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Carl Jan 20, 2006 (edited Jan 21, 2006)

Here's some of the main stores that most game music fans have been utilizing for years now.  Using the combined selections of these shops, you'll have availability coverage of practically all Official Soundtrack releases from Japanese Record Labels.

Feel free to add your own Rankings, Comments, and Experiences for each shop.

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TOP 3 for BRAND NEW / UNOPENED CDs
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Shop Name: CD JAPAN (English version of NeoWing)
URL: http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/anime/game/index.html
Location: Chuo, Tokyo, Japan

Main Highlights: Excellent Selection, Reliable/Safe Packaging, Discounts for Frequent-Users, Full English Browsing, Tells you if First Prints or Limited Editions are still available, Nice Calender Feature for searching by Release Dates.

Minor Drawback: Sometimes can be slow to process an order before shipping (up to a week after ordering), and Handling charges can add up quickly.


Shop Name: VGM WORLD (Storefront of Cocoebiz)
URL: www.vgmworld.com
Location: Saitama, Japan

Main Highlights: Regularly obtains Exclusive vgm CDs from smaller labels which aren't carried by other shops, Good Selection, Friendly and Personalized Service, Composer Promotions & Contests, Full English Browsing, Fast Shipping with Safe Packaging.

Minor Drawback: For the Penny-Pinchers, some items can be slightly more expensive than other shops.


Shop Name: AMAZON.CO.JP (JP branch of Amazon)
URL: www.amazon.co.jp
Location: Japan

Main Highlights:  Same basic feature-set as CD Japan, with slightly Cheaper Prices and Quicker Processing Time if you need your item Fast. 

Minor Drawbacks:  Non-English Browsing (Only the Shopping Cart has an English Display, so item descriptions are all in Japanese).  Quick Fix: Get the Catalog Number from another site, then copy/paste the catalog number into the search to quickly find the item you want.


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TOP 3 for USED / Out-of-Print / RARE CDs
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Shop Name: YAHOO JAPAN AUCTIONS  (JYA)
URL: http://list3.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/20 … 1jp&mode=2
Location: Various Individual Sellers in Japan

Main Highlights: Massive Selection (around 6,000~7,000 VGM Albums posted for sale at all times). Most Items have been well taken care of and are generally in great/excellent condition. Many hard-to-find CDs get listed on a regular basis and virtually ALL game music cds in existance have passed through here at some point in time, so if you are patient your selection is unlimited.

Minor Drawbacks: A middleman service will be required by default, since most sellers aren't accustomed to selling individual items to foreigners outside of Japan.


Shop Name: SOUNDTRACK CENTRAL MARKETPLACE FORUM
URL:  http://altpop.com/stc/forums/viewforum.php?id=4
Location: Various Individual Sellers Worldwide

Main Highlights: Many experienced collectors gather to sell/trade some of their albums to fund new purchases of other game music albums.  Knowledgeable sellers, good deals on both prices and shipping, and self-policing against bootlegs.

Minor Drawbacks:  An occasional shady seller might underperform on a transaction.


Shop Name: EBAY
URL: www.ebay.com
Location: Various Individual Sellers Worldwide

Main Highlights: Same basic feature-set as Yahoo Japan, but far less selection.  Some cheap deals and great finds are possible for those who look diligently and avoid scams.

Minor Drawbacks: BOOTLEGS are EVERYWHERE.  Bootlegs are a common problem on ebay, so if genuine authenticity is a primary concern for you, seach through Yahoo Japan Auctions instead.


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OTHER GAME MUSIC SHOPS
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Shop Name: GAME MUSIC DOT COM
URL: www.gamemusic.com
Location: California, USA
Summary: Beware the Very High Prices, but has easy domestic shipping for Americans.

Shop Name: OTAKU
URL 1: www.otaku.com
URL 2: www.otaku.co.uk
Location: Europe
Summary: Longterm shop, with nice variety of anime & game products, but order processing & shipping can take a while.

