Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Anime Goods Stores in Tokyo

This is just a listing of anime stores I know about in Tokyo by district / landmark.  It is a list that will likely be updated over time as I find new things or have to remove defunct stores.  I drew this list up for my own research so I hope it is of use to you.
  • Animate
  • Yodobashi Camera
  • Artnia Square Enix Cafe and a small shop (a bit of a walk on foot - take train)
  • Toho Building (where the giant Godzilla head is) now has a Godzilla store on the main floor (as of Oct 30, 2017).
  • Mandarake
  • Animate
  • Namco Character Shop  in Parco Part 1 (temporary closure for renovations in 2016?)
  • One Piece Mugiwara Store in Parco Part 1 (temporary closure for renovations in 2016?)
  • Production IG Store on the 7th floor of Shibuya Marui
  • One Piece Mugiwara Store on the 7th floor of Shibuya Marui
  • Loft
  • Tokyu Hands
Tokyo Tower
  • One Piece Theme Park
Tokyo Station
  • Character Street - many anime stores including Pokemon Center, Jump Store, Gundam Cafe, and Ultraman.  The stores tend to be small, but there are many of them.
  • Donguri Garden Store for Studio Ghibli character goods
  • Noitamina Goods Store in the Aqua City Mall
  • Fuji TV Store in the Fuji TV Building
  • Gundam Base Tokyo in Diver City (Gunpla kits) +  Giant Gundam out front.
  • Some character goods stores for Sanrio and even Chicken Ramen on the main floor Diver City
  • Toy R Us at Decks Mall
  • Donguri Garden Stores for Studio Ghibli character goods at Venus Fort Mall 
  • Cool retro shops and Showa theme park in Aqua City too.
  • Anime goods everywhere - you're in Akihabara
  • Gamers
  • Animate
  • Mandarake
  • Yodobashi Flagship Store Camera
  • Kotobukiya Store
  • Akiba Culture Zone (Good Smile Cafe on top floor)
  • New Radio Kaikan 
  • Square Enix Cafe and small shop.
  • Gundam Cafe and small shop.
Tokyo Skytree
  • Pokemon Center
  • NHK TV Character Store
  • Jump Store
  • Donguri Kyowakoku Store for Studio Ghibli character goods (giant Totoro in window display)
  • Hello Kitty Store
Nakano Broadway
  • Anime stores part of the mall has tons of stuff that is new and used.
  • Very cool Mandarake collectors store (expensive collectibles)
Ghibli Museum 
  • Museum shop has unique Ghibli items you won't find elsewhere.
  • Yamashiroya - cool toy store.
Omotesando / Harajuku
  • Kiddyland - more of generally amazing toy store.  Almost everyone sees something they want.
  • First permanent Sailor Moon store in Harajuku
  • Sanrio Store - pretty big one

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Monday, September 4, 2017

Our World Sucks! Six Anime Where You are Reborn into a Fantasy World

Hmmm...  I'm not particularly surprised that anime and Japanese light novels about heroes being transported from our world to fantasy world are popular right now.  The downside to the deal in these stories seems to be that you have to die in our world first in many cases.  Who doesn't want an escape from real world problems like: bad domestic politics, global warming, North Korean saber rattling and nukes, geopolitical tensions between America, the Russia, and China, the UK separating from the Eurozone, terrorism and hate crimes, food safety scandals, a declining middle class, poor job prospects, toxins in the water, racial tensions, and not enough Canada to go around.  There must be a pretty good sized audience in Japan for these light novels to spur anime adaptations to be created, so the same issues that worry us must also be affecting the Japanese.
Fantasy Hero
So here are six recent anime that have a modern world protagonist transported to a fantasy world with swords and sorcery of some sort.  All of these anime were available at the time of writing on Crunchyroll in August of 2017.
Re:Zero - Starting Life in Another World
The hero, Subaru Natsuki, a hikikomori (shut-in), starts out his day (night actually as this is when he comes out with fewer people around) by going to a convenience store and gets transported to a fantasy world in between eye blinks.  He is rescued from muggers by Emilia, a half-elven wizard, whom he falls in love with. The gimmick to this show is that Subaru dies a lot, but due to his ability called "Return by Death," he gets to try again like restarting from the last checkpoint in a video game.  He loops until he solves why he dies or how to survive the events that kill him.  Sounds a little lame, but there are good characters and story arcs which kept me very entertained.  There are many forces at work in the background and I look forward to seeing how it all works out.

