Anime Shopping in Taipei Underground Mall

Taipei Underground Mall 台北地下街 Entrance

I have been back from Taiwan for about ten days. As break ends and school soon begins, I am glad I have some great memories and fun stuff to help get me through yet another routine listless semester. Just kidding. I am actually kind of looking forward to my last semester as an undergraduate and hope to try some new things.

Anyway, the anime scene in Taiwan is much more robust than here in California. As such, every time I go back to Taiwan, I make sure to at least take a full day to shop. Taipei Underground Mall is especially nice and has been one of my favorite sites simply for the numerous shops selling figure, art book, games, and other various anime related merchandise. They have a much better and larger selection than any store around here.

Taipei Underground Mall 台北地下街 shop

Taipei Underground Mall 台北地下街 store

There are a lot of stores that sell a myriad of figures from GSC, Kotobukiya, and Max Factory. Many also carry several lesser known figures, ones I have never seen on the internet.

Taipei Underground Mall 台北地下街 figure display

Taipei Underground Mall 台北地下街 figure window display

I really enjoyed casually walking and browsing through the various shops. I have always preferred to buy figures personally rather than online, so this was lovely.

Taipei Underground Mall 台北地下街 Gundam

Some Gundams.

Taipei Underground Mall 台北地下街 artbooks magazines

This store sells a lot of doujinshi and artbooks. I spent quite a bit of money here.

100 Masters of Bishoujo Painting

Taipei Underground Mall 台北地下街 Maid Cafe

Of course, I had to end the day with some tea at a maid cafe.

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57 Responses to Anime Shopping in Taipei Underground Mall

  1. Pingback: Fw: Anime Shopping in Taipei Underground Mall « Listless Pics

  2. I’m wondering, isn’t there a Kinokuniya down in SF Japantown? I think that place is worth a shot if you’re looking to stay local while still getting ill-gotten loot. I just don’t know how good that place is in terms of figurines though. Still, worth a shot!

  3. milkmandan says:

    Oh! you were in taiwan too!? same ehre!
    i shopped at the same places too!

  4. soulstaker says:

    Who is she? And what is the anime? She seems so cute =O

  5. rockleelotus says:

    omg look at all those figures O_O they even have maid cafe, so cool! did you buy anything? spot any bootlegs? lol

    your from cali? me too😀

  6. Ningyo says:

    I actually left the basement today on one of those rare occasions where I go out for stuff. Surprisingly though, I didn’t feel like getting anime goods. They were too expensive, stuff just collects dust over here, and I’m the only one that would ever look at a figure I buy. I dunno what to think about it. Have I forsaken myself?

    That, and I’m running out of cash T-T
    Maid cafes are always fun though. I remember when I went to an HK based one as a not-so-wee-lad once and tried to flirt with all the maids there. One of the more regretful things I’ve done in life, but ironically it was the most fun I ever had at a maid cafe.

  7. Yi says:

    @zzeroparticle: I think so. I have been to Japantown a few times. There are also a few stores that also sell figures in Richmond. Nothing in Bay Area really compares to East Asia though.

    @milkmandan: Awesome! It would’ve been cool to have known you earlier. ^ ^

    @soulstaker: I actually have no idea. Help, anyone?

    @rockleelotus: I bought mostly artbooks and a few other random stuff. Haha, I don’t know how to spot bootlegs!
    Yep yep, where are you from in California?

    @Ningyo: I am very strict about buying figures and only buy ones I absolutely love. They are simply too expensive for me and like you, I am the only person who enjoys them.
    Maid cafes are incredibly fun for some odd reason. ^ ^

  8. Kairu says:

    It’s a good thing they didn’t make Mio maid be on their entrance. Well if they do that, then I won’t go to their cafe.

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  10. Reltair says:

    Seems like shopping malls in Asia have more anime-related shops when comparing what we have here to what I’ve seen in China too. I would love to browse some of those figure stores.

    Oh noes! School starts in a few days!! I’m not kidding when I say it really feels like another routine listless semester for me. =/

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  12. Guy says:

    Ningyo, we often have the most fun when we make fools out of ourselves or do things we won’t do again. We have fun because at the time we don’t see it that way.

