Melissa Francis shops for despair in Tokyo
There are no end of anime and manga stores in Tokyo, but there’s only place to go for Evangelion devotees – the “Evangelion Store Tokyo 01.” The shop was established in 2011 in the bustling district of Harajuku, a stone’s throw from Takeshita Avenue, Tokyo’s fashion mecca — there’s a map on the store’s website here. According to staff member Masataka Hirai, the most popular items aren’t the crazier goods (yes, there are really Evangelion Hello Kitties!), but rather the simpler gifts: food, postcards, and Eva mugs.
Hirai attributes the popularity of Evangelion goods to the fact that the franchise now encompasses generations of fans. Remember, it’s been 18 years since the original Neon Genesis Evangelion aired on Japanese TV. That’s time enough for that generation’s Shinjis and Asukas, who watched the TV series, to have finally conquered their neuroses, got together and produced kids who met Eva through the new rebooted movies. Let’s not forget that Evangelion 3.0 – You Can (Not) Redo took more than $50 million at Japanese cinemas… and that’s before its fans turn to the Eva goodies in Harajuku.
And around the back of the shop there’s something to tease every foreign fan — a character line-up from Evangelion 3.0 including a bunch of characters that have not previously appeared in any incarnation of the show.