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A Manga Gift Guide for All Seasons

Here's what to give the manga lover in your life.

(NOTE: I am based in the USA so this is a USA-centric outlook and guide, but many of these tips can be applied to those residing outside the USA!)

WIX stock photo; boxes of presents wrapped in solid color paper and topped with bows

It's the night before Saturnalia, Valentine's Day, or a birthday. It's some kind of holiday, and you need a present for your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate. They love manga. What do you do? Well, you're in the right place. Tis the Season. Here are 7 evergreen, gift-giving ideas for the manga lover in your life.

Let's get it crackin.'

1. Money

Some people got to have it. Some people really need it. It's money, money, money. Unless they are a rich girl and money ain't a thang, the present haver will appreciate the extra cash during the holidays. Some ducats, bucks, dineros. C.R.E.A.M. Know what I mean, jellybean?

"What would they think of me if I give too little an amount?"

"It's too impersonal!"

"It's not creative."

Bullshit. Why is the saying, "It's the thought that counts," never seem to apply to cash gifts all of the sudden?! My fellow hunters, if you can clear at least $15, your recipient can buy one regular single volume of manga. (Viz raised their prices on manga recently so there's hardly any $10 manga left, unfortunately.😞) In any case, even $5 will be appreciated in the form of coffee, a bill bookmark, or just being $5 less they have to spend somewhere. So, give as much as you can. Nobody expects a whole bunch of money in this economy unless you're like daddy Warbucks or something.

That takes care of the "too little" worry. Now, as far as "too impersonal" or "not creative" goes, there are several thoughtful ways you can give money. You can get a giftcard to their favorite bookstore. If you want to just give money freely, then give them a money order, which is just as good as cash. (Only give cash if you're meeting up in-person.) In any case, with giftcard, cash, or money order in hand, find a greeting card to stuff it in and pen a short and sweet note. If you want to be extra, you can find one of those pre-packaged hot chocolate/tea/coffee mug or food sets to pair your gift with or make your own via the dollar store. If cash is your preference, you can also give your money gift in the form of origami, money trees, or money pizza. Plenty of ways to be ceative about giving money as gifts.

If you're still unconvinced that giving money is the most thoughtful thing you can do, then just remember that by giving money you're saving your recipient time and energy returning the book should they not like it. Your keeping the returned book from going to a landfill, and you're saving yourself time, energy, and anxiety worrying if the recipient will like the manga you gave them. Nobody hates money. Ask the Taxman. It's a win-win situation.

Finally, giving money is great for procrastinators. Let's face it. You should have searched for and sent that gift weeks ago; so, chances are that if you're reading this now you're gonna be late. You're probably panicking as we speak, yes? Curb the anxiety. Throw the reciever a Hail Mary. Send an e-giftcard, venmo, or something else money-related via e-means. A lot of e-giftcards are interactive and can be sent with messages, but if you want to be a little extra or you're just feeling a little guilty, you can send an e-card via Paperless Post. (It's greener to boot!)

Trust me. Giving money, especially during the holidays, is a great thing. They'll take the money and run. At least, I will. Money, that's what I want.

Do I really need to go on? I mean money is the ultimate gift, but I get it. You may not be comfortable giving money or you can't. (Stupid Secret Santa-imposed rules or worse social suicide.) If that's you, I got you. I got 6 more ideas for you to try.

2. Manga Journal

Digital can be overrated. Keep track of your tbr's, daily reading logs, and your manga reviews in a reading journal. I am using an old Barnes & Noble-branded guided reading journal simply called My Book Journal to keep track of my non-manga reads, but this journal and any similar book journal can be used for manga too! (Presently using a composition notebook for my manga journal. It's a mess, but I make it work! 😂) Next time you're in your bookstore of choice, browse the journal isle and see if you can find a guided book journal to give as a present to someone special. (Don't forget the pen!)

If you're looking for guided book reading journals via Amazon, the Clever Fox Reading Journal and the Lamare Book Club Journal look promising. Finally, simply blank, lined, or dotted journals would work too. I'd recommend a wide-ruled composition notebook. I recommend "wide-ruled" because of the bigger and wider lines for writing. (I personally have big handwriting.) Plus, composition notebooks can withstand constant abuse better than spiralbound notebooks. Lastly, there are a bunch of animanga-related notebooks. You can find them everywhere besides bookstores or Hot Topic. (Don't forget the pen!)

3. Manga Collector's Editions, Special Editions, Boxsets, Activity books, & Artbooks

The number of collector's editions, special editions, boxsets, artbooks, and coloring/activity books increase every year, and this year is no exception. It takes a bit more research than the other options as there are quite a few series out there. A nicer edition is great for the first-time reader and the collector. For the reader who already has the series, getting an activity or an artbook is a solid option.

