Continued from Tokyo Anime Fair 2012 Event Report.
We decided to skip the Public Days at Tokyo Anime Fair, and take advantage of the fact that almost all the Akihabara regulars were at the convention, to drop by Akihabara and do some shopping. And by “shopping”, I mean spending a nice chunk of change at some anime goods stores and second-hand shops. I regret nothing.
With the demolition of Radio Kaikan, a lot of the smaller shops were dispersed, making it more difficult to shop around. Thankfully, a number of them moved to the immediate area of the new “Akiba Culture Zone” building, which also hosts — among other things, the Good Smile Cafe and several maid cafes. But with only a few hours to spare we made it a surgical strike at two locations: the Kotobukiya store and Mandarake.
At Kotobukiya (MAP), I picked up a fun Madoka Magica iPhone case featuring Kyuubey, the new face of evil. Also at Kotobukiya were a bunch of silicone ice trays that spewed out ice in a variety of geeky shapes. I was tempted to get all of them but had to settle for the Batman logo and the Storm Trooper heads instead. Last but not least, I picked up several boxes of maid-themed sweets that I hope will taste as nice as they look ^^;;
Down one block and up eight flights of stairs is Mandarake Akihabara (MAP)– a mecca for people with big dreams and small budgets <3 Everything in the store is second-hand, but in excellent condition — almost as good as buying them new, but at half the price. You can also pick up some rare and hard-to-find items at rock-bottom prices — we stocked up on plenty of Macross figures before calling it a day.
We had a choice of two cafes for afternoon tea: the Gundam Cafe, and the AKB48 Cafe. But girls will be girls, so it was off to Ikebukuro for some butler cafe fun at Royal Servant — which is staffed exclusively by male cosplayers. Reservations were made for us by one of our old Ongaku Society friends Luna, who was now living in Japan. It does pay to have the call made by a regular (which she was), otherwise you will be turned away due to the small size of the cafe.
Inside, the boys were a bit shy since none of them spoke English very well. But between me translating for them to the rest of the girls and Luna making experienced recommendations on which services and food items to get, it was a fun and quite delicious ninety minute set. The only bummer is that you are not allowed to take photos inside the cafe, but that’s understandable considering they do make some of their money by offering Instax Mini prints.
The damage was pretty extensive considering it was just afternoon tea (about JPY 5000 or PhP 2500 per head), but considering the quality of the food, the excellent service, and the sheer novelty of it all, I consider that money well-spent. It was a different experience from an event-only cafe such as Anime Festival Asia’s Atelier Royale and Lights Out’s Le Mirage, and something I look forward to repeating again very soon.
Continued in Day 6: Tokyo Disney Sea.