To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Animate Ikebukuro store next year, it will be the company’s largest. Inside will house a theater in the basement, two halls on top and more space for events than any other anime building in Japan, and the headline event of the first event in the world’s largest anime store will be My boyfriend.
Marin Kitagawa is the poster child for his own exhibition and the store itself in the first few weeks. The exhibition will celebrate the first anniversary of the TV anime series and will feature rare illustrations and real life versions of the outfits seen in the series. A new character visual of Kitagawa was released.
As for Animate itself: the top of the building has animated hall BLACK and animated hall WHITE, both capable of holding events at the same time. Below it on the 8th floor will be a showroom—where My boyfriend the exhibition will be held – called Space Galleria. Floors 1 to 7 are set to be the actual store, with the ground floor featuring an anime-themed cafe that will open earlier than the rest of the building on January 26 with the distinction of having anime art on every cup. Then on the 2nd basement floor, the first Animate Theater will open for stage performances, talks and more with 208 available seats.
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Mobile Fighter G Gundam character designer and Blue fire manga creator Kazuhiko Shimamoto drew a party image for the opening of the new Animate featuring mascot character Meito Anizawa, whom anime fans may recognize from Lucky star and Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. The picture can be seen at the top of the post.
The My boyfriend the exhibition opens on 16 March and runs until 17 April, but is not the only event in the first few weeks. The Uta no Prince-sama: Maji Love ST☆RISH Tours anime film will hold a talk in Animate Hall BLACK on March 18, while the HANA-Doll* project will hold HANA-Doll* THE SCENE -Another universe- show from March 16 to March 26 in the Animateateret.
The Animate Ikebukuro Flagship store opens on March 26th after a very extensive remodel for not only the store, but the entire plaza area.
Source: Press release
Daryl Harding is a senior Japanese correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs a YouTube channel about Japan stuff called TheDoctorDazza, tweets @DoctorDazzaand posts photos of his travels on Instagram.