While Tokyo has a few neighbourhoods known for being great places to buy anime merchandise and partake in all things otaku, the most famous name is Akihabara. Akihabara, called Akiba for short, is also known as Tokyo's electric town. It has a lot of secondhand electronics for sale of every kind. Need a new laptop? That's easy. Need some walkie talkies to prepare for the spacious? Akiba has it. Looking for some top-rate spy equipment? You can find it. And amongst all the electronics stores, you'll find more game and anime merchandise than you can begin to imagine! And with the streets full of maids promoting their cafes and fellow otaku looking for their next purchase, the atmosphere is kind of electric, too!
Akiba is known for being the centre of moe culture in Japan, and that alone makes it a fun and popular choice for anime to take place in. A lot of anime break the fourth wall a bit by including characters that are fans of anime themselves, and when the story revolves around characters like that, Akihabara serves as a great backdrop. The availability of electronics there also adds an element to science fiction anime that makes them more believable with Akiba for a setting. And the fun energy in the air and constant crowds of so many different people, streets lined with lights and screens, and narrow alleys and shops full of stuff you can't even imagine gives anime a lot to work with.
So if you're looking to catch a bit of the personality of Akihabara yourself and enjoy some anime set in this otaku paradise, you've come to the right place! Whether you've been there yourself or not, enjoy our picks for the Top 10 Anime Set in Akihabara. And with how many different genres and types of stories there are, we hope there's something for everyone - and you can bet that they all take advantage of their unique setting in Tokyo's electric town!
10. Night Wizard (Night Wizard the Animation)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct. 2007 – Dec. 2007
Night Wizard is about Renji Hiiragi, a young man who is just trying to finish school like a normal person. However, Renji is anything but normal; he's actually a Night Wizard, someone who has to protect the world from darkness. And he's always being called out to fight! When his latest mission is to protect a new transfer student at his school named Elis Shiho, things start out normal. But everything changes when they discover that Elis holds the Jewel of Kindness, one of the seven secret jewels that allow someone to become a Night Wizard! Looks like Elis is in for a whole new life.
Night Wizard is a fantasy anime, of course, but the background for everything that happens is actually Akihabara! It serves as a good setting for the encroaching darkness that Renji and Elis have to face. While Akiba isn't an entirely essential setting like the rest of the anime on our list, it's there all the same. You can see the streets and a bit of the life there, and of course, it's mentioned now and again in dialogue. So if you're looking for an anime that isn't in your face about being set in Akihabara but you can still enjoy that it's there, all the same, try Night Wizard!
9. Outbreak Company
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct. 2013 – Dec. 2013
Outbreak Company is the story of Shinichi Kanou. With a light novel author for a dad and an eroge illustrator for a mum, Shinichi literally has otaku nature in his very blood. Not being very creative himself hasn't held him back either - Shinichi's incredible knowledge of all things otaku has made him excel at marketing. And now he's about to have his most challenging job yet! What seems at first to be a mysterious kidnapping landing him in a strange fantasy world turns out to be a plan by the Japanese government to improve relations with the land of Eldant. And how better to do that than to educate the people there about otaku culture - and Shinichi is just the guy to do it!
Admittedly most of Outbreak Company does take place in the fantasy world of Eldant rather than Tokyo. However, the series connection to Akihabara is still always present! After all, it is a show about marketing otaku culture to a new audience, and there's nowhere that says otaku quite like Akiba does. And when Shinichi does return to Tokyo for a while (with an extra guest along for the adventure) you can bet Akihabara is where they go! Shinichi's knowledge of Akiba and what it stands for and his passion for moe culture is what has given him this unique opportunity in the first place, and keeps him going, too. Maybe the physical setting of Outbreak Company is only Akihabara for a little while, but the emotional one remains firmly in Akiba and everything it represents as the themes permeate into the land of Eldant.
8. Ore no Imouto ga Konnai Kawaii Wake ga Nai (My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct. 2010 – Dec. 2010
Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai follows two siblings and their strange relationship together. The main character is Kyousuke, a very normal boy. The second is his little sister Kirino, who is anything but normal. Kirino is incredibly popular at school, gets nearly perfect grades, and works part-time as a model alongside a woman who hates everything otaku. So when Kyousuke discovers an erotic anime game in Kirino's room one day, she's willing to do anything to keep her secret otaku life from getting exposed! And along the way, she's happy to educate her brother about the finer points of anime and eroge. Through her, he even meets new people including cosplayers and gothic lolitas. And all the while, Kyousuke wonders how this person can really be his little sister - and be so cute, too!
Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai does not take place entirely in Akihabara, but Kyousuke and Kirino certainly visit it. After all, Akiba is the otaku paradise and you can find any eroge you could dream of available there. It only makes sense that Akihabara would be an important stop on Kirino's path to educating her brother! The two visit Akiba to go shopping for new anime and eroge, which is a huge part of why anyone goes to Akihabara. It's a great insight into shopping there and pretty realistic about what you're likely to find in an otaku shop. Plus the trips to Akihabara are a right of passage for Kyousuke on his journey towards otaku enlightenment! Thus though it's not the only setting for the anime, Akiba is still an important part of making Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai what it is.
