I can’t say ‘we’ here, since Mark didn’t go with me. Either time.
I first heard about the Sailor Moon cafe from my friend Diana, who had read about it in the news.
This isn’t an *actual* Sailor Moon cafe that is there all the time, it’s more like a pop-up shop that will only be here for another few weeks or so. Sailor Moon is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, and we’re in Japan, so there are going to be a lot of things like this happening around the country.
There have actually been OTHER pop-up cafes and shops, and even a special Sailor Moon Christmas boutique that showed up in Ikebukuro last winter. I’ve never managed to catch them, or be paying enough attention.
But tell your friends you love Sailor Moon, and then you find out that pretty much ALL of your female friends (here in Japan) ALSO love Sailor Moon. Because of course. Because Sailor Moon is the best.
So we made a date to go, and ended up going in on an evening. This cafe is located in Shinjuku, in Kabukuicho. The big ‘Godzilla attacking the city’ statue/thing is just down the street.
You have to make a reservation, and it will only last for an hour and a half. But don’t worry! That’s MORE than enough time to get your fill of the small cafe, music, food, drinks and of course, the MERCH. You have enough time to watch the videos loop, read the menu multiple times, and order more than one drink, if necessary:)
Although the menu was relatively small, there were plenty of options. Most of them were snacks, but the cafe DID sell some *actual* food, like the ‘slightly defective omelette with rice that Usagi makes’. You can also get a bento box like Lita’s, or some spaghetti. Because this is Japan, and spaghetti is the thing you’ll find on most menus, for some reason or another.
On top of the food, the drinks: everything on the menu is themed, so the drinks were no exception. There was a drink for each of the Inner Senshi, Tuxedo Mask, and Chibi-Usa as well. And there was a drink special you could get, for each day of the week. So, Tuesday is ‘Mars day’, so the Mars drink is the special. It’s strawberry flavored.
To go with your drinks, you get to choose a coaster and marshmallow featuring the Sailor Scout of your choice. I chose Mars, of course, since Pluto is hardly ever an option.
So both times I went, I had the ice cream and cake dessert. All of the options are slightly overpriced, but I won’t complain about spending Y700 for a Sailor Mars – themed drink. We all know it’s just a ploy to get us in there to buy all of the stuff, right?
On the 2 open walls NOT used for serving or preparing food, there were TV screens showing clips from the new Sailor Moon Crystal, which is airing just about every 2 weeks here in Japan (currently on episode 26!) at the moment. So you can watch the new transformations and art on bigger screens, which is WAY better than watching on my tiny 13″ laptop screen.
It really is amazing to see the difference that 20 years of advances in animation, especially here in Japan, can make. I’m all for the classic Sailor Moon, since I grew up with it, but the new art looks amazing. What they do with the storyline will be something to pay attention to, since the writers/producers have already made a few changes to what we knew from the original series.
As I said above, I went twice. The first time was with my friends Diana and Sophie, and the second time was BECAUSE I went the first time: I posted about it on Facebook, and then my other friend Guzal wanted to go.
So I agreed to go with her, and it turned out that she had actually invited a LOT of people, some who I knew, others that I didn’t! But it’s always great to meet other Sailor Moon fans, so ok!
Since there were more of us, I got to see the OTHER drinks and food that I wasn’t going to order. Guzal got the bento box, and everyone ordered different drinks. It was awesome.
Along with t here being screens around the cafe, there was also a DJ booth and a Sailor Moon radio station that they were playing on their own. There was some special deal about making song requests on Twitter, and then the DJ would play them in the cafe. I’m not sure how well that worked, since no one tried it.
At the entrance, they had just about ALL of the merch you could find. There are a lot of things that you can get from coin machines if you know where to find them, or from shops specializing in anime or manga series, but this one was more focused on functional things: dishes and cups, mugs, school supplies like folders and pens (but the Sailor Mars transformation pen was sold out. Go figure.), and also all of the current Sailor Moon Crystal DVDs that are currently for sale.
So if you DIDN’T have a cell-phone Sailor Pluto dangle or a special Luna hair clip yet, this would be the place to buy them. After 2 trips and trying my hardest to be good and not spend too much money, I only walked out of there with the Sailor Pluto cell-phone dangle, a Sailor Pluto lanyard for one of our spare keys ( a HIGHLY justifiable purchase), and a folder that I can totally use, since I am all about organizing shit. Oh, and a mars transformation pen key chain for my keys. I think I did well, and mostly passed the adult test. Mostly.
The Sailor Moon cafe is definitely one of the things that makes living in Japan unique. I would never expect to see this, or the general level of excitement about the program that is evident here, anywhere else in the world. To be able to go an anime- or manga-themed cafe is so completely Japanese.
Meanwhile, Japan, who is miles ahead in the making of new technology, but still a bit behind in their love of going to stores and actually RENTING DVDs and CDs, has Gundam- and Pokemon-themed cafes.
And a very large Godzilla head, keeping a threatening, watchful eye over Shinjuku.