A couple weeks ago a friend on Facebook tipped me off about a Sailor Moon Crystal Café in Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku. I immediately made reservations the same day because I am a healthy adult with responsible hobbies.
To back track a bit, it is crazy the amount resurgence Sailor Moon Crystal has caused. Nobody seems to care that they use recycled art to promote new merchandise, as seen in this display for a cosmetics shop in Shibuya:
I think people are just glad to have an excuse to celebrate the show again. It definitely made an impact on me growing up, and despite many lamentations at the new incarnation of the series, I was still eager to try out the Sailor Moon-themed café that my middle school self would have died to get into.
(Apologies in advanced for crappy cellphone pics! There was hardly any table space – let alone elbow space – to whip out my Nikon.)
For those who don’t know, Kabuki-cho is kind of a seedy area with all sorts of sketchy-looking store fronts depicting women in various states of dress, with the occasional gaudy sign for the infamous Robot Restaurant mixed in.
So upon seeing the above entrance for the café, I immediately expected somewhat of a derpy experience. It was tiny, next to a karaoke bar, and didn’t look very inviting. The reservations were also free and no hassle to get – unlike the Pokémon and Eorzea Cafés Roy and I went to a couple months ago. (Eorzea write-up still incoming. Whoops.)
After entering the café, we were sat down at tiny tables of two clustered right next to each other. We ordered one drink and one dessert each.
After a lot of pondering over the menu, I decided to get the Usagi waffle plate while Roy went with the Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Venus one. I unfortunately couldn’t finish my dish because it was so rich – not to say it was bad, it was actually really good! But I don’t think I can handle eating so much dessert at one time anymore.
The Sailor Moon Crystal Café is a 90 minute experience, which included a “radio show” where patrons could request songs via Twitter, listen to a set battle between two “radio DJs”, and watch the first episode of Sailor Moon Crystal together.
The “radio” part was kind of cool in that you could see patrons tweet song requests, although there weren’t many participating. We had finally worked up the nerve to tweet our own request, only to realize they were moving on to the set battle (which worked out since they ended up playing the song that I wanted to hear anyway).
The set battle consisted of two DJs playing three Sailor Moon songs each, and with our little glowy wands we changed the color to match the DJ that we liked. It was fun seeing everyone in the room get excited at certain songs, and I’ll admit I got hit by a huge wave of nostalgia as I recognized almost all of them.
Finally, the last segment of our experience was watching the first episode of Sailor Moon Crystal together. I’m pretty sure they played the fixed up Blu-Ray version, although the artwork still doesn’t do anything for me since it lacks the charm of the older show (which interestingly enough they showed clips of during the DJ battles…pretty sure I heard at least a couple people saying “See! I prefer the way that looks.”)
Another layer of the experience was being in a room full of adult Sailor Moon fans. Age range is always hard to tell (although there were definitely two older dudes who had a table to themselves), but I didn’t find myself feeling like “too old” for an event like this, even though the show is aimed for middle schoolers. I think most of us there had grown up with the series versus new fans whose first introduction to Sailor Moon is through Crystal.
The café did have a tiny goods shop, but aside from some stellar iPhone 6 cases (I am still clinging onto my 4S), the merchandise consisted of measly scrunchies, lanyards, and plastic cups.
Despite my initial fear that the Sailor Moon Crystal Café was going to suck, I ended up having a good time going down memory lane. The event was set up so that you never felt bored or compelled to keep ordering food to make the most of the 90 minute time limit. It was also nice experiencing something together in a room full of other Sailor Moon fans, something that my childhood self desperately craved.