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K-Books

This K-Books Premium Kan no longer exists (because nobody uses telephone cards anymore), but it has since changed to another branch.

Located mainly in Ikebukuro (though there are branches in Akihabara and Osaka), K-Books is a chain of stores that specialize in several otaku and wota niches. (A quick lesson: “otaku” is the word for someone who is obsessed with anime, manga and games; “wota” is the same thing but for idols.) You can find a branch that caters specifically to cosplay next to one that specializes in manga next to one that only has goods that have to do with male idol groups. The one in Akihabara, of course, takes pride in selling AKB goods and anime (though you can find anime in almost every one of the K-Books branches).

Most of the products are secondhand, although some stores have newer items. If you’re extremely into idols, K-Books is a treasure trove of secondhand concert and rare goods, some even worthy of the “vintage” label. The manga store also has hard-to-find books as well as seiyuu goods.

 

The Ikebukuro doujinshi location.

 

The Ikebukuro cosplay location.

Mandarake

The Ikebukuro location of Mandarake caters especially to women.

Mandarake is an absolute heaven for manga lovers. Not only do they sell hordes of published manga volumes, their main specialty is doujinshi, or manga drawn by amateur groups and individuals based on official series. There are several Mandarake locations, including the main, giant complex in Akihabara. The Ikebukuro location is special in that in caters specifically to women.

You could spend hours in Mandarake looking through all the thin volumes of doujinshi, though you’ll have to watch out for the adult-themed ones.

Animate

 

The Animate in Ikebukuro only now sells cosplay, but they also have a cafe.

Animate is the largest anime and manga retailer in Japan, with 38 stores in the country and 2 overseas branches. The first Animate store opened in Ikebukuro in the 1980s, although that branch now only sells cosplay. The store sells every kind of anime and manga good imaginable, from CDs to DVDs to games to plushies to figurines…if you want it, they probably have it.

Because there are so many Animates, you can find one virtually anywhere, even where you least expect it.

Book-Off

 

Book-Offs can usually be spotted a mile away due to their giant signs advertising books and DVDs.

Book-Off is an extremely popular chain of secondhand bookstores, but their sales also include magazines, photobooks, DVDs, CDs, manga, anime and games, including used game consoles. Book-Offs are so ubiquitous in Tokyo that it is easy to find one wherever you go, no matter which ward you are in.

The best part about the chain is that it relies on customers selling their used goods, so each Book-Off has a different selection. The one in Akihabara, for instance, has a treasure trove of games and game consoles, while the lesser-frequented Book-Offs may have a bigger selection of harder-to-find books.

The manga section of Book-Off usually take up more than half of the store, or even an entire floor, and there is always a section of ¥105 manga.

Liberty

Most of the Liberty shops are located in Akihabara, but there are branches throughout Tokyo.

The Liberty stores based in Akihabara are secondhand goods shops that sell anything from figurines to anime Blu-Ray discs. The stores cater to the more popular anime series such as One Piece and Gundam but also sell robot figurines and toy vehicles. Aside from buying goods, you can also sell your collectibles.

The Liberty stores look small, but the insides are packed with anime and manga goods.

 

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