When people think of anime and Tokyo, the first place they think of is Akihabara. But there is so much more to Tokyo’s anime landscape than that dazzling stretch of street.
The mecha mecca, Gundam fans will make their pilgrimage to Odaiba to see the giant model of the (then) RX-78 Gundam.
However, tucked away in Ikebukuro are stores like Yamada; there has an entire floor dedicated to Gundams, Labi and Yadobashi that are filled with kits and other anime merchandise.
Ikebukuro is also home to the infamous Otome Road where hardcore female anime fans can find doujinshi, games, manga and more that cater to their fujoshi needs.
In summer, tokusatsu fans can even check out a number of themed stage shows and festivals such as the Ultraheroes’ Ulfes. At such events, you can meet, shake hands and take photos with your favourite heroes, all for a small price.
Around Tokyo, you can sometimes find seasonal anime cafes, such as Animate Cafe or Q Pot Cafe. These serve up themed dishes and drinks with exclusive takeaways that are available to diners. They are always crowded so reservations are nearly always required beforehand.
Last but not least, is Nakano Broadway. The mall is a meandering maze filled with over 20 stores belonging to mammoth anime and manga brand Mandarake. Each of the stores sells different types of merchandise – authentic animation cells from series such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, anime scripts, second-hand toys, limited edition figurines, retro toys and more.
Haneda Airport (Tokyo) → Akihabara/Ikebukuro
Tokyo-Monorail to Hamamatsucho Station, transfer to Yamanote Line for Akihabara OR Ikebukuro Station
Haneda Airport (Tokyo) → Nakano Broadway
Tokyo-Monorail to Hamamatsucho Station, transfer to Yamanote Line to Tokyo Station, transfer to Chuo Line for Nakano Station
(This feature first appeared on WAttention Singapore magazine, Nov/Dec 2017 Vol. 41)