CDJapan has some good deals on right now, if you don’t have these games it’s worth checking them out!
Ignore the title on the CD Japan page which calls this Chemical Shingakki, the game is actually Kimi Kare Shingakki.
If you’re an otome fan, and you’re so lucky as to go to Japan, and want to find some cool/fun/awesome otome stuffs while you’re there, this guide is for you!
First off, if you don’t know Japanese, here are some key terms to look for:
女性向け： Josei-muke – Targeted to women. You’ll see this on store maps and section titles and it’s helpful when you’re in a multistory place like animate.
同人誌： Doujinshi – well, you know what this is.
家庭ゲーム・TVゲーム ・ PCゲーム： Katei game/TV game (console games) / PC game
乙女ゲーム：Otome game – if you read this blog you know what this is too!
漫画・コミック： Manga / comic – they usually use the second (katakana) version, but sometiems you see the traditional ‘manga’ used
特典・とくてん CD： Tokuten CD – a special CD, usually refers to preorder or limited edition bonus CDs. Places that sell used games/CDs often have these separate from the games.
If you have something specific you’re looking for, I totally recommend writing it down, in Japanese (and in the alphabet so you can say it as well), and if you don’t have much time, giving that to store staff – I always found them to be super helpful and nice. Also write down what it is – a PSP game, drama CD, etc. When you give it to them, you can say, “Sumimasen (Excuse me), kore o sagashiteimasu kedo…” which means, “I’m looking for this…” or “Sumimasen, kore ga hoshiin desu kedo…” (I want this), and usually that’s enough, they will know you’re asking for help. If they shake their head or apologize (something starting with “sumimasen” or “gomen nasai”) it probably means they don’t have it.
I’d totally do this in specialty stores like animate (I’d try to get to the right floor first), I’m not sure if bigger stores like Book Off would know their games that well (I did ask in a Book Off about finding the Violinist of Hamelin manga and they found it for me). Oh, and if you’re looking for doujinshi, especially if it’s a big series like Hakuouki, One Piece, or Prince of Tennis (テニスの王子様 or Tenipuri テニプリ）, it can’t hurt to write down which characters you’re looking for as well (if you want a pairing), or if you want an ensemble (オールキャラ or All-Chara), or you want BL or non-BL (which they call ‘normal coupling’, even though I think there’s way more BL doujinshi). Here is what the shelves of a Mandarake or doujinshi store look like. The tabs sticking out are the guide to the genre – some series like Tiger and Bunny and Uta no Prince-sama will have whole shelves (more than one) to themselves, and the tabs will be orderd by the couple – Otoya x Tokiya to use one example. Now, when I was in the Mandarake (I think it was), I found the general otome game section (the pic is from K Books) near the back and just went through like a madwoman. It wasn’t too big, maybe half a shelf once you remove the Hakuouki and Uta Puri stuff, but that’s still a few hundred doujinshi to go through.
Ah! One thing you should look out for if/when buying doujinshi – there are also a lot of doujin novels, which are great if you’re fluent in literary Japanese, not so great if you’re hoping for comics. The katakana for novel is ノベル, or its traditional name shosetsu ( 小説 ), and you can distinguish them because their covers usually don’t have a picture on them.
They’ll also have a Drama CD section, hopefully organized by title, but not always. Apparently Book Offs have a drama CD section too, I don’t think I ever noticed.
For games, I found the best deals in Book Off, and probably Lashinbang (also nice because Lashinbang is small), and maybe Trader (4 stores in Akihabara, 1 in Shinjuku). Mandarake was also great, although in some places the volume of stuff to sift through is huge.
Once you’ve gotten what you want and take it up to the cash, they’ll total it all up. If you’re using cash, great (by the way, you can use ATMs at any 7-11 with your North American bank debit card (any that have Cirrus(or maybe Plus, I can’t remember)! It’s awesome!), if you’re using a credit card, they’ll usually ask you something – I believe it’s to ask whether you want it all together or in separate charges. I don’t really know the reason behind this, I always just say “Ikkaku de”, which means all in one. Once you’re all done you might want to say “Doumo” or “Arigatou” in thanks, and then try not to be too obvious while you giggle and skip away in happiness.
