Tokyo Recap: Otome Road Edition!
After a visit to Big Gym in Ikebukuro one day, Anne and I happened to stumble upon “Otome Road” (乙女ロード), an area dense with manga shops and cosplay stores aimed at young women. It’s been likened to a female Akihabara (though smaller in scale) and has also been called, indelicately, “Fujoshi Street."
I was pleasantly surprised to discover endless shelves of BL doujinshi at the various manga shops we entered. The vast BL doujinshi world is ruled by parody, and at one shop, the entire archive was organized by the franchise being parodied. I took home some Lord of the Rings and Neon Genesis: Evangelion BL, but they had manga homoeroticizing everything from Naruto and Pokemon to Attack on Titan, Harry Potter, Transformers, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
At Mandarake’s basement store on Otome Road, gems included Benedict Cumberbatch BL, boy band hug pillows, and VHS tapes of the failed early ‘90s live action Sailor Moon show. Nearby, a cosplay shop offered a variety of anime-hair wigs and a monolithic Sega arcade produced a dull roar of beeps and bloops.