Animazed: A Haven for Anime Fans


As anime becomes more mainstream, streaming services have been created for fans and stores are starting to offer anime merchandise, but a lack of physical stores exclusively catering to anime watchers persists. The best way to buy merchandise has been online, but for anime fans in Raleigh, Animazed may open a new haven for them.


Store overview 

Animazed is a family-owned business that specializes in anime, manga, K-pop, Sanrio and other various Japanese items. The store is owned by the married couple William Williams and Susan Williams. Their initial inspiration came from visiting a store in New York and they opened their original store in Northgate Mall, selling basic items such as fan-subbed anime on VHS tapes and wall scrolls. The original store only lasted a few years as it had little profit, forcing the couple to close it. They still desired to have a proper anime store one day. Today, that dream is here, with their store’s new home on Glenwood Avenue near Umstead State Park.

“The doors actually opened October 1 this past year, but we’d started putting it together probably around May. So it was a really fast kind of thing,” says Mrs. Williams.


The grand opening of the store was on March 12th of this year and it was a success. 


“It was packed shoulder to shoulder almost the entire day,” says Mrs. Williams. “The lines were back down the manga section and wrapped around it. It was hectic, but it was great.”


The store continues to have success even after its initial grand opening, receiving customers of all ages. 



”We do have older people who will come into the store,” says Mrs. Williams. “I had a grandpa who watches anime with his granddaughter. That’s their way of bonding. He comes in looking for new stuff for them to start watching or start reading together all the time.”

“There is no place like this for people that like anime to come in and be around with people like them […]. A lot of the stuff we import, [about] 80% of it [is] from Japan. You don’t get it anyplace else.”

— Mrs. Williams

Animazed also aids parents and grandparents in supporting their children’s interest in more personal way.


“There’s a lot of parents and grandparents that are really supportive. And there’s people of my age that come in and never like something like this,” says Mrs. Williams. 


Merchandise offered at Animazed varies from stickers to full scale figures. Even lesser known  anime have representation. Music used in anime openings are played in the store for further immersion. 


“I really enjoy seeing people enjoying themselves when they walk in the door,” says Mrs. Williams. “There’s a gasp because we wanted kind of a convention feel without the high convention prices.”