Tokyo – Ikebukuro
This is the dream spot for otome fans. There are other places with several of the same stores, but none are as targeted to female fans as here – Otome Road. Check out my guide for the basics, but there’s actually even more around there that I totally missed during my trip *cue sobbing*. Besides the K Books stores, Mandarake, Lashinbang, Book Off, and animate (7th floor is drama CDs, 8th is games, and 5th and 6th is character goods), there is:
Meikido 明輝堂: a great doujin store for women, and according to my shopping guide the physical store has used games and CDs as well! Using extreme patience and virtual scouting with Google Streetview, I now know where it is – it’s not surprising I missed it since it has very little signage. It’s across from the Mandarake (not where the K Books store is but the street behind), on the 4th floor behind a Family Mart (convenience store). The signage it has is small but bright pink, and it’s in kanji.
Tora no Ana とらのあな: This is actually right off the main street, Sunshine Doori, leading to Otome Road, on a side street which has a KFC on the corner. It has doujinshi, but also games and CDs.
Gamers ゲーマーズ: This is on the side street right before Tokyu Hands. However, looking at their webpage I wouldn’t go here unless I had lots of time.
Stellaworth: Can’t believe I missed this, I thought it was only online but this store is all for women (and they always have really good special items with games). I think it’s on the same street as Gamers.
And for anyone who’s going later than November 17, the animate is moving out of Otome Road! It’s moving closer to the station, further north. There are good directions at the animate site for the new address.
(if you want it bigger just save it, the original size is twice what shows here)
Info on other anime/manga/game stores:
Kyoto: Animate – this is actually pretty near Gion if you’re doing sightseeing. If you’re walking down Shijou (四条） along to Gion, about two blocks west of Gion there’s an entrance to a pedestrian mall called Shinkyogoku (新京極）. About 125m in there’s an animate on the right (you might have to go up stairs to the door, I can’t remember).
More animate locations – they even have one now in my old suburb!!
Mandarake has stores in Shibuya, Umeda (Osaka), Grand Chaos (Osaka, near Nanba/Shinsaibashi), and their huge complex in Akihabara – as well as their several small stores in Nakano (Tokyo), which are totally fun
More links if you’d like to check stuff out before you go(this isn’t their whole selection):
Bookoff Online: if it works that goes to their PSP adventure games – many many otome games there. Now you won’t find that whole selection in one Bookoff but I usually found a couple games to buy.
Mandarake *new* doujinshi
Mandarake games – the part in brackets is which store it’s at
K Books online doujinshi store – the otome game ones are in the bottom right
K Books’ Ikebukuro store blog, where they post often about new collections they bought from collectors. Lots of BL but a bunch of otome as well – you can also see the range of prices.
Tora no Ana CDs Game Doujinshi by Title and PC Games (Princess Side)
Bookoff interactive map of locations – there is ALWAYS a Bookoff nearby, wherever you go.
Oh, if you’re looking for cute souvenirs or just cute things in general, I higly recommend Kiddy Land – their flagship store is right in Harajuku.
Hmm, what else can I say…if you have something specific in mind, some stores are searchable online before you go. Otherwise, it’s a lot of fun to just go and browse. Also, if you have trouble finding a place, there will often be neighbourhood maps around. Remember that addresses in Japan are done by blocks, from big to small, so an address would look something like: 東京都 豊島区 東池袋 1-22-10 – Tokyo-to (city or region), Toshima-ku (city section), Higashi Ikebukuro (area), 1-22-10 (neighbourhood, block, and building number respectively). That’s the address of the Book Off near Otome Road. If you have more money than time, you can take a taxi – just give the taxi driver the written address and they’ll take you there (taxis in Japan are really nice). Also good for when you’re loaded down with otome stuff! (That’s one place where being a game otaku has a huge advantage over being a manga otaku – the goods are WAAAAAYY lighter. Don’t ask me how many times I’ve lugged around 20 kgs of manga in my backpack)
If you have any other questions, leave a comment and I’ll try to answer!
Along with Amiami, I’m trying out CDJapan, which I remember from a long time ago being pretty expensive. Well, it’s not a bargain basement, but their prices for special editions are totally reasonable, and they also often come with store specials. And the best thing about them is that you can always see how many of a certain edition of game or whatever they have available, so you can plan really well.
My first order from them was because I had tried to get Ouma ga Toki from Amiami, and a couple weeks later, they said they couldn’t get it for me. I rushed over to CDJapan and while, unfortunately, they didn’t have any limited editions left, they had the normal one still with the pre-order CD and a store special poster. So, since their shipping can be pretty expensive, I figured I may as well add some more to the order, and this is what I got today:
Clockwise from top left: Store special mini-poster (for once the do-S is doing something actually BDSM!), Kannou Mukashibanashi, two more store special mini-posters, Beastmaster and Prince fandisk, Ouma ga Toki, Renai Banchou pre-order CD (though I didn’t pre-order it, pretty sweet), Ouma ga Toki pre-order CD, and Renai Banchou Limited Edition.
