Robot Restaurant

We step into the Robot Restaurant and immediately see a sign saying that the ticket counter is across the street. We dip back in and out of the rain and into the ticketing area. There is a wall of pictures with celebrities who’ve attended the show like the band Blur, Anthony Bourdain, Elle Fanning, Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, Norman Reedus (who looks super impressed), and a ton more.

 

Back across to the actual venue and there is an umbrella check. I’ve never seen an umbrella check before. It works just like coat check, you give them your umbrella, they give you a number, you pick your umbrella back up after the show. I get the letter K.

We go down this amazingly colorful and narrow neon hallway where a white girl, that looks incredibly similar to my friend Ashley, tells us to wait for an elevator. She hits the down button while everyone just looks around awestruck by all the glitz.

This mosaic of a sparkly wonder faerie is outside the elevator. The decor in this joint is through the strats.

The elevator opens and dumps us into a Japanese Vegas super-glitz room. Wow, it is gaudy-awesome. Everything is gold and sparkly. Gold conch shell chairs with pulsing ceiling lights reflecting off of disco mirrored walls. This place is a trip. We go to the back and grab a drink. I get a gin fizz. We are tiny beings living in a bejeweled kaleidoscope. Still waiting on the drink and we’re already being called down to the show.

Robot Restaurant tip: Show up early to enjoy the staging area

We follow a long line of people down, down, down four floors to the basement. We walk in spiral squares down through the four floors which all have different themes. There was some traditional Japanese samurai looking stuff, a floor of robots fighting forest and sea animals, one decked out for Halloween, and one of island paradise looking birds and butterflies.

This pumpkin guy on the ceiling was pretty rad, reminded me of Robot Heart (though I’ve personally never experienced it live).

We get into the main stage area which is a long and narrow room with seats on both sides lining the wall. There are screens behind the seats. Concession stands are wheeled out to offer the audience snacks and whatnot so we nab some popcorn and beers for the show.

Once everyone is seated they start announcing the start of the show. It’s all in English. A corny dude in a giant bow tie takes a model airplane and zooms it around the room to basically demonstrate the area that should be clear of drinks and potential head injuries during the performance.

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The lights go out and curtains lift at both ends. Wow. Drums. Massive risers with 4 drummers on top start floating in from both sides. They’re playing traditional Japanese drum rhythms, chanting, and dancing in sync. These floats are huge. This is already amazing! This is so cool.

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After the intro the drums keep thundering and a dude on a bass comes out on a fish. They’re now playing a fairly 80s style rock tune and singing. The crowd is all shit-eating grins at this point. The spectacle is really just too awesome not to enjoy.

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The Bass Fish spins around and there’s another Samurai Guitar God on the other side ripping up a face melter.

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The rock out singalong continues, the huge drum floats are gone and it seems the drummers are now on the floor with fans and swords dancing along. The outfits are incredible and the performers enthusiasm is contagious. Smiling, smiling and my cheeks hurt.

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Out in the mix are these black robed guys with controllers driving the floats. Looks like they’ve rigged up some Xbox controllers or something? I like the veiled faces. Who are these robot ninjas?

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More floats come out with singers on them and they’ve moved into a pop rock performance with catchy vocals and… banshees and more fans and swords.

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…and a kick ass finishing pose!

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Well holy shit, that was awesome! They scurry off and through the curtains.

In between acts they roll out the souvenirs and snacks so the audience can re-up. I snap a pic of the girl that totally looks like my friend Ashley. I think she’s noticed all of the weird pointing and staring Queenie and I have been doing and now she doesn’t want to make eye contact and seems really awkward going by us. Sorry Fake Ashley! Click!

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The concessions roll away and the room goes dark again. The screens behind the seats light up and offer an intro to the next act. Here’s the gist of it: Way long ago, evil robots from another planet came to Earth to take it over. All of natures creatures had to join together to fight the invasion or be enslaved. Sounds like a classic epic. How did it turn out? Let’s find out!

First some mascot-style guys come out, most notably the Panda Samurai. They get their asses kicked by some robots in some hilariously bad/great kung fu choreography.

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But Kung-fu Panda comes back on a giant boar and rams those shitty robots! Take that!
(ok, where do they keep all of these gigantic props!)

