I’m sure most of the readers of this blog have already been exposed to Akiba Days, the illustrated guide to Akiba featuring the cast of School Days. I didn’t pick it up at first since I figured that knowing about where stores are and which places are interesting was one of those things you could just do on the internet. I was humbled a few weeks later as I got embarrassingly lost trying to find an out of the way maid cafe and the guy I was with whipped out Akiba Days, flipped to the index and found the place in about 15 seconds. I ended up buying a copy later that day, though for full disclosure, half of the reason I bought it was so that I could hit 6000 Toranoana points so I could get some Touhou vinyl figures.
So anyway, Akiba Days is a fairly comprehensive index of all the various stores in Akiba. Each store entry has a short, generally 2-4 sentence entry describing the place, a sentence commenting on the place by someone from School Days, maybe a few pictures, and address/map/hours/phone#. The stores are broken down into 4 categories, Eat, Play, Relax, and Buy, and they’re each broken down into subsections (ie curry, ramen, maids; video games, karaoke, maids; net cafes, massage parlors, maids; pc parts, video games, maid outfits, respectively). There’s also a 15-page map section in the front with an index of all the stores in the back, which is really handy when you’re trying to find stores hidden in the basement of a back street alley software store. There’s also a few small articles and infoboxes spread out through the book, like where the cheapest net cafe to spend the night at is in Akiba (1080jpy for 6 hours!), where to park your car (hah), or good date courses (HAH), though the book gives fairly ridiculous advice on these date courses like “Cure Maid Cafe -> Cos-Cha -> Mailish”.
Of course there’s the issue of stores lasting for an average of like 18 months in Akiba, especially with the mass maid cafe extinction thats going on right now, so I’m hoping for periodical revisions, since this thing is honestly a great guide to have, even if you do fancy yourself as somewhat of an Akiba vet. However, the book has only been out for a little more than 3 months now, so I think it still has quite a bit of time left on its shelf life, and after that it’ll always be a nice reference to have to see what Akiba looked like in its early post-Kato days. I’m not sure if this is much of a must-buy if you’re a School Days fan, since the characters really do seem to be not a whole lot more than semi-bland window dressing, but I’m not terribly familiar with the game’s characters, so for all I know it’s chock full of hilarious School Days jokes. All I noticed was the part where Sekai seems a little too interested in Akiba’s various sword shops. :x Anyway, it’s pretty reasonably priced at a little over 1300 yen, subsidized I’m sure in part by the back cover Toranoana ad, so if you’re planning on doing Tokyo and Akiba this winter or even as late as next Summer, pick a copy up if you can do the Japanese thing and impress all your other gaijin friends with your newly-found encyclopedic knowledge of Akiba!
So yeah, all in all,