by Danial Siah
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Anime and manga would always be associated with Akihabara, as it acts as a platform for cosplayers, manga enthusiasts, anime watchers, and gamers to fulfill their needs for animation entertainment. Animate, one of the most popular destinations among anime fans, brought in a variety of popular animation merchandise that is currently airing in Japan. Merchandises include Blu-ray CDs, action figures, manga, key chains, plush clothing, apparel, and many more.

Ikebukuro, a famous flagship store in Akihabara owned by the Japanese retailer Animate, had recently announced that the flagship store will be going through a major expansion that will allow the store to be the “world’s largest animation store”. This announcement stated that the grand opening of the new store will fall in the spring of 2023, in accordance with  Animate’s 40th anniversary. 

The current flagship store Animate Ikebukuro was first launched in March 1983, as it was located near the Ikebukuro Sunshine City while the current flagship store was reopened in November 2021. Animate’s current Ikebukuro nine-floor branch is located just a five-minute walk from Ikebukuro Station as it is one the few Animate stores that were built in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

With a total of 117 Animate stores in Japan, Ikebukuro stands as the king of all retailers in Japan as Ikebukuro had branched out into the international market like China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. 

SInce 2005, Animate has built its own website for fans from all around the world to shop with Animate. Although the website is created in Japanese and prices are listed in yen, this does not stop worldwide shoppers from purchasing merchandise from the website as the hype for manga, anime and cosplay are massively skyrocketing in the recent trend. 

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