Have you heard of Otome Road? It is located in Ikebukuro and consists of dense groupings of shops that sell anime, doujinshi, manga and other related merchandises tailored for female Otaku. Provided that you are a female Otaku, if you drop by to Tokyo you should definitely pay a visit! You will be amazed at the number and the variety of items that the shop stack! I remember the first time I visited Otome Road very clearly. I was touched to see all the goodies that I wanted and more in one place! So touched that I had teary eyes while I was shopping there ;;^^.
Since we can’t be there in person now, why don’t we take a virtual tour?
The Google Map displays the start of Otome Road. The first shop is of course, the gigantic animate! It consists of eight floors, with each floor specialised in a particular good. The ground floor is for new items; the second floor is dedicated to general manga and art books; the third floor is for female-orientated manga and art books; the fourth floor stocks male-orientated manga and art books; the fourth and fifth floors are filled with anime merchandise grouped by series and the top floors contain anime and seiyuu related DVD and CD. animate is the killer for me! I spent more than three hours going mad and choosing what to buy! They were one of the most blissful hours of my life XDD;;.
Next to animate we have Rashinpan. The ground floor stocks female-orientated goods and the first floor stocks male-orientated goods. They sell second-hand and discounted games; individual and packaged trading cards and random anime merchandise. I saw Neo-Angelique PS2 Premium version for less than half of its original price there, thus I will definitely visit again to buy some cheap games.
As you go down the road further, we are presented with three outlets of K-Books. The first K-Books next to Rashinpan is targeted at male Otaku, whereas the other two K-Books are more suited for female Otaku. K-Books sell a variety of goods, such as doujinshi, BL games, Otome games, manga, video and seiyuu-related goods. Would recommend K-Books for doujinshi and manga: they have A LOT. Literally shelves full of them! Personally I am not into BL and doujinshi so I didn’t explore K-Books for long ;;^^.
The second K-Books that you see consists of Swallowtail cafe in the basement, which is a very popular café with trained butlers. They don’t just serve you food: from the first moment you walk into the cafe you are their ‘Oujo-sama’ (My Lady), back home after a long day. They speak in extremely polite Japanese that many female Otaku moe over XDD. Well, I guess not only female Otaku moe over butlers considering that we now have a Japanese drama overwhelmed with butlers. Will go in detail on Swallowtail cafe in another post.
Apart from Swallowtail, you can relax in other female Otaku tailored cafe. There are a few dotted around Ikebukuro. I don’t know much about them since I have never been to one before, my Japanese is not good enough for me to interact with Japanese butlers or cosplayers ;;^^.
Finally if you turn left after the first K-Book, you would see Mandrake just around the corner next to am pm. Mandrake is filled with doujinshi, BL novels and BL manga. It is basically a BL paradise with the occasion Otome doujinshi thrown in to the mix. Although it is packed with books, the shop is quite small but I guess it has everything that a BL fan would need: there were a lot of people browsing when I was there!
That concludes our tour. In case you haven’t noticed, you can enlarge Google map to full screen for easy navigation and full appreciation of the sanctuary for female Otaku. If you were to visit, bring a small suitcase with you to merge into the crowd since many brings one to carry their forbidden goods XDDD. Just two months to go and I will be back in Ikebukuro, very looking forward to it!
Images from Google Map application and hanizo’s gallery.