Best Robot Store

Boss Robot Hobby

Boss Robot Hobby is the place to geek out and get your robot and Anime fix. This teeny well-stocked store is in a busy intersection of Berkeley’s Elmwood district — but it’s easy to pass up if you aren’t paying attention. Once inside, however, the store will leave tots and adults alike wide-eyed and amused. There’s a large Ultraman figure, for example, plus toys, robot kits, and “urban vinyls,” those little art figurines, galore. Thankfully, storeowner Johnny is laid back — a must in a small space that could leave one feeling claustrophobic (this one doesn’t). Most popular are remote- and radio-controlled helicopters, cars, and trucks — stuff that, if it breaks, is fixable and not just your average throwaway plastic toy. The shop also buys, sells, and trades vintage Japanese toys. They have Gundam model kits — action figures popular in Japan and elsewhere in Asia that have developed a following here — which are hard to find in an actual store. This is a specialty shop at its best, and even if you’re not into flying helicopters, it’s still fun to take a peek inside.

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