Tis the season to watch lots of anime and read lots of manga right? Well 2014 has been a great year for new releases and new shows, so staffers at Three If By Space compiled a list of our top Anime and Manga picks for our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide. Whether you are an avid fan of the genre or new to it, the titles below will bring you the best series picks to add to your collection or to help get your collection started.
Top Holiday Anime TV Picks
#1 Attack On Titan (FUNimation)
Dubbed as Japan’s version of The Walking Dead by io9, this series isn’t #1 on our list because its hugely popular worldwide (which it is). It’s #1 on our list because it’s a great series with a great story line and catchy opening and closing songs.
When the man-eating giants called Titans first appeared, humans retreated behind massive walls. After a hundred years of safety, a colossal-sized Titan smashes through the defenses, unleashing a flood of giants and carnage in the streets. Eren Jaeger watches helplessly as one of the creatures devours his mother. He vows to kill every Titan walking the earth. Eren and his surviving friends enlist to fight against the insatiable monsters. The future looks bleak, but there’s more to Eren than meets the eye: he may be humanity’s last hope against extinction. From the director of Death Note and High School of the Dead comes the series Anime News Network calls “an intense, visceral, and graphic thrill ride.” The Titans have come to feast. Anything can happen. No one is safe.
#2. Tenchi Muyo: War On Geminar (FUNimation)
In my opinion a largely underrated series that should have gotten a second season, this OVA of the Tenchi Muyo universe is a fun and unique mecha scifi series that mixes in the complex story telling you would expect from a good mecha series with a fun comedy of a slice of life type of series and plenty of fan service. This series is worth a pickup and is a great addition to your collection. Whats even better? Each episode is 45 minutes long! So although its only 13 episodes, the extended length gives you the equivalent of a 26 episode season for most other anime.
Fifteen year old Kenshi Masaki was taken from his home planet, transported to a galaxy far, far away, and captured by a gorgeous princess! This royal beauty quickly claims Kenshi as her personal servant – and lends him out to all the lecherous ladies at her prestigious boarding school. On the rare occasion Kenshi doesn’t have his hands full with a curvaceous coed, he can be found training for the intergalactic mecha battle royale looming on the horizon. Helping the princess save her planet is Kenshi’s ticket home, but losing means he’ll be stuck scrubbing backs in the interstellar sauna for the rest of his life! Every boy should be so lucky.
#3. Steins;Gate (FUNimation)
What if your microwave was a time machine? Need I say more?
The microwave is a time machine. Okarin proved it. The self-anointed mad scientist nuked bananas into some gelatinous version of the future. Or maybe it was the past. Doesn’t matter. No one thought he could do it, but he did it anyway. He sent text messages through time to people he knew. To his friends. Some of them female. Pretty. He should have been more careful. He should have stopped. Tampering with the time-space continuum attracts unwelcome attention. Clandestine organizations of nefarious origins take notice. SERN. Always watching. Okarin knows; he can feel their eyes. That’s why he started the top secret Future Gadget Lab. To stop them. You should join. We get to wear lab coats, and it’s dangerous. Danger is exciting because it’s deadly. The microwave is a time machine.
Where To Buy: Steinsgate: Complete Series Classic (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
#4. Gargantia: The Complete Series (Viz Media)
What if all you knew was war and suddenly you were thrust on to a planet unlike anything you had ever seen before. Garganita is a fun scifi anime series with a small amount of robot mixed in but the challenge Ledo faces in learning their language and customs is both amusing and interesting. When the truth is revealed, even Ledo isn’t ready to handle the reality which is even more harsh then the world he came from.
In the distant future, Ledo, a young soldier from space wakes up and finds himself marooned on an ocean planet. Growing up in space, and knowing nothing but battle, he is a stranger in a strange land, full of odd customs and a foreign language, but he’s not alone. Starting a new journey on this verdurous planet, Ledo must find a way to survive and reconcile the fact that he may never be able to return home!
Where To Buy: Gargantia: The Complete Series [Blu-ray]
#5. Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East (Sentai Filmworks)
Watch as Shino Inuzuka along with his best friend Sosuke go on a journey together to learn the truth about both of their pasts and their fates as 8 strangers come together to fight an ancient evil.
