Anime goods can be expensive, even in Japan, but if you know where to look, you can get a bargain shopping for anime goods in Akihabara. We’ll look at five shops in Tokyo’s electric town where you can score yourself some sweet anime loot – with a twist!
The Dragon Ball Z 10,000 Yen Challenge
It’s not interesting enough to just list some of the best shops to grab a good sale, a challenge was in order to make research for this article a lot more fun. I was challenged to use my knowledge of Akihabara to find at least five pieces of memorabilia from hit anime, Dragon Ball Z, with $100USD, or just over 10,000 yen. These five pieces had to comes from five different shops all over Tokyo’s Electric town and had to be completed in one afternoon.
Surugaya: Near Akihabara Station
I discovered Surugaya in 2016 on my first trip to Japan. At the time the entire basement floor was dedicated to idol merchandise, focusing mostly on AKB48, but now they’ve converted it into a massive game section, selling both retro and newer games for a price better than some places on the main street. The top floor of the shop hasn’t changed, with the entire floor being taken up by doujinshi (fan-made manga, usually 18+) and other adult gear.
The ground floor of the shop is littered with anime merchandise, usually all second-hand, but in perfect quality. Due to its location near Akihabara Station, and its late trading hours, Surugaya is a great place to browse and find something you like.
While I wasn’t sure what I was going to get when I walked into Surugaya, as soon as I saw this Bulma figure in the Dragon Ball section, I knew it was perfect. The female Dragon Ball figures have been high quality for years, so it’s no surprise that this one is great.
Shop name: Surugaya Akihabara Station Front Shop
Street address: 1-15-15 Sotokanda, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 101-0021
Hours: 9 AM – 10 PM
Price Range: ¥500 – ¥10,000
K-Books: Inside Radio Kaiken
Radio Kaiken is a landmark for anime fans, thanks to the building being featured in Steins;Gate. Unlike the anime series, Radio Kaiken mostly holds shops, one of the biggest being K-Books on the third floor. From CDs to Blu-Rays, magazines, dolls and figures, wall scrolls and even housing an adult section, K-Books has a wide range of products that can pique your interest.
K-Books is great for random items from your favourite series. During a wander around the store, I found limited edition items from series that were sold in Japanese shops a decade ago. Coming here, you know you’ll find something that little bit interesting.
Just like Surugaya, I wasn’t sure what I’d find going in, as K-Books has a very wide array of items. I am a huge fan of the opening from the Dragon Ball Super anime, so being able to get the limited edition version of the CD single is a really great find, especially for the price.
Shop name: K-BOOKS Akihabara
Street address: 1-15-16 Radio Kaiken 3F, Sotokanda, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 101-0021
Hours: 11:30 AM – 8 PM
Price Range: ¥100 – ¥50,000
Lashinbang: First Two Floors of Akiba Culture Zone
Lashinbang is a bit of an oddity, each time I go into the store, the layout has changed and the products are slightly different. In saying that, you’ll always find something interesting here. The first floor (at the time of writing) has anime goods, shirts, and doujinshi, whilst the second floor has more doujinshi and cosplay, which has expanded dramatically since I was last in the shop.
Like K-Books, Lashinbang has something for everyone, including Marvel, Star Wars and Godzilla fans. If you like keyframes of animation, then you’ll find it here, along with phone cases. Though don’t expect anything too old here, it’s mostly newer series.
Initially, I expected to find another high-quality figure at Lashinbang, which is why I picked up the Goku figure from the Dragon Ball Super: Broly film. When I first watched the trailer of the film, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the new art style, so getting a figure from that made me incredibly happy. I didn’t expect to find a keyframe from the Dragon Ball Super opening though and was more than happy to grab it as well.
