Anime store Ani-Mall (アニマール) on Kokasai Street

This store is located on the 2nd floor of a Kokasai street shop. On this day after lunch we were wandering down the street and found it quite by accident when we noticed their large signboard facing the street:

A photo of the Ani-mall Okinawa front sign on Kokasai street in Naha Okinawa. The photo shows a anime style drawing of a lady wearing traditional Ryukyu wear.
Spying the Ani Mall store sign

The Japanese writing on the large picture says “Ani Menso-re” which is a clever pun on Anime and Mensore, Mensore means welcome in the Okinawa language (Learn some Okinawan words: Uchinaaguchi ) . We had been to the Animate store down the street many times, but never to this new one, and one that calls it self a mall!? We went to cross the street and investigate closer. As we waited to cross the street, a side view of the building shows an arrow pointing to the back, oh and it seems there is always a huckster out here trying to get you to try a steak restaurant, we had just eaten at the new Ramen Street down the way, and have never tried the restaurant. The sign on the street says “Anime” (アニメ)and has an arrow to the back of the building.

A side view of the Anima-ru anime store sign showing arrows pointing down an alley

We’ve been in Okinawa long enough that we don’t have any trepidations about going down random alleys, there are all kinds of legitimate businesses down them, quite often they turn out to be better than something on the main street, as they have to be to stay open. About 10 meters down the alley we are greeted by this definitely-not-JigSaw looking fellow inviting us upstairs. Hmmm, this seems less like a mall, and more like the stairs to Comic Book Guy’s apartment.

The entrance to Anima-ru (anime mall) off Kokasai street, showing a small mannequin with a slightly terrifying rubber mask.
Would you like to play a game…er buy some Anime Merch?

We had already walked those 10 meters from the street and felt committed, so started to climb the stairs… (I mean we’re writing this article, so you know we made it out alive) The trip up the stairs continued to feel like we were going to someone’s apartment…

The stairway up to Anima-ru in Okinawa
Heading up the stairs…

At the top of the stairs turn right and you are at the store!

The Anima-ru (アニマール 沖縄 )store
No food or drink, Jigsaw will be watching 24hrs!

Once inside it was a decent sized shop of anime merch, they had shirts, posters, tapestries, figurines, buttons, and all the stuff you’d expect in an anime merch store. Some of the merchandise seemed a littler seedier than Animate, but we didn’t notice any actual hentai or NC-17/R-rated material. One thing they didn’t have much of is actual manga, they were focused on the merchandise. I would say the store is about a third of the size of the Animate store down the street, but if you are into Anime and Manga and in Okinawa it’s worth visiting both. Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and if anyone visits that steak house.

Info Block:

Anima-ru Website (Japanese)

Google Maps link :

Apple Maps link: アニマール

See also: Our write up on the Animate store

Animate Store in Naha

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!


One Piece Fun Run in Okinawa

We participated in the One Piece run in Chatan 北谷町; it is a 5.5 km “running” course set up through the American Village area with a One Piece (anime, manga) theme. The tickets were purchased through Lawson conbini and came with a T-shirt and wristband, as well as various other small things. We chose to do the first wave, but there are 4 times you could choose from.

Of course, on this day it decided to be rainy… but we did not let that deter us. We even got all the stamps for the stamp rally. Now admittedly, I have not read or seen much of One Piece… my husband wanted to participate in a beginner’s run, and since marathons are honestly a bit extreme for us, when this came up we decided to go for it. After all… it is Japan, and participating in an anime-themed run seems like something we should experience at least once.

There were some people dressed up as various characters or with One Piece gear, though you do not need to be so extreme to participate. The tent was selling some One Piece merchandise and souvenirs for the more serious fans. We were happy with our shirt and wristband.

As we jogged our way through the course, there were various fun station stops and picture opportunities. There was a sweets station (yes, I know… during a run, really? sweets? doesn’t that sort of feel contradictory?), the pirate ship, foam party, water gun battle, speakers playing OnePiece songs, character photos, and more. Despite being a little cold and soaked from the rain we had a pretty good time and my husband met his goal challenge. At the end they gave you a cute little certificate to say you completed and a pin. Maybe we will try again next year and have better weather.

For those who are more true fans, there was an “after-party” concert with some of the voice actors and one of the singing groups. We were chilly and wet, so we ended up to go home.


Manga Souko 漫画倉庫

漫画倉庫 Manga Souko is a nationwide secondhand store. In Okinawa, there are 3 of these stores. 漫画 manga means Japanese comics, and 倉庫 souko means warehouse. They are open 24 hours!

First word of caution: when you enter, it is extremely noisy inside. Not just a little, but a lot. If you go, you will see what I mean. It can be a bit overwhelming.

Second word of caution: their buyback rates are not very good, so don’t expect to get a lot of money for your books/clothes/cds/comics/etc that you sell them. And there prices tend to be slightly higher than some other places in my opinion. That being said, they also have the best variety, especially for anime, manga, and related goods.

Anyway, despite their name being “manga,” they actually have everything from games, consoles, cds, dvds, comics, figurines, clothes, shoes, small appliances, kitchen and household, sporting goods, instruments… the list goes on. So even if you don’t care much about manga or anime, there is a lot more to this interesting secondhand shop. I will admit, I have made more than a few purchases here.

Keep in mind, on a weekend or holiday it gets pretty busy… many people will go to the comics section and just read for hours without buying anything.

To find the closest to you, just copy and paste 漫画倉庫 into GoogleMaps (there are 3 locations in Okinawa: Awase, Urasoe, and Naha).

I will post some pictures of the outside and of some of my purchases soon.