The British Isles is a vast geographic area, containing several countries and crown dependencies. There are plenty of towns and cities, but I don’t think there is any region more remote than the Scottish Highlands, which I had the pleasure of visiting in April.
My trip began in Inverness; the only city in the Highland council area. While there I made sure to have a look at the anime and manga for sale in mainstream shops like Waterstones, HMV and CeX. I have made it a habit to look out for bargains in every town and city I visit, after all it would be a shame to miss the chance to snap up a product on my wish list.
If the city I’m in has a Forbidden Planet store, that’s all the better. What kind of otaku can pass up a 3-for-2 offer on manga volumes? But still, these are all brands with abundant locations across the UK. I often prefer to browse small local comic shops and get to know the owners a bit.
A common misconception among anime fans in the west is that merchandise for their favourite shows is difficult to come across on the average high street. That would have been true about five years ago, but otaku culture has recently reached new heights and its now easier than ever to find DVDs, Blu-Rays, manga, figures, plushies and other anime merch on the streets of Britain. I’ve travelled the UK extensively and have managed to find some kind of anime-related merch everywhere from Penzance to Inverness!
Nearly all Waterstones locations now have a selection of manga, the quality of which often depends on the size of the store. Larger cities such as Sheffield and Glasgow tend to stock plenty whereas smaller towns like Barrow-in-Furness and Middlesbrough will have smaller collections, usually only offering the most popular manga, which at the moment tends to be shounen series like Naruto, Bleach and My Hero Academia. If you’re looking for manga and haven’t yet checked your nearest Waterstones branch, give them a look!