Rummaging for...Japanese comics & toys

Anime expert Clyde Adams III gives us a crash course in Japanese pop culture.


Clyde Adams III

Photograph: Wenyi Huang

Don’t give Clyde Adams III a Hello Kitty sticker: The Brooklyn Web designer is way beyond that. He’s been a real otaku (superfan) of Japanese anime and manga for nearly two decades, and is currently the programmer for Metro Anime, which holds monthly film screenings at midtown Mexican restaurant Maui Tacos; he also manages the fan site nyc-anime.com. Sadly, the growing availability of manga and anime online and at mainstream stores like Borders and Best Buy has forced many local outlets to shutter—“Mangaya, Anime Crash, Games & James, Otakuden, Octopus Kingdom, Cafe Atom—they’re all gone,” pines Adams. Nevertheless, our expert can still get his fix at these retailers.

“Great anime ranks with the highest art. It touches the heart and moves the soul.”
—Clyde Adams III, programmer for Metro Anime


Rukia Kuchiki plush doll, $11.99 at Kinokuniya

Photograph: Erkan Said

Kinokuniya
“There’s an amazing stock of manga and a lot of toys and figures,” Adams says of Kinokuniya, which recently upgraded to a new, awesome space. He also digs its café and excellent selection of soundtracks: “Music is very important in anime—you’ll often see top-notch composers in the credits, like Ryuichi Sakamoto, who did Sheltering Sky and The Last Emperor.”
1073 Sixth Ave between 40th and 41st Sts (212-869-1700)


Photograph: Wenyi Huang

Forbidden Planet
Comic-book aficionados know this Union Square shop for its expansive array of DC, Marvel and American indies. But its revamped second floor houses an impressive variety of graphic novels from Asia—and an unusually high number of female salespeople and shoppers. “They even have manga from Korea, which is called manhwa,” Adams points out.
840 Broadway at 13th St (212-473-1576, fpnyc.com)


Nodame Cantabile No. 1 and No. 2, $17.40 each, at Asahiya Bookstore

Photograph: Erkan Said

Asahiya Bookstore
Although this general-interest Japanese book outlet recently moved into humbler digs, Adams still lauds its great specialty merchandise, including the first volume of insidery series Nodame Cantabile. He also notes that its region-two DVD players let folks watch original versions of films, instead of waiting for the American editions to come out.
360 Madison Ave, enter on 45th St between Fifth and Madison Aves (212-883-0011, asahiyausa.com)


Photograph: Wenyi Huang

Toy Tokyo
This quirky shop specializes in cutting-edge Japanese vinyl figures like the arty Be@rbricks collectibles, but Adams has also discovered coveted items from beloved anime director Hayao Miyazaki here. “They have a plush Catbus from My Neighbor Totoro, which is sweet. And it’s got the little mice on top that act like headlights.”
121 Second Ave between St. Marks Pl and E 7th St, second floor (212-673-5424, toytokyo.com)


Gloomy Bear figure, $35, at Image Anime

Photograph: Erkan Said

Image Anime
Going online isn’t always the best option for those looking to bone up on Japanese animation: “What the retail shops have over the Web is knowledge of what’s out there and what’s coming up,” Adams notes. To wit: Owner Wing Leung finds us a copy of the just-released DVD 5 Centimeters Per Second. “I just saw this at the New York International Children’s Film Festival. I wasn’t even sure it was out yet.”
242 W 30th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves (212-631-0966, imageanime.com)