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Calling Mandarake 'a chain of Japanese stores' is akin to calling the Louvre 'a museum'. Having visited two of Mandarake's stores, I'm of the opinion that the above description just doesn't cut it.

Founded in 1987 as a used manga store in Nakano, Mandarake has now spread out to several stores: So far I've only been to the Shibuya and Nakano locations, but as they seem to be the flagships of the franchise I feel descriptions of them are appropriate.

Mandarake Shibuya
Mandarake Shibuya is about a 5 minute walk away from the JR Station's Hachiko exit. It's a bit hard to find the first time, but if you see the broken clock on the left (assuming you go to the right of the koban, viz. the map on their website), then you've found it. Two flights of stairs accompanied by strobe lighting and you're greeted with a glass case of costumes on your right.

It's all one floor, which means that Shibuya is truly a treasure hunt. One section of the store has tons of doujinshi (clean and otherwise), another section has shelves upon shelves of regular manga, and other shelves have everything from DVDs to videogames, toys, soundtrack CDs, and more. A rack has children's costumes (Including an adorable Sakura for a mere 8700Y), and most of the costumes in the store have a price tag attached. There's a couple large glass cases with cels displayed, currently (as of Sept. 04) including a few beautiful Nausicaa pieces as well as many other anime. Behind that is a Tetsuo Otomo case which has Akira and Steamboy wares displayed.

I could go on and on about what I've seen in this store. Classic Game and Watch handheld games for over 10,000Y (roughly $100). An original gray-brick Nintendo GameBoy system for roughly $15. Edward Elric's State Alchemist pocketwatch. If this is what I found, imagine what, at the moment, lies unfound?

Mandarake Nakano
From the Nakano station, go up the street so that the Sun Plaza is on your left up ahead. Then, when an alleyway on the right presents itself, turn right and walk down. You'll soon find yourself in this long corridor which appears to resemble a mall. Align yourself with the corridor and walk all the way down, and you'll find yourself in Nakano Broadway. Go upstairs to the second floor.

If there was such thing as an anime mall, Mandarake Nakano would be it. Although Mandarake takes up much of the real estate inside Nakano Broadway, there are many other anime/toy/manga/etc-related stores that also reside within. Mandarake's Nakano presence consists of 16 different stores, each catering towards one individual thing, be it manga, figures, new toys, cels/genga, cosplay, cards, videogames, and just about anything you can think of. You will never look at the dealers room at your anime convention of choice in the same way again. Allow yourself several (dozen) trips, and don't forget your credit card. In addition, because Nakano is the headquarters for Mandarake, you'll easily find staffers fluent in English to assist you in your purchasing needs.

Mandarake Akihabara is supposedly the place for doujinshi, as that's the only type of merchandise it stocks. However, if you're looking for merchandise of all sorts for all the latest shows, there are plenty of other shops in Akihabara where one can go...
VAG says re mandarake: praised be mandarake. I loved those stores when I was living in Tokyo

microlith says actually, the Akihabara Mandarake has 2 floors, one entirely doujins, the other is goods like model kits, figures, CDs and DVDs. But that floor has to compete with the rest of Electric Town.

Starrynight says re mandarake: Oh man, hooray for Mandarake. What amazes me about the Shibuya location is how FAR underground it is.

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