Earlier in the week I visited the massive armada of anime, gaming, and electronic goods: the infamous Akihabara (秋葉原). I had visited previously in the summer of 2013 while on my study abroad trip and it was just as mind-blowing as I remembered it! Akiba has a very significant history in Japan because it started out as a shopping center for discounted electrical appliances after World World II. Now it has evolved into a hub of entertainment for anime and idol enthusiasts as well as gamers and casual shoppers looking for computers and accessories. There is also a huge culture for manga enthusiasts and aspiring artists as well as food and fashion. When I exited Akiba Station, the theme of Neon Genesis Evangelion was playing and there were maids on nearly every corner of the main streets dancing and handing out flyers to promote their cafes. I decided to pass by the Sega game center and make my way to my favorite anime and character goods store, Kotobukiya.
Kotobukiya is unique in the way that it carries a lot of exclusive figures and promotional collector’s items that other anime and manga stores don’t sell. When I visited this time, the first floor had a range of Love Live and Idolm@ster products including t-shirts, phone straps, and kitchenware. There was also a Final Fantasy 7 display in the very front that featured chibi-styled characters, mugs, and most notably, a dead Moogle. Definitely something that you don’t see everyday! My main focus was on the Tales of Shop that was on the second floor. I have been a fan of the Tales of Series for 8 years now and am excited for the North American release of Tales of Zestiria. The store had a lot of Xillia, Symphonia, Zestiria, and Destiny products as well as plushies of the mascots. I was so tempted to buy the Teepo one but due to limited luggage space, I decided to buy a Leon mug (for champagne, of course), a Teepo notebook, and an 8bit keychain of Ludger. I definitely plan on coming back to buy more sometime in December when I have more time to shop and spend in Tokyo!!
Another one of my favorite ships in Akiba is called Super Potato, which is a super retro gaming store and museum. The first floor had a lot of old Famicom cartridges for sale as well as a Virtual Boy display! The cartridges were pretty well priced averaging at around 1000円 (less then $10), though some of the rarer ones were near $1,000. The 2nd floor had Super Famicom and some old Gameboy cartridges as well. The Pokemon Red title screen was reminscently displayed on an old TV monitor. As I walked through the different floors, I could just feel all of the nostalgia of playing a variety of these games when I was a kid. The 3rd floor had a lot of fifth generation console games, including N64 and PlayStation games. I saw a display of my favorite console, the GameCube, on the 4th floor which also brought back a lot of memories. The 5th floor was an old school arcade with Street Fighter and a life-sized model of Solid Snake. I definitely had to get a picture with it due to the recent release of Metal Gear Solid 5!
After re-living some of the greatest moments of my childhood, I visited a couple other stores like Animate, Mulan, and Sofmap to browse the character goods and bought a Sailor Moon jewelry box on discount. I left around 22:00 because I needed to make my way back to before the last train, but I know I will be back in the future to experience more of Akiba and send some souvenirs to my friends and family back in Michigan!