Shop ‘Til U Drop, A guide to buying drama CDs

2020 Update: Now with more forwarding services, auction services, digital retailers, second-hand stores, and more! 😉


A few years ago—2016, to be exact, I put together a quick guide to spending all your money buying drama CDs, which aren’t exactly mainstream goods. Since 2016 was last decade eons ago, I’ve now updated the guide with more recent screenshots, alongside some new, hopefully useful intel. Enjoy me enabling you! ✨

Table of Contents


TL;DR

Step 1: Visit Stellaworth and/or Animate Online.

Step 2:
Use all your money. Proceed to cry in both joy and sorrow as you hold
your loot in your arms and look at your credit card bill after the fact.

Step 3: Profit.

( • v • )


Purchasing via Animate JP or Stellaworth

Of course, actual guide to follow below. This is a bit like a more detailed continuation of an ask I answered a long time ago, but I thought it would be helpful to my followers and people who would like to purchase drama CDs and other merchandise from Stellaworth (ステラワース) and Animate Online Shop (アニメイトオンラインショップ), two major retailers of drama CD/anime/manga goods that us fangirls go crazy over (actually, though).

Please be aware that this method is only applicable to those in possession of a credit card that works for international transactions (ideally with no international fees), or can pay through other means like bank transfer.

This is also mainly targeted towards those who live outside of Japan, so if you do live within Japan, you can completely skip the section on forwarding (because you have an address in Japan)! Or, you can just visit any Animate near you, as well as Stellaworth in person (provided you can get to Ikebukuro).

Still, it’s worth mentioning that outside of Animate JP and Stellaworth, there’s also the following retailers:

Alternative Retailers

Key

🌎 = Ships internationally

So, without further ado!

1. Make sure you have what you need. (Getting a forwarding address for account registration on other sites)

First thing’s first—if you live outside of Japan, you’re going to need a Japanese address. While Stellaworth and Animate Online JP both accept international credit cards as a means of payment, they do not ship overseas.

So, if you want to buy directly from the stores yourself, you’re going to need a forwarding address if you don’t have one already.

For this purpose, I’ll be using Tenso*, a forwarding service that can be utilized in English. If you’re price-shopping for the best fit, I’ve listed alternatives below.

Forwarding Services

⚠️ Disclaimer

I’m not affiliated with Tenso in any way, though I do use them for my own forwarding needs when I’m in the US. They are a little on the pricier side, but if you’re willing to pay a little more for the convenience and user-friendliness, I think it’s a solid choice. I haven’t had any problems with them (so far).

If you click on the link I provided, you should end up here.

To get you started with a Japanese forwarding address, click on “Sign Up” in the top right corner.

You can continue registration in English. Identity verification is a part of the process, so be prepared to send them some sort of government-issued ID, like your driver’s license or your passport if you’re from the US). Once you’re done, log in to your home page and you’ll see this screen.

This address is the one you’ll be using to register an account on both Stellaworth and Animate, or whichever site you wish to use.

Here’s how the address is structured:

Postal code

〒 120-0023

City

東京都

Ward

足立区

Neighborhood and Building Number

○○○町 12-3

Box Number

TSXXXXXX 転送コム

Now that you have your Japanese address, let’s proceed to the next step!

2. Let’s start with the basics. (Stellaworth and Animate Online Account Registration • 登録)

Stellaworth and Animate Online both require you to be a member of their sites in order for you to purchase their products. Naturally, they ask you to log in once you decide to check out.

First up is ステラワース (Stellaworth), a.k.a. otome goods paradise. (And where I buy most of my drama CDs.)

The highlighted link is for new member registration, which is what we want. (You can always turn on Google Translate to assist you with the input fields while registering if you don’t want to constantly refer to this guide.)

Since the registration process hasn’t really changed since 2016, when I first made this guide, the following images are pulled from my previous guide.

⚠️ Click on an image to view it in detail

Once you click 「送信」(“Submit”), you’ll end up on this screen.

It’s a confirmation screen that basically lets you know that you should click on a link that Stellaworth sends to your email address to continue registration. The subject of the email should be “ステラワース 会員仮登録メール.” This link is temporary, so it’s best to be quick about your registration.