Shop Name: OTOKICHI PREMIUM
URL: www.otokichi.com/main/newotokichien/animeindexeng.htm
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Summary:  Current onhand stock is varied, so pay close attention to the Availability Details shown for each album title.

Shop Name: PLAY ASIA
URL: www.play-asia.com/paOS-14-71-8l-49-en.html
Summary:  Good Selection and Easy Browsing, some prices are competative while others are slightly higher.  Processing & Delivery Times can vary on the long side.

TerraEpon Jan 20, 2006

I'd also add the fact that Amazon J is almost always cheaper than CDJapan. They often have CDs at a discount, and shipping is less (last time I checked).

I would add YesAsia.com for certain items is good, and the time I ordered there they shipped quick and I got the item quick.



-Joshua

XLord007 Jan 20, 2006

I agree that CD Japan and VGM World are the two best, but each has one particular drawback worth noting:

CD Japan: Obscenely high shipping and handling charges if using EMS (additional discs don't weigh that much, but the S&H charges start skyrocketing as you add more discs).

VGM World: Long lead times for customer service inquires due to the fact that Kahori's the only one running the show.  Fortunately, once you do get a response it's always very personable and friendly.

musicjack Jan 20, 2006 (edited Jan 20, 2006)

I've always found CD Japan and VGM world to be the quickest and most reliable for new stuff.

The folks at both places are very nice! smile

XISMZERO Jan 21, 2006

I'd beware ordering from Otaku. Ordered there a few times and each time it took nearly forever for my albums to arrive because of them forgetting to ship my item. They have a terribly limited shipping and pricing system over there which greatly needs to be improved to be more user-friendly. It's sad because they have a very good selection of game music.

Play-Asia has faults when they tell you it might take anywhere between 5~15 days for an album to arrive. Always been very content with them otherwise.

Henri Jan 21, 2006

These shipping times are quite variable on both Play-Asia and Otaku. I always get stuff I order from Otaku in under a week, but P-A drones for at least two weeks, always.

Most likely the time it takes to reach you depends on your location. :p

TerraEpon Jan 21, 2006

Henri wrote:

These shipping times are quite variable on both Play-Asia and Otaku. I always get stuff I order from Otaku in under a week, but P-A drones for at least two weeks, always.

Most likely the time it takes to reach you depends on your location. tongue

Play-Asia also ships for like $3. And sometimes they are the only ones to stock something (Hisaishi's Welcome to Dongmakgol is what I ordered from there, and it was $13 total).

If you want me to make my recomendations, in order, I'd say:
-Amazon J
-CDJapan
-VGMWorld (for what neither of the above have)
-Arksqure.com (noone's mentioned this. They are very good as well)
-Playasia.com
-Gamemusic.com (Probably the most /reliable/)

I don't particularly recommend Otaku.com because their owner seems to not be a very customer service-friendly person.

-Joshua

Razakin Jan 21, 2006

TerraEpon wrote:

I don't particularly recommend Otaku.com because their owner seems to not be a very customer service-friendly person.-Joshua

What the hell. O.o

I haven't any problems with Otaku.com's Alex. Hell, he has been a good with customer service, atleast to me.  For me, Otaku.com is in the same league as Cocoebiz and CDjapan.

And Carl, put Otaku.com also in the list, it seems to be little cheaper than the co.uk. Probably not to people who live in England, but to the other people who live in Europe.

Jay Jan 21, 2006

Yep, I'd have to say that I also have had nothing but great service from Alex in Otaku.

Also, I'd add www.yesasia.com to that list too. A fantastic shop for all things Japanese, Chinese and Korean with great service. One of my favourite online stores.

Jousto Jan 23, 2006

I basically always order my stuff from two places. If I can get something from VGM World I buy from there, always. This is because Kahori is not only the best individual seller on this planet, but has always been a true friend of our community and, in my opinion, deserves to success with her business.

