[UPDATE] OTOME ROAD by Otome’s Way
Ever wanted to know more about Tokyo? Ikebukuro is a district full of fun for all anime and manga fans, but especially BL enthusiasts! Each week Otome’s Way will introduce a location near the main stretch of Ikebukuro’s Otome Road, named for the crowds of female fans who flock to the area each week to get their fill of shojo-centric, BL merchandise!
Just click the read more link for more info, images, and helpful links!
This week: Toranoana!! The best place to go for the hottest new doujinshi releases!
A staples of fandom life in Japan is doujinshi, or fan-made comics. Despite what westerners might consider toeing the line of copyright infringement, fan-produced goods and comics based off of preexisting characters and stories is extremely commonplace in Japan. It’s not only a way for new manga artists to get experience before branching out into their own original works, but also a way for like-minded fans to come together and enjoy a particular genre or series. Though there are some writers and artists who aren’t too keen on doujin fanworks, the vast majority of series here in Japan have a strong fandom following that includes self-published doujinshi and fanfiction.
Doujinshi is a way for creative fans to show their love for the characters and stories by reinterpreting series in their own art or writing style. Likewise, it’s a way for fellow fans to feed their craving for more of their favorite series and characters by reading original content by other artists. Understandably, the BL fandom following is a particularly niche market for fanart and fanfiction.
If doujinshi is your thing, then Ikebukuro is the best place in Tokyo to browse!
Across the street from Ikebukuro Station’s East Exit is a popular doujinshi store called Toranoana (literally “Pit of Tigers”). It caters to the newest doujinshi releases from the most popular series. If you want a wide selection of the latest doujinshi, Toranoana is a good store to start with!
The store itself is split into two Ikebukuro locations. Ikebukuro Shop A sells doujinshi of women characters, games, and other merchandise for typical fans, or those interested in skimpily clad women. Ikebukuro Shop B is a haven for both regular fans and fujoshi. It is located on the 6th floor of the Takamura Building, just across the way from the East Exit, or just outside exit number 35 from the subway. In addition to the fanmade comics, Toranoana does sell officially published manga, some seiyuu CDs, and hobby magazines. Ikebukuro Shop B has mostly BL titles, whereas Shop A includes a wider selection of garden-variety manga.
Two thirds of the store is taken up by new doujin releases, while the rest of the store is devoted to officially published comics and magazines. The stacks of doujinshi are split up by series, with the current most popular shows front and center when you enter the shop (like Attack on Titan, Yowamushi Pedal, and Haikyuu!!). Each section is then further divided into popular pairings within each series. Comics typically range from about 500 to 1000 yen depending on length and rating. Though the number of available series tends to be limited to particularly popular titles, you can always count on something new on the shelves for practically any section of the store.
Another fun thing to check out in Toranoana is the wall of gacha toy machines. They’re full of fanmade buttons and pins for particular fan-favorite anime series. They charge about 200 to 300 yen per try, but be careful you don’t get too hooked! Some people spend thousands of yen in one go trying to get buttons of their favorite characters and pairings. (Note: The author of this article is very much guilty of this.)
One word of caution for younger BL fans: Toranoana is one of the few doujinshi shops that always asks for ID when purchasing comics labeled 18+. Please be sure to come prepared with your passport or some other type of photo ID when visiting the store.
Location: 〒170-0013, Takamura Building 6F, 1-1-2 Higashi Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Business hours: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. every day
Stay tuned for more Otome Road reports next week!