Important Importables: 5 quick Valentine’s Day import gift suggestions

February 13, 2011 - 3:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: 5 quick Valentine’s Day import gift suggestions

Section: Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Gift Guide, Japanese Imports, Gear, Accessories, Comics-and-Graphic-Novels, Figures & Toys, Gear-Other, Ads & Media, TV, Home Video

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Surprise! I know, this week’s column was supposed to be about Nendoroids, but don’t worry. We’ll look over those cute little figurines next week. Since Valentine’s Day is Monday, I figured it would be more appropriate to offer a little list minute list of possible import-ish gift suggestions that you can give your special someone this year.

Now, since overseas shipping probably isn’t an option at such a late date like this, almost all of the gift suggestions below should be available in a specialty store near you. I may toss in an online shopping option if there’s an expedited shipping option so you could probably have the gift arrive by February 14, 2011.

Kimi Ni Todoke 11: Manga

Translated shojo manga can make a great gift, and not just for women. There are a lot of guys who enjoy romantic dramas or comedies too. Best of all, they’ll be easy to find since both Barnes and Noble and Borders both carry a wide selection of series. You could probably even find and order some from Amazon and have them delivered by Monday.

Here are a few series you may want to check out. Perhaps buy the first volumes of two or three of them, put them in a pink or red gift bag with a sappy card and deliver it to your special someone. Since I’m a sucker for this kind of manga, I’m recommending my personal favorites.

  • Chobits – Technically, it’s a Seinen manga. It’s romantic and sweet, with a few perverted moments.
  • Fruits Basket – It doesn’t start getting romantic until about halfway through the series, but it’s a classic and a good read.
  • Kimi ni Todoke – This series practically makes me cry with each volume. It’s sweet, sappy and incredibly melodramatic.
  • Ouran High School Host Club – Like Fruits Basket, it takes a while to get romantic. It’s a nice, funny and lighthearted series.
  • Paradise Kiss – Again, another funny shojo series. Just don’t expect an typical shojo ending.

2: Anime DVD box sets

Anime could also make a good Valentine’s Day gift, especially if you go for shojo, romances, dramas or romantic comedies. The best part is, with an anime DVD gift, you can watch the series together as a couple! That, and that they’re really easy to find. Borders, Best Buy and Amazon all carry box sets, so you should have no trouble finding a good series to buy and wrap up before Monday.

Again, I’m going with some personal shojo anime recommendations here.

  • Boys Over Flowers (Hana Yori Dango) – The art style is a little dated, but this is a great series. I’d recommend the manga too, but it’s a 36 volume series so it’s best to go with the anime adaptation.
  • Fruits Basket – Okay, so there’s really no romance in the anime adaptation, but it’s still adorable.
  • Honey & Clover – This is a bittersweet romance/slice of life series following a group of high school friends. It’s great if the person you know loves dramas.
  • Kare Kano: His and Her Circumstances – It offers a funny, sweet and somewhat realistic look at high school romance. Plus, it was done by Gainax!
  • Ouran High School Host Club
  • Princess Tutu – With all the hype over Black Swan, it seems only appropriate that the ballet-fairytale Princess Tutu gets some love too. Don’t let the sappy name fool you, this is a seriously awesome series. Don’t bother with the manga though – it doesn’t compare.

Pokemon Throw Poke Ball Piplup3: Plushies

Stuffed toys of video game or anime characters are a perfect option, especially since every tends to associate plushies with Valentine’s Day anyways. If you head to your local Borders store, you should be able to see some cute little stuffed Domo-kun toys. F.Y.E. stores tend to have a fairly large anime section, with stuffed toys from series like Bleach, Naruto, Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog tossed back there. If you head to your local Toys R Us, you may even be able to find a Pokemon Throw Poke Ball from Jakks Pacific, which comes with a pokeball with a stuffed Piplup or Pichu inside! You may want to be careful with that last one though – if he or she doesn’t like the gift, it might get thrown at you.

If you’re living in the US, then you may want to hurry over to the Video Game Plush website. They have a Second Day shipping option that will get your order to you in 1-2 business days. You could have a stuffed Kirby, white Pikmin, Link or Chocobo in your loved one’s hands by Valentine’s Day. 

4: Flavored Kit-Kats

If you have an Asian grocery store near your house, you may want to stock up on flavored Kit-Kats to include with your Valentine’s Day gift. I recently stopped by Mitsuwa Plaza in Arlington Heights, IL, and found green tea flavored Kit-Kat bars that are absolutely delightful. For some unknown reason, Japan happens to get some rather unique Kit-Kat flavors that aren’t released in North America, which means they make an awesome little gift to include with presents. If you can find it, the caramel flavored Kit-Kats are also quite good.

The rose or red wine flavored Kit-Kat would probably be most appropriate, but both can be very difficult to find outside of Japan without importing. The same can be said for the raspberry passion fruit Kit-Kats that sometimes appear in Japan in February. If all else fails, you can always try to hunt for strawberry shortcake Kit-Kats – at least they’ll be the right color for the holiday!

If you really want a special flavor and want to risk it, you can always try ordering from napaJapan. They have a great selection of Japanese Kit-Kats and, if you choose the EMS shipping option, you might actually receive it by Valentine’s Day.

Final Fantasy XIII FFXIII Lightning Pendant Square Enix5: Jewelry

This one is going to cost you and is the one case where your item won’t arrive anywhere near. Seriously, prepare yourself for sticker shock. Square Enix’s Online Shop carries jewelry inspired by games like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest . You can find necklaces, rings and earrings that would make any gamer girl or boy squeal with delight. The catch is, it’s all very expensive. The cheapest thing I saw was the FFX Tidus’ Earring for $51.99 and the most expensive item was FFXIII Serah’s Engagement Pendant for $249.99. Now, before you scoff and say no one would actually pay that kind of money for a necklace like that, let me also point out that the replica of Serah’s necklace is actually sold out at the moment. (You can still get FFXIII Snow’s Pendant for $229.99 though!)

If you don’t mind cheaping out a bit, you can always head o the keychain section
at the Square Enix Online Shop and pick up something for $19.99. That really isn’t an option though, as you have to buy over $23 worth of merchandise for the store to even process your order.

Look at it this way! If you’re a guy, you can choose this option, order a gift for your wife or girlfriend and then say you’ll give it to her on White Day (March 14, 2011). If they know anything about Japanese culture, they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports talks about Nendoroids – for real this time!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week talked about UVERworld.

Site [UVERworld] Site [Play-Asia] Site [YesAsia] Site [NCSX] Site [Himeya Shop] Site [Strapya World]

Full Story » | Written by Jenni Lada for Gamertell. | Comment on this Article »

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