Robot Restaurant — More Than Just Japanese Girls in Racy Costumes
A fight to the death. Visitation from extraterrestrial beings. Women in outrageous skimpy outfits. Supersized Animals and Dragons. It could only be Robot Restaurant. It could only be Japan.
Lights were flashing all over; blinding so it seemed. ‘I hadn’t been to a place with such a wide color palette’. The rooms were basically colored in rainbow with random figurines and flashing toys mounted on either side.
You couldn’t tell what the theme was straight from first beholding the facade, through the tunnel and up ‘til the end of the show. It had no theme. It wasn’t supposed to have a theme. It was just utter randomness.
There we were in the waiting room, really not knowing what to expect except madness and probably an over-the-top spin off of a fantasy-themed Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (If you looked up the Robot Restaurant on Google Images, the results will predominantly feature Japanese women in wild racy outfits.) Our only fear was a dull performance. But it seemed highly unlikely due to how extravagantly decorated the place was. Rectangular-shaped was the whole waiting room with giant television screens for walls on either side — along the length of the room. Preludes and snippets of the actual show played on loop on them, so I thought. It was probably to keep us on our heels and build up anticipation.
It was pretty hilarious considering how there were children there. I mean, I thought I was coming in to a perverted show! I let out a few chuckles as soon as I saw chubby nine year-olds in the waiting room. “Oh boy you’re in for a treat.”
A wave of anticipation was building up in the room. If you consider the fact that the jumbo screens were already giving a hint that there’s going to be some sexuality in it, you’d guess that it’d probably built up some anxiety in the audience; especially for the parents who never bothered to pull out their phones to google up an article or two about this place.
There indeed was the fear that everything was over-hyped. I honestly had my expectations brought down to a bare minimum just so that I wouldn’t feel like crap for having attended a mediocre performance for a hefty amount. But then again, I couldn’t help but get a excited a little bit. I’m in Japan after all. And you know about the Japanese. When they go in, they go all in.
Eventually we got to the bottom of the staircase and gaped open in front of us was a wide entrance to a dark, half-lit room. We of course proceeded towards it and stepped inside. We found ourselves inside a showroom and immediately appeared before us was a runway so it seemed. It was in the middle of the room that extended across up until the end where the metal road continued beyond a curtain that was covering another room; one that’s obviously meant to be hidden til’ later. On either side were lowly slanted bleachers, able to accommodate roughly one hundred fifty people in total(it could be more, I’m not so sure). There in the middle were vending stations where you could get some popcorn and sodas. So we got ours, went to our seats and sat for a few minutes until they had the lights turned off for the show.
It was pitch black for about a few seconds as if in a movie theater. And then out of nowhere, smoke machines erupted and out came the first few floats with a faint purplish light dimly illuminating the figures — I thought I saw Ogremon from Digimon, a giant Daruma-doll and later a slightly skinnier Po from Kungfu Panda. Wait.. What?
I don’t intend to spoil the show for you in any way so I will just leave the pictures here to show glimpses of what had transpired during the whole thing (click here for a slightly more detailed elaboration of what happened in the show). I must say in relief that the scantily clad women didn’t take the main spotlight in the whole performance and it was less provocative than I had first expected it to be. Yes. It was extravagant and grandiose no doubt but it was all about the robots, the performances, the crazy effort put into choreography and most of all,the special effects!
There wasn’t an Anime-themed Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, let me assure you that.
The narrative made no sense whatsoever but it most assuredly kept us on the edge of our seats, happy, entertained and a little baffled the whole time — as in, ‘what on earth did I just watch’ kind of thing. But the touch of Japanese Culture; both ancient and modern, not to mention the merging of anime culture as well made it 100% authentic and a beautiful performance as a whole. I don’t think I would be able to see a performance that would even come close to it anywhere else in the world.
It’s a must see when you’re around Tokyo.
-written by Ian Lorenz Gomez
Photo Credits to John Matthews