What do Sunrise, Shaft and Satelight all have in common? Aside from starting with “S,” they're all animation studios located right next to each other along the Chuo Line in west Tokyo. Other neighbors include Bones, Gonzo and A-1 Pictures with Ghibli, Production IG and Studio 4C further down the tracks. Their concentrated manpower and output makes the area an untapped power spot for anime tourism--until now. First Akihabara, then Ikebukuro and now Asagaya completes the trifecta of otaku holy spots. Welcome to Asagaya Anime Street!
Located ten minutes west of Shinjuku, the Asagaya Anime Street shopping arcade is a renovated warehouse district that runs under the train tracks. Its shops, cafes and classrooms aim to connect fans with the industry while cultivating a new generation of creators. Let's go for a stroll and see our tax dollars at work.
Official homepage: https://bq-club.jp/
This cozy home theater lined with state-of-the art pro gamer seats aims to give back to the studios directly by holding screenings of short films and forgotten gems. Proceeds from sales of DVDs and merchandise at events goes back to the creator without the production committee getting their grubby fingers on it. The cost of admission is a cup of coffee and you also get free wi-fi and a closer look at their moe mascot, Bisko-chan.
Currently they're running Kick-Heart and Nanchatte Vampiyan with Ghost in the Shell: Innocence on the docket.
Official homepage: http://college.athuman.com/game/list/topics/006945.php
Although the classroom wasn't up and running yet, it promises to offer courses visual effects, game cinematic and general digital tools. They even have their own motion capture studio, Digibaco, next door.
Madhouse Asagaya (11:00-18:00, closed Tuesday)
Official homepage: http://www.madhouse.co.jp/
Aside from an assortment of goods and reproduction genga, there is also an exhibit space with a 500 yen entrance fee that displays animation cels and design materials from a rotating body of works. Paprika, Ninja Scroll and Death Billiards were on display when we visited.
Game Life Output
This event space promises to be home to rotating installations in the future. Right now the shop is mainly dedicated to Touhoku Zunko, moe ambassador for the Touhoku region. She's got her own character goods, dojinshi, light novel and there's even a Vocaloid module in the works. Proceeds from every sale go to help the areas struck by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
101 Tapioca Drink and HACOSTA (11:00-20:00)
Official homepage: http://101-oneoone.com/
The bubble tea counter is connected to the HACOSTA event space that features titles in tandem with Animate Cafe promotions. Who can say what series will run after La Corda d'Oro?
GaFo Labo (11:00-21:30, closed Sunday)
Official homepage: http://www.gofa.co.jp/
The "gallery of fantastic art" doubles as a collaboration cafe and currently has Hakuouki on the menu.
Clystal Moon (11:00-20:00, closed Tuesday)
Official homepage: http://homepage3.nifty.com/crystal-moonelia/
Hand crafted silver accessories inspired by anime, steampunk, and chunibyou.
Outfits and accessories that bishonen heartthrobs would wear if only they existed in real life.
Rental cosplay outfits, wigs and accessories. Also hosts a language exchange club for foreigners and Japanese to get together and rap about their favorite anime.
Gacha-gacha machines and other trinkets. Offers a print-on-demand service for 3D printed figures.
Official homepage: http://pikatto.jp/
Specializes in LCD picture frames and merchandise from the Nihon Falcom RPG franchise, The Legend of Heroes.
Game Life at Asagaya (11:00-19:00, closed Thursday)
Official homepage: http://asagaya.game-life.jp/
Event space for local multi-player gaming and exhibits. This God Eater promotion ended on April 3rd.
Official homepage: http://zou-33.com/
Mini-elephant ears at full prices. You can take them into the cafe across the street, Shirobaco--more on that in our next post!
Official homepage: http://www.jrtk.jp/asagaya-anime-street/
Address: 2-40-1 Asagaya Minami, Suginami-ku Tokyo
Hours: 11:00-18:00 (Core time) *Hours vary by tenant