Buying Doujinshi in Tokyo

Sorry for the lack of updates for so long! I have been so very busy catching up with work ever since I came back from Tokyo ^^;

Here is my belated report on my doujinshi haul and purchasing Rochu doujinshi from doujinshi shops in Tokyo. If you're interested in the other aspects of my trip, here is the full report of it.

The places I went doujinshi shopping at were Mandarake in Shibuya and the famous Otome Road in Ikebukuro. Mandarake Shibuya is not much different from Mandarake Ikebukuro and its selection is smaller, though still substantial. In any case I'll just fast-forward to Otome Road.

Otome Road is the nickname of a stretch of road in Ikebukuro lined with buildings selling anime goods and doujinshi. 'Otome' means maiden in Japanese, a reference to the large numbers of women in Tokyo who spend hours in the shops searching through shelves of doujinshi, mostly geared to women readers aka BL.
 
Below is a
rundown of the shops I visited, as well as tips on buying doujinshi from these shops.
The Shops

I went to Animate, らしんばん (Lashinbang), Mandarake, K-BOOKS アニメ館 (K-BOOKS Anime), K-BOOKS 同人館(K-BOOKS Doujin), K-BOOKS コミック館 (K-BOOKS Comic) and K-BOOKS コスプレ (K-BOOKS Cosplay).

Animate is an eight-story building that sells the newest anime goods from the hottest anime series. When I went to Animate, there was a very long queue of people buying Hetalia lucky packs priced at 500 Yen. I didn't realize how cheap that was for anime goods (never bought any in my life.), so I didn't bother joining the queue. *moans with regret*. Anyway, Animate sells all sorts of brand new anime goods like manga, CDs, DVDs, character figuirines, trading cards, art books etc etc, but not doujinshi, or at least, I never saw them.

らしんばん (Lashinbang) is a one-storey, relatively small store that sells a small selection of doujinshi and second-hand anime goods.

K-BOOKS アニメ館 (K-BOOKS Anime)
has lots of second-hand anime goods (it's easy to get carried away there) and some plushies. The second-hand goods mostly do not come with their original packaging. Some of the same items are priced differently, mostly due to condition or rarity, so it's important to check the items thoroughly before purchasing. Most of the items are in good condition (usually resold from unlucky packs), but a rare few may be slightly discoloured or chipped.

Mandarake and K-BOOKS 同人館(K-BOOKS Doujin) are doujinshi heaven, filled with shelves and shelves of doujinshi, both old and new. I bought most of my doujinshi from K-BOOKS doujin. If you can only stop over at one store, I strongly recommend K-BOOKS Doujin, which has pretty much the largest collection of doujinshi out of all the mentioned stores.

K-BOOKS コスプレ (K-BOOKS Cosplay)
, as its name suggests, specializes in cosplay props and costumes.

K-BOOKS コミック館 (K-BOOKS Comic) didn't make much of an impression on me, since my priority was doujinshi. I kind of remember seeing anime goods and figuirines here, as well as shelves of comics.

Doujinshi Stacking System

The doujinshi stacking system for all the shops is identical. The doujinshi are categorized according to their series names, labeled on the shelves. I'm not sure if the shelves are arranged in any particular order, but if you want to find a shelf for any particular series, just ask one of the staff, who will bring you to it.

For popular series like Hetalia, the doujinshi on the shelf will be further categorized by CP (pairing), labeled as Character A x Character B. Popular CPs will get an entire section, labeled with the CP name. Less popular CPs, solos or no CPs go under そのた (Others). Heterosexual CPs go under ノマル (Normal). Personally, I found the use of 'normal' here to be rather insensitive ^^;;;  In some cases, depending on the types of doujinshi often produced for the series, doujinshi may also be categorized by group names instead of CPs. Hetalia for example, has アジア (Asia) and 悪友三人組 (Bad friends trio).

Rochu is unfortunately not popular in Kiku-land and therefore does not have its own section. Rochu doujinshi are either shelved in アジア (Asia) or そのた (Others). It makes me raaage a little because even side characters like Liet and Pol get their own shelf! Ivan doesn't seem very popular either (and I'm kind of glad that the Japanese fans also agree that there's no other better partner for Ivan than Yao). I guess that's what happens when there are politics and national pride involved *Island disputes cough cough* However, there was a Russia uke shelf in one of the stores. I DON'T EVEN!

Moving on. Artists who draw a lot of doujinshi for that particular series, or are well sought after, get their own section on the series' shelf, with their circle name labeled on it.

The only circle who has drawn Rochu and has her own section in K-BOOKS Doujin is ギブ (Give, Shima Hinata).

Almost all labels are written in either katakana or hiragana, even series with non-Japanese names, so you must know the Japanese name of your series and characters or you'll have a hard time searching. This is with the exception of foreign productions like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, which go by their official English names, and also bands whose names are in English (yes there are doujinshi about real people!).

The Prices

Second-hand doujinshi typically fall under three categories of prices: 210 Yen, 420 Yen and 630 Yen (all inclusive of tax). Compilations are more expensive - 1000 Yen and above. I'm not sure if there is any particular method that the shops adopt to price the doujinshi. I suppose rarity and original price are taken into account). However, the same doujinshi may not cost the same price across all shops! I've seen doujinshi priced at 420 Yen at one shop costing 630 Yen at another shop for no apparent reason.

