Friday, December 01, 2006

toybot studios Toy Vacation!!! Part IV: Little Tokyo - Anime Jungle


As much as it seems my toy vacation photo safari lasted for a month, I can assure you it passed by all too quickly. In fact, all the locations visted so far: Super7, The Cheshire Cat show, Robocon, Happy Land and Chinatown Munky King were all done in just a day and a half! So the journey continues...We left Chinatown Munky King and somewhat on a whim, I decided to drag my family to LA's Little Tokyo. At the risk of getting nostalgic again, Little Tokyo is where my obsession with Japanese toys began...jesus...30+ years ago! Nestled in the heart of the Little Tokyo mall was this Japanese toy store that I would beg my mother to take me to. I don't even remember the name of the store, but since it was clear across town in heavy traffic i'm sure, my mother is a saint for ever taking me there in the first place. Back then, we were into the school supplies: these really cool pencil cases with magnetic lids with secret compartments for those heavenly smelling could get all manner of pencils, pens, erasers, cases, stickers and such all festooned with all your favorite Japanese characters including Kikaider, Go Rangers, UFO Diapolon, Raideen and the rest of the Super Robots.



Of course, we wanted the toys as well, but since the toys were very expensive even way back then, we had to quench our thirst for Japanese toy culture with less expensive, yet very practical and useful school implements! The Bandai Popy die-cast stuff was only purchased after tireless begging around birthdays and Christmas. If my memory serves me correctly, my big die-cast purchase one Christmas was a UFO Diapolon robot which cost around $30.00. I'm sure the same one which is now vintage, would be going for several hundred dollars. I would walk into this tiny store and could gaze at the glass cabinets for hours inspecting the details of all the toys that I couldn't buy.



Anyways, enough of memory lane and onto our next Toy Store! I'm embarassed to say that although Anime Jungle has been in Little Tokyo for the last 5+ years, I didn't even know it existed until earlier this year!! Anime Jungle is my kind of store and reminds me of my childhood toy store which was located only a few doors down in the same Little Tokyo mall. A few things about Anime Jungle right off the bat: it's a bit hard to find so make sure to check out their website for a map and directions as it's hidden in a tunnel of sorts off the beaten track. Secondly, it's HUGE for a Japanese toy store! Tons and tons of toys and anime to check out including some pretty rare vintage stuff as well! Lots of vintage Kamen Rider, Godzilla and Ultraman. One of my favorite things about the store is that they sell almost any mini figure gashapon as complete sets! Gashapon figures usually come blind box, but Anime Jungle opens each and every box, inspects the content and then puts together full sets so you don't have to worry about doubles! I LOVE IT and the selection is incredible! They even will sell you the display case! My only complaint is I wish they had more vintage Die-cast from Bandai. I realize this stuff is hard to stock, but that would make my Little Tokyo visit complete! Having said that, Anime Jungle in now on the permanent rotation when I go down to LA!!!
















Anonymous said...

Cool Collections. I would like to say that am seriously a very big fan of Godzilla and its movies. I love all the characters of the series. I started collecting a huge collection of Godzilla Toys after that.

TNC said...

I think the name of the old toy store is Mitsuru. Used to go there back when I was a kid (70s).

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