That’s a pretty good haul, I think almost as good as some of my shopping days in Japan – though probably quite a bit more expensive. (；´Д｀) うぅっ。。
Anyways, I should be studying right now since I have a final exam tomorrow night, but I’m probably going to put Ouma ga Toki in my PSP very soon…even though I still haven’t finished one route in WoF II. （；￣д￣）ハァ
And it’s only been four days since Ouma ga Toki came out! And I could have had it on Friday if I had known how much the customs would be (hint: a lot), then I would have gotten it virtually one day after release! I’m still waiting for Tokimemo3 PSP, and that came out in the middle of March!
I’ll still have to do some number-crunching and figure out whether it’s truly worth it to pay the extra shipping and customs fees, but CDJapan is definitely a contender when you want to make sure you get a special edition or pre-order bonus.
I finally checked out AmiAmi, and though their shipping isn’t free like YesAsia, the prices are cheaper, especially if you want to get limited editions. And since YesAsia seems to take longer and longer these days, I’m trying out AmiAmi for Ouma ga Toki. I’ll see how long it takes to get here, I’m choosing the relatively cheap SAL option.
Also, they have lots of drama CDs and other stuff – they had Alice x Cross but it’s almost all sold out
And my favourite part is that their otome games are in a whole separate section called “Games -> Bishonen“! LOL And you can even get (if you want) the tokuten version – some games come with special store exclusives. AmiAmi’s seem to be mostly library cards (cards you can use to buy stuff at bookstores I think), so I wouldn’t get them, although I have some from my shoujo manga days and they can be addictive to collect (they’re usually pretty and small, so they’re easy to store! but they’re functionally useless). I see that the Aoiza re-release comes with a drama CD…damn you Otomate! ＼(*｀∧´)／ ﾑｯｷｰ!! Although really, charging more for the store-exclusive ones is a bit…I mean, I thought that point of it was to make you pre-order/buy the game new as opposed to waiting and buying it used somewhere. Oh well. Now I’m off to fill in my wishlist!
I actually thought about doing this while I was on my trip, but I didn’t have time. I had a really tough time finding Otome Road, but once I got it down (took a couple times), I thought it would be great to have a photo guide because there are some good landmarks for it. This guide starts from Ikebukuro station since you’d have to be crazy to drive in Tokyo.
Now, one of the simplest ways if you’re ok with asking people directions (and they either don’t know, or you’re shy about asking where Otome Road or animate is), is to ask how to get to Tokyu Hands. The Tokyu Hands store is a hop skip and a jump away from Otome Road, just on the near side of the highway overpass.
If you’d rather find it yourself, here’s a guide.
First, a linkie to a Google Map of walking to the Ikebukuro Animate. If this is enough, fantastic. However, when I went, I had the Otome Shopping Guide with a diagram that looked pretty similar to this, and I TOTALLY got lost. Partly my own fault for thinking I could wander around and find it.
Anyways, start off in Ikebukuro station. Depending on which train/subway line you take it will be different places, but once you exit you’ll likely be underground. Now, if you can, use exit 35. This is the closest to the street you need to go down to get to Otome Road. It may feel like you’re walking underground forever, but it makes things easier!
If you can’t, you may end up going out the main entrance. You want to cross the big road in front of you, and start going the road that looks like this.
The red box is the Exit 35, you want to be on that side of the road. Notice on top of the building above it, the red cube with the Bic Camera (in Japanese) on it.
Now,once you get to exit 35, turn around and look back, you should see something like this:
Tuen back around and continue going down this street, but not far. There will be a crosswalk, and two roads going off to the left. Don’t go down the first one, but the second – the Lotteria should be on your left.
Leading up to the turnoff.
See the red box? That’s the Lotteria, you should go on the road to the right of it.
Now if you see this before you, you’re practically there!
Lotteria on the left, Sanrio on the right. Now just keep walking down this road, past a Denny’s:
Past Book Off (it took me a while to find this as well, since in addition to being recessed the sign is orange instead of yellow!):
Actually if you have time check the Book Off out, it`s pretty good.
And finally you`ll get to Tokyu Hands – almost there!
