Friday, December 05, 2008


Sorry for the lull in posting, friends. I have a list on the wall by my kitchen of posts to write (nine and counting...) but keep getting distracted. Now that we're past Thanksgiving here in the states, I wanted to share a holiday shopping guide for folks heading to Tokyo in the near future.

As mentioned previously with the launch of the Same Hat Guide To Everything (SHGTE!), Nakano Broadway Mall in west-central Tokyo is my favorite shopping area in the world. In addition to stores selling beetles, maid cafes, replica weapon stores, forgotten item shops, and TACO che (the greatest indie/weirdo manga shop in the world), Nakano Broadway is home to a complex of Mandarake shops - 22 individual stores spanning 3 floors! Each shop varies in size, and is dedicated to a different subgenre of manga/anime/toys/fandom. From my trip earlier this year, here is a map of Mandarake, in English:

(click for a giant version of the map - 450k)

You can take a look above and plan your shopping route, specific to your own interests. For me, the greatest shop in Mandarake was the 4th floor shop, Mandarake Maniac Store. There I found a treasure trove of old and rare manga, weird collectibles, an insanely knowledgeable (and rather fashionable) counter staff, and their own in-house manga zine, TRASH. If you're a Same Hat reader, this is the shop for you:

Here are a few shots from my trip earlier this year, of the magical Mandarake Maniacs Store...

Behold the wonder of their stacks! It's a small shop but full to the brim with amazing stuff.

On one wall, there is a glass case for rare stuff and 1st editions.

Lovely and unique books, including a $200 copy of Red Colored Elegy by Seiichi Hayashi

Incredible! An early, $175 edition of Kage by Kazuo Umezu

Sexy ladies and blue tales.

What wonders are hidden in these shelves? This is where I picked up an old copy of Toiretto Hakase for Johnny!

Oh, I'm sorry... were you interested in every issue of Garo ever published?

Or were you looking for the COM back catalog?

Also in effect, nice & cheap paperbacks of Hideshi Hino classics.

Okay, I can't even keep track of this shit anymore.

There are too many freakin' branches here-- Give yourself at least 5 hours at Nakano Broadway to hunt. SERIOUSLY.

And don't forget to check out the UFO Store, Gacha-Paradise, and the Deep Store (Check the map above for details!)

Have you been to Nakano Broadway or the Mandarake shop in Akihabara? Share your stories or recommendations in the comments on this post. Next up: Pics from TACO che, finally!


Anonymous said...

I´ve been on the Mandarake Shop. It´s an incredible place which just makes you dizzy in the head... there´s so much wacky, cool and exciting stuff in all these shops, and there are so many!!! These were the best shops I found in Tokyo and I would say, that everyone who travels to Tokyo should visit it!!!

Greetings from Germany,


Anonymous said...

Shopping there must be orgasmic, now if I only had a little money for the trip!

Anonymous said...

wow, that looked amazing. i will check it out when i'm going to tokyo in march! thanks!

the thirtes knght said...

OMFG an oriognal copy of red coloured elegy......

my fella has been to nakano broadway- having seen this he hasn't said enough about it!! D: Although, if it'sof any interest, i went onto the website- and they are so friendly and accepting of foreginers, if you plan to move to japan they are looking for foreighners to work there! what a nice job that would be :)

Firefly said...

This is my ultimate vision for the US!

That being said, as nice as having a massive Mandarake superstore is, I'd settle for your average hard-working comix artist being able to make a steady living.

Oh man, $1000 and a trip to that shop and I'd be set with material for my art blog for the next 10 years...

jimpac said...

I've been told by a friend who lives in Tokyo that the Nakano shop has been shut down... can anyone confirm this? On the plus point, he did say they have just moved all the stock to their site in Akihabara...

Azraelito said...

Increible the photograph of Com and Garo..

Com is something THAT I REALLY WANNA HAVE more information..Miyaya KAzuhiko published there..

and another great photograph is the next of the hideshi hino pictures with that kind of bizarre mangas!!

great photos in general and great trip..

as always my english sucks..

it reminds me to heaven that place :D

saludos from argentina

Ryan S said...

@mikanque: :)

@Till: I've never been to the Mandarake shop in Akiba or any other locations, but the spread out, multiple outlet layout of the Nakano Broadway shops is absolutely great. I loved it

@ThatQuebecGuy: It is really overwhelming. I went once for 3 hours with my girlfriend, and then back again a few days later for another 2 hours by myself before we left Tokyo for Kansai

@m: Lucky you, have fun! I'm hoping to go back to Tokyo around that time too :)

@thirtes knight: It's quite a place to be-- i spoke japanese with the shop folks there (and at TACO che) and they were really really helpful. I also saw a few indian and french tourists at Mandarake when I was there that day... A lots of the signs are in English/Japanese/French

@Firefly: Yeah, i limited my spending at Mandarake, but that was cuz I'd already dropped about $300 all at once at Taco Che :)

@Jimpac: That'd be news to me.. my friend Robert was there a few weeks ago though he specifically went to go to Taco Che. I'm sure that Mandarake was still there-- or do you mean the Maniacs store specifically? I can ask him if there were any changes-- I wouldn't be surprised if 1 or 2 of the individual shops shifted or moved, but I'm sure the entire complex of Nakano shops couldn't have closed...

@Azraelito: Thanks! You should go someday. I have a lot, lot more pics from that trip-- will put the Taco Che ones up soon.

Anonymous said...

Damn it!
Why didn't you post this a month ago when I was there!

That said, the place is just TOO overwhelming. If you are not prepared, your wallet will be emptied quickly.

jimpac said...

Ryan, it turns out my friend had some how got his wires crossed (how I'm not quite sure as he says he only lives ten minutes from there!?!) and, as you suspected, the Nakano branch is still open for business. My apologies for posting duff information!
Now all I have to do is save some pennies and hope they've still got some of those copies of Garo left (and that I'll be able to afford them!)

myrto said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
myrto said...

This place is so awesome! I bought so many manga and cool art books there (plus my precious, a numbered, deluxe edition of a Maruo manga).
But I didn't manage to find Taco Che... either it used all its stealth skills to avoid me or it was closed and I missed it.