Anime is often the trigger for many of us to start loving Japan from early age. I grew up with Ranma 1/2, Sailor Moon, Marmalade Boy, Evangelion and decided that my dream was to visit Japan. Still, neither anime nor manga are dead, but consumed by people of any age, gender and taste. From porn, through fantasy to gay thematic, there is something for you - provided you have the patience to browse the store and the ability to read Japanese. You can buy manga in many places, but what made Mandarake famous are the vintage and second hand items for sale. From last year's anime to 50 year old Godzilla figures, there are cheap and very expensive things. Even if you buy nothing, even if you are not into manga... Mandarake is a pretty cool stop on your walk around Shibuya.
Manga「漫画」originated in the 13th century, where illustrated picture scrolls told stories in illustrated form. However, the word manga appeared in the 19th century where illustrated books contributed to the widespread literacy of Meiji era. It became huge after the end of WWII. According to Takashi Murakami - some of you might remember the name from the LV collaboration in the early 2000s - who believes that the cute aesthetic is a consequence of the long-lasting scars on Japan derived from being defeated and bombed, with atomic consequences in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Murakami's ideas make a lot of sense, when you consider that the worst thing in Asia is to lose face and losing a World War is well, a huge slap on the cheek, that left Japan with no confidence in itself, seeking solace in harmless and cute (kawaii) imagery that is used everywhere - from manga through train station posters, advertising or street signs.
Japan is by no means straightforward or easy, but that is precisely what makes it so mesmerizing to me.
The store is like an underground cave, packed with books, dolls and other collector's items.
Kawaii girls in minimal attire holding guns. All your wet dreams in one.
Dolfie Dream dolls are mix-match created to your taste - optional features including hip & bra size.
Sailor Moon cat for only 300€!
Heaps of Blythe Dolls - like mine. The older, the more valuable.
Mandarake Shibuya - OPEN 12:00 - 20:00