Okay, so I will admit it… I have a few anime that I enjoy. And I really, really love cute things. Anyway, there are not a whole lot of stores in Okinawa with a wide selection of anime merchandise. Manga Souko マンガ倉庫 has second-hand stuff, and sometimes you can find some stuff at Village Vanguard (chain store kinda like a “Spencer’s”). There are the crane games at the arcades, and sometimes the bookstores or convenience stores have the lottos with anime goods. But overall, it is a little bit lacking.
UNLESS you visit the Animate store in Naha, off Kokusai-dori. Now first of all, many people may walk down this street and never know it exists. Some people may look for it and never find it (this has happened according to a few google reviews). It is a little bit hidden on the 4th floor of a building, but they have recently added some blue signs out front (though they are not particularly eye-catching). The bottom floor is a drugstore– but to get to the Animate store, do not go inside the drugstore. Turn around so you are facing the street from the drugstore entrance; you will see a grimy old elevator, which you might think just goes to a girls bar or something (which actually I think the 5th floor is…). If you look closely at the elevator buttons you will notice it does in fact have a small label for the 4th floor that says Animate. Once you arrive on the 4th floor, a whole different world greets you. And it is mostly packed with high school age kids… perhaps I should be embarrassed as a middle-aged lady?
Basically, this place has a lot. Not everything, but a lot. I spent quite awhile just browsing through everything. Needless to say, I made quite a few purchases before forcing myself to leave. They, of course, like every other store, have a point card which if you fill up can earn you a discount, reserve online goodies, etc. It is also good for online purchases and purchases at other Animate stores.
The Animate store also has a bunch of the different “lottery” ticket draws (like ichibankuji 一番くじ) where you pay (usually) about 600yen and the random draw determines which of the prizes you win. I haven’t tried it at this location though (just the convenience stores and Village Vanguard, it is very easy to do). But it is on my list of things to do…
If you are visiting Kokusai-dori and decide to hit up Animate, you may also be interested to check out the Jump! Station store down the street (though honestly, I don’t think it is nearly as good unless you are into OnePiece). Additionally, there is also another small anime goods store down Kokusai-dori, called Ani-Mall アニマール; it has mostly cute and sexy anime girl goods (but not super pervy or anything). You can’t miss the huge blue sign pointing to this one.
Anyway, keep in mind we don’t have anything like Akihabara in Okinawa, but there are some places you can find anime and manga merchandise.
There is a second Anime themed store just a few hundred meters down the street from Animate, Anima-ru . It’s not as big or as famous, but if you are interested in anime and manga it is worth the visit!