When you click on the link in the email they sent you, you’ll come across part two of registration, beginning with the following screen.

After you input your password, this is the next part.

Once you click on 「確認」(“Confirm”), you’ll be led to a summary screen that shows you everything you’ve inputted, and you’ll be asked to confirm again.

And that’s it! You’ve created your Stellaworth account. You can log in whenever now. The following screen is what you see when you log in.


Registering for Animate

Update for 2020: Animate has actually created a guide of its own, so it’s available here. I’ve kept my version below for your reference.

First, click on the link for new member registration.

Awkwardly enough, there’s another screen where you have to click the same option to confirm you’d like to register as a new member. Click on the large blue 「新規会員登録」 button to proceed.)

You’ll have to enter your email address again via this screen.

The following screen is super straightforward with Google Translate, but here’s a quick translation just in case.

Once that’s done, click the “Register” /「登録」. You’ll see a confirmation screen. Congratulations! You now have an Animate Online account.

Side note

Animate is arguably the most prominent anime/manga goods chain retailer in Japan, and its online store’s selection is impressive as well. It’s my second-go-to place to buy drama CDs, and while I do personally order things from Stellaworth more often than I do at Animate (mostly because the tokuten I want is usually the Stellaworth one), Animate is more budget friendly and also has a great point system (T-point). Each point that you collect is equivalent to 1¥, so those points quickly add up to give you nice discounts on your merchandise. (It’s worth noting that Amazon JP also uses a point system. Japan’s definitely a big fan of point systems, my point card collection can attest to that. > v < )

Now that the formalities are over, time to fill that shopping cart like…

3. Time to shop! (Actually buying stuff)

First, back to Stellaworth. I had a few things to pre-order for January in 2016, so I’ll be using some of those CDs as examples.

Buying things is just technically clicking the “pre-order” or “purchase” button to add the item to your cart, but the following screens provide more information on item details.

There haven’t been any significant changes to this process since the last time I made these screenshots, so I’ve also reused screenshots from my previous guide here. (I will update them in the event of any significant UI change.)

Once all your items are in your cart, you can proceed to the レジ (Register/Checkout)!

If you’ve never shopped with Stellaworth and don’t have a credit card registered, it’ll prompt you to do so when you get to this screen.

Click 「次へ」once you’ve checked the blue box (terms of agreement).

Once you’ve made sure your order is correct, you can click on 「注文する」(Order) to confirm your purchase.

After confirming your purchase, you’ll be redirected to a screen showing your order number. You can now check your “to be shipped” list on My Page to see the information about your order.

And that’s it for Stellaworth!


Shopping from Animate

Update for 2020: Animate’s new guide also covers shopping, and it’s available here. Again, I’ve kept my version below for your reference.

Before we start looking for items, though, you should register your credit card in preparation for checkout.

Click on this link in My Page to register a credit card.
Click this button to register a new card.

Once you’ve found the item you’re looking for via that 「検索」(Search) bar, click your item of choice to get to this screen.

To add the item to your cart, just click the button that says 「カートに入れる」.

Once you’ve placed the item you want in your cart, click on the cart icon to get to this screen and proceed with your order. You’ll see the following screens.

Clicking “check out” will prompt you to log in first.

After this, your order is set!

**I don’t really remember how I initially enrolled for the T-Point system, given that I registered a long time ago, but I do know it is linked to my Yahoo JP account. If anyone encounters issues with enrolling for the point system, please let me know. Screenshots would help too.

4. Waiting for your items to arrive at your forwarding address

When your items arrive at your forwarding service’s headquarters, they should email you. I can confirm that this is the case for Tenso, but I’m not quite sure about other forwarding services.

⚠️ Important Note

It is important to note that Tenso (and likely other forwarding services) have a package consolidation deadline and a storage time limit. Tenso, for example, will not allow package consolidation after 30 days from receipt of the package(s), and will keep your items for 60 days before dealing with them in accordance with their T&C. Make sure to consolidate all your items and ship them out before then! (Tenso will remind you via email of those two deadlines.)

