Friday, April 18, 2014

Domo Arigato, Lady Roboto

How do I even begin to talk about the Robot Restaurant?  When I did my very small amount of recon for this trip, it was the number one thing to do in Tokyo, and so I decided I'd go.  It's a kind of misleading name - it's not really a restaurant in the traditional sense of the word, but more of an overwhelming sort of Chuck E. Cheese on crack where the pizza has been replaced with the Japanese equivalent of a sack lunch...a bento box. 
After checking in, putting my bag o' crafty shit from Bingoya in a locker, and being ushered upstairs to a lounge where the sparkly madness continued, I was finally allowed to come down to B2, where the main event happened.  I was in the second row, at the end of a long line of seats with small metal tray tables (where those dumb enough to pay 1000 yen for a bento box disemboweled their snacks...I, on the other hand, had some delicious shabu-shabu for much more than that, and undoubtedly enjoyed it a lot more, as well).  I was afraid being on the end would mean I was away from the action, but it was hard to tell at that point.
When Blondie (who is now a Blondie again - good old American bleach jobs!) and I talked about this place before, mostly all she could do was laugh, although she did mention the old Japanese dudes perving out on the scantily clad girls on the platforms above them.  I got to sit by such a group - it was kind of cute watching them all wave when one of the girls waved at them.  Here they are demonstrating that you must watch carefully and duck your head if the moving platforms swing out over you.  Apparently this show is "dangerous."
Although I spent most of the show wondering where the robots were (hypothetically, I'm guessing that they count the remote-controlled moving platforms as "robots"), I noticed the scantily clad girls pretty quickly.  Daenerys and her six sisters here were the first performance (act?).  I wasn't all that shocked, honestly - Kabuki-cho is apparently kind of a red light district, and although I somehow managed to resist the temptation to see what the Host bars had on offer, I definitely picked up on the fact that the movie shops weren't selling Studio Ghibli's best.
The next act featured pole dancers (who apparently had to clean their own poles before performing)....
...accompanied by the Playboy bunnies on drums (seriously, what is it with all the drums?  I suppose there's a joke in there about getting pounded, but I've already resisted making one inappropriate comment in the last 24 hours - might as well keep it up).
Eventually we did see some "robots."  Some of the acts had a sort of narrative quality to them, and this was one of them.  The peaceful loving denizens of the jungle vs. robots from the future.  Of course, these weren't actual robots, and it seemed awfully unfair to me that the few men in the show were probably in those costumes, which left way too much to the imaginations of the women in the audience...
While the show thus far had been ridiculous as well as entertaining (although perhaps not ridiculously entertaining, it finally worked its way up to a fever pitch.
And delivered on its promise of robots.  Real robots, not dudes in robot costumes.
Who then proceeded to dance "Gangnam Style," with the scantily clad girls.  Madness?  No - THIS. IS.  TOKYO!
It was, truly, insane.  The last act had tank girls and plane girls hovering over the audience.  There were enough flashing lights to give you an epileptic seizure whether you had epilepsy or not.  The whole experience made me think that whoever came up with the movie Suckerpunch must have come here at some point.  It was definitely an interesting way to round out my Japanese cultural experience, although with the 6000 yen price tag I hope they pay those girls well!

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