London Anime and Manga Shopping Guide
Date: 2009 May 11 17:01
Posted by Joe
London has a some great places for otaku to visit. The trouble is finding them. Using our London Otaku News Correspondents we've assembled a list of good places for anime and manga fans to visit while in London.
To keep things simple, we've kept the list down the area of Central London. Mainly between the areas around Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Covent Garden, Shaftesbury Avenue, Leicester Square, and Piccadilly Circus. Once you've got to Central London it's possible to walk around the area and visit all the shops in this guide on foot.
Where ever possible we've provided a link on Google Maps and the retailers own website, so you can get a better idea of what they sell. Depending on how long you spend browsing and how crowded each shop is it's possible to browse all the main shops in this guide in under a day.
We've also set up a complete Google Map Page for The London Anime and Manga Shopping Guide just to make things a bit easier.
With each shop we've tried to give a good overview of what they stock and why they're worth visiting from an anime and manga fans perspective. Most of the shops listed don't sell DVDs, you'll be better ordering those on-line, or even visiting an HMV.
At the end of this guide we've also included some more general shops that are worth visiting while you're in the area.
The shops below are presented roughly in the order of West to East.
Starting at Piccadilly Circus.
[Japan Centre Website]
Japan Centre has recently relocated. You can now find it on the south west of Leicester Square on Panton Street just where it meets the corner of Oxendon Street. On entering the shop you'll go down into a basement full of delights (they also have a lift for wheel chair access). This shop is well worth spending some time wandering in. The main area is a Japanese Supermarket stocking food and everyday supplies not really found in western supermarkets. It's a great place to pick up snacks and Japanese cooking ingredients. It also has a small range of Japanese cooking utensils, bento boxes and similar useful things. The book area at one corner is worth checking out. It mainly stocks books for Japanese readers, but does have a good selection for English people wanting to learn more about Japanese culture. They also stock monthly magazines near the tills. The shop can be frequently crowded, which can be daunting at first. The tills are well organised to deal with the large amount of shoppers.
The Japanese bakery there is well worth visiting as it serves freshly baked delights. Japan centre is also a great place to grab a quick lunch as they serve a selection of quick dishes and have a small area to sit down and eat.
JP Books used to be in the basement of department store Mitsukoshi before it closed in September 2013. Now it has it's own shop on Denman Street, just North of Piccadilly Circus. The shop primarily caters for Japanese ex-pats. It stocks a selection of books in Japanese, some Japanese manga, plus a variety of month magazines. They also stock a few Japanese gift items such as ceramic bowls and origami paper. They have a small selection of manga in English too.
[Gosh Comics Website]
The much loved comic shop has recently relocated to a stylish new store on the corner of Berwick Street in Soho, just look for the Batman sign and you're all set. The new shop is larger, with manga now on the ground floor. It doesn't really stock any merchandise, it's a pure comic book shop specialising in printed material. What it lacks in size, it makes up with interesting stock. Not only do they have a good selection of manga, they also have a great choice of (western) indie and small press comics. It's always worth a visit to Gosh as you're bound to find something new and a bit different.
[Orbital Comics Website]
Orbital Comics is located just north of Leicester Square Tube station on Great Newport Street. They used to have a sister store called Orbital Manga around the corner, but it closed. All is not lost though, as the manga was merged back into the main Orbital Comics store. It does stock a decent selection of manga along with a great selection of Western comic books and indie comics. They also have a bit of merchandise too including toys from the 80's.
[Forbidden Planet Website]
Located at the Tottenham Court Road end of Shaftesbury Avenue. This large Sci-Fi shop is always worth a look in. Most of the merchandise is on the ground floor, with a large selection of manga and some anime DVDs in the basement. If you like Sci-Fi, or just general geek stuff, plan to spend a while browsing. With so much packed on the shelves it's amazing what they have in stock. As they're so popular they do turn over a lot of stock, so it's always worth a repeat visit next time you're in London. The store has been nick-named Forbidden Prices by some, although you can find the odd bargain in there. It can get crowded at times, especially at weekends or during book signings.
Other Places of Interest
Second Hand Japanese Bookshop
Hidden away in Soho is this second hand Japanese book shop. Don't be fooled by the De-luxe Cleaning sign. This shop sells a wide range of Japanese books, including a selection of manga in Japanese. They also sell whole collections of titles. Manga can be found on sale too. They have a small supply of DVDs in Japanese and in English. It's a tiny treasure trove where you can easily spend half an hour browsing. It's also worth checking now and again for the magazines and artbooks.
[Magma Books Website]
Located on Earlham Street in the middle of Shaftesbury Avenue, this book shop for artists and graphic designers is well worth a quick visit. It stocks all sorts of books useful for creativity and graphic design.
[Orcs Nest Website]
Next-door to Magma Books is the Orcs Nest Central London's only dedicated role playing games shop.
The Japanese casual clothing store has a few branches located in London. Mainly around Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street. They often stock t-shirts with anime and manga characters.
Fans of affordable simple, functional and unbranded gear should always pop into Muji. They have a few branches in London, notably on Carnaby Street Covent Garden and Tottenham Court Road. Their stationary has a cult following.
[CEX Tottenham Court Road Branch - Google Maps]
[CEX Rathbone Place Branch - Google Maps]
There are a couple of Computer Games Exchange Shops in Central London. One on Tottenham Court Road and one on Rathbone Place. It's always worth a visit for the bargain hunter, especially if there isn't one near you. They mainly sell second hand games, the odd bit of hardware along with a good selection of DVDs. They'll happily buy stuff too. Which is useful if you want to offload some old games and DVDs you no longer need.
Just north of the main part of Leicester Square, you can easily spend hours exploring the shops in London's China Town. The Chinese food shops are worth visiting for the selection of snack food available. The Chinese Supermarkets stock lots of useful cooking ingredients. The area also has tons of Chinese restaurants and a few Japanese ones too. It's a great place to stop off for a meal. Some shops also stock Chinese Manhua.
Source: Otaku News