“Foray” is the operative word for my brief incursion into the foreign, but fascinating (and vast) anime doll craze. My niece is into Japanese anime drawing, so I thought she would love a 3-D model from which to base her sketches. What better place to get one than in Tokyo.
I am a fish out of water here, so I had to do a bit of Internet research on the basics of anime, dolls, and where to buy them in Tokyo (and, how much they can cost – which is moderate to exorbitant).
Online advice pointed me to a district called Akihabara, which is a huge center for all things related to gaming and collectible figures and dolls. Akihabara is a lively area, jam-packed with multi-story shopping malls that cater to hobbyists of some sort. Malls in Tokyo are almost exclusively high-rise affairs, not the sprawling one- or two-story complexes often found in the western United States.
At one such mall, I found several shops selling dolls, and I decided to concentrate on one called Azone. It is one of the biggest manufacturers of collectible fashion dolls in Japan. Azone carries its own brand of dolls, as well as several other brands that true doll aficionados would recognize. Collectors can buy a ready-made doll, or put together a custom doll from parts. There are also many types of accessories – wigs, clothing, shoes, and much more. Some dolls are cute and cartoonish; others are more realistic; and still others veer toward the suggestive.
Below are just a few examples of dolls from the Azone shop displays. I bought one of these dolls for my niece (I’ll reveal which one when she gets the parcel). I hope she likes it.
In short, this store, with its wonderful variety for collectors, represents just one of many, many places in the city to find something to treasure. And the sky’s the limit to what you can spend.
Hope you enjoyed this tiny slice of life in Japan. Take care and see you soon!