    I dunno, I think seeing all those figures at one place could lead to one of two negative things:
    1. I’d see all the awesome figures, see my lack of money, and be somewhat sadenned.
    2. I’d see so many figures, and my normally sensitive attention to negative details would go into hyperdrive, and I’d finish the day overly disappointed by how mediocrity outnumbers and crushes quality…

    Heh.

  13. Canne says:

    I’m not a figure collector, dohjinshi and art books are more of my things.
    Um, never visit a maid cafe and I never see one in my town. I’m depressed X_X

  14. Kairu says:

    ooOOOo awesome! I would love to window shop for figures…unfortunately not so much of an option here. Ordering online only for me =_=
    *Cough* I wanna go to that doujinshi store..

  15. Yi says:

    @Kairu: Haha. If it were a Mio maid, I think I’d be going everyday.

    @Reltair: Yea, it’s pretty dry here. School starts in about 2 days. Not excited…

    @Guy: I actually agree, particularly point 2. That’s why I tend not to overbuy, which is a good thing. Whenever I shop in stores, I look very carefully and think for a long time before I purchase.

    @Canne: Maid cafes are nice, but they’re not overly amazing. You’re really not missing out on that much.

    @Kairu 2: I really do prefer window shopping. For me, it makes buying figures and anything else a much more personal experience.

  16. lylibellule says:

    OMG!!!! There’s no such shop here in belgium. (Figures and manga are not so primordial here and it’s a shame)
    I think i would loose my mind in a place like this as i want to buy so many things!
    Do Artbook “100 masters of Bishojo”‘s great ? I wanted to order it but i can’t decide as i don’t know if illustrations are pretty.

  17. Katsura-chan says:

    Arg! I want stores like this so badly😦 Why do i have to live in such a lame country when it comes to stuff like that.
    It’s terrible, my heart hurts😦
    Anyway, looks like you had a great time there and a lot of money spent😛
    I saw a figure of Iris from Princess Waltz game. Does it looked nice ????
    I would probably loose my mind in the artbooks and doujinshi section loool
    Wonder what a maid cafe looks like, isn’t that too embarrassing ??

  18. Sellers says:

    Glad you had fun

  19. rockleelotus says:

    im from pomona, how about yourself?

  20. Yi says:

    @lylibellule: The artbook is decent. It gives a two page spread introduction to various artists and that was certainly a very fun part of it. If you have a specific artist whom you really love, an artbook by that author is probably better. This is a quick awesome display of many of my favorite artists though.

    @Katsura-chan: I think that figure looked pretty nice. I really enjoyed browsing through the various artbooks and doujinshis too.
    The maid cafe is kind of just a regular cafe though. It was not too embarrassing for me, but I didn’t really show my excitement that much.

    @Sellers: Thanks! ^ ^

    @rockleelotus: I’m from the Bay Area.

  21. Optic says:

    “I have always preferred to buy figures personally rather than online”

    I prefer this option as well but I have little choice since it’s almost impossible to find any figure stores here and incase I do find one, there’s a good chance I will leave emptied handed as it’s a store plagued with bootlegs or the prices are ridiculously overpriced.

    I always had preferred to look at the actual figures before buying because pictures can be misleading at times.

  22. phossil says:

    It would be good to have an anime shop in here ~_~

  23. Yi says:

    @Optic: I usually check out images first and have an idea of which ones I would like, and once I get a chance to go to a store, I look for those as well as browse around. The pricing is usually decent, or at least from what I have purchased. As for bootleg… I’m really bad at spotting those. Good thing the few figures I own right now are all genuine.

    @phossil: Agreed. I wish there was more in CA as well.

  24. blur says:

    “hope to try some new things”
    – as in academically?

    100 masters Bishoujo Paint looks like a really neat buy. Perhaps you’d be so kind as to share a picture or two from it in a later post?🙂

    There can never be too many anime shops.😉

    Lol@Automatic Traffic Cop@ListlessPics

    @Ningyo
    What happened after the flirt? Do share… Lol. I’m guessing you got kicked out or something.

  25. Yi says:

    @blur: I hope to try new things as in different classes, seminars, and activities outside of academics as well as attend events… etc.
    As for the artbook, it’s nice. Maybe I’ll make a post later.
    Anyways, that traffic guy really surprised me the first time I saw it. They’re everywhere.

  26. blur says:

    @Yi
    Imagining how people might react to the traffic bot in the middle of the night made me smirked. Lol..

