My head hurts. Ever since I’ve gotten to Japan, the misguided and borderline retarded cries of English language anime fandom have driven me crazy. I need to let off some steam.
In an attempt to clear my head, I take a walk. Even though I’ve been in Japan for under a week, the walk from my dwelling to the train station already feels familiar. There’s a bunch of vending machines on the way, and one thing I’ve noticed about Japan is that I’m using them way more than I do in the States. It’s mostly because the selection is so varied, and the products are pretty good.
The first stop on my walk is the local DVD and game shop. The name is rendered entirely in kanji, so I’m unable to read it. I am however able to read “パソコン DVD ゲーム” so I knew this place would be my hangout right when I got here. First stop: used DVDs. I spot two volumes of the first Hayate series sitting around for 15 dollars a piece, each DVD containing 4 episodes. I’d consider this if the show wasn’t already being released in the US. Or should be. There’s a whole host of other titles, and there are surprisingly a few that I have not heard of. Only a few, though.
I quickly scan the game section–it’s littered with tons of Gundam games which never saw the light of the day in the US. Whether they’re good or not is your call, but it’s a sad state of affairs nonetheless.
After a cursory scan of PS2 and PS3 games, I head to the narrow 18+ section. One side is lined with AV DVDs, while the other is lined with eroge. I spot Shuffle! sitting around for about 40 bucks. My main aim, however, is a good loli-centric yarugee, but I can’t find anything that meets that description here. Perhaps the trip to Akiba tomorrow will be more fruitful.
I spend the rest of my time just aimlessly wandering around, and while doing so I come across a poster advertising the DS release of Really? Really! I’ll snap a picture of it tomorrow on my way to AKB.
Next stop is Kogo Books. I’ve come across two bookstores in my area, and this one is by far my favourite. The manga selection is larger, and they actually have Megami on sale. I’ve yet to buy it, though. I’m saving my first otaku purchase for Electric Town. The first thing I see when I walk in is a complete run of Gundam: The Origin. Along side that is a bunch of awesome looking Gundam spinoff manga that I had no idea existed. I doubt I can read Operation Troy, but the cover art is positively amazing.
In my time browsing through the manga section, I notice a whole bunch of adaptations of light novels and popular anime. I had no idea so much of this junk existed. I wonder if any of them are good?
Kodomo no Jikan finds itself under three or four shelves of porn featuring busty women, which I find a little hilarious. Opposite that is a whole smörgåsbord of more 18+ comics, just sitting out near the entrance of the store. None of it interests me, though. The only loli stuff is poorly drawn. Across from this island is another, and on it is the infamous Comic LO, just sitting out for anyone to look at it. My small gaijin head can’t get around the fact that this positively dirty publication is just sitting out for anyone–even an old lady–to see.
Truly, this is the greatest country.
I’m getting closer to the station. Nearby is a game center. I’ve been in once before, but I’ve yet to take a good look. I first head upstairs to all the gambling games. Beyond all the slots is a fleet of Gundam 0083 card battling machines.
Once again: Truly, this is the greatest country.
There is a display case filled with figures of sexy anime girls, but among them the figure I’m most interested in is a no-nonsense 3D rendering of the great Inspector Zenigata. That one Misato figure is pretty hot, too.
Heading back downstairs now. The place reeks of smoke, but I don’t mind. In any other context I would, but here it just feels natural. There are a number of UFO Catchers, one of which has a some nice Haruhi figures, and the other has some awesome Gundam toys. I’ll try my luck eventually. The selection of games is great, and at some point I’ll have to at least give that one Gundam game a spin, since it looks totally sweet.
I exit the joint stinking of smoke and loving it, only to move on to another smoke-filled joint–a local slots parlor. Evangelion is the big game here, with Eva-themed machines lining the entrance. Most of them are just playing the intro, but one screen had a picture of Rei in some bloomers. A woman who works there welcomed me, and at that point I left because I felt as if I had to play something.
The final stop on this walk was the other book store I mentioned earlier. There’s not really anything of note, except for SUPER MEGAMI DELUXE, which just may contain every Megami Poster ever, printed in artbook form.
Very tempting indeed.
Isn’t Gundam still a niche market in the US? PS2 games like Lost War Chronicles and Encounters in Space were incredible. How does the card battle arcade game work, too?
I don’t know the details, but I think there’s a bunch of cards with computer data on them, you woosh them around on those boards, and stuff on the screens happens.
Ah yes, the selection of Gundam games in Japan is a lot better in Japan. Even for a system like the Xbox 360, which is doing poorly in that country, has a game or two that hasn’t arrived in US shores (the example that comes to mind is Gundam: Operation Troy, which was a OYW Battlefield style game, which I was able to at least play a demo of by creating a Japanese XBL account. Sadly I doubt it’ll ever come stateside). Also at some point you might notice an game with a bunch with a legion of robot anime mecha in slighty downsized form. Perhaps it’ll have the RX-78, the Getter Robo, the GaoGaiGar, the Nirvage, and Mazinkaiser on it. That game is part of the legendary Super Robot Wars series. I suggest you buy one sometime. With the exception of the “Original Generation” games, the liscencing issues will prevent them ever being localized on this side of the pacific. (So, we all miss out on great things like Shin Asuka becoming best palls with Kamille Bidan, or Shinji Ikari calling out Kira Yamato for being a whiny bitch. Yes, that actually happened.)
(However, all these games usually do show up stateside in one way: anime cons. However, they prices are usually a bitch. For example, I bought the recent Macross Ace Frontier game for the PSP for “low” price of $76. That said, it was only dealer at the fucking con to have it since people have been buying it left and right. That said, it was good purchase, if a bit draining on my funds).
I’ve known about SRW for years :|
Absolutely obscene lolicon pornography being right out in public perplexed me at first too, and it softened the impact when I noticed every magazine rack I ever saw had numerous men standing in front of it reading pornography. Maybe all the vag censoring makes everyone hornier and/or less reserved about it being in public. It’s really amazing, things that might get you labeled as a sex offender here if you tried to pass it through customs are perfectly normal at a train station book stand.
Do they still have those cardboard cutouts of that creepy looking terrorist guy at every station?