Konosuba: Gods Blessing on This Wonderful World!
Kazuma Sato, another shut-in, has an untimely death by automobile.  He gets an offer from a goddess named Aqua to be reincarnated into another world that has definite fantasy role-playing game elements.  Aqua teases Kazuma for being who he is, but Kazuma uses a one-time wish to drag Aqua along with him.  They both become an adventurers to make a living.  They meet Megumin, an explosion magic obsessed wizard, and Darkness, a masochistic crusader (aka Tank).  Aqua turns out to be a powerful cleric type, but flighty, and not all that competent despite her abilities.  All four are flawed characters, but they have many pretty funny adventures together.  The level of fan service is pretty high in this one, but it is entertaining if you can get over that.

In Another World With My Smartphone
Touya Mochizuki is struck by lightning and killed by God.  This turns out to be a horrible accident and God allows him to be reborn into a fantasy world where he can help out.  God buffs his stats though, enabling him to be stronger and use all types of magic. Best of all, he gets to keep his smartphone which is now magically powered and connects to a magical internet that can do real-time mapping and even retrieve information from our world.  God also has him on his contact list too.

This show is kind of cheesy, as Touya is pretty overpowered, and he has a bit of a female following built-up around him as time goes on.  He also becomes involved in the kingdom by helping out key figures in the nobility, including the king.  Also, entertaining, but not very serious.

Knight's and Magic
Tsubasa Kurata is a mecha otaku who dies in a an auto accident.  He is reincarnated as a young boy named Ernesti Echevalier who enters the knight academy to learn to pilot magically powered mechs called Silhouette Knights.  These giant mechas fight demon beast that threaten the kingdom.

Ernesti was a programmer in his previous life and uses that ability and his love of mecha to improve the basic design and capabilities of the mechs as the show progresses.  The mecha design is quite good, and is a high point for the show.  Ernesti is a pretty flat character, who doesn't really get personal relationships, but is a good guy and a mecha designer genius.  All kinds of demon beast battles and conflict with other kingdoms ensue.  Worth watching if you like mecha.

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
This is a more serious anime with people being reborn/transported into an alternate fantasy world.  All the heroes arrive from our world without memories and are assigned to protect the border areas from monsters.  They are unsuccessful as adventurers at first but develop over time into a successful band despite losses.  Lots of melee combat, and it is the most "real" of the anime so far  Worth a watch if you like fantasy and darker fare.

No Game No Life
Our hero Sora and his stepsister Shiro are two shut-ins who are undefeated gamers.  One day, the god of games, challenges them and summons them to another universe where the rules are run by different games.  Here they must save humans from more powerful magical species by using their superior gaming skills, their tablets that can tap information from our world, and their cunning intellects.

I didn't think I'd like this as much as I did, but the world building was pretty fun and the stories were really entertaining.  Ultimately they're going to have a show down with god so that has gotta be good, but it isn't happening in the first season.

Saga of Tanya the Evil
This is another more serious anime.  It is set in an alternate European world with a WWI technology level, but with combat mages, and magically powered gear and weapons.  The mages even have flying gear so they have aerial dogfights with each other and conventional aircraft (watch the awesome Izetta the Last Witch for more witches in combat).

Our hero is a salaryman who just wants to have a successful life, but is killed by an employee he lays off, as he seriously lacks empathy.  He is given a second chance by Being X who chides him for not believing in God and is reborn as a little girl named Tanya von Degurechaff.  Tanya retains all of her memories and ends up joining the army as a child to to rise in the world.  She does very well in combat and rises in rank due to her superior tactical and strategic thinking.  Does Tanya develop more compassion while dueling with the will of Being X, and fighting all the enemies of the Empire?  It was fun to find out.

More Stuff . . .
That was six shows about people from our world being reborn or cast into another world.  Who knew there were so many.  There are also many other light novels too such as Blue Steel Blasphemer, etc.  Also, other shows of note with an alternate fantasy world:
  • Gate: Jieitai Kano Chi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri.  This is one of my favourite anime from last year.  The Japanese Self-Defence Forces fight back an army of medieval warriors from Tokyo and our hero, Yoji Itami, goes to save people from dragons and evil emperors.
  • Restaurant to Another world.  It's a Japanese cooking show with fantasy characters eating at a restaurant from our world that opens once every seven days in the magical world.
  • Familiar of Zero.  Our hero is summoned into a magical world as a familiar and turns into a mighty warrior to help our hapless female wizard.
  • Outbreak Company.  The Japanese government finds a gateway to a fantasy world and decides to culturally colonize it with otaku culture.  Kind of disturbing and kind of fun with an otaku hero to save the day.
  • Drifters.  Heroes from our world, from all time periods, are sent to fight against an evil in a fantasy world.

Six Fantasy Anime With a Modern Hero
More Anime Posts