BEST TOY STORE - 2006
The Japanese have this word, otaku. It's used to describe foreigners who get a little too excited about anime, manga, and action figures from video games that don't exist in the U.S. There's a good chance the Twin Cities otaku already know about Robot Love. After all, this is the store that introduced Uptown to characters like Gloomy, the adorable pink Japanese teddy bear with sharp claws and a thirst for blood. Though a good percentage of the store's wares come from American minds, everything gives off an outlandish vibe. And Robot Love is far from Geek Central. In fact, it's pretty hip. In addition to slightly scary figurines and plush critters, they carry T-shirts, posters, and other folderol designed by the sort of cartoons-on-crack artists often showcased at Ox-Op and Soo Vac. And if you're into geek chic, show up the third Thursday of every month: Vinyl toy collectors attend a monthly swap meet to show off their favorites and make trades.