Just left Tokyo today and thought I would write up about my anime shopping excursions a little. I'm not a very typical buyer - I don't see the need for toys or figures - I like useful things like cups and bags, or pretty trinkets like stationary, stamps (ink kind) and stickers.
I visited all the main anime/manga sites I could find out about, wish I knew a local person who could show me all the really great off the beaten path type of places, but you take what you can and run with it. Oh, and I also wanted to see all the city main attractions so my time was really tight during my 5 days there.
My hotel was closest to Nakano Broadway, so I went there first. Basically what all the websites say are true, several floors of used manga/anime goods, mostly figures, little toys and figures (like the kind you find in the capsule machines), doujins (wow that was an experience, so many books - it was difficult to find anything, there was just so much and so little time). I didn't find a lot to buy, just because I didn't have a lot of time (got there an hour before closing and I spent most of it try to find doujin : ) and most of the items I saw I've seen back in the Okinawa used manga/anime shops, except for the doujinshi. Not a lot of character goods (especially shoujo ones) for my taste, but I might have found more if I had more time.
Went to Animate! the next day - I found it a little difficult to find - maybe my notes were not compete enough, but I thought it would be closer to the station. The streets just outside Ikebukuro station are really busy and there are signs and stores everywhere in every direction... couldn't find the Sunshine 60 Building right off - finally found the store and it was worth the effort - a nice character goods store. I spent way too much, could have spent much much more, lol. They mostly carry current shows - with a few exceptions for popular shows like Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro (Live Action Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro movie!!! I will definitely be paying the 1600 yen to see that movie!), Evangelion and Dragonball - and mostly shounen anime like Bleach, Naruto and Hitman Reborn (this was everywhere, too bad I haven't seen it - I think I'll move it to the top of my list :)
One thing that the websites never mentioned was that one more store down is a doujin store! I almost missed, since I wasn't looking for it. The first floor is the 'for girls' ie. more romantic or less graphic doujinshi. The 2nd floor is the R-rated 18 books. There was also a basement with 18 warning signs, lol. You can tell when you have entered a HENTAI zone, it is mostly all guys and as soon as you walk in they all stare at you like "what are you doing here?" I did a quick turn around back up the stairs, I'm such a coward!!! lol
Akihabara - there are several anime stores here that I found out about online and I didn't have too much trouble finding them - they were all on the same street, practically one after another. Probably a few more around if I had time to look around more on other streets, but I mostly have time for shopping after everything else closes at 5pm and most of the stores close at 8pm (why? too early!!). Another time I would love to come and just go shopping, but who knows if that will ever happen... well, maybe someday ^_^
Most of the stores I went to were for games, or more toy/figure boy oriented - i was like the only girl on some floors... obvious there by mistake... sigh, i need to learn more Japanese vocabulary. I can read the characters most of the time, just don't know what they mean, lol.
There was also an Animate! store located in Akihabara that was never mentioned on any of the sites I visited. I'm really glad I went to the one in Ikebukuro first, cause even though the stores are similar and carry basically the same inventory, the one in Ikebukuro is much bigger and nicer, plus there was the doujin store that I would have missed... I might have just skipped it if I had gone to Akihabara first. I did find a coffee mug here that the other Animate! was out of - so happy about that! There is an Animate! in Okinawa that I visited a few times, but the stores in Tokyo were much bigger and had a lot more variety!
The Jump Shop! OMG! How did I almost miss this one? When I learned that I was going to Tokyo, I started to Google to see where to go for anime/manga goods - I found out about Akihabara, Nakano Broadway and the Animate across from the Sunshine 60 building - but I never read a thing about The Jump Stores - and there are several in Tokyo alone. If I hadn't happened on a poster in the subway system, I would have never know they existed! Thank God, cause Akihabara was a bust for me, Nakano was alright, but I'm not into toy and figure collecting and Animate, well that store is right up my ally, but didn't have much Eyeshield 21, which is one of my favorite mangas. When I saw the Jump Shop I knew it would be my last change to get some Eyeshield 21 character goods. I was also looking for Naruto's Kiba items for my cousin.
It is in ODAIBA or DAIBA - a popular place for people to go shopping and enjoy the nightlife. Went there my last night in Tokyo, around 8pm just to look around after a long day of sightseeing - of course most of the shops closed around 9pm. When I saw this poster, I made a bee line towards AQUA CIty, which was right outside the subway line exit - yeah!
I get there and it is 8:30pm - and I want to find this store. We go to the directory and it isn't listed! Then my aunt reads the poster - they are on all the doors and says that the store doesn't open until 7/19 ... it is 7/17 - you can imagine my reaction ... needless to say I was crushed... so to compensate I shopped for clothes for the next 20 mins. I should have known better - my aunt has a history of assuming things or not fully grasping the context of things or fully reading signs... sign.
Around the corner I see the Jump Shop - and decide to just go and look at it and take a picture and it is in the process of CLOSING for the day... WHAT! I quicken my steps and basically race thru the store looking for stuff to buy before they close in like 5 minutes. I couldn't believe it, and I wasted time buying clothes... Oh well, at least I was able to get a few things, but I had to move so fast, I probably missed a lot.
I did manage to find a lot of nice items, so I was very happy anyway - at least I got something.
When I got back to the hotel, I did a search for The Jump Shop and found mostly Japanese websites. The official page lists 5 stores throughout Japan, two in Tokyo and the one I went to wasn't there so now there are three. Found out there were stores at Tokyo station and near the Tokyo Dome - both of which I was at earlier in the day... sign. I want another day. On the plus side, I did find out about another store in Osaka and I'll be there for a few hours before my plane leaves, hopefully I'll be able to visit again.
EDIT: I did a google search and found this... apparently i missed a lot :( ahh sucks when you are traveling with others and have no control and limited internet access to do research on ... sigh
Well, I traveled from Tokyo to Kyoto and then to Osaka. My plane leaves from around 6pm, so it is a full morning of travel from Kyoto to Osaka by train. The airport/train station is on the outskirts of the city, so I have to take the metro into the city to Osaka main station to do any shopping. You'd think 5 hours would be enough time... well take a hour to check in our luggage and figure out which metro to take. Another hour of travel to Osaka station, so that means another hour to get back... so one and a half to two hours. just need to find the right building ... not as easy as i thought it would be. but, long story aside, I did manage to find the Jump Shop and was able to actually look around and shop ^_^ It was crowded, too. There was stuff from every jump comic there, posters, pins, figures, t-shirts, etc. definitely a must stop shop!
ps. I will go back and add links and more pictures if anyone is interested. I just wanted to write this all up while it was fresh on my mind.
pss. Also where is all the shoujo manga/anime stuff located... its all shounen. I've looked, but I guess I'm just looking in the wrong places. :( All I see are art books and manga. Anyone? It can't all be mail order...