💁🏻‍♀️ Ri’s Hot Tip

I would suggest waiting until the end of the month for all of your purchases to come in before consolidating. Most CDs are released the last week of the month, so you won’t have to worry too much about the consolidation time limit if you’re just purchasing drama CDs.

5. Shipping, the sequel. (Forwarding items from your Japanese holding address to your actual address)

Another straightforward process, especially if your forwarding service is in a language you can fully understand. We’ve made it through the technical stuff now, so all that’s left is to wait for your goods to arrive once you’re done with this step!

6. Actually profit*!

*Shame we’re actually losing money when we buy stuff…


新品 not your thing?

If you’re looking for second-hand CDs (中古), the following places might be more up your alley. ( • v • )

Auction services

Unless you live in Japan and have access to a Japanese phone number, you might not have much luck trying to register for a Yahoo JP Auction account. The alternative is to use a proxy service to bid on your behalf, which is where these services come in.

I’ve used Buyee and FromJapan, so I can only vouch for those. Buyee tends to give coupons to its users from time to time, so for a while I used it pretty often to snap up some rare tokutens.

Second-hand Stores

Good for finding rare tokutens (especially rendou tokutens that require you to buy 4+ CDs), or if you don’t want to pay full price for a CD. You’ll often find new-ish CDs (those released within the last month or so) on these second-hand sites about a week after they’re released. Rare tokutens might take a little while to pop up, as people are less likely to part with those immediately.

I can only vouch for Suruga-ya here, even though their tokutens sometimes cost you your life savings and then some. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Purchasing from me

Everybody likes to Konmari their spaces sometimes, including yours truly.

Shameless plug for my own garage sale, which I operate on Mercari. I update my inventory from time to time, and plan on tweeting out the next time I update my storefront. I’m located in the US and am happy to ship domestically. Feel free to swing by whenever you’d like! 😘


Physical copies not your thing?

Let’s face it, waiting for CDs to come in from overseas is kind of a drag. If you live in Japan, or as I did in the past, Tokyo, CDs basically arrive on or 1 day after release. If that makes you sad and envious like it makes me, and/or you feel an immediate need to fawn over your CD of choice, digital retailers might be for you.

Digital Retailers

I’ve had extensive experience with both. 😉 That said, I would definitely recommend DLsite JP over Pokedora, given the point accrual system for cash-back discounts, and the better interface + user experience of its cloud player. It’s also easy to download your CDs once you’ve purchased them.

Pokedora, however, often partners with labels to produce exclusive tokutens.


Glossary (a really brief Japanese lesson for online shopping terms you see often):

特典 = とくてん — Special benefits; an extra thing included with your purchase (Think of it as a pre-order bonus, except it’s not usually restricted to pre-orders. Included tokutens often vary from store to store.) *One of my favorite terms.

連動特典 = れんどうとくてん — Linked benefits; an extra thing included with your purchase when you purchase multiple things in a select series or multiple target products

発送 = はっそう — Shipping

発送準備 = はっそうじゅんび — Shipment preparation

送り状お問い合わせ番号 = おくりじょうおといあわせばんごう — (Shipping) Tracking number

発売 ・発売日 = はつばい・はつばいひ — Sale (date)/release (date)

登録(する)= とうろく — Registration

確認(する)= かくにん — Confirmation

宅配 = たくはい — Home delivery

予約(する)= よやく — Pre-order/reserve

通販 = つうはん — Mail order

カートに入れる = かーとにいれる — To place (sth) in your cart

購入(する)= こうにゅう — Purchase/Buy

品切れ中 = しなぎれちゅう — Out of stock

在庫あり = ざいこあり — In stock

個数・数・枚 = こすう・すう・まい — Amount/Number

物価・価格・値段 = ぶっか・かかく・ねだん — Price

税 ・税金 = ぜい・ぜいきん — Tax

税込 = ぜいこみ — Tax included

商品 = しょうひん — Product

小計 = しょうけい — Subtotal

見積もり = みつもり — Subtotal/Estimation

合計 = ごうけい — Total

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