10 January 2010

The Tokyo Trip - In which we visit Mandarake Nakano

After departing Akihabara, we quickly headed for Nakano Broadway, where the vaunted head store of Mandarake is.

This is where Mandarake began. This is where we are headed.

Mandarake Nakano is located in the Nakano Broadway Building which is literally 5 minutes from the Nakano JR Station. Out the JR Station, walk through Sun Mall and we are right at the entrance of Nakano Broadway.

Nakano Broadway has 4 levels. Level 1 is dedicated to mostly food stalls and cafes and shops selling other knick-knacks, not of pressing interest to the average fanatic collector. Levels 2 to 4 is where all the action is.

Do not be fooled, this is by no means a small place. It is laid out in a rectangular fashion and is actually very large. The escalator takes us straight up to level 3. We had to walk the stairs up to level 4, and then comb the place from top down, which I think is the best way to comb such places.

A little oddly, Mandarake does not take up the entire floor space of each floor the way Ikea or Freedom does in most 'standard malls'. Instead, Mandarake occupies substantially all units on each floor, but, that is what they are - still disparate units. This means that we had to go from 'one store' to the next, although in most cases the 'next store' is also Mandarake. Each unit or collection of units houses a different speciality - for example anime cells, manga, artbooks, figures, US comics and so on.

Peppered between these Mandarake units are other toy/collectible shops that have opened in Nakano Broadway no doubt on the faith that the Mandarake presence there will draw collectors into the building and bring them business as well.

When combing this place, do not miss the second level, which if you are an escalator kind of person, is a mezzanine level. For Transformers and figure collectors and comic collectors, the second level is where all the action is.

These are some G1 Transformers Nakano Broadway has to offer.

Storefront window display

Storefront window display. I was very interested in this set of Constructicons and the price was very good, but they were just missing too many accessories and all 6 of them were missing all of their paperworks. I decided to pass.

Storefront window. Note the 2 MIB pre-Transformers Brownings.

Storefront window.

Glass cabinet display in store.

Glass cabinet display in store.

Glass cabinet display in store. Lots of G1 series 1 and 2 cars.

This is where the good stuff is. Ultra rare Battle Gaia and Guard City giftsets and in very decent condition. I did, for a second, pause to think about snagging both, but decided to pass because I just can't fathom why I would want to pay such prices for essentially repaints of subgroups that are as common as the Combaticons and the Protectorbots.

I did, however, pick so something that has been nagging me for sometime - Hothouse. I mistakenly sold off my Hothouse base back in 2002 and for some reason or other have not been able to re-obtain one. Now, here, at Mandarake, I found one - MIB in Japanese box with no flap crease!

Finally, I have Hothouse (again)!

A trip to Mandarake Nakano would not be complete if I did not check out their artbook section (in the secret hope of finding more of the Transformer TV artbooks that I found in their Akihabara store). I found these at level 4.

They only had 2 available. Despite them being relatively pricey, I bought them anyway.

Issue #14 and #37 of the Transformers TV artbooks. Issue #14 is the most impressive artbook among those I obtained - it has the box art and even some lost exclusive box art, of almost every Transformer from 1984 to 1986. I was completely blown away.

I take this opportunity to elaborate on what I said in the previous chapter and above and include some pictures of the content of these TV artbooks. The below, are seriously, just the tip of the iceberg.

Note what would have/might have been the box art for Arcee if she were to be released as a figure in 1986.

More "box art" quality images in the TV artbooks

Mandarake Nakano was the last Transformer related activity I had time for in Japan. It was off to the airport and back to Sydney after that.

Do not fret, for next, I sum up the totality of my Tokyo acquisitions together with their prices.


Read other chapters of The Tokyo Trip:

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