Looking for a surreal experience that combines J-pop, anime, taiko drummers, carnivale, and robots. Of course you are.
The Robot Restaurant is located in Kabukicho, the entertainment district in Shinjuku. The target audience was once the salarymen, but now it’s packed with international tourists.
There are four 90 minute shows every evening. It begins with guests gathering together in the bar area, where a “robot” band plays Michael Jackson, The Eagles and Sting. My guess is that they originally played the themes from Astro Boy, Gundam or Doraemon.
After all the guests have arrived you are ushered into the theatre. The main performance takes place in four 20 minute segments with 10 minutes breaks which allow the cast to change, and the robots to reset. The guests meanwhile can refill on drinks and popcorn.
The show itself is a bit like watching a live action mixture of Power Rangers, Transformers, and Japanese music video. It should have been moronic, but everyone was having a great time. It doesn’t seem odd that you’re waving glow stick and booing at the space ninja woman who is trying to defeat the undersea creatures.
At around ¥8,000 yen a ticket it isn’t cheap, but if you’re looking for the cooky Japanese otaku experience, put on your Mazinger t-shirt and head for the Robot Restaurant.