Below is a short list of what's available right now:

  • The Ancient Magus's Bride - boxset

  • Black Bird - boxset

  • Dai Dark - boxset

  • Demon Slayer - boxset, artbooks, bonus/spin-off manga, coloring activity books

  • Komi Can't Communicate - Target-exclusive boxset

  • Made in Abyss - boxset

  • A Neighborhood Story - Kinokuniya-exclusive vol. 1 variant

  • Orange - boxset

  • Ouran High School Host Club - boxset

  • Parasyte - hardcover color edition

  • Princess Jellyfish - boxset

  • The Promised Neverland - boxset

  • Ryuko - boxset

  • A Silent Voice - boxset, 2-vol collector's edition

  • Spy x Family - boxset, guidebook

  • Summertime Rendering - store-exclusive boxsets (Barnes & Noble), hardcovers

  • Sweat & Soap - boxset

  • Takane & Hana - vol. 18 limited editon

  • Thermae Romae - complete hardcover omnibus

  • Toilet-Bound Hanako - boxset, artbooks

  • Vampire Knight - boxset, artbooks

  • Vinland Saga - deluxe omnibus edition

  • Wotakoi - boxset, store exclusive variants, artbook

  • Yarichin Bitch Club - vol. 4 limited edition

boxsets holiday edition graphic by Seven Seas

4. Manga one volume/oneshots

There are a ton of series that are only 1 volume long or are told all-in-one volume. One shot manga is a great place to start reading and collecting manga. Besides being easy on the wallet, one shot manga is a great way to find underrated gems and unique gifts for you and your irl moots.

Below is a short list:

  • 5 Seconds Before a Witch Falls in Love

  • Boy Meets Maria

  • The Bride Was a Boy

  • Came the Mirror & Other Tales

  • Cats of the Louvre

  • Captivated by You

  • Children of Mu-Town

  • A Druken Dream & Other Stories

  • Embrace Your Size

  • Emma Dreams of Stars

  • The Gay who turned Kaiju

  • Give Her Back to Me

  • Hard-Boiled Stories from the Cat Bar

  • Haru's Curse

  • I Don't Know How to Give Birth!

  • I'm a Terminal Cancer Patient, but I'm Fine

  • In Clothes Called Fat

  • Is Love the Answer?

  • I've Become An Omega Today

  • Junji Ito works

  • Let's Go Karaoke

  • A Life Turned Upside Down: My Dad’s an Alcoholic

  • The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story

  • Makeup is Not (Just) Magic: A Manga Guide to Cosmetics and Skin Care

  • Mermaid Scales and the Town of Sand

  • Midnight Rain

  • Monotone in Blue

  • Mothers

  • My Brain is Different: Stories of ADHD and Other Developmental Disorders

  • My Broken Mariko

  • Nagata Kabi's works

  • Not Love But Delicious Foods

  • Olympos

  • Paradise Kiss

  • Penguin Gentlemen

  • Pink

  • Qualia the Purple

  • Ristorante Paradiso

  • Robo Sapiens: Tales of Tomorrow

  • Sazan & Comet Girl

  • The Secret of Friendship

  • Secretly, I've Been Suffering About Being Sexless

  • Seven Days: Monday to Sunday

  • A Story of Seven Lives

  • Tableau Numero 20

  • Talk to My Back

  • To Strip the Flesh

  • Until I Meet My Husband

  • The Walking Cat

(I reviewed the hyperlinked manga. 😉)

Is Love the Answer by Uta Isaki ch 1 page shows a young woman in a space suit sitting on top a pile of books
Is Love the Answer by Uta Isaki

5. Digital Manga Subscriptions

Just like everything else, digital manga seems to be growing over the past few years. We have a number of digital subscriptions to choose from, but the general consensus seems to be Viz's Shonen Jump app for Shonen Jump manga and the new Viz Manga app for everything else. So, you can gift the manga lover in your life with either or both services for a year, and they'll be set with the latest and greatest plus an extensive backlog. However, if you're not a huge fan of Viz's manga, you'll find these services lacking. So, it may be worth your while to explore what else is out there.

Here's a short list of manga digital subscription services and storefronts:

  • Azuki

  • Coolmic

  • Comikey

  • JNovel Club

  • Kindle Unlimited (Amazon)

  • KManga (Kodansha)

  • INKR

  • Lezhin

  • Mangamo

  • MangaPlanet

  • MangaPlaza

  • MangaPlus

  • MangaUp (Square Enix)

  • Pocket Comics

  • Renta

  • Tapas

  • Tappytoon

6. Briarwick Candles

Briarwick Candles is a small candle-making company. The company specializes in fantasy and romance book series. I've seen their products in some of my favorite bookstores, but the whole catalogue is best viewed via the Briarwick website. As far as general scents go, I personally love Book Boyfriend and Gothic Manor. (As for specific book candles, I really loved the Ice Planet scent. 🙈) The company has made scents of your favorite romance tropes, general bookish things, and more. So, while not an exclusive manga-related thing, it still adds ambience to a cozy night of reading.

(As for manga candles, I've usually looked in places like Etsy. #NotSponsored)

Books on a shelf with the Briarwick Book Boyfriend-scented candle as a bookend

7. Socks

I know. I know. It's cliche, but there's a reason socks make great gifts, especially for (adult) readers. One, nobody likes to buy socks. They get dirty, holey, and lost easily. Two, sizes are universal. It's the least stressful clothing item to buy besides a baseball cap. Three and last, warm cozy socks are perfect for cold feet trying to stay warm under the blanket on cold nights. Nothing distracts you from reading like being cold. So, warm fuzzy socks are great. Anime socks are even better. Combine both, and you'll have perfection. You can find anime socks at speciality sock stores, counter-culture clothing stores (like Hot Topic and Spencer's), shoe stores, specialty retailers (like Box Lunch), and of course, the usual suspects Target, Wal-Mart, and Amazon. Easy peasy. Lemon squeezy. Fo' sheezy.

pikachu slipper socks - BoxLunch exclusive; they look fuzzy and warm


And there you have it. Seven gift-giving ideas for every season. No matter what the occasion is, an anniversary, graduation, New Year's, Christmas, money and the other 6 ideas will make a great gift for the manga lover in your life. So, give with confidence!

Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!

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