Now, see the overpass? You’re going to go under that, and get to that glass building, the Toyota Amlux building..
(This pic is shown from where you end up across the street.) Admire the cars inside – just kidding, we have otome shopping to do! Now at this point, you can either go straight from the crosswalk, or you can turn right. Both choices are good, but I’m going to go right. Just ‘cuz. So follow those mini trucks!
Hmm, what’s this 7 story building? It’s Animate! You have now arrived at Otome Road, dance, jump for joy, whatever you feel like!
Now, Otome Road can both feel small and big. When you first see it, it seems small. Yay an animate, yay a K Books. But don’t be fooled. Let’s take a tour of all the otome shops (or at least the ones I went to).
Once you’re done with Animate, keep going down the same road. Two doors down past a ramen shop, there’s Lashinbang:
If you find out what the deal is with the name, please tell me. This has games, DVDs and CDs, and I’m not even sure what they have on the second floor.
And look what’s right beside it! K-Books Anime. Enjoy this as well.
You may be thinking, “Is this it? Is this all of Otome Road Lijaka?” NO. NOT AT ALL.
Continue down the road.
I didn’t go into this K Books, because I think it’s mostly cosplay and I was on a serious game mission. But I’d love to go and explore. And hmm, I see a red sign on the right, what could that be?
Hm still can’t see very well.
Oh yes, the holy of holies for doujinshi, Mandarake. This may not be the multi-story monstrosity in Akihabara, but it is almost ALL for women. Rock on.
You may feel an urge to stop here. Animate, Lashinbang, K Books Anime and Premium, and Mandarake can take quite a bit of time. It seems like this might be the end. But I think we should keep going. Don’t turn around (in fact I would save Mandarake for later to browse at leisure), but keep going down the same road.
Focus on the red box. Let’s get closer…
K Books Doujin. This is the ONLY place I found doujin otome games. They had one small shelf upstairs for games, and I found them there. If I could go back right now, that’s one of the first places I’d go.
Surely, you’re thinking, that must be it? But don’t you feel like something’s missing? I can’t quite place it, so let’s go down just a little further.
K Books Comic. Just in case you haven’t gotten enough otome stuff, this can probably fill some empty spots in your bag (and empty some of your wallet). They had back issues of otome gaming mags here…very tempting.
So those are the stores that I found on Otome Road. Mandarake and K Books Doujin alone took hours of my time, and I think I ended up visiting Otome Road three or four times (in four days, I was getting a little embarrassed by the end because they recognized me).
If anyone is heading to Tokyo, I hope they find this useful – I wasted hours looking for Otome Road, but once you figure out the basics it’s very close to the station, and oh, such awesome shopping!
The last few days in Tokyo were kind of a blur, but I did get out a few more times to buy most of what was left on my list.
A bunch of games from Bookoff, like the shounen ones, as well as Pandora and maybe Armen Noir? At animate I bought Wand of Fortune II, they only had the limited edition and it didn’t come with any store extras, too bad. And then at K Books I bought Clock Zero, Anniversary Alice, Grimm Director’s Cut, and Bloody Call. I found Takuyo Mix Box in a Bic Camera store, which was great as I had given up hope (Bic and Yodobashi Camera have enormous stores, they’re more like Best Buy than camera stores).
And I also spent some time frantically looking for Alice x Cross cards, since my friends and I want to try playing it. I had thought that I could find them easily at an animate, especially in Otome Road, but they actually only had one (ONE) booster pack, of Junjou Romantica, so I bought that (yay five cards!) I bought most of the following in the K Books Anime store on their second level, where they have all the cool furoku and special random merchandise. I spent at least half an hour standing there going through two boxes of cards (really only one because one was just Hakuouki), and ended up buying the following:
I actually did buy quite a few Hakuouki cards, since that was the only otome game-based series that was plentiful. I found a couple VitaminX cards which I bought up, and then as many Kichiku Megane ones as they had for my friend (BL uber fan) as well as a bunch of Togainu no Chi since they had a ton of those. A girl (junior high? high school maybe?) chatted to me about how cute Akira was, I wish I had been able to do more than just agree, since I’ve never played it.
Apart from that, my last shopping spree was at the airport, when I went a bit crazy after realizing I’d left all my manga in the checked luggage. I bought the new Jump, and a bunch of random volumes of shounen manga (they didn’t have much if any shoujo: Gintama 41, Hunter Hunter 29, Bakuman 14, Bleach 52, and Embalming 6. Well, they probably weren’t random, but since the only one I was familiar with was Gintama they felt that way. I only got through Gintama and some of Bleach.
