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Akihabara Tokyo Anime Centre

Saturday 14th April 2012

Rayna Denison is tempted on all sides at the Tokyo Anime Centre

Akihabara Tokyo Anime Centre

The Tokyo Anime Centre is almost impossible for a fan to get to. Not because it is particularly hard to find, but because you have to be able to resist Akihabara’s many other charms to reach it. Leaving the Electric Town Exit from the JR Akihabara Station (beware, the route is different from the Tokyo Metro!), you can easily see the UDX Building that houses the Tokyo Akihabara Tokyo Anime CentreAnime Centre. It even has convenient escalators to take you over the busy street below, straight to the Centre and its shop. However, you have to be strong enough to walk past both the new Gundam and AKB48 cafes. No mean feat, with their blinking neon and fantastically odd menus. And to get to the UDX building from the other side, you have to walk through Akiba’s heart, and the simplest route walks you straight through the Animate store, filled with floor upon floor of collectible anime merchandise. If you manage steel yourself to walk the length of Animate, out the back exit, the UDX building waits to greet you. But chances are good that manga and anime fans will find themselves deeply distracted along the way.

That said, the Tokyo Anime Centre can help to orient overseas fans trying to make the most of their visits to Japan. Happily, the Anime Centre has a plethora of fliers and information about forthcoming anime titles and events. Strangely though, a lot of the leaflets are not aimed at overseas fans. Even more oddly, the Anime Centre itself, which is up on the 4th floor of the UDX building at the top of a long escalator, does not have a lot of information about Akihabara. The leaflets are more about anime and manga museums, from information about the nearby Sanrio Puroland to specialist museums in far flung corners of Japan. And, last I visited, there was more in Japanese (and English) than other languages, with the Anime Centre’s website, many brochures and calendar available only in Japanese.

Akihabara Tokyo Anime CentreSo, the Anime Centre is not really an international tourist information hub. With their newly opened shop on Floor 2 of the UDX building, however, things are improving. The shop seems geared towards merchandise for fan-favourite franchises, with Tezuka and Ghibli merchandise alongside Gundam and Shigeru Mizuki goods. And actually, given Akiba’s tendency to focus on the new, this “older” focus should be gratifying for long-time manga and anime fans visiting Tokyo. The Centre’s shop also has local Akiba maps with the main highlights clearly marked in a range of languages. The shop, rather than the Centre upstairs, then, is the best place to start if you are new to the Akihabara landscape.

Akihabara Tokyo Anime CentreAs a result of the shop moving to UDX’s second floor, the Anime Centre is becoming more of an anime event space. For example, it is currently advertising an exhibition event based around Production IG’s giant robot anime Rinne no Lagrange (Toshimaki Suzuki, 2012).  The Anime Centre is really just one room divided up between temporary exhibitions, a residual shopping area and a space for live events. In the back is a semi-circular desk with loads of leaflets and helpful Japanese employees, who will do their best to point you in the right direction. They also regularly have industry professionals, like voice actors, coming in to do workshops with visitors. There is even a little sound booth in one corner. The exhibitions are usually free, and you can get the Calendar of events online at http://www.animecenter.jp/calender/, but it is Japanese only.  So, while the Tokyo Anime Centre has good things to recommend it, and is certainly worth a visit if you don’t know Akiba, there is so much more in Akihabara that the Centre’s pleasures are rather drowned out by its surroundings.

The Tokyo Anime Centre in Akihabara is open from 11am to 7pm. Closed on Mondays.


Akihabara Tokyo Anime Centre

MANGA UK GOSSIP

Dragon Ball Z: Battle Of Gods

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Stunning animation and epic new villains highlight the first new Dragon Ball Z feature film in seventeen years! Beerus, the God of Destruction, travels to Earth in search of a good fight. Only Goku, humanity’s greatest hero, can ascend to the level of a Super Saiyan God and stop Beerus’s rampage!
This double disc edition includes both the 85 minute Theatrical Cut and the 105 minute Director’s Cut. Both versions include the English and Japanese dubs and English subtitles. This edition also includes bonus content including “The Voices of Dragon Ball Z: Unveiled” and “Behind The Scenes: Battle of Voice Actors!”.

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The history of Dragon Ball Z

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Launched in 1984 in the pages of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump, Akira Toriyama’s original Dragon Ball was a very different beast to the one western viewers would eventually meet. introduced the boisterous Son Goku, an adventurous and unusally strong boy with no social graces whatsoever. Raised in seclusion by his adoptive grandfather, he doesn’t even that know what girls are – making for some prime gag moments when he meets treasure hunter Bulma. Soon teaming up, the pair track down seven rare ‘Dragon Balls’ – powerful items that can summon the wish-granting dragon Shenron. These early stories were very loosely based on Chinese fables but Toriyama gave them a fresh twist, his distinctive art style and perfect balance of comedy and action making the series a hit.

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Son Goku. Goku was originally cast as a naive but powerful young boy who was spurred onto the path of adventure following the death of his grandfather. By the time Dragon Ball Z rolls around, Goku’s a full-grown adult, the victor of several martial arts tournaments and a married man. He’s only slightly less naive though, and his strict wife Chichi frequently has to rein in his less socially acceptable habits and wilder impulses. The first arc of the series marks Goku learning of his alien origins for the first time – before meeting other Saiyans, he thought he was just another average monkey-tailed boy!

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Yamcha. One of Goku’s oldest friends – even if they did first meet as enemies! A reformed desert bandit and an ex-boyfriend of Bulma, Yamcha is one of the strongest human fighters in the world. Having regularly entered World Martial Arts Tournaments and fought against a multitude of foes, he’s earned his place as one of the core Z-Fighters. However, he was overpowered and killed by one of Nappa’s drones in the Saiyan invasion of Earth. Luckily, death is rarely the end in the world of Dragon Ball, and Yamcha’s path continues as he trains under King Kai in the afterlife, preparing for a return to the living world to help his friends against the threats they’ll face on the distant planet Namek.

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And so we continue filling you in on the heroes and villains to keep an eye on in the latest super-charged volume of the famous action epic!

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With a cast of dozens, there still more to fill you in on the heroes and villains to keep an eye on in the latest super-charged volume of the famous action epic!

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Cell. The deadliest enemy the Z Warriors have ever had to face – themselves! Cell is a hyper-advanced android from the future, created using the DNA of the present day heroes and possessing all their skills and abilities thanks to genetic memory. Goku’s Kamehameha? Cell can use it and counter it. Tien’s Solar Flare? Just one of Cell’s basic attacks. Piccolo’s regeneration? That serves to make Cell even more difficult to defeat. Already an incredibly powerful figure, Cell has travelled back in time to physically absorb more fighters and add their powers to his own repertoire. His goal? To achieve his Perfect Form and become the mightiest figure in the Universe – and he won’t let anything or anyone stand in his way.

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