Being the avid anime and gaming fan that I am, I had to visit Akihabara – the district once used to be (and to be fair it still is) famous for various electrical goods but throughout the years anime has been increasing in popularity as well as rather obscure services such as the Maid Cafe. The impact is rather obvious- just minutes after leaving the underground station I emerge into an anime and gaming haven – across the street I see 2 maids standing behind a table being filmed for TV, they happen to be standing next to ‘Gamers,’ a huge store devoted to videogaming and anime. As I walk down the main road I can’t help but notice each store as I walk past – not only anime and gaming but of course, we need stores for the merchandise!! Models and figures are big business in Japan and I suddenly realise how serious when I enter each store selling a plethora of plastic goodness; unsurprisingly Dragon Ball characters are some of the most popular models around but other notable titles include Mazinger Z, Evangelion (no surprise there) and Ultra Man. Another thing that catches my eye as I walk down the main road is what seems to be an arcade – the front doors and all of the windows are decorated with Evangelion characters, I’m not quite sure what the big deal is, so I enter and soon realise that I had just taken my first step into the world of… Pachinko. Pachinko is big business in Japan and several anime and video games have been used as a selling point for new Pachinko machines. I quickly make for the exit as I can’t stand the endless noise that surrounds me. Back on the main road I make my way to a video gaming and DVD store that sell old games – luckily it’s a good day for me and I get a pretty healthy deal on some old PS2 games that I didn’t need anymore – 8,000 Yen 😀 In another store close by there’s already something that has caught my eye and I blow some of the cash on 3X3 Eyes Tenrinougenmu – a pretty rare PS1 game based on the awesome 3X3 Eyes Manga and Anime. Down a side street I discover an area dedicated to Gatchapon machines – Gatchapon is a popular capsule containing a small figurine of an anime or videogame character. I decide to call it a day and head back to the station only to see a whole army of maids, each representing their own cafe by distributing flyers. For those who don’t know about the maid cafe, it evolved from the Japanese idea of ‘Moe’ – I don’t know much of the concept of Moe but it’s apparently a really ‘good’ feeling caused by the attractiveness of someone or something along those lines, and the maid cafe is a place where a waitress dressed as a maid addresses you as master, can play video games with you and even give you a massage because, hey, it feels nice! I’d welcome a more accurate description of moe btw, because mine is probably not-so-correct!!
Anyway, to summarise, Akihabara is almost gaming and anime heaven – it just wasn’t perfect for me but if you’re a gamer and/or anime fan, it’s undoubtedly worth a visit!!