If you’re a BL fan in Japan, chances are you’ve heard about ComiComi Studio. futekiya sat down with the General Manager of ComiComi Studio Online Shop and the Manager of Boys’ Love books of the Machida Branch to learn more about the service that so many Boys’ Love fans adore. We also talked about the store and the Collab Café as well as the collaboration with Yoneda Kou-sensei.
The Machida Branch announced the closing of its physical store as of the 23rd of March 2020. However, the online store will remain open and running as usual.
What is ComiComi Studio?
ComiComi Studio is an online store for fans to fulfill their BL needs. Fans can choose from thousands of titles in comics, magazines, doujinshi, goods, games, DVDs; the list goes on. It also offers Teens’ Love and general genres.
Although the online store is available only in Japanese, shopping is easy, and shipping is worldwide. The process is simple and gets simpler after your first purchase by becoming a member. Fans can also become Premium Members with a monthly payment of 330 yen. Premium Members can enjoy benefits like free shipping over 4,900 yen and increased point back rates.
Not only does ComiComi Studio carry a wide variety of titles and goods, but they also hold Web Signings over on their “extra” site. Fans can enter a lottery to purchase merchandise with a personalized signature from the artist. Lotteries stay open for a little over a week, and all members are eligible to enter. It also hosts Web Fairs, where fans can receive an additional gift with their purchase of specific merchandise.
The ComiComi Studio Machida Branch
The ComiComi Studio Machida Branch is located on the 6th floor of Marui Machida Shopping Mall in Machida, a city in the southwestern part of Tokyo. It focuses on BL titles and offers merchandise like comics, goods, and doujinshi. Fans can also relax and enjoy their time in the Collab Café.
The store announced in late February that after over three years, they would be closing their doors on the 23rd of March 2020.
1966: Chuo Shoten, the owner company of ComiComi Studio, was founded
1969: Chuo Shoten was established
1985: ComiComi Studio, a comics and anime specialty shop, opened in Hiroshima
2001: ComiComi Studio online store was opened
2016: ComiComi Studio Machida Branch, focusing on the Boys’ Love genre, opened in Machida, Tokyo
2019: ComiComi Studio in Hiroshima (Book Labyrinth) closed
The ComiComi Studio store in Hiroshima offered titles from all genres, including BL. After many requests to open a branch in Tokyo, the Machida Branch, and the Collab Café opened in August 2016. The Machida Branch, unlike the Hiroshima store, focuses on BL titles, which is partly because there were already other big names that sold comics and anime of other genres. However, despite passionate fans, BL was a niche genre at the time and had the potential to expand and grow. The online store now receives increasing orders from customers abroad, and the Machida Branch welcomes, on average, around 300 to 400 customers per day, and more, counting those who browse.
The Collab Café
The ComiComi Studio store in Hiroshima provided a space called the “Book Labyrinth,” which was created to connect readers with creators. The Machida Branch’s Collab Café was introduced with a similar goal in mind and showcased collaborating artists’ works. The first collaboration in August 2016 was with Yamane Ayano’s Finder. Currently, Yoneda Kou-sensei’s Twittering Birds Never Fly collaboration has been revived in the Collab Café much to the delight of fans. The café offers an original menu with dishes like Kabukicho Aquarium’s Famous ☆ Seafood Pasta and Bittersweet Yashiro’s Chocolate Cake. The Collab Café is a joint effort between artist, publisher, and ComiComi Studio, and all decisions, down to the menu, are made unanimously. The collaboration will continue until the closing day of the Machida Branch. We will be posting a report on the collaboration cafe soon, so keep an eye out for that.
Fans from Abroad
Despite the site being only in Japanese, there has been an increasing number of orders made by fans from abroad. We asked if ComiComi Studio would consider hosting a Web Fair tailored towards these fans and they responded that if there was a high demand, just as Chinese-speaking customers expressed such high demand, they would take it into consideration.
Message to fans
Although the news of the Machida Branch closing shocked many fans, the Managers we spoke to expressed that the Machida Branch and Collab Café served its duty as a cupid space. Although it will just be the online store from here on, the ComiComi Studio staff will continue to work hard for fans to meet new creators!
To the staff of ComiComi Studio Machida, thank you for everything!
About futekiya: BL manga subscription
In 2018, futekiya began as a Boys’ Love manga news and culture website operated by FANTASISTA, INC., a CG/VR production studio based in Tokyo, Japan. futekiya transformed into a budding global distributor of officially licensed BL manga in 2019.
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