Monday, December 17, 2012

Shinjuku Robot

Shinjuku Robot is a new restaurant* in Shinjuku that we've been trying to get to since it opened in July, and we finally got a chance to go.

* It's legally considered a restaurant, but anyone that eats food wouldn't really think of it as such.

It's as if someone took everything Westerners think of when they think of Tokyo, covered it in LEDs, and put it in a 2-hour show.

It is magnificent. 

Giant robots, cat ears, color coordination, ruffly skirts with polka dots. And that's just the poster outside!

The ticket booth is surrounded by seizure-inducing arrays of animated LEDs. It sets the tone pretty well. Here you get tickets to the show and order your food. The gentleman held up a laminated card that acts as the menu, showing two photos. One is Bento A, the other is Bento B. I don't believe there was a description for either, but it didn't really matter. This is not the type of place where people go to enjoy the food.

Tickets acquired, now to the waiting room until the theater opens. Lucky for us, there are more flashing eye-splitting LEDs, and a giant fembot to climb on.

It wasn't until later that I realized I could have pressed the buttons on the joysticks. I was afraid I'd lurch the thing into motion and destroy the place, but I think the ones that were there just controlled the eyes, mouth, and the boob bounce.
Opportunity squandered. But at least I got this photo.
When the time was right, we headed downstairs, though the Portal Of Disorientation.
Everything but the poster is animated or changing colors. Or both.
Every bit of the stairwell, down several flights of stairs, is crammed full of color.

The walls, the stairs...

Even the ceiling is an LED TV. In this moment, showing airplanes flying overhead.
My timing isn't the best for catching the on-screen action, but I was caught by surprise.
In the theater area, everybody gets a seat:
Such as it is.
On either side, behind the chairs, are screens playing loops of video. The video never stopped throughout the show, so even though I have pictures of what was happening on stage, the peripheral color and motion were nonstop.

The performance area is the wide aisle between the seating risers, initially with drums set up on either end.

Dinner is served!
Such as it is.
They start the show with a video clip playing behind the seats on the opposite wall: pictures OK, no video. I'm respecting that, but photo doesn't really capture it. Video may not, either, this is a show best experienced live.

Brass and percussion start off the show, mostly drums.

While there is a dress code (no visible tattoos) for audience members, this is a little ironic, considering how big the tattoos on some of the dancers are.
All the main performers are girls in scant clothing, but if that's not your thing, there are large illuminated props and a fairly intense beat.
Something for everyone.
After the taiko drums and the marching drum line (none of my pictures came out well for that one), and a healthy serving of faux-tribal modern dance, the male wait staff swept the seating area, selling beer and handing out glow sticks. The glow sticks were labeled with a serial number, so they weren't souvenirs, but they were fun to wave for part of the show.

A very elaborate robot costume made an appearance, wheeled out by stage hands dressed as mad scientists.
Behind the robot, girls in light suits on segues.
Somehow it makes sense.
While the robot did its dance or whatever it did, the girls toodled around in ice-skating poses on their segues on either side of the stage area.
There was an intermission of sorts while things were being set up for the next segment, the audience was invited to go to the floor and have their picture taken with the giant robot.

Then, the main attraction! A rainbow of enormous lady robots, each holding several women wearing sexified, sparkly sequined versions of Roman Centurian costumes.

This is just unreal.
Some audience members were invited up to sit in one of the pilot seats! Our friend was chosen, and since she was wearing a skirt, they produced a blanket out of nowhere to preserve her modesty. I was impressed with that consideration.

Here's the moment when she realized that the buttons she was pressing controlled the facial expression and the boob bounce.
"OMG! HAAAAA-HAHAHAHA!" (Paraphrased)

But that's not all! Next, sparkly girls became airborn on motorized seats, slowly swooping over the audience just above head level.

No touching the ladies, obviously, but several of them high-fived us on the way through. That much is allowed.

While that was going on, there was  some choreographed dancing on the stage, then a motorcycle cameo.

It drove from one side of the stage to the other, was turned around by a rotating disc in the floor, and drove back.

Then a four-wheeler on caterpillar tread did the same thing.

Then the airplane came out, carrying six girls in sequin bikinis. The propellers rotate, and all the lights were blinking or changing color.

Behind it, the tank. Carrying just as many lights and bikini girls.

The tank and the plane both turned around and glided back offstage. That's as good a place as any to end a show like this, I think.

Will shop again.


  1. Teresa AzevedoDecember 17, 2012

    Best. Night. Ever.

  2. This looks like the most incredible evening!