Shop name: Lashinbang Akihabara New Store
Street address: 1-7-6 Akiba Culture Zone 1F-2F, Sotokanda, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 101-0021
Hours: 11 AM – 9:30 PM
Price Range: ¥500 – ¥15,000
Mandarake: In the Backstreets of Akihabara
You find that Mandarake is a huge chain of second-hand shops located all over Japan, but that means you’ll get a good price at any of them. The store focuses mostly on flat goods, like animation books, posters, clear files, fans, etc. The Akihabara store also has a floor dedicated to cosplay and dolls. You’ll mostly find older series here, like 2nd Edition Dungeons and Dragons quest guides (in Japanese) and old issues of Weekly Shonen Jump. The store does sell new manga series, but only through second-hand means.
I’ve loved coming to Mandarake over the years to check out their anime production books. I’ve learnt a lot about how anime is made thanks to old issues of Newtype or production books. You’ll also be able to find production materials here, like keyframes, entire animation cuts, and recording scripts. For the hardcore fan, you make sure to check out Mandarake.
Every time I’ve walked into Mandarake over the past couple of years, I’ve been greeted by the Dragon Ball world books. These books are in a huge set chronicling the manga, anime, production, interviews and more. I’ve had my eye on the animation books from the series for the in-depth looks at the production of the series as well as interviews with the production crew at Toei Animation.
Shop name: Mandarake Complex
Street address: 3-11-12 Sotokanda, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 101-0021
Hours: 12 PM – 8 PM
Price Range: ¥100 – ¥8,000
Liberty: Three Stores Over Akihabara’s Main Street
Liberty does two things and it does them very well. Anime figures and lucky bags. Now called “Anime Souvenir Bags”, the anime lucky bags are a surprise waiting to happen! I was surprised by how much the shop has grown over two years, it was once just one shop on the main street, but since introducing the lucky bags, it has ballooned to three stores on one corner.
Inside the shop are figurines from all the latest hit anime and games from the last 10 years. You’ll find everything from Gintama, to Puella Magi Madoka Magica, to Attack on Titan, all mostly unboxed (and cheap!). Outside is where you’ll find the lucky bags, which are themed based on the series or property (Dragon Ball or “Jump Heroes”). These bags can range from ¥2,000 – ¥20,000, with more expensive and exclusive items in the rarer bags. It’s like gacha, but in real life!
I thought it would be fun to finish off the article with a Dragon Ball “Anime Souvenir Bag”. There are a few different price ranges for the Dragon Ball bags, coming in at ¥2,000, ¥4,000 (pictured), ¥7,000, and ¥12,000. The more expensive the bag, the better the items, I assume.
I’d gone through the entire challenge making sure I had just enough yen left over for the ¥4,000 bag. While it did take me a little over the ¥10,000, it was worth opening it up and being excited by what was inside.
Shop name: Liberty Akihabara first store
Street address: 3-14-6 Sotokanda, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 101-0021
Hours: 11 AM – 8 PM
Price Range:¥1,000 – ¥20,000
What DBZ Merch Could I Get for $100 in Akiba?
- Bulma “Manga Version” Figure – ¥2,000 (+ tax)
- Dragon Ball Super OP CD single – ¥648 (tax included)
- Keyframe Replica from the Dragon Ball Super OP – ¥400 (tax included)
- Dragon Ball Super: Broly Goku Figure – ¥1,500 (tax included)
- Dragon Ball World Guide Book 3 – Anime Collection 1 – ¥1,200 (+ tax)
- Dragon Ball World Guide Book 5 – Anime Collection 2 – ¥500 (+ tax)
- Dragon Ball “Anime Souvenir Bag” – ¥4,000 (tax included)
- ¥10,544 or $96 USD (including Japanese 8% tax)
I did my best to stay under the budget anime shopping guidelines and only use $100 but I didn’t account for taxes when purchasing all the goods. Technically, I was over by $2, which I call a win. If you want to get the most bang out of your yen when travelling to Akihabara, I hope this guide helps you out. Especially, if you’re looking for Dragon Ball Z goods.