Amazon tends to be another favorite of mine. They have lower prices on most albums, and their shipping charge isn't all that bad. The two areas they are lacking are customer service, which is often slow, and packaging department. If you order only one or two albums at a time, they're packed in a simple cardboard envelope that isn't much of a protection, unfortunately. Cracked cases are no rarity. I used to order from CD Japan, but Amazon is cheaper (in many ways...)

When it comes to Alex of Otaku.com, I've never had any issues with him. He's always been very friendly and helpful when I've done business with him. He's almost on par with Kahori.

When shopping, remember that it's not always about the price...

Razakin Jan 24, 2006

Jousto wrote:

I used to order from CD Japan, but Amazon is cheaper (in many ways...)

I yet haven't learned the ways to order from Amazon (you know, you could help me with sometimes :P), but I like the Frequent shopping points in CDJapan. Althought it isn't much, but still, it's nice to cut 1000 yen of the price sometimes :D

Jousto wrote:

When shopping, remember that it's not always about the price...

Yup, that's the one reason why I support Kahori and Alex, price doesn't matter much if the service is good. And it was good to support you when I didn't have the possibility to order myself. Nothing is better than to get the cd's from the hands of the seller and talk whatever for a hour or so :P

Also, someone should do a price comparition for the places mentioned here, to see if the someplace is actually cheaper or not. It would be nice see how much difference actually is between shops.

TerraEpon Jan 24, 2006

Razakin wrote:

Also, someone should do a price comparition for the places mentioned here, to see if the someplace is actually cheaper or not. It would be nice see how much difference actually is between shops.

Remember, sometimes ordering one CD is cheaper at one place, where a few it's cheaper somewhere else because of shipping.

-Joshua

Razakin Jan 24, 2006

TerraEpon wrote:

Remember, sometimes ordering one CD is cheaper at one place, where a few it's cheaper somewhere else because of shipping.

Good point, totally forgot about that one. Probably it would be better just compare shipping prices. And probably how they're packed and how fast they really arrive, and probably mention if orders from place X usually get through the customs and orders from place Y will stuck at customs.

Stephen Jan 24, 2006

Razakin wrote:
TerraEpon wrote:

Remember, sometimes ordering one CD is cheaper at one place, where a few it's cheaper somewhere else because of shipping.

Good point, totally forgot about that one. Probably it would be better just compare shipping prices. And probably how they're packed and how fast they really arrive, and probably mention if orders from place X usually get through the customs and orders from place Y will stuck at customs.

I think customs is customs.  It's unlikely customs singles out any one retailer for scrutiny.  On some days, it may be busy at customs, so everything takes a little longer to arrive.

Arcubalis Mar 5, 2006

This probably goes without saying, but watch out for AnimeNation (animenation.com).   They sometimes have albums in their "Red Hot Deals" section, and you can get some serious discounts.  However, if you order more than one item, and one is backordered, they charge you shipping on the first item, then charge you again when the backordered item comes in.  Ridiculous policy.  Even if you order a single item and it appears backordered, it can take weeks to receive your item, and they are in Florida.

Stephen Mar 6, 2006

Arcubalis wrote:

This probably goes without saying, but watch out for AnimeNation (animenation.com).   They sometimes have albums in their "Red Hot Deals" section, and you can get some serious discounts.  However, if you order more than one item, and one is backordered, they charge you shipping on the first item, then charge you again when the backordered item comes in.  Ridiculous policy.  Even if you order a single item and it appears backordered, it can take weeks to receive your item, and they are in Florida.

Animenation also has no inventory control.  Some stuff in their catalog may not have any stock.  It's annoying to see something listed for sale and then find out it is backordered.  This is unusual, since they use Yahoo Store, and apparently it has an inventory management function.

Animenation isn't a good place to go to for game music albums.  They concentrate on selling anime goods, not albums.

Msia Mar 6, 2006

Arcubalis wrote:

Even if you order a single item and it appears backordered, it can take weeks to receive your item, and they are in Florida.