  27. FaS says:

    Dude, I wish I could go anime shopping somewhere else besides online…-_-”

  28. koyot3 says:

    Very nice ^^. Those figures look sooo good right now.

  29. Shin says:

    I know of another blogger who went to the exact same place a year before you, and well, looks like not much has changed:

    http://yukifu.net/outside/guide-to-anime-shopping-in-taiwan/

  30. shijima says:

    Wow! So cool!
    They even have maid cafes!
    You didn’t happen to go in one, did you?😀
    Sort of reminds me of Osaka with all its underground shopping centers though they have less anime related stuff in Osaka.
    Thank you for all the pics. =)

  31. Yi says:

    @blur: Haha yea.

    @FaS: Online shopping isn’t all bad either. It is more convenient and often cheaper. I do like window browsing though… Don’t get to do that too much here.

    @koyot3: Definitely. There were several that caught my eye.

    @Shin: Yep yep. I think I linked to her blog on an earlier post.

    @shijima: I did go into the maid cafe.
    The anime section in the Underground Mall is only a small sector. The actual underground is pretty extensive with many different areas.
    Anyway, I must visit Japan again sometime soon.

  32. lylibellule says:

    @yi : Thanks for informations. So i’ll try to get one.🙂

  33. Misu says:

    There’s a Maid cafe in the underground mall? Nagato said it had closed down.

  34. Yi says:

    @lylibellule: No problem.

    @Misu: I think the one Nagato mentioned, Fatimaid, moved. I did not see this one the last time I went, so I’m assuming it’s kind of new.

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  36. Blowfish says:

    Thanks for giving an impression of the taiwanese scene!
    Its always interesting to see how other countries handle the scene and as usual it kicks my countries butt😀

  37. Yi says:

    @Blowfish: Western countries in general have much more lackluster anime scenes compared to Asian countries. Taiwan is really close to Japan, so it’s pretty awesome in that respect.

  38. FRAN says:

    hi, i am in taipei @ right now actually. where is the underground mall? i was @ the underground mall in taipeimain station and there were no anime stuff.

    would be awesome if you could give me some directions!
    thanks

  39. Yi says:

    @Fran: Hm… It’s a bit hard to describe. When I went there, I got off the metro and walked toward the Taipei Main Station (for the train). Once there, I kind of just asked people where it was and people told me. Just ask about “台北地下街.”

    Here’s a pretty good map: http://www.taipeimall.com.tw/location/

    Once you get there, the first several stores will not be anime shops. Eventually you will see them though. One side has more than the other.

  40. Q says:

    The underground mall (literally “underground street” actually when directly translated in Chinese, but it’s known as underground city/town when translated from Japanese…) you have shown has some resemblence to the ones I have been to in Tokyo. But then again Taiwan does have a lot of things influenced from Japan over time since their occupation way back in the late 19th century.

    You are right about getting to shop and look at the things personally is much nicer than just shopping online. You can at least see the stuff you want to buy or just appreciate the items hands-on, which is why I seldom buy stuff online and get most of my merchandise stuff in local shops in Hong Kong, and for good price too.

  41. Yi says:

    @Q: Taiwan definitely gets a lot of influence in many aspects from Japan. My grandma speaks Japanese better than Mandarin.
    Yea, I rarely buy online because I really like looking at things hands-on first. The thing with that is that you leave a lot up to chance. A lot of times, you just won’t find something.

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  44. So it’s like all these stores are cramped in this one Underground Mall? Very convenient! I think you’ve seen my post about the Vancouver anime shopping scene. There are a lot, but they’re quite far apart from each other… Even got maid cafe there!? Wow! Asia is definitely different than North America😄

  45. Yi says:

    @lightningsabre: Yep yep. Vancouver is still a bit better than Bay Area though in my opinion, although neither can really compare to Asia. Anime stores in North America are just too sparse.

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  47. Vindurinn says:

    a bit late, but eh.

    I definitely entered the same shops that you did, seeing the pictures there haha. One thing to note is that I bought this Tohsaka fig around last year from F/HA, supposedly on the box it says GSC. 50 bucks and done. Thing is, I found that there was no base inside the box, while it does look like it does have a base in the box in pictures I scoured online.

    Since then I’ve had this fleeting suspicion and wariness when shopping there.

    The doujinshi and artbook are top-class though; no need to pay for shipping!