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Well the robots have an answer for that stupid boar in the form of a giant metallic… neon dinosaur robot thing. This thing seems fearsome AF.

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A phoenix thing comes out, but the robots are just too powerful.

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Spider riding spider girl is cute and all but still no match for the evil Dinobot.

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In a clear violation of TMNT trademark rights, a turtle, I’m gonna call it a ninja turtle, I’m also gonna call him Raphael, comes out on a spark shooting dragonfly swing and is finally able to drive off Evil Dinobot.

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But then in comes this triple-gatling gunned robo destroyer with a crazy whip-wielding robolady and shit gets mighty real.

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Time to call in the sea animals! Shark rider girl comes out but gets her ass whipped with the help of some robo ground troops backup.
(This is a seriously ridiculous amount of robo-floats at this point. How long did it take to get all this stuff together?)

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Good try sea animals, let’s see what the jungle has to offer. Whoa, that’s a big snake she’s riding on!

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Oh sweet! The snake eats robo whip chick and nature’s warriors enjoy a well earned victory…

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…until this laser-wielding badass shows up on another robomonster! Snake Girl doesn’t stand a chance.

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Time to bring out the… fire-breathing, green eyed condor dragon!

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After a few salvos back and forth, Raphael comes out with a giant rock and loads it into the GECD. It shoots out in a puff of smoke sparks and blasts laser boy into death.

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Like this, the forest and sea are safe!

The nature warriors all run out and do the happy dance. The screens behind the audience lights up with super happy forest and sea scenes. The evil robot machines roll through the curtain in defeat.

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Wow. That was very manga/anime style. There is an insane amount of effort going into this show. Way more production and coordination than I expected. All of the shit they built is fairly impressive.

They announce that up next is a special Halloween set. Sweeet! We get a little bonus for being here around Halloween. Out come the creepy dudes on stilts and little shy guy looking robots.

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looks like they’ve caged up some damsels to parade around. Nice and creeeeeeeeeeepy…

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…until the hot space chicks come out of the floor with ghost buster proton packs!
And it’s party time again! (Queue the pop music singalong!)

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Fuck these cages, we’re free! Bring out the Birthday cake and giant lollipops!

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There are a bunch of ghoul and monster types digging in their buckets and tossing Halloween treats out to the crowd. Queenie being way too nice gives the one we find to the over-eager and very thankful British girls behind us.

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Man, this is quite the show. The outfits are fantastic. During the next concession break / stage reset they pass out a bunch of Robot Restaurant glow sticks.

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They run us through a practice set of waving them to the music in the dark. While we’re doing this the next act kicks off and it’s a strange medley of robots, tropical birds on stilts, mustaches, butterflies, robohorses, ATVs and Americana?

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The singers are out again and it’s another catchy pop rock singalong with all the instruments played live in front of us while bird on stilts dance around and robots whiz by.

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And that’s it!

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I don’t even know what to say. That was one of the most fucking bonkers things I have ever seen. A truly unique experience, definitely one of a kind, I’m super glad we put this on the agenda. Such an upbeat and fun vibe with incredibly talented performers. So much awe. So much color and creativity. Cheeks are still sore.

After the last act they allow some time to get pics with the performers. Tha Queebs and I scramble down to nab some pics.

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Well that was an amazing show! We funnel to the steps again and out to the exit. Queenie has to pee super duper bad and we’re baby stepping our way back up the steps. When it opens up she makes a break for it. Guess I’ll just find her later somewhere?

I pull out my paper letter K for umbrella check. There’s a frenzy for umbrellas as the space between the exit and the rainy street seems too short for the mass of people crowding into it. People are pushing passed not wanting to wait for the umbrella check folks, each impatient patron nudging me forward into the umbrella rack at shin level. Real annoying.

The guy takes my letter K and hands me back two umbrellas…. ahhhhhhh, “I only had one umbrella”. The guy has no clue what I’m saying. I hold up one finger. Nope he’s not getting it. The people are pushing passed me and Queenie has launched out into the rain on a solo bathroom hunt. Screw it. I hand one umbrella back and shooost the other open as I step out into the torrential downpour in Shinjuku.

 

 

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