Back in the 1990’s there used to be fan created guides of lists of anime shops in local areas on places like newsgroups like arts.rec.anime. Unfortunately lists like that have disappeared. If you want to find “bricks and mortar” stores locally, you have to do a bit of searching. Surprisingly this can be a slightly difficult. It amazes me that no one keeps list of stores any more. Then again if you can get it easier, cheaper and quicker from online store, why in heck would you bother with physical stores?
But after compiling lists for stores in Japanese cites, I thought it would be fun to do guides for local shops. After getting my Opal card on Thursday (which I got for a future trip so I could get from Central Station to the airport easily), on a whim I decided to go up to Sydney and attempt to compile a list of shops for my blog. Admittedly I haven’t actually been to Sydney for at least five years. These days I only go to Central Station and then on to the airport and never visit the actual city. I admit that for this particular trip to Sydney I had visions of the cool record stores and anime shops that were there in the 1990’s. My hopes would soon be dashed though. Since the Olympics, Sydney CBD looks horribly rundown. Leaving Central Station and walking along Eddy Avenue, the first thing I noticed was all the shops along the street are all closed and bordered up except one café and a 7-Eleven. There are homeless people everywhere, young foreign backpackers roaming the streets ready to exploited by local recruiters, and the city seems to be in a state of disrepair, covered in a fine layer of grime and graffiti. There’s also the ongoing construction for the tramline up George Street. And as always, it gets hot and humid, even in spring. The city looks and feels ugly and uninviting.
Unfortunately most of the stores are in the CBD. Below I’ve listed the stores of interest in alphabetical order;
Anime At Abbotsford
Address: 318 Great North Road, Abbotsford
Phone: (02) 9712 1418
Opening Times: Everyday 9am to 6:30pm, except Sunday, closes at 5pm
Address: Shop 125, First Floor, Prince Centre, 8 Quay Street, Haymarket
Phone: (02) 9281 9355
Opening Times: Everyday 10am to 6:30pm
Address: 259 Broadway, Glebe
Phone: (02) 8041 3913
Opening Times: Everyday 10am to 7pm, except Saturday, closes at 5pm, Sunday, closes at 4pm
Address: Shop RP2.2, Level 2, The Galeries, 500 George Street, Sydney
Phone: (02) 9262 7996
Opening Times: Everyday 10am to 7pm, except Thursday, closes at 9pm, Sunday, 11am to 6pm
Address: 71 Liverpool Street, Sydney
Phone: (02) 9267 3629
Opening Times: Everyday 10am to 5:15pm, except Thursday, closes at 6:15pm, Saturday, 10am to 4:15pm, closed on Sunday
Address: Shop 50/53, Level 2, Queen Victoria Building, 429 - 481 George Street, Sydney
Phone: (02) 9264 4877
Opening Times: Everyday 10am to 6pm, except Thursday, closes at 9pm, Sunday, closes at 5pm
Address: Shop 60, Level 1, Rhodes Waterside Shopping Centre, Rhodes
Phone: (02) 8765 1165
Opening Times: Everyday 9am to 6pm, except Sunday, opens at 10am
Address: Shop C027, Level 1, 1 Gilchrist Drive, MacArthur Square Shopping Centre, Campbelltown
Phone: (02) 4627 5311
Opening Times: Everyday 9am to 5:30pm, except Sunday, opens at 10am
Address: Suite 204, Level 2, 39 Liverpool Street, Sydney
Phone: (02) 9261 5225
Opening Times: Everyday 11am to 7pm, except Sunday, 12pm to 6pm, closed Tuesdays
Japanese chain of second hand book shops, 14 in total, mostly in Kyushu but it also has branches in Aomori, Chiba and Tottori. Never heard of it? Not surprised. Why do they have a branch in Sydney? God only knows. The shop has second hand Japanese novels, magazines, a ton of manga, CDs, DVD and a few anime artbooks. There are some English subtitled and/or dubbed anime and Japanese films as well. Though I did manage to snag two “To Heart” artbooks, be warned, the range is really, really limited. The original store they had was a gold mine of anime magazines and manga (back in the early 2000’s). It does seem really piss poor now. The Japanese lady running it spoke in a mix of English and simple Japanese, which was a bit weird.
Address: 310 Pitt Street, Sydney
Phone: (02) 9267 5615
Opening Times: Everyday 9am to 6pm, except Thursday, closes 8pm, weekends, 10am to 5pm
And that’s that for anime shops in Sydney. I walked through the Chinatown/Haymarket area as well as through the little arcades and was utterly surprised that all of the bootleg DVD shops had disappeared completely. I think I only saw one shop sell Chinese DVDs and Blu-rays in Market City, but you could tell it wasn’t their main business. All of the little hobby shops selling model kits had disappeared as well. I was also a little annoyed that general second hand book, CD and DVD stores had been wiped out from the CBD. I knew that the two Chinese newsagents, who stocked anime magazines and bootleg merchandise, had shut down in the mid 2000’s. Even Game Infinity had disappeared without a trace. In its place was just a blank white façade as if its existence had been wiped from everyone’s collective memory. But of course the internet has killed video stores and fandom has collectively shifted away from plastic model and garage kits to completed figures that sell for hundreds of dollars each. Though I don’t mind the stores that still exist, it was all a bit depressing really. Sure I don’t miss the horribly overpriced DVDs and shitty service of the Cartoon Gallery, but nostalgia for the 1990’s bit a little hard. Regardless I quite enjoyed my trip up to Sydney. However I don't think I'll be heading back any time soon.
I’m hoping to do post on whatever anime related shops still exist in Melbourne sometime in the future. I’m hoping to head down there sometime in mid or late 2017. I’m hoping things might be a bit better there.