I return! Before I delve into the fruitful world of merch once more, I’d like to say a big thanks to Paul Street and the TSS gang for holding the fort while we were roaming Japan; nice one guys and gals!
So anyway, to answer my question in one word…yes. There is most certainly Sonic merchandise to be had in Japan, some particularly nice stuff at that. The long answer, however, is that you really have to look for the stuff…and in some cases, you really need to look hard.
The COSPA brand are currently selling a range of high quality Sonic shirts and apparel, including a nifty selection of stylish shirts, a bandana and a tote bag. There’s even a reversible Sonic World Adventure shirt – so you can have Sonic on your sunny days and crack out the Werehog at night…just turn it inside out! The selection is not cheap though; you can expect to pay about ¥3000 (£22/$32) for a shirt, and ¥4200 for the reversible shirt. There’s even a Sonic Zippo lighter…but don’t expect to get it cheap! If you want something a bit more affordable, UNIQLO (another Japanese brand who produced a couple of Sonic UT print shirts last year) also have a Sonic shirt in their current Video game shirt line-up…and for a meagre ¥1500 it’s a bargain!
Considering JOYPOLIS is SEGA’s Mecca for state-of-the-art arcade games, there’s surprisingly little in the way of Sonic related goodies to pick up. The gift shop inside the complex is still selling boxes of its trademark Sonic Chocolate cake and sweets, as well as a set of mini plush toys of Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Amy – each setting you back between £5-£7; a steal for nice little additions to a collection. You can also pick yourself up an odd little friendship bracelet set; very girly!
Having said that Sonic stuff is hard to find in general, Sonic soundtracks are not. Walk into any HMV or Tower Records in Tokyo, and not only do they have an extensive selection of game and anime soundtracks, you can grab the two recently released Black Knight Soundtracks as well as the Sonic World Adventure OSTs. It’s also not unusual to see earlier OSTs too…or a certain debut album by a Mr. Bentley Jones! We also spotted Charles Hamilton‘s CD going in Manhattan Records too – these guys get everywhere!!!
If retro gear is what you crave, then Akihabara really is the place you want to be! The main street is dotted with stores that stock immaculately kept copies of games and consoles of yesteryear. A copy of Chaotix on ebay can easily fetch £50 upwards; we managed to pick up a pristine copy for less than half that, as well as a copy of Tails Sky Patrol, complete with box, for a tenner. If you’re looking for any old magazines or references – put aside a few hours to rummage through shelves of “good as new” copies of magazines from well over fifteen years ago!
If you want to check out the COSPA range you can do so on their website, and if you’re interested in checking out some retro stores in Akihabara, my first recommendation is a store called Super Potato.
Good to be back TSS – continue to keep your eyes peeled for more Sonic stuff Merch Hogs!