Look, I know what you come here for. Really. I mean, I’m sure you’ve been enjoying reading about the last few days exploring Tokyo’s ancient monuments and culture, but I know what you’re thinking.
Where the fuck is the anime and the toys, Tim?
Well, my friends, let me put you out of your misery.
Returning to Akihabara to make some essential purchases at Mandarake again, I stumbled across Super Modelers, hidden away on the fifth floor of a small pile of shops on the main street. A model-kit and supplies shop, the back end of it sells the usual Tamiya military and car kits, along with quite a lot of train set stuff. But the vast majority of the shop, and most importantly the display cabinets as you enter, are dedicated to one thing only: Mecha.
The away of kits on sale here is bewildering. Gundam, Voltoms, Armoured Core, Patlabor and Evangelon boxes of every size are stacked up on top of each other down every aisle, and combined with overpowering smell of paint and glue that fills the air it’s enough to spin you out. But the real treat here is the aforementioned display cabinets, showcasing some of the best model work I’ve had the privilege to see, highlighting the uniquely Japanese otaku art of taking a glossy, brightly coloured Gundam kit and painting and converting it into a moody, grimy, realistic looking piece of futuristic military hardware.
It’s awe-inspiring stuff, enough that I couldn’t leave the place without buying something, and wondering how I was going to get this huge Patlabor Ingrams Mk 1 box into my suitcase and home…