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Monday, February 18, 2013

Robocon and Neotype Station Closed

While visiting Chinatown for the Golden Dragon Parade, I visited the locations of Robocon and sister store Neotype Station, which I'm sad to report are both closed. They both featured rare collectibles, anime, figurines and imports from Japan. Robocon  had a wide selection of art books from games and anime. It also had a hauntingly beautiful large picture of Snow White that you would see as you entered.

Robocon had a great start featuring and art gallery, but a few years down the road the gallery section was closed. The owners at one point operated an Anime Bookstore down stairs having three shops is the same tiny mall, but it seems like there wasn't enough foot traffic.

It seems like many of the stores of Bamboo Plaza, which houses the Empress Pavilion restaurant, have closed over the years with no new businesses replacing them. In my same visit Bamboo Plaza's escalators were either broken or not turned on.

One reason they may closed is they never adapted to having real websites or Facebook presence. They had a few reviews on Yelp, but little else. Hidden away in Bamboo Plaza you would easily miss the stores unless you looked for them, but how would you even know they were there?

The other possibility is that business was taken away by Anime Jungle and the Kinoyukia Bookstore in Little Tokyo which have wider selections and are at best 1.5 miles away.

 The surviving anime toy store Neo Happy Land has changed little in its operation of selling Gundam figures and other imports.

 Empress Pavillion was preparing to celebrate for the Chinese New Year. Placing Sprite and Coke bottles on the table for a fancy meals seemed really Ghetto