The items sold in Akihabara and Harajuku are different.
There are many Evangelion-related goods by various makers and brands besides those that Movic makes for Animate. These all used to be managed by the online retail site Evangelion Store, run directly by the copyright owner of Evangelion.
“I thought, couldn’t we make this web shop into a real store? Because retail is our specialty. We also have lines to provide it with rich, original products. Of course, it’s an unprecedented experiment, but we have to do it. Just around the same time, our guest shop at Fuji-Q Highland’s attraction “Evangelion World” was super profitable, so Movic got the “Go!” sign immediately. And so we proposed to the owners of Evangelion, and asked about how we could open a real, official anime shop never seen before and run it together.”
The owners welcomed the proposal as a valid place for promoting the new movie. They readily consented, and the project was launched. With this, Yasuda’s urging came in handy, and he opened Evangelion Store Tokyo-01 at Takeshita-dori in Harajuku in 2011 (moved to P’Parco, Ikebukuro in Oct. 2014). That space was different from an ordinary anime shop. It has two stories, and the entrance is on the first floor where there are mainly clothes on display. The owners were particular about the store being positioned on the line between Shibuya and Harajuku ever since the beginning of the project.
“We wanted a place that provides goods in Evangelion style rather than an anime shop - that was the concept we hoped to accomplish with Evangelion Store. That is why we couldn’t open it in Akihabara, the interior wasn’t decorated to resemble the world of anime and it was imperative to find a location near Harajuku.
“As a result, I could see before my very eyes people different than our previous customers buy things from clothes to pre-existent anime goods. If you open a shop in Harajuku, products different from those in Akihabara will sell well. Anime goods became more popular than we thought. I also learned that there is another shopping experience the customers enjoy when coming here. In a state where the anime goods market was saturated, the Eva Store proved as a great opportunity as the next stage for us makers. Based on such experiences, I opened the EC site SuperGroupies, a kind of online selection shop designing and selling various anime and game collaboration items including apparel and miscellaneous goods in 2013.”
SuperGroupies sells fashion items linking together anime and popular apparel brands such as the sneaker brand Ubiq and the outdoor brand Columbia. While glowing with love toward those anime/games, the countless number of designs are not only suitable for the everyday lives of adults, they were made taking into account the actual trends and the lifestyles of their fans, resulting in a well-polished selection.
“About one third of the SuperGroupies staff grew up fully on anime. The remaining part is a mixture of people from various fields including IT venture and fashion workers. But there is one thing they all have in common, and that is their love of anime. There might be conflicts resulting from our views being different, but I think this project couldn’t have found its way without people from various industries working on it together; we learned that from the Eva Store. If you cross the boundaries of anime and genuinely start producing, there will surely be customers looking for those items. The biggest hint and the answer to how we should go about anime character goods in the future and what can we do we received from the Eva Store.”