When we heard that a mysterious new eatery, named “Robot Restaurant”, had just opened in Shinjuku’s Kabukicho district and was trending on the Japanese internet, we figured that there was nothing we could do except go see it for ourselves. And one weekend, that’s exactly what we did.
As soon as we passed through the doorway, we came face to face with our first robot of the night: a gigantic female android. After recovering from the surprise, the next thing we noticed was the restaurant’s decor, a combination of primary colors and glittering lights that brought to mind the disco era. We paid our 3,000 yen each for dinner and a show, and then returned to the entrance lounge to wait for the performance to start. While we enjoyed our soft drinks, an attractive (human) girl emerged and proceeded to pilot the robot, much to the delight of the waiting patrons. (On the way out of the restaurant, you can stop to climb up on the robot yourself and get your picture taken with it.)
After waiting for about half an hour, we were led down into the second floor basement in preparation for the show. We found our meals waiting for us on trays attached to individual stools – there were no traditional tables in the show area. We assume this is so patrons will focus on the show instead of moving around a lot.
Finally, the two-hour-long show started. Girls dressed in army motif swimsuits packed the stage and began singing and dancing. The show that followed covered a wide range of styles, from current pop music to traditional Japanese drumming to kimono-wearing girls singing old Japanese folk songs. After watching for a while, the titular robots appeared. The girls piloted the robots around the performance area, and just like that, the robot part of the show was over in 20 minutes.
If you go to Robot Restaurant expecting to see robots serving customers and cooking meals, you’re going to be disappointed. Think of the robots as secondary to watching cute girls sing and dance, and you’ll have a much better time. At any rate, seeing girls on robots is enough to make any Evangelion fan’s dreams come true.