Chiba Days #17 - An Old Arcade

Hello everyone and welcome to another chapter of Chiba Days. Today, we will be taking a look at an old Sega arcade that is located in the residential suburbs of Matsudo. I first stumbled upon this old arcade when I was doing my weekly grocery run and could not help but notice the colorful albeit run-down nature of the complex. 

Aside from the bright colors, there are also large signs and logos clearly pointing towards it being a Sega arcade. This building has certainly seen better days with its weary paint job and rusty metal pipes and fences. In fact, the only other area with a fresh coat of paint was the front entrance itself which sports Sega's new logo.

While the building itself might look worse for wear, in typical Japanese fashion, the front entrance is absolutely spotless with all of Sega's latest promotions and campaigns being showcased front and center. The arcade itself takes up only a single floor with the floor above it being taken up by a karaoke place. Probably in the past, the arcade spanned the entire building but, poor business has forced setbacks to be made by Sega.

Once inside, customers and visitors are greeted by nine large tapestries of the members of Aqours. With the second season currently airing, every arcade in Japan is taking advantage of the hype to promote as much merchandise as possible. As you will soon find out, Love Live Sunshine makes up a majority of the merchandise on offer in the arcade!

Right next to the tapestries are a complete collection of every Love Live prize figure ever manufactured by Sega. Of all the arcades I have ever visited, Akihabara included, this is the first time I have seen this many Love Live figures in a single spot. 

The Love Live Sunshine hype does not stop just there with most of the UFO Catcher machines being dedicated to the series. Sega recently launched a new line of EXQ prize figures and the cast of Sunshine are included within these new series of higher quality prize figures. 

The new EXQ prize figures are a notable step up in terms of quality and detailing compared to Sega's usual prize figure offerings. The only downside is a reduction in scale, something I am sure most collectors would not mind too much for. Otherwise, it costs exactly the same to play as with any other UFO Catcher machine (100 Yen/play) and has roughly the same box size as most other prize figures. 

Being an out-of-town arcade, there are also older merchandise available too such as the earlier released Love Live Sunshin prize figures. Believe it or not, that was an entire UFO Catcher dedicated to Kurosawa Dia. I am not sure if that is a good sign of her popularity or not. 

Besides prize figures, the arcade also had other miscellaneous merchandise available for grabs including the ever popular Nesoberi. Unfortunately, only the normal sized Nesoberi(s) were included with the Mega Jumbo Nesoberi You likely being a decorative prop. Despite my best efforts, I could not find any machines where one could play for the Mega Jumbo Nesoberi(s).

Of course, Love Live Sunshine was not the only merchandise available despite having a dominant appearance in most of the booths. Hatsune Miku too had two UFO Catcher machines dedicated to her especially with her 10th Anniversary having just passed this past August. 

Looking around, I was rather surprised to find KanColle merchandise still. This used to be all the rage among fans and collectors but, the hype for the series has since died down. Maybe when a new season finally arrives, we will once again see a renewed fanaticism for the series once more?

Arcades in Japan are often advertised as a fun and family friendly place. Not just a place for otaku and dead-end adults to go. As such, there are often areas dedicated to lighter hobbies such as soft toys. This attraction is most popular among couples and young women but, they are much tougher than they look. In fact, they are even tougher to get than figures!

No self-respecting all-round arcade is complete without a food section of course. This is an all to common sight for the arcades in Japan but, one that I still find peculiar despite having come across it so many times already. I guess the allure of winning a lot of food seems to keep pulling customers back to try it?

Speaking of novelties, this is actually the first arcade that I have come across which offers remote controlled cars as a prize! Would you like a remote controlled Toyota Alphard or 86? Why not try your luck at one of Sega's UFO Catcher machines?

If those cars are too pedestrian for you, the machine beside it takes things up a notch by offering the Honda NSX and Lamborghini Sesto Elemento. I genuinely wonder how difficult this machine is as remote controlled cars are bound to cost more than figures or plush toys to manufacture. Perhaps I should try it out one of these days?

Two new prize figures for Re:Zero was recently released featuring the very popular Emilia and Rem. Rem's popularity seemingly never wanes with one prize figure after another being launched for this popular maid. But, that is not the reason I took this shot. The purpose of this shot is to illustrate the stark quality differences between prize figures. While both look fine at a glance from afar, do you notice how much large Rem's head is compared to Emilia's? Till today, it is that sense of proportion that prize figures still struggle to get just right.

Every arcade always seems to offer something different where smaller arcades tend to put in greater effort in decorating their UFO Catcher machines. A prime example is this particular UFO Catcher dedicated to the Kurosawa sisters, decorated with cards and stickers. Almost as if it is a mini-shrine for the two school idols. 

On the other hand, larger more popular arcades tend to go with brighter, cleaner designs with an emphasis on lighting and reflections. To some extent, I am fairly confident that the choice in design comes down to the fact that larger arcades have many more machines while rotating their prizes more often making it difficult for decorations to be put up. 

Here is another example of small-arcade creativity. This was the first time I have seen the figure's box being used as a backdrop and it certainly gives me plenty of interesting ideas to try in the future!

All the while, I have focusing on the UFO Catcher side of the arcade. In actuality, that only made up roughly one-third of the entire arcade with the other two-thirds dedicated to gaming machines. More specifically, the "gambling" type arcade machines. In this out-of-town arcade, you are unlikely to find many youth frolicking around with a large majority of the customer base being middle-aged adults. The Japanese public do not take too kindly to being photographed as such, I decided not to tempt fate with my photography.

The arcade itself has two main entrances with the rear one leading towards the free car-park. Despite only having several people in the arcade, the car park was half full which indicated that many of them drove to the arcade. Indeed, an arcade for adults rather than the youth.

Taking a look back at the arcade, it certainly poses many questions to me. Does the 1991 trademark indicate the exact age of the arcade? What was this place like during its prime? And are all the customers in this particular arcade just returning customers who have visited since the early 90s? Whatever it is, it certainly paints an interesting picture on Japanese arcades where not everything is smiles and fun.

On that confusing note, we come to the end of this little tale. Maybe I should visit a newer more popular out-of-town arcade in the near future? What do you think? Until then, thank you so much  for reading and have yourself a wonderful day ahead!


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