I ordered once from them a few years back and that was enough for me.  Even with everything in stock at the time I ordered it still took a week to get to me and I only live 3 hours away from them.  I'd definetly avoid these people at all costs.

Zane Mar 6, 2006 (edited Mar 6, 2006)

Stephen wrote:

Animenation isn't a good place to go to for game music albums.  They concentrate on selling anime goods, not albums.

I ordered something a couple of years ago from AN, and it was slow getting to me (week and a half or so) and only came in a bubble wrapped envelope.

(ARGH, double post. Sorry.)

Man in the Desert Apr 6, 2006

Have I got a list for you guys.  I've been putting this together for two years now.  I've checked each and every one for bootleg crap, and these passed my tests.  CDJapan always has the best prices.  Anime Corner Store is always the fastest with shipping.  Anime Nation is all puff, no substance.  I went to their store in Tampa last summer......ill-lit, small selection, small space, half the stuff on display was not for sale and belonged to the owner, the one lady there wasn't as friendly as she should have been considereing the fact that I had just drove from Orlando just to shop there.  But anyhoo......

http://auctions.yahoo.co.jp/
http://www.rinkya.com/
http://www.otokichi.com/main/newotokichien/engtop.htm
http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/
http://translate.google.com/translate?u … uage_tools
http://www.animecornerstore.com/
http://www.animenation.com/
http://www.play-asia.com/paOS-00.html
http://www.nippon-export.com/
http://www.otaku.com/cgi-bin/productlis … ewsearch=1
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/subst … 76-9679825
http://www.cduniverse.com/default.asp?c … tyle=music
http://www.gamemusic.com/cgi-bin/WebObj … ault?did=1
http://www.squaresound.com/index.php
http://jungle-scs.co.jp/en/index.htm
http://www.synsoniq.de/index.php
http://www.nikaku.com/
http://www.jpophelp.com/index.html
http://sazuma.com/
http://www.jbox.com/
http://www.wizzywig.com/xcart/catalog/index.html
http://www.vgmworld.com/index.php
http://www.e-anime.com/index.html
http://global.yesasia.com/en/Japanese/Index.aspx
http://www.animaxis.com/en/index.asp?
http://www.animebooks.com/
http://www.gameexpress.com/
http://www.hlj.com/index.html
http://www.okshon.com/
http://www.mailorderjapan.com/yahoo-auc … /index.php
http://www.399animeshop.com/mt/mt-searc … search=ost
http://www.caseyangelizanime.50megs.com/index.html
http://store.yahoo.com/abctoy4me/index.html
http://www.action-hq.com/cgi-bin/action-hq/index.html
http://www.akadotretail.com/shop/index.php
http://www.akibado.com/
http://www.angolz.com/home/storebrowse.aspx
http://www.anichive.us/store/index.php
http://www.animegamersusa.com/istar.htm
http://animeplex.biz/shop/index.php?opt … e&Itemid=1
http://www.animeport.com/
http://www.animeusaexpress.com/index.html
http://www.anime-cel.com/
http://www.circleanime.com/
http://store.animeinternational.com/
http://www.geocities.com/animemontreal/
http://www.animeoutpost.com/
http://www.animepagoda.com/index.php
http://www.animepalace.com/
http://www.animepunch.com/index.php?osC … 4f93e0ca20
http://www.anistop.com/
http://www.animeworlds.com/flash/index.htm
http://www.animovies.com/
http://www.nanianime.com/
http://www.cooltechcentral.com/pages-main/index.html
http://www.fastfoodanime.com/
http://www.hobbyfan.com/
http://www.hoaoutlet.com/index.html?lmd=38792.651215
http://matrixcollectibles.site.yahoo.net/index.html
http://www.jsanime.com/jsa/
http://www.kaianimation.com/index.php
http://www.mediacavern.com/
http://mothersanimeshoppe.com/index.html
http://www.natsukianime.co.uk/
http://www.poweranime.com/index2.cfm?pa … 53&auid=60
http://www.rightstuf.com/
http://tokyotoys.com/index.php?main_page=index
http://www.ekmpowershop2.com/ekmps/shop … /index.asp
http://www.yesanime.com/index.html
http://www.tokyokid.com/
http://www.users.uswest.net/~acafe/
http://www.interlog.com/~sasami/
http://www.geocities.com/animemontreal/page1.htm
http://www.animepavilion.com/index.php
http://www.masquerade-games4anime.bigstep.com/
http://www.archonia.com/index.php
http://www.asylum-anime.com/
http://www.ednoonchester-artwork.com/site_index.html
http://www.mix-image.com/default.asp?0=0
http://www.neotokyo.de/index.php
http://darkharbor.com/trades/html/anime.html
http://www.sasugabooks.com/
http://www.estarland.com/index.asp?page=DefaultPage
http://www.tokyokid.com/
http://www.tuttocomics.ch/index.asp?lv0 … 1=homepage
http://nifty.amikai.com/amiweb/browser. … c_id=nifty
http://www.samazama.netfirms.com/index.htm
http://www.rakuten.co.jp/