- Episodes: 40
- Aired: Jan. 2008 – Mar. 2008
Moegaku★5 is about a girl with the interesting name of Moe Tsukishima. Moe's life seems normal until one day when she encounters a strange green creature named Lulue. With Lulue's powers, Moe is transformed into a magical girl! Of course, she needs to use her newfound powers for a purpose, and Moe's is very important indeed. The neighbourhood of Akihabara is being threatened by evil forces that are threatening to wipe it out! So Moe uses her magical girl powers to protect the district from them, and thus protect the heart of Japan's moe culture.
Moegaku★5 is very different from your average anime; in fact, it's only partially an anime at all, and also partially a live action. Its source is also unique in that it's based on a series of language learning software games also called Moegaku. But as we already said, the whole thing takes place in Akihabara! The story centres on keeping the neighbourhood safe after all, and nothing can protect the atmosphere and culture of Akiba like a magical girl. It makes Moe a very suitable hero for this otaku city, and with a name like Moe, there's nowhere better for her to use her magic powers. After all the story wouldn't be the same if it wasn't set in Akiba, which makes Moegaku★5 a special and unique choice of anime set in Akihabara. If you like magical girls or just want to try something really different from anything you've watched before, give it a try.
6. Love Live! School Idol Project
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jan. 2013 – Mar. 2013
Love Live! School Idol Project is the story of high schooler Honoka Kousaka and her friends as they create a school Idol group in an attempt to save their school from shutting down by boosting attendance. Of course, it's not that easy to create an Idol group from nothing, especially when the student council president is completely against your wishes! But that doesn't stop Honoka and her friends from trying their best to recruit members in hopes of competing in the Love Live, an upcoming competition for school Idol groups in Japan. Can they find enough girls for their group? Will they be able to make it to the Love Live? And of course, can they save their beloved high school?
While Love Live! School Idol Project travels to several different locations in Tokyo, it spends a significant amount of time in Akihabara. The choice makes sense since Akiba is the birthplace and home of popular real-life Idol group AKB48! So, of course, these Idol-wannabe girls spend their time in the same neighbourhood. You can definitely recognise the streets and some shop fronts in scenes in the anime from the real Akihabara. And as an added bonus, one of the girls named Kotori works at a maid cafe, which is a huge part of Akihabara's culture. While the show does not name the cafe she works for, the interior shown in the anime as well as Kotori's uniform is very clearly based off of Cure, a real maid cafe in Akiba! And with so much Love Live! merchandise available to buy in Akihabara these days, the town has fully embraced its influence on this popular anime.
5. Di Gi Charat
- Episodes: 16
- Aired: Nov. 1999 – Dec. 1999
Princess Dejiko had just arrived on Earth from her home planet in Di Gi Charat and landed right in Akihabara. The issue is that she only had a cat hat and some clothes to disguise herself, and she had no money at all! She and her guardian Gema and friend Petite Charat are at a loss for what to do when they luckily come across the manager of a store called Gamers. The manager thankfully agrees to pay them and let them stay in the store as long as they work hard there. It's a really good deal for the three of them, but easier said than done. All Dejiko dreams of is becoming a star, so she had a hard time working at the store. And she constantly has to face her rival, who is hardly about to make things easy for her.
Di Gi Charat is set almost entirely at a video game store in Akihabara. And if you remember from our introduction, Akiba is very famous for its electronics shops, even to the point of having the nickname "Electric Town." What makes Di Gi Charat even more special is that the shop in the anime called Gamers is actually a real store called Digital Gamers! In fact, the anime was created to advertise this real shop. That ties Di Gi Charat to a very real Akihabara despite having a very science fiction and fantasy story. The anime explores their everyday struggles working at a store in Akiba, so it gives a light-hearted and funny insight into life working in Akihabara.
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2015 – Jun. 2015
Etotama is about an unlikely relationship between a boy named Takeru Amato and Nyaa-tan, a girl who is trying to become the cat in the Chinese zodiac. It turns out that Takeru's new apartment has a portal in it to the land of the Zodiac gods! And if Nyaa-tan wants to be accepted as the next Zodiac, she needs to establish a good relationship with Takeru first. The Zodiac gods, called Eto-shin, draw their power from positive human emotions - and Nyaa-tan is going to have to fight in the upcoming ETM12 selection festival for her chance. If she can draw power from Takeru to make her fighting form more powerful, she will have a better chance of winning and making her dream come true.
This comedic fantasy story all takes place in Akihabara! That's where Takeru has moved to his new apartment, and he could never have dreamed that the magical portal there would lead to so much trouble for him. And now he's faced with living in Akiba with a totally unexpected and eccentric roommate. Etotama does have a lot of fantasy fighting and Zodiac lore, but it also has sequences akin to a slice of life anime. After all, Nyaa-tan and Takeru have to learn to live together and establish a good relationship. And it's in these scenes where you can enjoy the backdrop of Akihabara where the anime is taking place. Plus when you add in all the other magical fighting Zodiac girls, you end up with almost a harem situation with Takeru as the only male. And that suits the atmosphere of Akiba quite well!