Doujinshi with flaws will obviously be cheaper. These will have a label on the outside stating that it's flawed.

Since all the shops along Otome Road are in close proximity, a wise thing to do is to explore all the shops, make a list of items wanted, their prices and the shops they are found in, and then backtrack to purchase your items later. This is of course, with the exception of rare doujinshi and great bargains that you can't pass up. This prevents you from busting your budget at the first few shops or moaning about paying more for an item that you could have gotten for cheaper at another shop.

Age restriction

To buy R18 products, you may be asked to show proof of your age. I don't know if this is done at random or when the cashier thinks that you don't look of the required age. At Lashinbang, the cashier keyed in one of my purchases but stopped short at the R18 doujinshi and started saying some stuff. I guessed that she wanted to see my ID, so I showed her my passport, pointing out my date of birth, and she accepted it.

Searching for a particular title

While I do believe that the shop assistants are generally helpful, they are usually very busy stacking and rearranging stacks of doujinshi. Many people buy and sell doujinshi throughout the day, and the shop staff probably don't keep track of every single title, apart from brand new doujinshi that they are retailing and popular titles. You're probably going to have to search the shelves yourself. Because the shelves are as high as the ceiling, foot stools and mini step ladders are provided at every shelf so that customers can reach the highest shelves by ourselves. If your CP / favourite characters have lots of doujinshi, your arms will enjoy a good work out XD

All doujinshi are sealed.

There are security cameras in the shop, and notices threatening a permanent ban on people who tear open the clear bags. The only clue you would have about the nature of the doujinshi would be derived from the back and front cover, and some covers are very elusive! It would be a good idea to research on the doujinshi titles for your favourite characters beforehand so that you do not end up being misled by the covers. If you absolutely need to take a look at the inner pages, especially for flawed books, I suppose it doesn't hurt to ask the staff for help.

My doujinshi haul




Five Rochu doujins, four of which I've already read =_=. And one of them is really more geared to the Asians. Actually I've seen at least ten more Rochu doujinshi apart from these, but I already have them.



6 Nichu doujinshi, all R18 X'D Strictly speaking, I'm not even a Nichu fan. But I'm partial to All x Yao (especially if it's R18), and the art for these books are gorgeous. Seriously, the Asian shelves are largely taken up by Nichu and Chuni (sp?), so it's really difficult for me to not be attracted by them. By the way, on the topic of Nichu, I see pandas everywhere in Tokyo. EVERYWHERE. I think Japanese people really love pandas. It makes me giggle to think of Kiku trying to refrain from shouting 'KAWAIII' each time he sees Yao... ...'s panda.



Two Asia-centric books, 1 Kouchagumi book, 1 Kanchu book, 1 Yao-centric book and 1 full colour magazine digest.

This is one of the rare occasions that I've bought non-Rochu books. I prepared quite a large budget for doujinshi shopping, and I didn't want to bring back too much yen. I really like all my acquisitions though (except for Liddell which is about Yao getting raeped by some random strangers. Wtf. Some review online said that it was a book about Ivan and HK raeping Yao. To think I put it on my WTB list.). But my OTP is still Rochu! I know it because after coming back from Tokyo, I was still extremely dissatisfied with my Rochu haul and went on a shopping spree on Taobao and Ruten to get more Rochu doujinshi. I still have a pile of unread doujinshi fresh from the mail even as I type this X'''D

The full colour magazine digest book VeVe is really cool. Probably inspired by ViVi, it comes with a free Hetalia mini folder, as all Japanese magazines tend to come with freebies. I bought it mainly for the back cover - an advertisement for slimming tea, featuring Yao having cleared out the entire dinner table and is still stuffng his clothes with donuts, and Ivan and Alfred admiring his svelte figure staring at him in awe. I'll be posting up reviews and pictures in my new website Kawaii Aru when I have more free time. Also, if anyone would like to translate some of these from Japanese into English or Chinese, please contact me and I'll scan them when I have time.

I also got these cuties.



They are 630 Yen each from KBooks Doujin. As you can see, I've put them on my bookshelf. They are so cute together! I love how Ivan has a little (big) nose while Yao doesn't have one XD Also, I love how Yao's got larger eyes than Ivan, because in manga style, the girly ones always have the bigger eyes. *avoids Chinese wok*)



These keychains / charms are 210 yen each from Kbooks Doujin. Again, Ivan has a nose while Yao got none X'''D



2-in-1 badge cum charms. Ivan is 315 Yen from Kbooks Doujin and Yao is 300 Yen from Lashinbang.

And that is all. If you have further questions about instore doujinshi shopping, feel free to ask.

Topic : Axis Powers Hetalia
Genre : Anime/Manga

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Doujishin

Nichu <3 <3 I want them.. T^T

Re: No title

> Hi, if it isn't too much of a bother, could I get the names of the nichu doujins? :3

Sorry for the late reply! You can refer to my doujinshi collective, under the Nichu category for the titles: http://kawaiiaru.net/category/hetalia-nichu

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