Crowdfunding being sought for planned location in Tokyo’s Akihabara.
Even for ordinarily sociable people, getting a haircut can be kind of an awkward situation. The stylist will be hovering around you and snipping away for several minutes, which is really too long to sit there in complete silence. On the other hand, the fact that you’re complete strangers can make small talk difficult.
Sure, you might be able to make a little all-purpose chitchat by commenting on the weather, and if you’re up on the latest news regarding the local sports team or mainstream celebrities you might be able to string together a brief, stilted conversation. It’s a little harder to make conversational overtures, though, if your interest and knowledge lies in a more specialized field, like Japanese animation.
That wouldn’t be a problem, though, at a hair salon that some anime fans are looking to open in Akihabara, Tokyo’s center of anime and video game culture. The salon would not only cater to, but also be staffed by, otaku, meaning that “The new Macross TV series looks pretty cool, doesn’t it?” is as valid a choice of conversation kindling as “It sure has been cold recently.” It also means you can walk in with a picture of your favorite anime character and ask for your hair to be styled/colored the same way and expect the hairdresser to be as passionate about getting the results right as you are.
On-site reading material would include a selection of more than 1,000 manga, as well as various anime magazines and back issues of science periodical Newton. Decorating the walls will be framed posters of anime characters.
▼ If you instantly recognize the blurred Serial Experiments Lain poster, you’re one step closer to earning your Veteran Otaku merit badge.
Rather than the top 40 countdown or Muzak, the salon will have a constant selection of anime themes flowing through its speakers, and there’s also a clever projector setup for patrons who aren’t feeling chatty. A ceiling-mounted projector plays a reversed image of an anime episode onto the back wall, so that when you look in the mirror in front of you, you can see the artwork as it’s meant to be viewed and watch along while your stylist cuts your hair.
The as-yet unnamed otaku hair salon is currently seeking backers on crowdfunding site Campfire. It’s roughly a third of the way to its goal of 300,000 yen (US$2,680) with 57 days left in its campaign, and if you’re an anime fan who’s getting a little shaggy on top, pledges from 500 yen can be made here.
Casey’s hair is no longer long enough to pull off a Vash the Stampede, but you can follow him on Twitter anyway.