Waah, I thought I posted this! I’m back from Japan now…Oh well.
Delayed: Today I wandered around some more, went back to the animate and also went to a store in between animate and K Books, Lashinbang. It had some bargain games out in a rack outside, and inside is pretty busy but has some good deals, all focusing on otome stuff of course. I got VitaminX Addiction Vol. 1 for only Y2500! I saw it before in a Mandarake, but it was still Y4900, which is just way too much for a 30-minute anime.
Also picked up Aoiza, which I had totally forgot about so it was lucky they had it, heh, Kaminaru Kimi, and the new Wizard and Master. I think that was the first time I saw the new version available, though some used places had had the old one (which is really old)!
I went to Mandarake again, but didn’t get much, just the newest Toraware Gokko and the Ayashino Miya comic. After reading a couple of the game-based comics, some of them are just rehashes of the game and don’t add much, so I might not bother bringing some back, but I just can’t help buying them.
And finally, I realized that there was another K Books store even further down the street that I hadn’t been to, K Doujin, so I went there. Of course they had tons of doujinshi, but I was almost out of time, so in browsing, I found the corner (really a small shelf) they had of doujin games!! I was hoping to find these in other places, since the shopping guide said that animate had some too, but uh…when I asked they seemed to only have guy-oriented ones (lots of hentai). I didn’t buy that many, though now I wish I had, because most of them were Hakuouki. I just bought the best-looking one of that, and the two Harutoki 3 games I found, and then one original game.
Only one (or was it two) days left to catalogue, I’ll do it all in post.
Well, I got to Otome Road too early today(ok, a few days ago, this is late!) and then it started pouring, so I didn’t do much shopping until the afternoon. I found the Book off (conveniently between Ikeubukuro station and Otome Road) and bought a couple games, then headed over.
Since I hadn’t tried K Books yet, I went there, and it was awesome! Lots of stuff, they have baskets of furoku and thingies that you can’t usually get separately. And a great selection of drama CDs, I really have to make notes of what I want now.
Yay, a Nachi facecloth, heh. And finally got WagaHana
Doesn’t look like too much but several solid purchases in there!
I wanted to do some reconaissance for when we move to Ikebukuro tomorrow, so we went there and I did my first bit of Otome Road shopping.
First I had to find it, which was harder than I thought. Strangely enough, there are no big signs saying “OTOME ROAD THIS WAY!!!” and even though I had the shopping guide, I picked one landmark that was wrong and went kinda far before finding the right way.
However, I soon realized my mistake (the turning point was when I was following people because I figured they would be going towards the station, and it turned out they were going towards a college of some kind) and started paying attention to addresses (you know Japan does addresses by blocks, not streets, right?) and eventually found my way to the entrance. Which, by the way, also does not scream out, “Here is Otome Road! You have found the Mecca of otome games!!”, but at least the animate has its sign fairly high up and large so it’s hard to miss.
Since I have to move all my stuff tomorrow, I wasn’t fussed about buying a lot, more scoping out what’s available, so I just went to the animate and the Mandarake. The animate was good but had almost no extra thingies left for games, which I guess makes sense if it’s the popular place to order otome games from. I did get Crimson Empire finally, and it came with both the preorder special and the animate special, so 2 cds and a washcloth, yay! And I bought a couple clearfiles, because they’re cheap and I haven’t seen much Desert Kingdom or Renai Banchou merchandise. Of course there was tons of merch for Hakuouki and Starry Sky, but that’s always the case.
The mandarake was great, and I again bought a bunch of CDs, and some doujinshi, as well as a few games (yay Bloody Call! I hadn’t seen it yet) they also had several of those huge boxes for the special Neoromance games (like the Treasure Box etc.), but without prices, so I was almost afraid to ask about them.
I decided to get both animates finished in one day. Turned out that was a good choice, since I didn’t get much at them anyways.
At one I just got the new B’s Log, which came with a Tokimemo 3 clearfile, and old Cool-B. and at the other, I didn’t get anything! They didn’t have any great extras for games, and not much choice for other stuff in otome games, so I headed over to the nearby Traders and bought a few games there.
Both Peter Pan and Mother Goose from Quinrose, as well as Amnesia, which was one of the games I couldn’t get at Book Off, as well as Kaerubatake and Hetalia. Hetalia I bought mostly on a whim.