JOPLIN, Mo. — AnimeJoplin held its soft opening Monday afternoon, located off 20th across the street from Joplin High School.

Anime-themed collectibles are the primary focus of the store — with artwork from local creators also available for purchase.

“I want to create a space in which you are invited into the idea and the realm of anime,” said Jeremiah Johnson, Owner of AnimeJoplin.

Johnson said he has also set a goal of the store being financially accessible.

“There isn’t something like this around for about 50-100 miles and as anime and manga become more and more of a powerhouse in culture, there’s going to be a demand for it, especially from people who are younger because it’s such an avenue to explore themselves,” said Aidan Aldrighetti, Local Artist. “There is not much of a venue for this illustrative comic style and I think that having a location where people are welcome to have that sort of an art style, have that sort of a body of work, be able to show it, be able to sell it, be able to make money off of it, be able to hopefully make a living off of it — I think that that’s awesome.”

“Anime is not just a child’s thing anymore,” said Johnson. “It’s not just cartoons or something like that. It’s something that many people take pride in and they enjoy. It’s just another fun form of entertainment.”

Johnson said his goal is to expand AnimeJoplin into a place where people can hang out and play a game of Dungeons and Dragons, all while enjoying their shared experiences with anime.

And even if the concept of anime is foreign to you, he said you might find something to like too if you give it the chance.

“Even if you grew up liking Pokemon, there is a chance that you could enjoy a more mature-themed anime at an older age,” Johnson said. “Just find somebody and dive into something that you already think could be appealing.”

“I think that just having another place — a local place, at that — where they can be at home, be themselves and be interested in what they love — is awesome,” said Aldrighetti.