When most anime fans think of Japan, they think of stores packed to the brim with anime and floors upon floors of figurines. People dream of billboards plastered with the newest anime to date, video games never translated, and manga that you’ve never heard of as far as the eye can see. This is what the anime capital of the world Akihabara has to offer. Specifically, this is what Animate in Akihabara has to offer.
If there is one store that is a must visit, it’s Animate. It is every anime fan’s dream and, even if you can’t speak or read Japanese, you’ll probably be extremely tempted to squeeze every last drop out of your wallet. Each floor is dedicated to mostly one thing such as manga, anime DVDs, figurines, etc and you can and will spend hours in every section.
There’s an Animate nestled away in a corner that is a little more noticeable but isn’t as big and has elevators over stairs. The Animate talked about in this article is the one on a main street.
Animate in Akihabara Info
|Location||4-3-2 Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0021, Japan|
JR Yamanote Line, Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Sobu Main Line, Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, Toei Oedo Line
|Cost of Admission|
Free to enter
|Hours of Operation|
10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
|Official Website (If available)||General: http://www.animate.co.jp/|
At first glance, the outside of Animate and its logo does it justice. It’s primarily white and blue, solid, firm, and has its solid ground in, well, anime. It’s a thin, tall building nestled to other thin tall buildings but it captures your attention well and the gashapon machines outside help too. Once you venture in, you’ll find yourself on the first floor that completely entrances and intrigues you on the first go. If you look to your left, there’s a plethora of anime food merchandise ranging from anime girl Umeshu (Very sweet Japanese plum wine) to tsundere biscuits. To your right is walls of anime magazines and in the middle of the room is manga. Every floor has a back area too and the back of floor one is all different kinds of trading cards from different series. Downstairs in the basement they feature a new anime every so often that the whole room is dedicated to and includes promotional videos, different kinds of merchandise and more.
Now the next three floors you could easily say are just manga, manga, and more manga but upon closer inspection are obviously divided up into different genres with some extra things thrown in. For starters, floor two is every aspiring manga artists dream. On the left hand side is an entire section of manga material central, both traditional and nontraditional supplies alike. Copic, of course, is the predominate brand because it is most widely used by professional mangaka and inkers in the industry but there’s plenty of different brands of inks, sketchpads, etc. On the top shelf of all the traditional supplies lies the digital side of the manga industry. Drawing tablets, manga drawing programs, and also lit up tracing boards. The manga side of the floor is different manga suited for a wide audience and, even if you can’t read Japanese, you much just study every aisle meticulously. The back of floor two is the ever so popular BL (Boy’s Love) and shoujo, so a section many ladies (and some gents) might find themselves in for awhile.
The Third Floor
Floor three is more manga but with more action and horror thrown into the mix. Manga genres are hard to solidify into one basic genre to begin with so it’s not easily visibly separated but you can see some types nestled into certain corners. The back of floor three is where most people’s goal location is because it contains doujinshi as well as some of the most popular manga including Naruto, Haikyuu, One Piece, and newer but popular series like Nanatsu no Taizai.
The Fourth Floor
Floor four is where heaven officially starts, with oodles and oodles of merchandise of newer series that probably would not be available so readily in your own country. This first section of merchandise, however, is actually mostly men! Bishounen to be specific and the merchandise itself is often really fun; scrunchies of your favorite characters, cels, and various functionable and cute merchandise. In the back is more merchandise and plenty of gashapon machines if you’re on a lower budget!
The Fifth Floor
Floor five is now the opposite, with beautiful girls lining the walls. There’s similar types of merchandise but with less strictly feminine things such as scrunchies because the primary aim is males. But of course, both girls and boys alike lined up every aisle, trying to decide what to spend their money on because we live in a world that doesn’t let the vast majority buy everything out at once! The back is the same as floor four, more merchandise and gashapon.
The Sixth Floor
Floor six is large array of soundtracks from different anime, movies, and the artists that sung them. The back is more soundtracks but also has some console games related to anime and the like.
The Seventh Floor
Floor seven is what one would expect, the long awaited anime DVD collections! All the latest anime on DVD but also many, many live actions, musicals, and more! Live actions such as Death Note, Prince of Tennis and Prince of Tennis musical, if that’s up your alley! The back of floor seven is similarly set up as the basement but with less lighting and more focus on the selected anime playing. It focuses on one anime and plays that so it looks like a theater but without chairs, also with small amounts of merchandise.
Animate is in a very tall and thing building with much gloriousness to be had inside but, yes, it gets a bit crowded at times. Every aisle is thin and there’s always enough people inside to get in someone’s way so just be sure to not bring large backpacks or bags. Akihabara itself is very crunched, the actual anime related stores only spans so many blocks every which way so you’ll never be far from a cafe (regular or maid) and delicious food is always nearby. In general, Akihabara is most packed after school and on the weekends (Sunday is when most people dress up!) so if you go during the weekday daytime it’ll be easier to maneuver. If you’re shopped out but still want to enjoy some more anime, there’s a Gundam cafe near the station and right it is also an AKB48 cafe, the idols who have their own anime, done many anime openings and, quite frankly, are top of the Japanese idol world.
If you are even 0.1% otaku, you should visit Animate. It has the latest and greatest anime, merchandise, wonderful food souvenirs, and supplies to create your own manga! It’s basically a mashup of all the little specialty stores conveniently put into one building. The only thing it is not in abundance of is figurines but they do have plenty of gashapon and smaller figures to make up for it!
Animate is a place you go to if you want to know what’s popular, what’s new, and what’s hip! It all starts with floor one’s magazines, who tell you what’s out and popular so you can venture forth with the knowledge you need to buy everything your heart desires.