North America’s manga craze may have peaked a few years ago, but Silver Khosla’s AnimeXtreme—the city’s first and still its best-known specialty store for all facets of Japanese geek culture—is still going strong.
Opened nearly 10 years ago by Khosla and his friend Robert Fung, the store specializes in anime and manga (Japanese cartoons and graphic novels) and stocks hundreds of books, imported CDs, accessories, and collectables like stuffed toys, action figures, and model kits. “We’ve been lucky because we have great customers who appreciate the product,” says Khosla.
North American manga sales are estimated at around $120 million, and declining. But Khosla doesn’t see that as a lack of interest, exactly. “North Americans take it for granted because anime and manga are so accessible through the internet,” he says. “A lot of younger fans have grown up reading manga online [for free].”
To combat piracy, some publishers are investing their time into producing digital manga, but Khosla doesn’t see that as a threat to bricks-and-mortar businesses. “People are still going to read books at the library and at a coffee shop. There are fans who want to see something tangible for their money. We’ve been around for 10 years, so we must be doing something right…some stores are just run by fanboys, and that’s why they don’t last long.”
315 Spadina Ave., #CNA 416-979-0399.