There’s certainly no lack of comic cafés in Tokyo, but you’ll be hard pressed to find any Western publications on their endless shelves stacked full with manga from One Piece to Oishinbo. This is hardly surprising, as most Japanese readers are more than satisfied with the dizzying variety of domestic material, and often find foreign competitors ‘too different’. Nevertheless, a small but active group of fans flies the flag for Western (primarily American and Franco-Belgian) comics in Japan, and the ACBD café in Koenji is one of this crew’s rare hideouts. We took the short trip out west for a closer look at what goes on at the base camp for Tokyo’s manga rebels.
Founded in late 2013 by a local enthusiast of American comics, ACBD employs the same time-based pay system as almost every other manga kissa in town, but the reading material here comes from Marvel and DC rather than from Shonen Jump. The collection of around 300 books and mags, both originals and translations into Japanese, includes everything from Spider-Man and Batman to European representatives like the wacky Gulliveriana.
Frequented by fans young and old, ACBD is a great place to meet Japanese lovers of Western comics, relieve homesickness in the company of familiar characters, and escape the manga-dominated streets of Tokyo for a few moments. The café also hosts regular fan meetings, often in conjunction with the releases of comic-based movies like the recent Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Find ACBD’s opening hours and map here: http://www.timeout.jp/en/tokyo/venue/23701/ACBD