Being in a place where you could be a child once again gives you emotional liberation; and Tokyo Anime Center is one of the best shops to go to when you want to revisit your childhood fantasies and dreams of fighting with, dating or simply becoming a sexy super heroine, like the sailor soldiers in popular 90s anime Sailor Moon.
As the name suggests, Tokyo Anime Center deals mainly with Japanese anime. They offer various merchandise bearing pictures, logos and themes of anime, ranging from souvenir items, food, toys, books, magazines and other related reading materials. There are several collector's items on display.
The shop is located on the 3rd floor of UDX Akihabara. It is just a small studio-type shop with glass walls covered in colorful pictures of animated characters. They have three doors, but one is blocked and does not permit visitors in or out.
The moment you enter the small shop, you will be welcomed to a maze of assorted colors and sizes of anime figures and toys, key chains bearing the faces of different anime characters. It was indeed fascinating to see the various displays of items in a quite small space.
With the huge variety of item sizes, colors and designs, do expect a wide range of prices as well. Pins, plastic folders and key chains are the most affordable, costing only around ¥150 to ¥500. The bigger the items or the more intricate the figures are, the more expensive they get. Smaller collectibles range from ¥1000 to ¥7000 yen, while bigger ones cost over ¥10,000.
No cameras allowed, please.
Not only Tokyo Anime Center, but even in other hobby shops around the place, cameras are not allowed. So no matter how enticing the colors you will see inside, do avoid using a camera to capture these images. There are several signs posted inside bearing a picture of a camera with a big X on it. The shop is also small enough for the staff to hear every click you trigger on your iPhone or digital camera. I guess I was just lucky to get two shots without getting caught.
To get to the shop, take the Electric Town Exit from Akihabara Station, at the Akihabara UDX side. Take the stairs or escalator to an overpass. It'll take you directly to the UDX building. As soon as you reach the 3rd level, you will immediately catch sight of the colorful shop with a huge sign that says TOKYO ANIME CENTER.