I already talked about Mandarake on my blog, when I went for the first time to Nakano Broadway but that time I joined one of Mandarake’s guided tours. It was actually the first tour in the Akihabara store, Mandarake Complex, and it may be the reason why we were only 2 people to show up.
I’ve already been to Mandarake Complex a bunch of times but I wasn’t really familiar with it outside of the tokusatsu toys floor and if you know Mandarake you know it’s huge and full of so many things it’s pretty hard to find what you’re looking for without asking the staff. When a store sells manga, DVDs, figures, dakimakura, gaming systems , magazines, art books, stage shows goods, idol pictures, doujinshi, dolls, dating games, Pokemon cards, vintage toys, garage kits, posters, cells, art toys, sofubi, magical girl transformation toys etc. at the same place, it’s easy to get lost.
We started the tour by taking the staff-only elevator to the staff-only 9th floor, and stopped in front of a costume rack were we could choose something to wear and look smart in the store for the next hour. I took GokaiRed’s pirate coat because he’s Marvelous *badum tss* but I must admit I was tempted to get Sephiroth’s one (they didn’t have wigs tho) . After an introduction video we could start the tour!
From there we started to visit all the floors one by one, starting from the top of the building. I kinda lost track of what is on which floor exactly, I should have taken notes. As in Nakano my eyes were attracted by the colorful soft vinyl monster figures and the vintage toys, somewhere between floor 7 and 8.
That same floor was the home of cards, some cards you can actually play, but also some telephone cards that still come out for the pure pleasure of collection and stickers from Bikkuriman waffles. We played a quizz about the price of Pokemon cards and $886 is a lot of money for a Pokemon card. I kind of knew that floor because it’s also where they have all the Kamen Rider and Super Sentai stuff but I never ventured into the card section.
After the cool vintage model kits and the expensive shiny stickers we went to the gendered doujin floors. The male floor is particularly pink from all the lewd comic covers everywhere but it also has idol DVDs, doujin games (a lot of dating sims but that’s also where you can find Touhou games), a huge wall of dakimakura (literally “hug pillow”), some very graphic posters and bishoujo figures. The girl’s floor it full of BL manga and doujinshi with some popular series getting big displays (the Osomatsu-san section is crazy), plus a big section for Johnny’s boy bands goods (concert merch, music, DVDs, and collectible pictures).
I don’t have good pictures of the video games floor but it’s also pretty big, with games, consoles, OSTs, books and magazines.
The last floor is the “original” Mandarake, the manga store, where they keep magical girls items, magazines and of course manga volumes. The guide told us a popular gift was to buy the Shonen Jump from the person’s birthdate. Be sure to do this for your 10 years old nephew but not your 50 years old uncle, it can become expensive.
We got the whole buying process explained at the 1st floor, where you can bring your stuff you want to sell, and then we went on the roof where a staff member dressed as Chun-Li sang for us before giving us the mic to sing on a song we previously chose during the tour booking process (actually they never got my mail about my preferences so I didn’t have to embarrass myself, but I didn’t get any gifts either for the same reason, they didn’t know what kind of trash I am). We finished the tour by a short trasure hunt, time to show off how well we memorized where everything was in the store.
It was a nice tour, I’d recommend it if you’re not a expert of their stores, and if you are it’s the occasion to get some free goods and to spend a nice time in a place you like so if you have some time, you know, it’s free.