Thursday, May 24, 2012

The State of the Sofubi World: Osaka

As the tide of the sofubi world ebbs and flows, I wanted to provide a look at the way things are in Osaka, from the perspective of the indy toy world.

First, Mandarake. This staple of all things in toydom does not hold up well in Japan's second largest city. There are two Mandarakes in Osaka: Umeda and Shinsaibashi, Both, as of this post, have very limited selections of indy sofubi, and the selection has been shrinking bit by bit over the last few years.

So let's move onto the shops that do have some nice offerings:

Located in the Namba City shopping complex in Namba, this has long been a favorite with toy collectors. They have some nice stuff for sale, including Grody Shogun, Real Head, Dehara, etc:
Original sculpt, made from sculpey.
Grody Shogun and Velocitron figures leftover from the recent show in Osaka:

 More after the jump:

Moving on to Astro Zombies, which is in Nipponbashi (the heart of Osaka's nerd epicenter), we see a pretty decent range of indy sofubi:

The Pushead is for display only.

Next up, Jungle, which is just around the corner. The selection here has shrunk over the years, though there are still some unique figures for sale:

Two minutes from Jungle, we have one of Osaka's biggest stores: Hero Gangu. Their indy stock comes and goes. Currently there's quite a good selection of in-demand figures:

 ...not to mention a very nice vintage selection.
 Finally, here are a few random shots I took in the city:

Osaka has some of the most unique crane games I've ever seen. In this one, the weight of the things you scoop determines your scoreability. Cool!
Crane game slots!

Nipponbashi might just out-otaku Akihabara. It's a maid cafe mecca!

Besides the above shops, there are others, like Popsoda and US Toys, which I've featured in some detail here and here. And there are a smattering of other shops in Nipponbashi (such as Super Position) with a few figures. In general, I'd say Tokyo has a much wider range of indy toys, and Osaka is less likely than in years' past to yield a grip of excellent figures. But it's still a fun city to visit, and if you're lucky, you can land some great finds.


ultrakaiju said...

Great shots Andy. I was always wary of sneaking in my own whenever I visited (I asked when I could at least). It seems like a lot has changed since I was there last, even though it wasn't that long ago.

hellopike said...

Damn! I knew I should have tried harder to get to Osaka on my trip! I see like 4-5 things I would have snatched up if I had saw them. Oh well, next time for sure!

Anonymous said...

I loved Osaka. It was one of the highlights of my trip. First I'd argue the food is way better there then Tokyo, and secondly hunting for toys was just as fun.

I think Hero Gangu had an unpainted 2 Head Bemon proto not for sale. He had some other stuff that was cool just for his own collection (some "hyped" some not, all cool IMO.)

I hit Astro Zombies like 30 min. before closing but they were cool. Couldn't find them for a bit, kept finding Maid Cafe's instead!

Next trip, whenever that is, I'll spend way more time in Osaka. Thanks for the pics Andy, makes me miss it! - jeff

andy b said...

Loving the stories! That's one cool thing about Osaka - people always have stories of their visits.

Sorry you didn't have a chance to visit this time Phil - maybe save some time for Kansai (Kobe and Nara are worth visiting too - and a lot of people enjoy seeing Kyoto) during your next trip. :)

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