Good Smile Cafe
This was one of the first things I did in Japan, as I had a day or two before Comiket started, and the cafe was going to be closed around New Years. There are actually multiple Good Smile Cafes (I know there's one in Akihabara at least) but I wanted to see the big Fate/Zero exhibit so I had to make the trip out to Matsudo, which was the better part of an hour away by train.
|I wasn't expecting to see Milky Holmes ads on the train|
The cafe was only a couple of blocks away from the train station, and I spotted it easily, thanks in no small part to all the Fate/Extra Saber banners outside. I went in to discover that I was the only customer, hooray for awkward situations. It didn't last long though, a group of white guys came in just afterwards, and a couple of lone Japanese customers turned up too, which made me feel a bit more comfortable.
I ordered the lunch set from the special menu they had, which turned out to be some rather glittery tomato soup, a salad with some very flowery-looking salmon, and some bread. And, of course, some hot tea to go with it. The meal was okay, but clearly not the reason I came.
The giant Neko-Arc would say various things as you walked by her (it?).
It never occurred to me to take a photo of the cafe in general, which was pretty stupid in hindsight. It was just a few tables with a lounge area down the end, with a couple of couches and I think a TV showing the Carnival Phantasm OP repeatedly.
I kept the paper place mat, was given a couple of exclusive card things for visiting, and bought a couple of badges as well. They had badges for most TM characters, though some were predictably sold out (Saber).
I found myself here on more than one occasion, and sometimes I even remembered to take some photos!
Trucks advertising some form of anime/J-pop/boy band were all over Tokyo (I actually think this picture was taken in Shibuya). Urgently fumbling for my camera does nothing for my already poor photography skills.
I tried the UFO catchers a couple of times, but to no success. It was pretty cool going to the upper floors and seeing guys playing Blazblue, Melty Blood and all the other fighting games head to head. The Gundam games also look damn cool (like that robot arcade game in Muv Luv), I wish they had something like that closer to home.
|The front of...Toranoana maybe?|
|I have no idea why this exists. I think the people were lining up for an AKB48 concert next door.|
|The post-Comiket anime cars. There were seriously a lot of these.|
Inside the showroom, there was a floor devoted to Super Sonico. There were walls of art and goods, all roped off and arranged so it was more like a tour through a museum than just a few shots on display.
|Not quite sure why 'jigsaw puzzle' is in English|
I know a lot of anime merchandise isn't exactly practical or useful, but the character goods in Animate really seem to be pushing it. It'd take quite the die-hard fan to truly be able to buy and appreciate a K-On jigsaw puzzle, and I have no idea what those tiny little Madoka pillows could be used for.
No photos were allowed on the doujin floors (or in any of the other doujin stores), and the figure areas barely had room for standing let alone taking pictures, but I'm sure you can use your imagination for the 18+ doujin floors at least.
|A Dr Pepper vending machine. I bought one, of course.|
A few of the things I bought (there's more but I couldn't be bothered trying to fit it all into a couple of photos). Most of the doujins I got were artbooks, the vast majority of which aren't even lewd - partially because I kinda prefer nice character/scene drawings over censor bars and copious bodily fluids, and partially because I had to bring all this stuff back through customs (who ended up just waving me through anyway). I decided to bring all the big paper bags home with me too, though I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them exactly. In fact, I have no idea where I'm going to put most of this stuff, but that's a problem for tomorrow.
I'm not really sure about the total cost of the trip. Flights and accommodation were about $1500 all up, but the rest of it is a bit vague. Comiket was fairly expensive of course, but when all transactions are done in a foreign currency it somehow doesn't feel like it's real money. $6 is a significant amount of money to pay for a short comic, but somehow 500 yen doesn't feel like nearly as much despite their equivalence. I'd guess I spent $100-200 each day of Comiket (including stuff I missed but got later in Akiba) and then fed myself with whatever was left over.
Alas, I'm now back in my own country. Uni has started already, and it's a rude jolt going from taking it easy in Japan straight into 9am-5pm days at uni. The fact that the daily temperatures here are about 30 degrees C higher than they were in Japan does absolutely nothing to help. I can't take it easy in summer.
In my spare time I've been playing through
the VN of the century Katawa Shoujo, so I'll probably make a post about that once I finish all the routes.