When their village was wiped out five years ago, there were only three young survivors: Shino Inuzuka, Sosuke Inukawa, and the girl Hamaji. Through a quirk of fate, both boys share the same peony-shaped birthmark. Genpachi Inukai and Kobungo Inuta were raised hundreds of miles away as foster brothers, but they too share the same birthmark. When they went north as part of the army three years ago, they went to confront demons and came back forever transformed. Now the Imperial Church has come for Shino and Sosuke and they must find eight mystical gems and their owners or face a fate worse than death at the hands of the Church. One of Japan’s greatest works of literature is born again in HAKKENDEN: EIGHT DOGS OF THE EAST!
Top Holiday Manga Series
#1. Attack On Titan (Kodansha Comics)
The anime is great, but the manga is even better. Reaching volume 15 in April, the manga continues the story as the truth about the titans starts to be revealed. If you cannot wait until 2016 for season 2 of the anime, then pickup the manga.
Where To Buy: Attack On Titan Manga
#2. Soul Eater (Yen Press)
The plot of the episodes follows Maka Albarn, a “meister” of the Death Weapon Meister Academy (DWMA), and her living weapon, Soul Eater, as she seeks to make the latter into a “death scythe” through absorbing the souls of evil humans. The series was also turned into an anime series with 51 episodes.
#3. Noragami (Kodansha Comics)
The anime was great, but so far no word on a second season which means if you really want to learn what happens, you need to pickup this manga. Its only on its 2nd volume in North America but it is a worth while pickup.
Yato may just be a minor god now, but he’s determined to make it big and he’s got a plan. Unfortunately, things just don’t seem to be going his way. He doesn’t have a single shrine dedicated to him, his partner has just quit, and now he’s got to find a new divine weapon. Just when things look bleak, he meets a girl named Hiyori and changes her life forever.
Where to buy: Noragami Manga
#4. Seraph Of The End (Viz Media)
What if every adult on earth was killed and the only remaining human population, kids, were enslaved by vampires as their own personal food supply? The series is serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump and has been released on 2 volumes so far, with the 3rd coming Dec 2nd. Recent news from the studio behind Attack On Titan revealed they are turning this series into an anime! Can’t wait. Get yourself caught up by picking up these volumes.
After a catastrophic epidemic kills every adult on earth, vampires arise from the shadows to enslave the remaining human population. Yuichiro escapes from captivity and joins the Japanese Imperial Demon Army. But before he’s allowed to fight vampires, he has to complete his first, terrifying mission–make new friends with his fellow aspiring monster slayers!
Yuichiro and his friends are kept as vampire fodder in a creepy institution masquerading as an orphanage. One day, Yuichiro’s dreams of fighting back are realized when the orphans stage a daring escape. But things go horribly wrong, and his dream is kept alive at a cruel price.
Where To Buy: Seraph Of The End Manga
#5. Deadman Wonderland (Viz Media)
In one of the most twisted anime series next to Neon Genesis Evangelion, Deadman Wonderland brings all the gore as young Ganta is sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit. The awaits him in prison is unlike anything he could have ever imagined. The anime left everything up in the air, but the manga will give you the ending you wanted.
Framed for the brutal murders of his classmates by the mysterious Red Man, middle school student Ganta Igarashi finds himself sentenced to death and sent to the bizarre and fatal theme park/prison that has risen from the ruins of the Great Tokyo Earthquake—a hell on earth known as “Deadman Wonderland.”
Where To Buy: Deadman Wonderland Manga
Now that you have our 2014 holiday gift list, why not give you something a little extra. We will be putting together a holiday gift package giveaway for all our fans that will consist of the first volume of each manga series mentioned above plus Deadman Wonderland on Blu-ray/DVD Combo (courtesy of FUNimation), Gargantia (Courtesy of Viz Media) and your choice of one of our other top 5 anime picks. Enter below using one of the 4 available methods and be sure to come back daily for more entries.
This contest is open to US Residents only. The prize package will consist of the first volume of each of the 5 manga listed above, Deadman Wonderland on Blu-ray/DVD, and your choice of 1 of our top anime series picks on DVD.