his motley crew of respected artists and animators comes Space Dandy, a neon cosmic fantasy that defies expectation. Mostly you're just watching Watanabe's incredibly talented artist friends freestyle inside this goofy sci-fi setting for about 13 episodes, but it's one of the most creatively satisfying, hilarious and eye-searing TV shows to have come out of Japan in recent memory. It's the kind of thing that makes people anime fans, and this handsome limited edition comes with a nice box that the second season can fit right in.

Retail Price: US $28.99 (Standard Edition) $69.99 (Collector's Edition)
Shopping Link: Funimation, Amazon



Tokyo Ghoul LE





That massive menacing grin has become nearly iconic among anime fans since this smash hit supernatural drama hit the air last year, and it's showing no signs of slowing down. What better way to celebrate the holidays than by giving someone 12 episodes of near-endless angst and gore? This version comes in a handsome display box, although there's a cheaper version available too. This may already be your 16-year old cousin's new favorite show, so get shoppin’.

Retail Price: US $64.98 (Standard Edition) $69.98 (Limited Edition)
Shopping Link: Funimation, Amazon



Black Lagoon Premium Edition



Although nothing beats that FMA box up there for sheer scale and size, this Black Lagoon complete collection is no slouch either – it includes both seasons of the hit action show PLUS Roberta's Blood Trail, the recent OVA series. All this comes in a faux ammo box with some dog tags and a few other cool little trinkets, all for a pretty reasonable price. Black Lagoon was a big hit and found many fans among folks who love American action movies, so you really can't go wrong here.

Retail Price: US $89.98
Shopping Link: Funimation, Amazon



Akame ga Kill LE





Okay, so this – like a few other items on the list here – isn't quite out yet, so you'll be handing over a slip for a preorder at Christmas, but that shouldn't matter – this is Akame ga Kill, which was a huge hit as it aired last year and is currently chewing up and spitting out viewers on Adult Swim. It's a hard-edged, bloody action show, and its fans are pretty passionate, so consider dropping a preorder on this one. It comes in a cool display box and is loaded up with posters, tattoos (!) and a hardcover “booklet”, which I assume means it's a really fancy pamphlet. Either way the Akame ga Kill fan in your life is already thinking about buying this, so it's kind of a no-brainer.

Retail Price: US $129.98
Shopping Link: Sentai Filmworks


Beyond the Boundary Limited Edition





Sentai Filmworks is really stepping it up with the limited editions this year; this super-fancy version of Kyoani's well-received, lavishly-illustrated supernatural fantasy drama comes in a big display box, with… I mean, just look at all that stuff. It's a huge box. I have to admit, I never saw Beyond the Boundary past the first episode, but let's say like I did watch the show and I really loved it – this would be the one thing I wanted. If someone on your shopping list liked this show, holy cow, man – what are you waiting for? Right Stuf has this sucker down to $116 right now – what a deal!

Retail Price: US $179.98
Shopping Link: Right Stuf

No Game No Life Limited Edition





This show was enormous among dedicated otaku, and Sentai Filmworks decided to give it the deluxe treatment for release here in the US. This version comes with a chipboard box, stickers, posters and a whole lot more, so when you're watching these two social misfits completely dominate the virtual world they're obsessed with, you'll have a ton of cool tchotchkes to do it with. Bonus: it's been out for a little while and there's still some stock left; Amazon has it down to $76.51 as of this writing, which is a steal for a premium, soon-to-be-unavailable thing like this. They dry up quick and never come back, so get while the getting's good!

Retail Price: US $129.98
Shopping Link: Amazon


Knights of Sidonia LE





Hey, it's that anime that was on Netflix! Thanks to this 3DCG spacefaring anime's visibility on Netflix it's a lot more well-known than most anime, and the hard-edged sci-fi story will appeal to casual fans and newcomers alike, so you may want to test this one out on friends or family that you think might dig some anime but haven't dived in for themselves. If they're already a fan, even better – this is another Sentai Filmworks Limited Edition, which is loaded up with cool stuff for the biggest fans out there. The good news is, Amazon has it at $49.99, so you're offering up the best this show has ever looked for not a whole lot of cash.

Retail Price: US $49.98
Shopping Link: Sentai Filmworks


Turn A Gundam Collections 1 & 2





Gundam fans have waited forever for this show, which was masterminded by the series creator and made unavailable to English-speaking fans for years and years. Right Stuf has finally seen fit to release this marvelous (and marvelously ponderous) Gundam series on a handsome DVD collection (with some very cool art choices inside the box). If they haven't already purchased it, this is the perfect gift for the Gundam fan in your life.

