Christmas Stocking Stuffers

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In our family, we can tell that Christmas is coming when mum breaks out the “holiday china”: a set of gilt-edged porcelain dishes bearing a pattern of green holly leaves and red berries. Sure, it’s been two weeks since the fake pine tree first sprouted up in the living room and the traditional nativity scene appeared in the formal dining room (not to mention the plastic pine boughs dotted with poinsettias that are now choking the life out of our walls and ceilings), but we know the holidays are just around the corner when we start eating breakfast off plates that Mrs. Claus might’ve had in her kitchen.

So in anticipation of this year’s festivities, I present a list of the goodies I’ve lined up for acquisition over the next couple of months (as well as some of the stuff I’ve recently purchased). In keeping with the theme of the blog, this post only includes anime, manga and related items. Non-anime/manga-related books, DVDs, gadgets and other products that have nothing to do with Japanese visual culture have been excluded.

Just one other thing: you won’t find any pictures in this post (apart from the opening image), at least for the time being. I’m not comfortable with pasting in pictures taken directly from commercial sites like Amazon.com so I normally snap and use my own. When the Last Exile set I ordered from the U.S. gets here, I might do a quick photo shoot and add a few images to the post sometime during the weekend.

UPDATE (25 November 2007): Instead of keeping this page in its original state (with the occasional update to keep track of events involving the items already listed), I will now use it as a catalogue of everything anime/manga-related that I buy during the holiday season (defined within the context of this post as the period running from the second week of November to the second week of January). Expect a lot of edits and updates as I drive myself ever closer to destitution in a futile attempt to sate my appetite for the products of Japanese visual culture.

ANIME

About three weeks ago, I saw a few minutes of Last Exile on my sister’s laptop and was completely blown away by the aerial battle that was taking place before my eyes. It didn’t exactly command my attention in a marathon-me-at-once sort of way – in fact, even now I have yet to finish a single episode – but the consensus among reviewers appeared to be that this was something worth watching. On an impulse, I did a quick search on Amazon.com and came across this magnificent boxed set (containing all seven volumes of the series and a couple of neat extras), which looked too good to pass up. I ordered the set just a few hours ago; it should arrive within the week. UPDATE (25/11/07): The set arrived on Friday, 23/11/07. An illustrated review post will be published soon.

Back in June, ADV Films announced that it had acquired the North American theatrical, home video and broadcast rights to Shinkai Makoto’s Byousoku 5 Centimeter. The DVD is scheduled for release in December, although at this point we still don’t have an exact date; the temporary official site set up by ADV doesn’t give us any additional information. I plan to get myself a copy of this stunning work of art as soon as it becomes available.

On Tuesday, 20 November, Funimation will release a four-volume DVD set of Fruits Basket. This series is an old favourite of mine – I’m following the original manga series right now – so I think it’s about time I added it to my permanent collection. I might order this one together with Byousoku 5 Centimeter. UPDATE (31 December 2007): Ordered from YesAsia. Because a couple of items in the same order need to be delivered from a different supplier before the whole package ships, I don’t expect to receive the DVD set until sometime after 14 January 2008.

[added 31 December 2007] The first R1 volume of Kyoto Animation’s 2006 series Kanon is due to hit store shelves in North America tomorrow, New Year’s Day. I expect to receive my copy from YesAsia sometime after the fourteenth (NB: it’s part of the same order as the Fruits Basket DVD set described in the previous paragraph).

MANGA

I bought the first volume of School Rumble at PowerBooks Greenbelt last Monday and started browsing through it that night. I liked what I saw – good character designs, well-executed art, a fun (if somewhat mindless) story with loads of LOL stupidity – so I went out and grabbed all the translated volumes that had been published so far (seven in all, with the eighth due for release in December). If you’re in the mood for some comedy, I strongly recommend that you give this series a try; just don’t expect too much from it. Oh, and I think I’m falling for Yakumo.

The last volume of Genshiken (one of my all-time favourite manga series) is coming out in the U.S. next Friday, 30 November. I ordered a copy of the special version of Volume 9 – which included a drama CD – when it first came out in Japan last December and it seemed like a worthy conclusion to the series (although I couldn’t understand much of it, given my limited knowledge of Japanese). I’ll be sure to grab the English translation when it finally hits the shelves here in Manila, which will probably be a few weeks after the U.S. release date. Of course, if a month goes by without any sign of Volume 9 I’ll probably put in a special order for it via PowerBooks. UPDATE (10 December 2007): Got my copy today, thanks to A Different Bookstore.

[added 10 December 2007] I now officially proclaim PowerBooks Greenbelt the manga capital of the Philippines. (Well, for those of us who are too timid to venture out into the real otaku hotspots, at any rate.) Their manga collection just keeps growing larger and more varied by the day, eating up more and more shelf space in the graphic novels section; indeed, I’m already looking forward to the day when the other half of the collection (on the second floor) starts spilling over into the children’s shelves for want of room. My pick of the latest deliveries: Volumes 19, 20 and 22 of Fruits Basket. Funnily enough, the PowerBooks buyers seem to have left #21 out of their shopping list – the store’s electronic catalogue doesn’t even have an entry for it.

[added 22 December 2007] The original Japanese editions of Azuma Kiyohiko’s four-volume Azumanga Daioh series have been sitting in my anime bookcase for months. Today, ADV Manga’s recently published Azumanga Daioh omnibus volume – collecting all four English-edition volumes within one cover – will join them.

OTHERS

I pre-ordered Good Smile’s 1/8 PVC figure of Kino (from the anime series Kino no Tabi) several months ago. This beautifully sculpted portrait is due out on Christmas Eve, which doesn’t bode well for its chances of reaching me in double-quick time (what with the holidays, the extra shipping volume at this time of year and so forth). Still, I’m mildly optimistic that I’ll get it before New Year’s Day.

2 Responses

  1. […] Christmas Stocking Stuffers […]

  2. Well, I find it extraordinarily interesting.Good luck to all of you. And I’m sure you’ll do fine. Really. Just fine.

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