Is anyone even surprised when I say “I like anime” when I’m living in Japan? Unfortunately, yes… I am that f-ing ~weeaboo~ nerd that lives in Japan, loves anime and probably the one that everyone hates. /cues bashing
Now that’s over with. Let me tell you a few places I like to frequent for my nerd things.
Nipponbashi Animate (Den Den Town/Namba)
This is one of my favourite places to browse for new items of some really popular anime like Osomatsu-san or any ongoing Shounen Jump series. That’s the keyword here. There’s a few things folks should take note of when visiting Japan for anime at this store:
- Animate will only stock items from really popular anime in Japan. Which means, for example: I remember stuff like Gatchaman Crowds and Ore Monogatari really taking off amongst English-speaking netizens, but in Japan it just never really took off – thus, it was just difficult to find goods there. You can always tell by going to Animate just which anime is popular and remains popular by WHICH ANIME THEY STOCK and HOW MUCH. Idol anime like Love Live, Idolmaster and Uta-Pri will always have a decent sized section because of popularity. So will ongoing Shounen Jump anime.
- That said, it’s VERY rare to find stuff from anime that’s been over for more than 6 months. Animate only stocks on new items. Once its gone, well… tough. The only you’ll find the anime reappear in stock is if another season or a new movie comes out. For example, you can find Digimon goods now because of Digimon Tri.
- Other forms of media can affect the stocking and restocking of items. For example, when the Ore Monogatari live-action was releasing, there were a lot more goods that came out for it then when the anime came out. More exposure = more popularity. Though I do find that it’s rare that a new volume of manga will affect the stock.
- Don’t expect the stores to stock IMMEDIATELY. A lot of people expect stores to stock items of a really new anime almost immediately, but that’s never the case. If you’re looking for something from a new anime, the turnover for items is about 3 months (depending again on popularity).
So in short, if you are into a certain anime that’s been airing for about 3 months, chances are good that you will find something in Animate. The amount and quality of goods will then depend on popularity.
The other reason I like Nipponbashi Animate is not only because it’s the biggest store in Kansai, but they usually have a corner in the back that they do displays and sell special goods for. It usually changes every few weeks. I’ve seen stuff for Vocaloid, Code Geass, Miyano Mamoru (when his concert was releasing on DVD) and lots more.
It’s also rather easy to navigate through the aisles. The sections are rather easy to distinguish.
In terms of whether you will find exactly what you want with something that’s popular – I certainly think you have a MUCH better chance here than the Umeda store. Chances are about middle to high, I’d say.
Besides, you may meet the infamous ikemen Nipponbashi store clerk.
I also prefer Animate over Kotobukiya because you can collect points in Animate with can be used towards your purchases. Kotobukiya has a more limited selections and you can often find the same things in Animate, except unless it’s an Kotobukiya-only release.
Animate also sells doujins, manga, magazines and anime CDs – all of which you can collect points for and use!
Kyoto Animate (Sanjo)
This animate is on the 2nd floor of some clothing store (?) in the middle of the shopping street between Sanjo and Shijo.
It’s a fair-sized store and the reason I like this store is because not as many people frequent this store as the ones in Osaka. This means you have an even higher chance of locating something specific that you’ve been eyeing on.
Animega (Umeda LOFT/Chayamachi)
Inside the LOFT department store on the very top floor is the Animega shop in Umeda. I believe it’s also the official Rejet shop in Kansai as well too, so if you are into those things, it’s definitely worth checking out.
If you’re looking for anime goods from an anime that reached its expiration period at Animate, I would definitely try to look here. Or recent goods that were sold out at Animate, you might have a chance finding it here.
Torejaras (Nipponbashi Den Den Town/Namba)
Now we’re in the territory of USED GOODS stores. You’ll find a lot of these stores in Den Den Town, and some stores will be better than others.
I particularly like this one because it’s kind of like a one-stop-shop for any and every kind of hobbies. They have used cards from various games (though Yellow Submarine across the street has more to offer), anime figurines, anime plushies and other collectibles. It’s a very good place to look for older anime goods that’s fallen waaaaay past its expiration at Animate.
On the third floor, they even have some comic or American hobby goods.
DO BEWARE: Used goods does not always mean it’s cheaper!!!
What it does mean is that if you are looking for a popular anime and they’ve already sold out in Animate or Kotobukiya, you might find it here. However, if you’re unsure whether or not its sold out, I would walk a couple of blocks down to Animate to look for it first. I’ll tell you why: Osomatsu-san goods are notorious for this; you can sometimes find popular goods selling for 1000yen at Animate that go for 2500yen in a used store.
Otherwise, it’s a great treasure hunting store if you have the patience!
Super Position G-One (Den Den Town/Namba)
For the longest time, I had no idea what the name of this shop was. I just knew where it was. This store sits on the main Den Den Town road just next to the Lawson 100 (across from Jungle and Hotel Hillarys).
If you are looking for figurines and capsule toys that are recycle and resold, this is the place to go.
Again, it might not be the cheapest but if you are looking for something or just ANYTHING for a particular anime, there’s a chance you might find it.
Mandarake (Namba shop and Umeda shop)
I don’t particularly like going into Mandarake shops for recycled anime goods, but I think it’s still worthy to mention because there is a wide variety of recycled manga for really cheap prices. They seem to have doujins as well too.
This is really the shop for all-purpose recycled shop for nerds. They sell games (not necessarily cheap), DVDs (yes there is R18 stuff), music CDs (if you’re look for drama CDs, it’s a good place to start!), magazines, manga, yaoi and yuri stuff, figurines, idol stuff (most AKB and Johnny’s and EXILE, I think?) and the Namba store even has cosplay.
If you’re looking for anime goods, the Umeda store has a bigger section.
The Namba store is much bigger, but they have more figurines, manga, DVD/CDs, magazines and idol-related stuff.
San Center Plaza (Kobe Sannomiya)
I could be remembering this totally wrong, but I do remember there is an Animate on the third floor of this mall really close to Sannomiya station, just above the shopping streets.
In this mall, there’s a lot of recycled goods stores on one or two floors, kind of like a smaller version of Nakano Broadway just outside of Tokyo. I’ve only been to San Center Plaza once by fluke and I remember it being a pretty area to shop for anime goods.
If you’re in the Kobe area, do let me know if I made a mistake or not.
Do you have a favourite anime store in Kansai?
Let me know if I’ve missed any hidden gems! Happy shopping!!