Retail Price: US $37.49 each
Shopping Link: Part I (Right Stuf), Part II (Right Stuf)



Mobile Suit Gundam Collections 1 & 2



Okay, so the Gundam fan in your life already bought Turn A Gundam – now what?! Well, you're in luck: Right Stuf also released the very first Gundam series, the one that started it all, on Blu-ray. Yep, that's right; this warts-and-all late 70's giant robot show is now available in pristine condition, and there's a chance your Gundam fan hasn't sprung for this yet – the second collection is only just out before Christmas – so this could be your opportunity to impress!

Retail Price: US $48.74 each
Shopping Link: Part I (Right Stuf), Part II (Right Stuf)



Free! The Complete First Season





There are so many awful jokes I could make here about swapping holiday fruitcake for beefcake (which honestly sounds kind of disgusting – when did we start calling athletic men “beefcake”, anyway? “Beefcake” makes me think of a literal cake of beef, a frosted, sculpted pile of raw ground beef which is just a disgusting mental image. Doesn't make you think “attractive men” at all, does it? I mean, I get the whole “meat imagery to describe men” thing – we call ripped dudes “hunks” (or at least we did), and that's abstract enough to kinda work, but “beefcake” is just so… visceral.)

Retail Price: US $39.95
Shopping Link: Amazon


Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust




Hey look, it's the ideal lavish gothic horror film, and it's on Blu-ray! Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust is not only a classic anime film that just about any fan would likely love to have in HD, but it's also great for relatives who might not know too much about anime but at one point really loved vampires and hey – that's all of us. It's a fantastic-looking film and this is the best it's ever gonna look.
Retail Price: US $29.99
Shopping Link: Right Stuf


Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro Collector's Edition




Speaking of anime that's great for all audiences, Hayao Miyazaki's Lupin III movie is out on an absolutely unprecedented special edition from Discotek that has already won the praises of every DVD critic out there. This is one of those films you can feel comfortable giving to relatives who maybe have seen one or two Ghibli works but haven't done the deep dive yet, and it's such a joy to behold they're guaranteed to love it. It's also perfect for the anime fan in your life who might be obsessed with the here and now and doesn't watch classic anime – this is ALSO one of those films you can use to show people how older anime isn't boring. It's also fifteen bucks on Amazon. Alright, just give up and buy everyone you know The Castle of Cagliostro. Get it over with. You know you will.

Retail Price: US $29.98
Shopping Link: Amazon


Sailor Moon Sets 1-3 Bundle





Sailor Moon is out on Blu-ray! I once called Sailor Moon “the Nike or Coke of anime” and that's true – everyone's heard of it, most people have an opinion on it, and odds are if anime is already on your Christmas shopping list at all and it isn't Dragon Ball Z, it's Sailor Moon. This release is hitting anime fans right in the nostalgia gland (which we all have – it's very large, and very sensitive) and in spite of some unfortunate video quality problems, these discs will likely still make the Sailor Moon fan you know pretty darn happy. This bundle includes everything that's been released, minus the recently recalled Sailor Moon R set 2, so your giftee can wait until Viz reissues that one with fixed audio and can enjoy a mountain of Sailor Moon in the meantime.

Retail Price: US $206.96
Shopping Link: Right Stuf

Naruto The Last





Spoiler alert: this is not the last Naruto film. In fact, they already made another one – it's about his son, Boruto, but it's still called “Boruto: Naruto the Movie” so this title is about as accurate as another horribly misleading film, The Neverending Story. Anyway, this is an inexpensive but very nice release of the only Naruto film written directly by series creator Masashi Kishimoto himself, which means Naruto fans care about it way more than most other Naruto films, which lands you on the “good gift” list of any Naruto-obsessed human you may give this to.

Retail Price: US $29.98
Shopping Link: Amazon


Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set 1





This is for the biggest Type-Moon fan you know; Aniplex's box sets are sort of legendary for being priced at a premium, and this is one of the most popular shows of the year. It's a pretty standard Aniplex LE: a booklet, a CD, a trading card, a lovely box, and a few more things. They look great on any shelf and these releases really are the jewel of any major Fate fan's collection – provided they haven't already bought the considerably-more-expensive Japanese edition. If the Type-moonie in your life is longing for a display piece, this is the thing you want to get.

Retail Price: US $219.98
Shopping Link: Right Stuf


Expelled from Paradise Blu-ray




If you're looking for a more affordable Aniplex release to slip under someone's tree, Expelled from Paradise is a pretty good choice. It's a straightforward, very entertaining sci-fi action romp from the guy responsible for Madoka Magica, and it's the kind of film that not every anime fan has seen but most will find something in it to appreciate. Aniplex did a nice job on this release, too – the packaging is just as slick as their other releases. If you're looking for a midrange item that still seems pretty fancy, this will work.

Retail Price: US $49.98
Shopping Link: Right Stuf


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