Akihabara is a place where toys are not just for the kids and Mandarake is just one of the many hobby shops scattered all over Akiba that proves this. From gamers’ text cards, comic books and magazines to design-your-own dolls, costumes, and hentai CDs and videos, the whole building of Mandarake has all what it takes to experience real fun, not just for the little ones, but mostly for adults.
By the way, the shop is pronounced as /man-dah-rah-keh/. I kept asking some Japanese I met of the shop’s location yet they were having a hard time understanding me as I kept saying /man-d’-reik/. Luckily, someone understood and corrected my pronunciation.
As soon as you enter Mandarake, you will see the elevator on your right. You can either take it to get yourself to the top floors. But if you are claustrophobic, you can take the stairs when you are in the mood for a good exercise. The fire-exit-style stairs are just outside, attached to the right side of the building. But if you think your knees might go week from the sight of the grounds below, I suggest forget the stairs. Otherwise, it will send shivers of acrophobia down your spines, or at least, that was how I felt when I looked down from the eighth floor. Have it your way then.
The edifice’s mundane façade is exactly the opposite of what the interior can show your eyes.
On the first floor, you will find all sorts of collectibles that deals with Japanese pop antiques. They also accept second hand toys, comics and magazines for resale. All transactions are done on this floor. On the second level, you will see the colorful cosplay clothes and accessories, design-your-own dolls in different sizes, including wigs, dresses, shoes and accessories to dress them up according to your ideal features and looks. Hence, this floor will bring your fantasy of a pretty face into being by assembling dolls to resemble it.
On the third to fifth floors, you will find all sorts of books, "doujinshi" (self published literary works by novel artists) and other kinds of Manga and animation reading materials, including comics and magazines. Adult reading materials can also be found on the fourth and fifth levels. The sixth floor holds rows and rows of CDs and DVDs on racks while the seventh and eight floors have various kinds of toys and collectibles.
Mandarake will surely take you to a fascinating world of your child-like imagination.
The establishment may look just like any normal multi-level warehouse, but patrons do not mind the exterior as much as they look forward into browsing the latest anime collectibles. They just zoomed pass us towards the entrance of the building.
The building is one of the landmarks in the rabbit warren of stores and shops in Akihabara. With the help of a map application in my phone, Mandarake is one of the major shops marked with big letters, so from the Akihabara Station, you will immediately find the building just three minutes away on foot.