Happy hunting!  If you know of another online store that is legit, tell me about it!  And pass this list around.  I know that there are lists just like it on the intenet, but I actually went through each of those lists to create this list, using only the stores that are legit and still in business.  This list is what I "harvested" from those other lists.

raynebc Apr 6, 2006

Jpophelp has and currently still does sell some bootlegs.  They do admit which CDs are from Taiwan though, so they're fairly honest.

Otherwise I can personally vouch for Yahoo Japan, AnimeJungle, Otokichi Premium, CD Japan,  Amazon.  Where I bought a majority of my CDs.

jb Apr 7, 2006

I order mostly from Amazon Japan.  Their multi-cd shipping prices can't be matched and their delivery time also can't be matched.  I don't mind paying 20$ for shipping 1 cd if it means I'll have it on the day of release here in America (the day after in Japan).  People have complained about packaging problems with multi-cd orders from amazon japan; their packaging is not the best.  Most single cd orders come in a thing barely padded express mail sized envelope.  If it gets rough in shipping it will come with a few cracks in the case.  Multi-cd orders, depending on the size, the boxes tend not be padded as well as they could so they also tend to crack cases.  Doesn't matter to me as cases are replaceable.

I order everything from amazon japan, and if they don't have something (very rare they don't have it), it's probably a special order Kahori has.  I don't like to order from Kahori because EMS shipping is completely random.  I ordered Breath of Fire box and Sailing to the World Piano in separate orders.  Breath of Fire took a day to get to my house.  Sailling to the World still hasn't gotten here.   EMS shipping is just generally unreliable so I tend not to go with sites that have EMS shipping as their fastest available (CDJapan, Kahori).  She's unmatched in promotional sales, hard to find special orders and the cool "her site only" stuff, though, so sometimes I have no choice smile

I recommend AnimeJungle for used cds as well.  They have a huge selection of used cds and you can nab some pretty good steals if you watch it on a regular basis.  Their reserve process is kind of annoying though, as most of the REALLY good steals are reserved the second after their listed by their automated reservation list thing.  They have a huge selection of all the girly game music stuff and drama cds, if you're into that.

Man in the Desert Apr 7, 2006

Stephen wrote:

Nice list Mr. Desert, but how many of those have you used?

I've used CDJapan(bought the very last Cowboy Bebop Limited Edition OST Box Set they had)
Animenation
Anime Corner Store
Amazon
VGM
Otokichi Premium
Yahoo Japan Auctions(through Rinkya)

All of the rest are back-up plans/"looking for the absolute cheapest price and I'm willing to sift though all of these to find it". 



Hey, jb, how did you order from Amazon Japan?  I tried once and when I got to the address part(where to send it), my address had to be Japan.  Erm......what'd I do wrong?

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