It’s a given that Japan is the place to go for all things anime – whether it’s going to Akihabara to look for the latest games and cosplay, or Nakano Broadway for the latest merch and goods, Tokyo is one of the best places to empty your wallet out for the franchises nearest and dearest to your heart.
However, the more attentive Tokyo-goer might find that some of the juicier items are right under their noses – and all around them, in fact! Your local convenience store might just being having a collaboration or commemorative campaign with your favorite anime series!
If you’re familiar with Japan, you know the magic of konbini. Convenience stores in Japan offer just about everything you can imagine for your day-to-day life, and they truly are the epitome of convenience. What you might not have known is how often these stores work alongside several anime franchises to promote new seasons or movies for different shows, and how much they offer to fans who unknowingly stumble in looking for a drink or a snack. Most collaborations will offer some kind of anime-themed snack, such as pudding or karaage, while others pull out the stops and offer limited-time merchandise such as clear files, posters, tote bags, and so much more! Sometimes, there might even be a lottery included with a chance to win some great prizes!
Recently, Lawson promoted the new Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel II. Lost Butterfly (released in select theaters in Japan on January 12th, 2019). I was quite shocked walking into a nearby Lawson a couple weeks ago to find them selling all kinds of limited-edition Fate goodies: from clear files and original prints with character designs on them, to jelly glasses and piping-hot sesame buns designed to look like one of the movie’s characters, the collaboration really made me feel like a slice of the franchise was being offered there.
These collaborations aren’t few and far between, either! There’s almost always another collab right around the corner, from series like Love Live! to Naruto and more! Usually there’s merchandise available for direct purchase, but other times (usually in the cases of clear files), goodies come free of charge with purchases of select brands of sweets or cup noodles. Keep a sharp eye out, and don’t be afraid to ask the staff for help!
Of course, these events aren’t just limited to convenience stores, either! Clothing stores like Uniqlo are often stocked with items that are designed after Shonen Jump anime, and pop-up stores appear all the time in places like Ikebukuro and Shinjuku. It’s just a matter of keeping an eye out for these unique (and often limited-time!) events.
If you’re a huge anime fan like I am, the next time you visit Japan, make sure to stop by a konbini! You never know – there might just be a collab going on!