    • Yi says:

      It’s definitely not too late and it’s kind of interesting to hear you say that about the shops there. This past weekend, I spent some time with a childhood friend who travels to Taiwan much more often than I do. He actually said the same thing. From what he told me, things in Taipei Underground Mall tend to be a bit overpriced; it’s not the ideal place to shop for anime goods.

      I think the best places to shop are actually during conventions, but that requires a bit of timing.

  48. noodles says:

    hello, I moved here to Taiwan 2 weeks ago and I can’t seem to find the first 2 stores..
    The ‘Hot dog toys store’ and the second photo you put up..
    oh, and where is that maid cafe?
    :]

    • Yi says:

      I haven’t been there for about more than half year. The last time I went to Taipei Underground Mall was in June… If I remember correctly, the Hot Dog Toys Store is still around. It’s one of the stores in a stretch of a bunch of anime and game related stores. If you’re in the right Underground Mall, it should be there. It’s a maze down there though, so make sure you’re in the area with all the anime shops.

      As for the Maid Cafe, I think Fatimaid is gone… There’s a new one though, but its name escapes me.

  49. noodles says:

    yay! I found it..
    Had to take another flight of stairs to the underground mall.. lol.. It was right there but I missed it completely, ended up to the wrong underground mall then had to go back by train..veeeery tricky
    thanks very much ! :3

    • Yi says:

      Yea it’s really tricky to find. I kind of hate it. The last time I went, I circled the streets for about 45 minutes before finding it. And that was after I’ve already visited there more than four times. It’s literally a labyrinth with huge hall ways, different levels, train stations, stairs…

      Anyway, hope you had fun. ^ ^

  50. Jyang says:

    Wow you’re from Taiwan~ and was at Taipei underground mall in 2010 January!!!! [lol I was shopping for anime stuff around that time too xD] Did you find the place that was selling 3 packets of leftover 轉蛋機 stuff for 100NT?!? [it was sooo awesome except you have to stand there for like an hour digging through to find the good stuff]. Managed to get Konata, Kyon, Nagato and Gintama characters xD Saw the maid cafe too but didn’t go in…instead they came out and gave me their business card when I was trying to stare through the window xP

    Oh hi by the way xD Just randomly browsed and found your blog [and started lurking through all the posts and stuff]

    [And because I can’t be bothered to post on your newest post….]
    GRATS ON MAKING IT INTO MED SCHOOL~

    • Yi says:

      I was there more recently as well, and I think I saw the 轉蛋機 stuff. Didn’t really play with them though. Also, the last time I was in Taiwan, I think the Madi Cafe disappeared, but there’s a new one. Not sure what the place looks like now. Haven’t been in Taiwan in a few months, but kind of excited–and scared–about living there.

      Anyway, I’ll definitely be visiting the underground mall again. It holds some special memories now too~

      (Thanks for the congrats! And thank you for visiting. Hope you’re enjoying the posts. ^ ^)

  51. myname says:

    Anime Palace in Santa Clara I think is the best place for figures in the south bay (http://www.animepalace.com/). I used to go there all the time for their selection of gashapon 3-4 years ago. They moved a few times, and are often closed due to them being at some convention or another.
    I don’t collect PVC figures, prefer to build them myself as garage kits so I can’t speak to that.
    Visited Taipei underground mall just last month, lots to look at that’s for sure. Each store just seems to sell pretty much the same stuff though, you save a bit over US prices. The one mall and KT Anime in XiMenDing has a lot of cool shops as well with a larger variety of anime merchandise than the underground mall.
    Maid cafes are best visited when in Japan for the authentic experience imo. It’s a definite cultural experience. Moe Moe Kyuun!

    • Yi says:

      Ooh I didn’t know there is a place in Santa Clara! I would have liked to visit there back when I lived in the area (I’m in Taiwan now…). But next time I go back, I think I’ll try to take a look.

      Anyway, Taiwan’s anime scene is much more lively. I actually pass by the Underground Mall pretty often nowadays (since Taipei Main Station is area for dates), so whenever possible, I take a small detour now and then.

      Agreed though that most places there sell the same few items, so I think I’ll go visit the place you mentioned at XiMenDing. I go to XiMen quite often too (another great place for dates), but I’ve yet to check out KT Anime and other places, mostly because I didn’t know about them. So yea, I know where I’ll be going next time I have some time on my hands alone and feel like an adventure.

      Thanks for the info!!

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