Recent Purchases (Kinokuniya is AWESOME)

Madoka and Pocket Monsters

Excuse the shoddy image quality, the photo came from my 3DS

Recently, I’ve decided to improve my Japanese by owning more Japanese-language reading material. Luckily, when I went to go eat with my friends at Mitsuwa Marketplace San Jose, I noticed that there was a Kinokuniya Book Store right next to it. Remembering that a merchant at Fanime recommended it to me for manga, light novels, and whatnot (God bless him), I decided to go there after feasting on tsukimi udon and takoyaki.

Much to my enjoyment, the place was filled with imported goods from Japan. There’s some English anime/manga-related stuff, but I really recommend Right Stuf for that kind of thing, unless you have an aversion to online shopping or something. The main draw of Kinokuniya, I should say, are the Japanese-language products – and there aren’t just books, there are tons of freshly imported CDs and home videos, and plenty of children’s books in both English and Japanese. The staff at this store were nice as well, which isn’t what I’d normally say about Asian stores, due to most cultures’ Chinese-influenced “neutral face” stance on shopkeeping.

I plan on grabbing other goods when I get some more cash, but for now I bought the first volume of the Puella Magi Madoka Magica – 4-Koma Anthology Comic (魔法少女まどか☆マギカ 4コマアンソロジーコミック) and Pocket Monsters Special Vol.33 (ポケットモンスタ-SPECIAL <33>). The latter is my first attempt to get back into the Pokemon fandom after all of these years by finishing up the DP saga of the Special manga, not to mention that I also have to play every god damn game and the entirety of Gen V which I never played. I’ve kept up with character designs, which is funny since my favorite female playable character is Mei, yet I haven’t played Black 2 and White 2, the games which she stars in. I’ve also amused myself with Game Freak’s recent anime-styled trailers of the games, which go out of their way to hire A+ Japanese voice actors for the characters even though they don’t include voice acting in the actual games anyway… yeah, makes sense. As for the actual anime “adaptation”, kiiinda don’t want to get back into that even though the recent openings have been baiting me. Nostalgia teases (Lizardon and Okorizaru?!) and Satoshi being voiced by Rica Matsumoto were always the upsides of the anime, but “Episode N” looks like it’s going to be a pretty plot-relevant and epic arc. But damn, Satoshi’s new moe moe eyes still bother me first and foremost. The original Red is crying on Mt. Silver as we speak.

Pokemon rambling aside, I’ll definitely be coming back to Kinokuniya instead of importing Japanese books myself online (too much of a hassle). Speaking of which, did you guys know that small-time Japanese light novels were, well, light and small? I’ve only ever seen and touched the big titles like Haruhi Suzumiya and Spice and Wolf (which is what we would consider regular-sized chapter books in terms of height and width), and along with the fact that light novels are a pretty niche market in the US, my mind was literally blown when I saw just how small these books were. They were TINY. I would have to put on my glasses (which I really should be wearing all the time) in order to read the furigana, if any.

6 thoughts on “Recent Purchases (Kinokuniya is AWESOME)”

  1. Lucky bastard lol. I live in Toronto and I guess I haven’t looked up anime spots yet but since it’s a big place I’m sure they got some, but usually places are lucky if they have a comics place.

    I used to live in Ann arbor where they’re crazy about anime (university of Michigan), and they had this store called “wizzywigs,” and it was a quaint little upstairs store where you could buy trading cards, wallscrolls and get anime DVDs all sorts of stuff. Idk what happened to them now, but I miss places like that.

  2. We have a Kinokuniya here in LA that I’ve gone to many times and they have cool stuff =) I’ve gotten some artbooks and random anime character goods there over the years.

    Oh, you plan on getting back into the Pokemon games? That’s awesome, let me know if you need any pointers or want someone to battle/trade with (all the games on the DS allow you to play with others online via Wi-fi).

    Having also been keeping up with all the Pokemon anime episodes, I can honestly say that the Black and White episodes have been the second best in the series (after the original Kanto episodes). There’s much more focus on an ongoing story and most of the stand-alone episodes are decent. I’m currently watching Episode N and it’s pretty good :3 Oh, and Satoshi’s new design is something you easily forget about. I don’t even notice it anymore XD

  3. @Nuu: Hm, that’s actually surprising to me since Toronto holds one of the bigger anime conventions out there, so I would have expected there to be at least a few easily nameable places that would focus on Japanese merchandise even if there weren’t many. Hopefully an online search will help you locate one – thus far, I’ve only seen two San Jose-based stores that specifically focus on Japanese media. As for Wizzywigs, I searched Yelp and the exact same one you mentioned does still exist: 😛

  4. @Yumeka: There were many awesome products that I was interested in, namely artbooks and figures, on my visit, but I held myself back for this year’s Fanime. I nearly budged when I saw that Kinokuniya had the newest Fullmetal Alchemist artbook in stock. Artbooks – I’ll definitely get eventually from either Kinokuniya, Right Stuf, or a convention. Figures… not at all, too expensive. lol
    I’ll keep you posted when I finish the last bit of the Generation 4 games and the Gen 4 remakes of my favorite gen. Generation 5 is up next, though I’ll most likely get them through a flash card to cut the cost of catching up faster. If I’m getting back into Pokemon, I’ll definitely get X and Y – My 3DS friend code is 4656-6263-1690, by the way.
    Depending on whether or not I budge, I may get back into the Pokemon anime, since many things look vastly improved in Best Wishes and gives off the same vibe as the first original 80 episodes. Man, those were the days, when Pokemon was set for a 80 episode run and was overseen by Takeshi Shudo, who put his best into those 80 episodes; able to hold its own against the Special manga’s level of interest. From the looks of things though, retconning Satoshi’s age back to 10 still bothers me, since when I left the anime he was more mature compared to the original Kanto episodes and I liked that development despite the show itself becoming somewhat uninteresting. But if Best Wishes is anything like the classic days, then my return to the anime is likely.

  5. I get all my light novels and most of my manga from Kinokuniya. Still love the place. There’s always a hundred or so things I want to buy and read but I know I’d never find the time for them all.

  6. @Ixrec: I know that feeling. If it weren’t for my friends reminding me to hold back, I would have killed my wallet and bought more than my free time could handle, haha.

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