Evangelion Store Tokyo 01 - Harajuku
Date: 2013 July 17th Wednesday [16:17] | Posted By: Priss
In the April of 2013, I made my first visit to Japan. On my many travels, the second excursion to Harajuku was not for the stores featuring Japan's most iconic and eccentric fashion trends. It was not even to torture myself with the price tags in Lolita fashion wonderland. I passed the stores and sparklingly sweet crepe stands by. I was on a reconnaissance mission to visit The Evangelion Store - Tokyo One.
When you walk down Takeshita dōri you discover a world far removed from Tokyo's pristine shopping districts of high-rise architecture and designer store frontages. The sensational colours and collisions of subculture cannot be muted - even when under a misty veil of rain. That day bright umbrellas jostled through the lanes that meander off from the main stretch of Takeshita dōri.
Turning just a corner away from the clustering crowds, I encountered an unexpectedly elegant construction. Unlike anything you might expect to see in a typical otaku goods shop -the Evangelion flagship store is a stylish and minimalistic building. It is a world apart from Akihabara's hobby stores, which are always packed to the gunnels with goods.
The ground floor is dedicated to Evangelion style. If visitors do not want to be immersed in gratuitous geekery, the Evangelion Store offers designer fashion and brand collaborations. Californian company K Swiss, for example, have produced a series of sneakers that are styled like the three most iconic Evangelion Units and their pilots.
Tokyo 01 sells a lot of exclusive merchandise such as T-shirts, iPhone cases and premium items such as watches and jewellery. The range is extensive and even offers a pair of rings designed for lovers to wear - the lance of Longinus wedding pair rings! It is a place where you can spend a little, or - if you are anything like me - one hell of a lot.
Evocative of Nerv HQ, the store is styled both inside and out with hexagonal honeycomb structures. These are engraved on the store's glazed exterior and also form the main segments of the display shelves on the first floor. The design theme comes from the emergency signals that are synonymous with disaster in the series. As these are emblematic of the cinematic tension in Evangelion, it is exciting to climb the stairs to the second floor as you ascend into a haven of Eva merchandise surrounded by code red warnings.
The range of products represents Eva's modern status and transcendence beyond the image of the otaku who were originally the franchise's principal audience. This is not a den of pure otaku pleasure - it is an odd fusion of what the series has become to fans past, present and international. Whether you want to relieve the memories of the original anime avant garde Eva or enjoy it in its current cinematic incarnation, the store surrounds you with enough stimuli to satiate any Eva fan who visits. The modern Eva, however, is the more dominant presence in Tokyo 01. This is hardly surprising as my visit was timed just before the release of the 3rd Eva movie on BluRay and DVD in Japan. The music in the store, however, is all old school Eva interspliced with welcome messages by none other than Misato herself (as voiced by Kotono Mitsuishi).
Speaking of Misato, a homely plot resides alongside the dynamic design of Tokyo's first Evangelion store. According to the sign, the plot belongs to Misato's old flame Kaji. Visitors can water the plants, which presumably, are watermelons in their infancy (Kaji, has a thing for melons, apparently).
Step into the upstairs showroom and you can abandon all hope for your finances. Floor to ceiling, Eva display cases feature trinkets and luxuries beyond your wildest imaginings. Sundries and stationary, things you would never think a franchise would have the audacity to create - from Seelť cookies to memorial wine - Gainax and Khara have milked the series to create ever expanding product lines. Here, you can tart up your smart phone with metal character decals , key jems straps, jackets and even cradle it in the arms of an angel when you are not using it. The hot new product of the week was the Zeruel phone stand.
While you may think the eerie invaders from the series might not make the cutest of character mascots, you'd be wrong! There are so many SD incarnations of the Angels available and the Eva Store has its own obligatory mascot character - "Yurushiki".
If you want to get see a great selection of Eva figures, go to the Eva Stores. If you want to buy them, however, expect to be out of luck as many of the popular pieces are sold out. You'd be likely to find these in Akihabara so the displays are a great opportunity to get an up close and personal preview of what has been made. Medicom's deluxe line of articulated figures are in pride of place in the display.
At the time I visited, the RAH (Real Action Hero) line featured only the pilots in their uniforms and plugsuits but Medicom has since expanded their range to include the Evangelion units.
The little details make the store very fun to visit and it is certainly a must for fans of the show to see while they are in Tokyo.