This weekend saw the opening of Akiba Street, a new collection of Anime themed stores opening in Sungai Wang in the city center of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.
The stores are currently holding an opening ceremony from the 1st to the 9th of October with plenty of figurines, keychains, and other merchandise on other.
Tucked into the back of the mall, anime fans are greeted by a cavalcade of 6 different anime stores, each focusing on a different aspect of fandom.
- Akiba Station: Trading cards (especially Vanguard)
- AniHobu: Figurines and keychains
- Toyzable: Good Smile Products (Nendoroid and Figma’s) among other figures
- Mechadioz: Warhammer figures and paints, and Tokusatsu toys.
- TobaToys: Claw Games, complete with a machine that instantly converts Ringgit into tokens.
- Komik2: Canvas art prints and more figurines.
It should be noted that pretty much all of these stores are having product sales for the Venue’s opening week ending on the 9th of October.
Walking through the brightly colored stores, we were greeted with a life-sized statue of the gorgeous Boa Hancock from One Piece, multiple standees of the Street’s adorable mascot, and several set up tables already seeing the first gatherings of card game enthusiasts ready to duel. Even on the first day, there was already a bustle of cosplayers and anime enthusiasts flooding the halls of the area.
As a fan of the figure collection, I was surprised by the high amount of variety. AniHobu in particular featured scale figures from many popular franchises including One Piece, Quintessential Quenteplets, and Hatsune Miku, and at a fairly affordable price (not to mention they currently have a buy 2 get 1 free sale). Meanwhile, at Toyzable, the Nendoroid and Figma shelf did not disappoint.
In many ways, it reminds me a lot of the Sungai Wang of old. The mall used to be known for its abundance of anime merchandise stores on the higher floors however many of these were unfortunately forced to close down due to the Covid pandemic. According to AniHonbu co-director Danny Chow, Akida Street sees merchants from across Malaysia coming together to revitalize the Plaza as Kuala Lumpur’s own little Akihabara, a place for anime fans to come, hang out, and enjoy.
“After MCO many of the [anime] shops [in Sungei Wang] began to close down. I remember last time the top floor of Sungei Wang had so many shops with shirts, shoes, figures, and many people visited here. We want to take back the anime, and the cosplayers and bring them all back to Sungai Wang since it’s such a good location, right in the city center, and do it better than before.”
Several events are being planned for the opening week of the venue. The highlights (beyond the sales) are the independent merchandise booths for fans to sell handmade items like fan art and clay models much like how a convention would operate. Community and community projects have always been a big part of the anime fandom so it’s good to see Akiba Street reach out to them.
Speaking of the community, there were also many cosplayers who set up booths on Akiba Street to sell photos and other merchandise. One of these cosplayers Shu, dressed as Kirito from Sword Art Online, says he’d like to set up shop on the weekend and believes that if Akiba begins to take off many cosplayers may do the same.
This is just the beginning for Akiba Street, however. Ben Chan, the owner of the trading card store Akiba Station and part of the Akiba Street management team told us that the organizers already have plans to bring new merchants in to set up shop and expand further into the Mall.
“We wish to hold phase 2 in the future. Phase 2 will involve continuing into the downstairs area. Over time we wish for this to become the biggest ACG [Anime, Comic, Game] Mall in Malaysia.”
They also said they wish to hold larger events such as anime cons and will even be holding a maid cafe, featuring lovely local Malaysian maids next weekend on the 8th and 9th of October.
Speaking with customers at Akiba street their reaction to the first day has been positive. “I think it’s pretty good and has a lot of stuff for Otaku to enjoy. I’m not sure it quite reaches the old Sungei Wang just yet but I think if they keep going it definitely could soon” says one visitor.
As someone who used to frequent ToyGarden and other anime merch shops on the higher floors of Sungei Wang, I’m certainly excited to see the Otaku venues revitalized in such a large way, especially with the inviting they’ve been of the great anime community with fan run booths and cosplayers.
If you’re a fan of anime, manga, or related Otaku-oriented subculture, consider heading down to Sungei Wang and visiting Akiba Street, especially while the opening week sales are still on, those Nendoroids and model kits are looking particularly enticing.
You can find out more information about Akiba Street on its official Facebook Page.