Following on from my otome post, I thought I’d share my experience shopping for yaoi and general Boys Love items. Unfortunately, this post will be quite a bit shorter than my other Japan posts. There really isn’t too much BL merchandise in Japan, definitely more than the West but not as much as any fujoshi would like. Most merchandise is focused on manga or doujinshi (fan-made comics), but barely any decorative merchandise like figurines, plushies or posters. Anywho, I hope you enjoy this post!!
So definitely the main place I sourced my BL goodies was at Animate. So Animate is any Otaku’s dream, the one in Ikebukuro is 7 floors of anime related goodness, one of said floors is actually completely dedicated to yaoi manga! Buying yao manga is actually surprisingly cheap, you’ll see some pics in the next section, but I bought three volumes for about 500 yen each. On to actual merchandise, as mentioned above, this was sorely lacking. In the Ikebukuro Animate I found some BL merch kinda shoved in the corner around the otome merchandise section. Most of it was stuff from a series called ‘Ten Count’, and yes I’m about to say something blasphemous, I’m not a fan of Ten Count, so my options were limited. Last year I bought a Yarachin Bitch badge (pictured below) and this time I got some random polaroid-esque pictures from a random BL manga.
Another item you might have noticed in the pic (top left corner) is the washi tape. So while in Animate Ikebukuro, I found a few BL gacha machines, which held either badges or washi tape. I only found them for two series ‘twittering birds never fly’ and Doukyuusei. I’ve always been a big fan of Twitering birds so tried my luck with the washi tape for 400 yen, I didn’t get the one I really wanted but it’s still cute.
Now before you think that Animate has barely anything, I do want to make a special mention for one of the Animate shops in Akihabara. This one is across from the UDX building and seems a little bit like a hole in the wall. The ground floor of this Animate is pretty much dedicated to nitro+chiral – a famous BL gaming company. You can buy merchandise like acrylic figures, magazines and keychains from games like Dramatical Murder and Togainu no Chi – plus the actual games themselves. Although the games will be at full retail price, so maybe check out another place I mention a bit further down before you buy them!
BookOff is a really fantastic second hand shop in Japan, every location sells pristine condition second-hand books, magazines and manga. I managed to get some really incredible deals with BL manga at this company, the bottom three books in the above picture cost me 108 yen each. That’s less than $2 a book! Plus, the ‘Work In’ manga came with a drama CD! If you spend the time hunting through the shelves you can grab some incredible bargains. Also you can grab BL console games here on the cheap – but no computer games!
Remember how I mentioned you don’t have to buy your BL games full price? That’s where ‘Traders’ comes in. There are two ‘Traders’ stores in Akihabara, both 4 floors, and both filled to the brim with ecchi. Ok, the first floor is for general stuff, but there’s still 3 floors you gotta get through of non-general stuff. You really gotta fight through some boobies to get to your BL goodies. Unfortunately. the ‘Traders’ I walked into also was playing some R18+ stuff at full volume while I tried to ask the store clerk where I could find a copy of Togainu no Chi. Thankfully he found it for me at the sweet price of 1680, a big discount from the 5000 yen I saw at Animate.
Now unfortunately this wasn’t something I did, but my friend (who is living in Japan) has told me about it 101 times. Mandarake is another second-hand shop in Japan, and quite a few of them sell second-hand doujinshi. But you really have to know what you’re looking for, I tried to go into one but they aren’t organised by series, rather by the doujinshi title? Also my Japanese level is pretty low, so even if I knew the title I doubt I’d be able to find it. But if you’re keen there’s no harm in flicking through the crammed full shelves, you may find something interesting!
Sadly, my Japan related posts are slowly coming to an end. I hope you have all been enjoying reading them. If you have any BL shopping tips, please let me know down in the comments!