Start: 840 Broadway at 13th St
End: 124 First Ave between St. Marks Pl and E 7th St
Time: 1 hour
Distance: 1.5 miles
1 Packed with sushi dens and karaoke parlors, the East Village may as well be Manhattan's Little Tokyo. But the Land of the Rising Sun permeates the area in other ways, including a wealth of anime-and-manga-laden shops. Start your jaunt at Forbidden Planet (840 Broadway at 13th St; 212-473-1576, fpnyc.com). On the first level, you'll find a modest collection of action figures, but the real treasure is upstairs: a separate, smaller level dedicated to manga. Make your way through the alphabetically organized shelves and browse through series both familiar (Naruto) and obscure (Bakuman).
2 It's time to gear up for some cosplay: Assemble an anime-inspired outfit at Halloween Adventure (104 Fourth Ave between 11th and 12th Sts; 212-673-4546, newyorkcostumes.com). Gents can pretend to be Dragon Ball hero Son Goku and kick some ass in a stylized tunic, while ladies can pair a nautical getup with tall red boots for a Sailor Moon--esque ensemble.
3 If you'd rather take a VR approach to the scene, visit 8 Bit and Up Video Games (35 St. Marks Pl between Second and Third Aves, second floor; 212-674-0201, getreadytogame.com), a hole-in-the-wall that stocks new and used programs for every console under the sun—even old-school SNS and Atari systems. Pick up Gundam ($20--$60) if you're in the mood to fight giant robots or One Piece ($20) to immerse yourself in a treasure hunt; both were inspired by Japanimation.
4 Israel Levarek's toy collection began in the mid-'80s, when he received a single metal robot as a gift. Today Levarek runs Toy Tokyo (91 Second Ave between 5th and 6th Sts; 212-673-5424, toytokyo.com), a small boutique filled with colorful trinkets from the U.S. and abroad. If you can overcome the sensory overload, you'll be rewarded with eclectic finds such as Kubrick/Bearbrick miniature sets from Evangelion 1.0 ($12--$40).
5 Kim's Video & Music (124 First Ave between St. Marks Pl and E 7th St; 212-533-7390, mondokims.com) feels more punk than kawaii ("cute"), but don't be dissuaded—there's a solid section of imported film and television DVDs. Cinephiles can snag Hayao Miyazaki's popular she-warrior flick, Princess Mononoke ($23), or the postapocalyptic Fist of the North Star ($28). Select your fave and continue the cartoon binge from the comfort of your couch.
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