Since Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012 many of the subsequent movie releases have usually been preceded by pop-up shops appearing in Tokyo in the name of promotion. However, with no forthcoming Star Wars movie to promote, it really was an unexpected surprise to see this themed shop appear recently in Tokyo.
The store is located just outside the East Exit of Ikebukuro Station, and it has been open since the end of April with July 4th the date when it’ll vanish after closing time (8pm) as quickly as a starship disappearing into hyperspace.
The next theatrical release appears to be ‘Star Wars: Rogue Squadron’ in December 2023 but there’s a whole host of subscription television offerings in the works though. ‘The Bad Batch’ began to air on Disney+ on May the 4th (a.k.a. Star Wars Day) and has been surprisingly good given that when it was first announced many fans felt quite underwhelmed by the decision to make a spin-off series about this group of misfits who appeared for an arc of episodes in the final season of ‘The Clone Wars’ (2008 – 2020). Sadly, there wasn’t anything relating to the Bad Batch in this shop but that’s no surprise at all given the short time between the show first airing and this store opening.
It’s a slightly different story for ‘The Mandalorian’ though which was hugely successful, and there are a few Grogu (a.k.a. baby Yoda as most people prefer to call him even though it’s not actually Yoda but just the same species as him!) products for sale although you’re probably more likely to find more stuff with his cute face on it at branches of Village Vanguard.
One of the more interesting sections of this pop-up shop was the socks section (yes I really did just say that!) with these colourful character socks for kids.
There was also quite a wide variety of bags too including ones with the promotional posters for the first six films on them. There were t-shirts for them too but overall it was a little lacking in that particular department.
It seems to me that this pop-up store is more about getting rid of surplus stock from the sequel trilogy films rather than selling new products. There’s a wealth of mobile phone accessories, stationery, cups, glasses, magnets, key rings, stickers, pencil cases, pin badges and clear files. I almost always end up buying the latter as they are very useful for my job but I think I’ve got more than enough of them now so refrained this time. This time!
Hand towels are very common place in Japan, especially in the hot and humid summer season when one is often needed to wipe the sweat off your face. There’s all manner of Star Wars towels with the non-human characters on them. All are very reasonably priced too.
About a decade ago I bought some Adidas Star Wars goods (a couple of pairs of Stormtrooper and Darth Vader trainers, as well as a hoodie) but didn’t actually realise that the collaboration had continued so I was quite surprised to see a few new products in the range which are located in the corner of the store where the checkout is.
Whilst in Ikebukuro I thought I might as well go to the only other place I know of that stocks Star Wars products. Toys ‘R’ Us may have gone in many countries but it’s still open in Japan. This store, located in the Sunshine 60 Building, is where my friend Ben and I have gone for various Force Friday midnight events (in 2015, 2017 and 2019) during the Star Wars sequel era. It was very slim pickings this time with just some leftover D-O stock and a limited range of black series figures being sold.
Bonus: The all new Disney-era range of products is all well and good but it’s just not on a level when compared to seeing vintage Star Wars stuff so a couple of places in Tokyo will always be more exciting to visit. One of them is Star Case; the Star Wars shop in Koenji, and the other is Mandarake inside Nakano Broadway which I visited earlier this month.
This trip to Nakano wasn’t so long after I’d posted part two of the Ewoks cartoon challenge on Tokyo Fox so those little teddy bear-like creatures were very much on my mind, and there just happened to be a fair few Ewok-related goods on sale.
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