>Christmas shopping guide

>Lots of anime DVDs have been released this year, but how do you separate the anime gems from the anime crap? Never fear, for Jonathan Oyama is here to help. Here’s some of my personal recommendations for the anime fans for 2008.

Best all-around:
Code Geass

Any giant robot fan will love “Code Geass,” the anime which combines the intense action of robot anime with the sinister anti-hero, Lelouch Lamperouge. The series features a compelling plot, in which Lelouch wants to demolish the nation of Brittanica. He wants to put Japan back into power, with himself as the new monarch. And he’s bound to cause trouble with his eye, which he can use to control people at will. The series is intriguing, heart-wrenching and bound to stir plenty of controversy for its anti-imperialist message, but it’s probably the best anime to be released this year.

For anime movie fans:
5 Centimeters Per Second

While this was one of the only anime films released this year, it is one of the best anime films ever made by Makoto Shinkai. The warm colorful backgrounds are some of the most beautiful ones that I’ve ever seen in a movie, and they accentuate the soft, gentle tone of this anime about lost love. And although the ending is bound to make some anime fans upset, they cannot deny that the love stories expressed in this anime are some of the most wonderful ones in anime history.
Don’t even bother with the live-action Death Note film–“5 Centimeters Per Second” is one of those films that will be remembered for years to come.

For action anime fans:
Gurren Lagann

Gurren Lagann may have the wackiest art style and the most straightforward plot, but it has some of the coolest robot battles that I’ve ever seen. The two main characters, Simon and Kamina, are two guys stuck in an underground town, who rise to the surface after discovering a buried robot. Now, with the help of a sniper, Yoko, Simon and Kamina are taking down the evil Gunmen robots to free the world from control of the Spirals. There may be some crude humor, but no one can deny how cool these robot battles are.

For shojo anime fans:
Ouran High School Host Club

Unfortunately, not much shojo anime was released this year. However, Ouran High School Host Club is an absolute gem of a romance. The main character, Haruhi, is probably the coolest anime girl, who can dress up as a guy too. Her guy friends in the Ouran Host Club are just as memorable, with members such as the passionate, overprotective leader Tamaki, the money-grubbing vice president Kyoya, the gay(?) Hitatchiin twins, the cute Honey-senpai and the quiet Takashi Mori.
Sure, it’s not the most serious shojo anime I’ve ever seen, but it is the funniest.

For horror lovers:
When They Cry

Nothing’s scarier than the town of Hinamizawa, where “When They Cry” takes place. One girl is a mental headcase who turns insane, another girl tries to kill her sister, and another girl is suffering from physical abuse. With such a crazy, disturbed cast, no wonder someone always dies in the Watanagushi festival in Hinamizawa every year. Don’t worry–one of the girls is trying to stop the killings, but it might be a little difficult to change the fate of a town which may go through a fatal genocide very soon.

For box set lovers:
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

This series literally blew me away in 2007 with its hilarious cast. Haruhi is the bossy teenage girl, completely oblivious to the fact that her mood swings affect the fate of the entire world. Her club, the S.O.S. brigade does everything it can to find extraterrestrial life and have fun with them. Although it has only 12 episodes, the entire series is a blast from start to finish. And now you can get all four DVDs in one box set for only $45.

The bang for your buck award:
Gurren Lagann Part One

This series is a sweet deal. This pack contains the first two Gurren Lagann volumes, which contain 15 episodes of one of the coolest action anime in one box for only $36. There’s plenty of other packs with great deals, but I have to give kudos to Bandai for packing the first half of the series in this value set. And anyone who wants the end of the series can just save up another $36 for the second half.

Image courtesy of teenbibliotecaria.blogspot.com, animewriter.wordpress.com, kairu 90.wordpress.com, animeafterglow.wordpress.com, arina1992-lierlied.blogspot.com and freewebs.com

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