Deep in the heart of Shinjuku District is a place that can not truly be described, it must be witnessed and experienced to really understand how wild and in your face is this show. Simultaneously, seemingly out of control and meticulously designed and staged, this is a show like no other. This place is Robot Restaurant.
Last time I visited Tokyo, I knew I wanted to hit up all the pop culture stuff I could find. People watching in Harajuku, Maid Cafes and anime shopping in Akihabara, bar hopping in Roppongi, etc. When trying to plan out my limited amoung of time (so much to do! So few vacation days), I spotted ad in the Time Out Tokyo that peaked my interest…
ROBOT RESTAURANT. This I had to see.
So many questions came to mind. What did it mean? A restaurant where robots act as the waiters? Do the robots put on a show? Is it just a decoration with some anamatronic robots here and there like Mars 2120 was back in New York? Or would it be an emersive experience like I’ve heard about the ninja restaurant?
First thing: Robot Restaurant is not really a restaurant. They serve snacks, but it is definitely a show rather than a sitdown food establishment.
Second thing: To merely call it a “show” is to woefully understate the experience that is this place. It is an in-your-face spectacle times a hundred. It’s hard to explain through words or even pictures how it felt to be behold the glory that is Robot Restaurant. I’ll try my best in the rest of this article, but take a look at this video to get a taste of the robot madness.
If you’re still reading after watching the video, here’s the rundown.
We got tickets to the show. The whole experience starts off pretty chill with hanging out in this shiny, gold, and lit up waiting room. You can have some refreshments in there while listening to a guy in a robot suit playing some classics on a solo guitar.
Then you get taken into the main show room. And considering the show you’re about to witness, this room is tiny. It looks like about the size room that you’d see an off off broadway show with 4 actors and a sofa for set dressing. Three rows of seats on either side.
Then the lights go out and the show starts. And what a show! Everything is all glow in the dark, neon lit, kinetic energy.
In that small passage way between the rows of audience, comes a parade of giant platforms with drums and assorted musical instuments, dancing girls, acrobats, assorted other characters and performers. And that’s just for starters!
And everything is all right in front of your and around you. It’s hard to decide where to look because so much is going on at the same time. And you have to keep alert too because these floats come like inches away from you if you’re in the front row.
After the first parade, comes the monster fights!
There was even a bit where a “Kung Fu Panda” style Panda and his Monkey and Tiger sidekicks jump in to try to take on the evil alien robots. They get some help from some karate kicking, giant hammer wielding, anime girls. (See the Video above)
Then once the robot, alien, monster fights ended, there was some more performances and then another awesome robot parade!
There’s an intermission in the middle to take a bathroom break and get some extra snacks, but otherwise it was non-stop, frenetic thrills and frenzied audio-visual stimulation.
Anyway, like I said before, my words and even pictures or video pale in comparrison to experiencing it for real. Have you been to Robot Restaurant before? Let me know what you thought about it in the comments!
Official site of Robot Restaurant: http://www.shinjuku-robot.com/pc/