Animate, a Japanese retailer, recently announced that its flagship Ikebukuro location will be expanded to become the “world’s largest anime retailer.” The new store will debut in the spring of 2023, which also happens to be Animate’s 40th celebration. The planned construction will be erected on the old site of the Ikebukuro Public Health Center and will be connected with the existing store.
Akihabara is the first district that springs to mind when people think of anime businesses and activities in Tokyo. However, it is not the only otaku hangout in the city; the Ikebukuro neighborhood, particularly the area east of Ikebukuro Station, is also a renowned hangout for anime and video game lovers.
Animate Otaku Dreams
Continue straight from Toranoana towards the Starbucks on the crossroads. Turn left and the Animate flagship shop will be on the right side of the street at the end of the block. This 9-story business, which used to be on Otome Road, now houses plenty of anime items. Books, DVDs, video games, and character merchandise—you name it, it’s probably here. The 8th and 9th floors are home to the ever-changing specialty “only shop,” which sells products from only one anime, and anime hall, which presents exhibits devoted to various tv series.
In Ikebukuro, Japan’s first animate store debuted in 1983, offering Japanese graphic novels and anime on VCR cassettes. Since then, over 121 outlets have sprouted throughout Japan (as of January 2016), including one in the world-famous Tokyo Tower. Over the course of their forty-year history, they’ve strived to be more than just a store, but also a cultural Centre and a portal to the forefront of the Japanese animation industry. In their stores, they show new anime music videos and clips, offer tickets to anime events, and even run partnership cafes where customers can enjoy character-themed food, drink, and décor.
They’re also committed to bringing Japanese media to the rest of the globe, making it easier and safer for international anime fans to acquire legitimate, licensed items without having to rely on auction sites or proxy merchants. They have locations in Taiwan, China, Thailand, and the United States, as well as this cross-border e-commerce site that promises to provide the greatest bonuses, bargains, and exclusive limited editions that the company is known for in Japan to international clients.