蜜柑屋

えにっきみたいなもんです

Tokyo

Akihabara

Gundam cafe speaks for itself.

Gunpla-yaki: taiyaki in the form of a gundam model.

Several adult stores have popped up since I was last here, but so have a number of legitimate (read: non-otaku related) shops. It’s hard to tell whether this town is becoming more or less respectable.

This particular idol unit takes after the AKB48 model by holding live performances on the main street every once in a while. It seems the best way to fans’ pockets these days is to appear accessible.

This truck could be seen driving around Akihabara day and night. Where do eroge companies get the budget for this kind of thing?

One of the numerous shops in the Radio Kaikan building which does nothing except rent display cases for people to sell (or just show off) their stuff. There’s some amazing one-of-a-kind stuff here, including handpainted garage kits and modified figures.

First, we had itasha. Then we had model car itasha. Now we have the next stage - model ita-battleships.

Miracle Battle Carddass. That second ‘d’ is crucial.

Featuring such hilarious quips as ‘If I die, I can be replaced’.

An incredible alcoholic dessert shake crafted for me right before my eyes by one of the maids at Little BSD.

An exhibit of Touhou dolls at Mandarake.

From the author of Genshiken, a familiar story about a galaxy far, far away.

Kadokawa held an event in Akihabara just to announce the re-serialisation of Suzumiya Haruhi. After four whole years, it’s hard to imagine it living up to expectations.

A pre-Comiket festival held by a number of eroge and goods companies at Akihabara’s UDX. The goods were nothing special, but there was a great gallery of art used in eroge advertisements.

I spent Christmas eve at Mogra, a bar located in one of Akihabara’s backstreet basements. The crowd drank and played an eroge together until dawn, with each choice being decided by majority vote and a running commentary from an MC panel which included one of the game’s developers.

New year’s day at Kanda Myoujin, a shrine not far from Akihabara. The racks are already thick with otaku emas.

‘Invasion successful’

‘I want a Gundam!’

‘I don’t want to die’

‘May something be done about that one regulation’

[The recently passed Bill 156 concerning the designation of harmful reading materials.]

Gamebar A-button is tucked away in one of the back streets of Akihabara. The interior is covered with obscure gaming memorabilia, and they have a bunch of neat consoles (from retro to new) which you can play while drinking.

Next to the door is an impressive display board with all kinds of signed memorabilia.

The barkeep is in possession of some rather unique drinks, including this beer brewed by ZUN.

A sampling from the Mister Donut in Akihabara. The bear comes recommended.

Jinbouchou

This unassuming building houses the Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library, which holds a copy of every doujinshi ever submitted for publication at Comiket. For a nominal fee, members of the general public can view any book from its archives.

Yonezawa, a respected manga critic and the founder of Comiket, passed away in 2006.

The bottom floor of the library contains a number of display cases showing not only the history of Comiket (including a near-complete collection of Comiket catalogues), but also a selection of manga-related literature throughout the past few decades.

Nakano

Ufotable’s cafe in Nakano, just down the road from Nakano Broadway.

The cafe is known for having various events and promotions related to ufotable’s shows throughout the year. At the time I went, they had an exhibition of art from Type Moon’s work, including Kara no Kyoukai, a few of their upcoming games and the new Fate Zero TV series.

The special menu ties in with the exhibition.

Type-Moon Jya-jya-men.

Excalibur drink.

Kokutou Florin.

Akasaka

Konami has a store in the super swanky Tokyo Midtown building in Akasaka.

Love Plus pins for every region of Japan, each featuring local costumes.

You can take one of these ladies home for around 10,000 yen.

Buy all three, and you get an extra piece that turns Manaka into Shiori from Tokimemo.

Love Plus Chanmery. Non-alcoholic, as it turns out.

MGS is just about the only other franchise which can compete with Love Plus for floor space.

Shinjuku

Square Enix’s surprisingly humble store in Shinjuku. It’s inconspicuously located right under a highway overpass.

Ueno

The pond in Ueno park. A surreal sight in the middle of such an urban area.

The Iwasaki mansion, where the family which founded Mitsubishi once lived. Also the basis for the mansion in Umineko no naku koro ni.

Minami-senju

The Senju-Ohashi bridge in Minami-senju is the basis for the bridge in Arakawa under the Bridge, although it doesn’t actually span the Arakawa river, but one of its offshoots instead. It’s also a lot smaller than on the show.

Sumida

The Tokyo Sky Tree is set to take over Tokyo Tower’s broadcasting duties within the next few years. There was quite a crowd gathered outside the construction site to get a picture of it while it’s still under construction.

The monument outside the Asahi building in Sumida, popularly known as the ‘golden turd’.

Chiba

The Makuhari Messe is a convention centre in Chiba for various large events (including, for a time, Comiket).

Nintendo’s public demonstration for the 3DS happened to be on during the time I was in town. The technology is impressive, but undeniably gimmicky in that it doesn’t add much to the games themselves. Eyestrain is a very real issue too, kicking in after only about 10 minutes of continued viewing. Fortunately, there’s a switch which lets you turn the 3D down or off completely.

The augmented reality tech demo. Looks promising.

The new Layton game might be the one release title which actually incorporates 3D as part of the gameplay.

The 3D photo display. I suspect we’ll be seeing this in commercial cameras soon enough.

The MGS demo. How does Snake see in 3D without depth perception?

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