Published by Antonio Tajuelo
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During my travel in Japan I wanted to know first hand about the big impact that the manga industry makes on the Japanese society. It is really impressive to see how manga and its characters are present in many aspects of daily life: signs in the street, TV ads, video games, etc. Japon is the birthplace of manga and, of course, manga series have many followers, specially young people. For providing some context, we can find out how the latest volumes of One Piece have sold over 4 million units each one: 4 million!
For better knowing manga culture I went to Akihabara -the otaku district in Tokyo- for exploring one of the Animate stores in Tokyo. There are 38 stores in Japan and 2 more stores in Taiwan. Most of Animate stores are a whole building, covering multiple floors. The most common Animate store setup is something like: 2 floors for manga and magazines, 1 floor for anime, 1 floor for music and 1 floor for figures and merchandising.
At the entrance there is a cardboard manga style employee ^^. In addition to this one, there are about 40 employees working at this Animate store. It is not a small store!
Latest blu-ray and DVD releases. One of the curious things about Japan is that culture products piracy is almost non-existant, so movie sales are common. In countries like Spain, piracy made the sale of this kind of products to disappear from shops.
My favorite anime series is Evangelion without any doubts. These are the two latest released movies: Evangelion 2.22 and Evangelion 3.33. The forth movie, Evangelion: Final, is still to be released.
Evangelion is about human psychology, philosophy, religion and dystopia. I think I would be able to watch this series many more times again. It is about very interesting topics and it usually leads to very deep thinking.
Getting lost in the Animate DVD area I found thousands of available titles. Many of them where unknown for me! ^^
Attack on Titan is one of the series that is gaining more followers in the last months ^^.
I think that in Japan there are manga series about any imaginable sport. Here it is a poster of Yowamushi Pedal (弱虫ペダル), a manga series that is very popular in Japan at the moment. It is about Sakamichi Onoda, a manga fan who joins the cycling club at his school.
This is the music floor, with tons of CDs!
Vocaloid is very popular in Japan. It is not about a particular series but about an artificial music synthesizer that sings songs ^^. There are many Vocaloid characters, being the most popular Miku Hatsune and Kagamine brothers Len and Rin.
Only in Japan you can find a hand-made Miku Hatsune drawing announcing the new music releases ^^.
What you can see in this picture are light bars that many Japanese people buy before going to a concert, where they move them over their heads. There are use and throw models for 100 yen (about 0.70€). If you are a j-pop fan you have probably seen them already ^^.
Notice when the public of the concert appear in the video. There are many people with light bars in their hands!
Touhou Project (東方Ｐｒｏｊｅｃｔ) is also very popular in Japan. Touhou is a Japanese video game designed and developed by a single person: Jun'ya Ōta, also known as ZUN. With the time, many works based on Touhou appeared, most of them created by fans: manga, songs, characters, novels...
One of the most famous Touhou videos is Bad Apple. I love it ^^. You can find tons of Touhou videos at YouTube if you wanna see more.
In the Animate CD department you can find:
- J-pop discs
- Anime series soundtracks
- Video game soundtracks
In Japan you can find contents featuring very young girls, even underage girl, that would be forbidden in Spain. The name for this genre in Japan is lolicon.
Vocaloid video game for Nintendo 3DS.
Little Busters! video game for PlayStation 3. I love the soundtrack and the character design of this series. It also has an anime show, but I don't like it so much.
This kind of music is perfect for relax! ^^
Video games for PSP console.
Because in Japan there is no alphabet but two syllabaries instead, they use syllables for sorting the authors of music CDs ^^.
In Animate you can find many products and posters wherever you look to: in the floor, walls, ceiling...
Going downstair for discovering a new Animate floor. Of course, the stairs themselves are full of posters featuring new products and upcoming releases.
Small boxes with random figures from Little Busters!
Each box has a random figure inside. If you want to collect the full set of figures you will need to buy many boxes and hope to be lucky. You can also trade figures with other fans ^^.
More trading figure boxes from other series.
Monokuma, from Dangan Ronpa, is one of the most popular characters in Japan at the moment.
Plastic kit for building a Danbo figure.
In Japan many pre-painted figures are sold, but there are also kits, than anyone can use for building and painting figures at home.
Gundam figures showcased. These figures are almost always bought in kits and they are very popular in Asia.
Cleaning cloths, otaku style ^^.
Figure accessories produced by Good Smile Company.
Gashapon machines with plastic balls inside, containing small figures, keyrings, phone straps, etc.
Strange moment when I found a scale WC. Plastic figures not only have their small heart but also need to do pee and poo from time to time... >w<
For completing the full scale WC...
Animate stairs full of posters everywhere!
Tons of trading figure boxes.
Merchandising of every possible anime series ^^.
Animate has a huge department for trading cards. Here there are many trading card sleeves.
Merchandising from Kuroko no Basuke (黒子のバスケ), a series about basketball.
Merchandising from Hello Kitty.
Second strange moment of the day. Sausage for sale at Animate!
It seems that this product has something to do with Attack of Titan series, but I'm still trying to find what.
Merchandising from Studio Ghibli. This studio has produced some films like My Neighbor Totoro, Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke and many more ^^.
Samurai Flamenco is one of the trendy series in Japan, so maybe in some months it will be trendy in Spain too ^^.
Manga department at Animate. Tons and tons of manga!
Lolicon themed manga. The guy with sunglasses that appears under the left volume is quite scary O___o...
Madoka Magica manga.
Bleach manga volumes.
Bookshelves full of One Piece volumes, the most seller series in Japan.
To Love Ru volumes.
Manga volumes in the yaoi area. The stories from yaoi manga usually start with "boy meets boy".
More yaoi manga volumes.
Products from drawing manga at home ^^.
Manga illustration books.
Animate has also a cosplay department. Cosplay is a hobby where fans use costumes of their favorite series characters.
Devices for optimizing women body features.
Are you able to find the elevator door in this picture?
Animate store stairs ^^.
In the trading card area there are many card vending machines where you can put coins and get random cards. There are many different collections.
Cards are usually bought in sealed packs, with random cards inside, but at Animate you can also buy single cards.
I hope you have enjoyed this walk into Animate, one of the largest manga, anime and video games retailers in Akihabara, the otaku district of Tokyo.
Would you buy something from this store? ^_^)/