Walking through Doguyasuji, I found myself in the Akihabara of Osaka, Denden Town. In the past, its main profile was electronics, and related stores, and today, like in Akihabara, it is shifting from electronics to anime, computer games, and products related to this subculture.
So in addition to the remaining electronics stores, there are more and more stores selling cosplay supplies, bookstores selling dōjinshi, a maid-café (a cafe where they are dressed as maids.) I also looked at a couple of similar stores (not the maid café, but the cosplay-manga store). Well, I don't know, maybe I shouldn't say this, because I'm basically speaking out against myself, since I also got to know Japan through anime/manga, and I'm still writing at a major magazine which profiles mangas and animes, and I proofread mangas, but somehow I had a kind of discomfort when I went into a few of these stores. Somehow, this level of passion isn’t my cup of tea. Let’s just say I’ve never had the level of fan dedication necessary to dress as my favorite player or go as for them to a karaoke tournament, for example, or scream and yell my favorite slogan, pet name, or whatever…
Nor are they all very young, some are essentially middle-aged men or young people who practically glow with obsession – it’s almost scary. As an extra garnish, the young fangirls… and an unconscious amount of fan junk, at unconscionable prices. Plus there’s some really bizarre merch. A Shingeki no Kyojin costume, for instance, allows you to dress up as a giant with the help of a variety of pajamas. Anime girly “hug pillows” - a long (almost human-height) oval pillow with an anime girl printed on it… a mouse pad that has breasts (again with an anime girl printed on it)… in a word, a rather crazy world. We’ll see what Akihabara will be like, I may see even more warped things, but in a word, the point is, I felt like I didn’t belong here. I still read manga, and if I have an interesting anime, I'll check it out, but to me, even the Western idea of fandom is a bit intense (don't get me wrong, no offense, it's a personal opinion – if you want to be a fan, be a fan), but this is Japanese otaku is really something else.
And then comes the 18+ part of the post: Adult-themed shops are closely related to the anime theme of Denden Town… because if you’re already selling manga, why not sell hentai (porn manga)? And if you’re already selling hentai, why not sell erogames? And if you’re already selling all of this, why not sell live-action porn movies? Somehow these shops can work along with such logic. I went into a multi-story manga game shop. The rule is: the higher you go upstairs, the more likely you are to get lost on an adult floor. In this shop, levels 6 and 7 were the adult zone. And shoppers browse quite unselfconsciously as if they were on a “normal” manga floor. Of course, there may be more young girls on the normal manga floor, and I only saw middle-aged men here. Anyway, such shops are also common in Denden Town… This is also part of Japanese popular culture, and that’s a fact.” (2016)