3. Akihabara Dennou-Gumi (Cyberteam in Akihabara)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr. 1998 – Sep. 1998
Hibari Hanakoganei lives in a world where "patapi" exist in Akihabara Dennou-Gumi. These patapi are cyber-pets, and they can be fed, played with, and taken care of similar to real pets - except that they can also help out their owners. When Hibari receives a patapi named Densuke from a prince whom until now has only appeared in her dreams, she already thinks things cannot get any stranger. But they certainly do when mysterious deformed homunculi appear to try to steal him! It turns out Densuke is far from an ordinary patapi and has the power to transform into a cyber-fighter who looks like Hibari. Alongside her friends who have the same kind of patapi, they form the Cyber Team!
Of course, an anime about a cyber-pet and cyber team is the best in Tokyo's most famous electronics district! So you can bet that the Cyber Team formed by Hibari and her friends is in Akihabara. And they spend their time protecting their neighbourhood! It is Hibari's hometown after all. As the story unfolds, more is learned about the mysterious patapi as well as their enemies, and Akiba serves as the backdrop for quite a supernatural showdown. A mix of science and supernatural, Akihabara Dennou-Gumi is a surprisingly dark yet fun story that uses Akihabara for its setting very convincingly. And it does have the neighbourhood's name right in the title!
2. Akiba’s Trip The Animation
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jan. 2017 – Mar. 2017
In Akiba's Trip the Animation, people known as the Bugged Ones have begun infesting Akihabara! These creatures are vampiric and looking for victims that they can turn into Bugged Ones as well with their bite. Siblings Tamotsu and Niwaka Denkigai find themselves right in the middle of the struggle alongside a powerful girl named Matome Mayonaka. Tamotsu, Matome, and another girl named Arisa form "The Electric Mayonnaise," a group set out to destroy the Bugged ones by ripping off their clothes and exposing their skin to their only weakness - sunlight!
Akiba's Trip the Animation is based on the video game Akiba's Trip. Like the game, it takes place entirely in Akihabara. A lot of the backdrops and buildings are real places that you can visit in Akihabara today and are easily recognisable to people that have visited the neighbourhood before. The anime also uses Akihabara's otaku culture as a main plot point for the story, featuring lots of cosplay and anime-loving characters. In fact, the day that the Bugged Ones showed up, Tamotsu and Niwaka were visiting Akihabara to pick up new anime goods! Even the ecchi fan-service in Akiba's Trip suits the atmosphere of Akihabara, which is full of all the sexy goods and products an otaku could ever ask for. Akiba's Trip the Animation offers fans of Akiba a light-hearted look at the culture there through a ridiculous story that couldn't take place anywhere else.
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Apr. 2011 – Sep. 2011
Steins;Gate is about a group of science-loving friends who manage to develop a time machine in their small flat using a microwave. While at first it just seems to be an innocent and fun experiment, the more they play with it the more they discover how dangerous it is to manipulate time. Slowly they unravel a massive conspiracy from the future, and as more and more people become tied up in the time paradoxes they create as they try to change the future, they're left with the moral question of whether they should have ever played with time at all. When it becomes a matter of life or death for some of the characters, though, the lead "mad scientist" Rintaro Okabe will stop at nothing to try to set things right.
Almost all of Steins;Gate is set in Akihabara, and that is the neighbourhood that Okabe lives in. You can see several landmarks from Akiba in the anime, including the UDX and Radio Kaikan building. But Akihabara serves as more than just a backdrop for the show, it affects the plot. Because Akiba is known as "Electric Town" and is famous for its second-hand electronics market, it makes sense that the group of friends can find the things to make their experiments easily right outside their door. One of the secondary characters, Rumiho, works at a maid cafe that Okabe and his best friend Itaru frequent. Mayari, another member of the group, is really interested in anime and cosplay and is often seen out shopping in Akiba. And in one of the time paradoxes they create, they manage to erase that ever-present otaku culture from Akihabara, leaving their home an entirely different place.
Akiba is more than just a setting for Steins;Gate; it is part of how the story is told and plays an important role in who some of the characters are. The anime would not have been the same in another location, and pairing that with its incredible storyline loved by so many people, Steins;Gate holds the top position in the Top 10 Anime Set in Akihabara.
From magical creatures to moe maids, from time travel to vampires, from otaku fans to fantasy worlds, Akihabara serves as a setting for a variety of anime. All kinds of anime fans travel to Akiba from around the world every day to feel the atmosphere of the neighbourhood and find their favourite anime goods. It makes sense that the anime that are set in this very town are just as varied as the people that love to visit it! Just as Akihabara has something for every anime fan to find and enjoy, and anime set in Akiba offers something for everyone as well. So which is going to be your favourite anime set in Akihabara?
Have you seen any of these anime? What anime set in Akihabara is your favourite? What is your favourite thing about anime that are set in this electric town? Are there any you're excited to watch next? Did we leave off your favourite? Let us know in the comments below!