One of the several exciting events associated with our 100 Years of Yuri Tour was a visit to the Sailor Moon Restaurant, Shining Moon Tokyo. We included this, in part because Sailor Moon is foundational to a whole generation of not only Yuri fans, but also Yuri creators. (I recall a story in one of Hayashiya Shizuru-sensei’s early doujinshi on how she met her partner/assistant Makise Ren at a video rental store, as they both reached for a Sailor Moon S tape.) Also in part because I thought it sounded awesome and wanted to include it.
Shining Moon Tokyo was awesome, and I’m really glad we went. ^_^
To begin with, we were met at the door by a person who confirmed our reservation and took our dinner orders before we had set foot in the place. We then proceeded down stairs into a basement wonderland. Well…a relatively low-budget wonderland, anyway.
The tables and chairs were white resin, very 1960s. The stage was small, with stair up each side to a catwalk across the top and the smallest proscenium I had ever seen, not even a meter square. There was a screen across the stage, welcoming us to Shining Moon Tokyo.
The ceiling was hung with the planets…two of which became part of the show, in a rhythmic gymnastics kind of way.
Costumes in one section of the restaurant were the only decorative items. In most other ways the space felt like a cave or a basement theater…or a kind of modern Mithraeum, where a ritual enactment was about to take place. ^_^
The screen kept telling us that the show would start shortly, but first, we were served dinner. The choices were limited, so between us, we had all three options. I had the sushi platter, with little planetoid sushi.
There was the moon somen plater.
And the moon bunny curry.
Drinks were Senshi-themed. We split between the Sailor Moon (peach), the Venus (mango and green jello) and the Mars (shiso and some kind of berry.)
For dessert I think we all got the Silver Millennium cake.
The food was pretty good as far as it went, which is as far as microwaved platters can go. ^_^ They were served on planet symbol-themed wax paper over special Shining Moon Tokyo plates, which were a gift – after the dinner, we were handed boxes to take them home with us. We joked that if we can back a few times , we’d have enough for a service.
Just as the screen told us the show would begin shortly, I noted that the screen has English subtitles. Huh, how about that.
Then the show began. Not surprisingly, no pictures were allowed of the show, but we were encouraged to take pictures of the revue portion.
The show was the entire first season boiled down into a half-hour, with key points including the death of the Senshi kept intact. The individual fight scenes were pretty amazingly well-done. The screen functioned as some of the special effects, so Ami’s and Makoto’s attacks were shown on screen. Rei’s fight was exceptionally well done, using a large puppet for a nine-tailed kitsune and she twirled some kind of effect bar that showed up as flames – we all really liked that effect.
Even Tuxedo Mask had a decent fight scene that included lasers and smoke. “He” was still brainwashed for a bit there, but visually, the whole scene was cool.
Which brings me to Minako. We saw Abe Nanami as Minako/Sailor Venus, and we all commented that she leaned into her role hard. She was fantastic. Her fight was the most abstract, with nice use of light and shadow – and she made good use of the scenario. She also managed to dominate any scene she was in, in a good way. Additionally, as the performance wrapped up, I swore I saw a little byplay between her and Taguchi Mika, who played Mars. It was just a moment of interaction in which I was positive Rei was acting jealous. ^_^
I also want to shout out to the deathlings, played by the other set of actresses that switch off with the team we saw. My god, they were athletic. Even beyond flips and dance-fighting kicks and stuff, they did rhythmic, acrobatic, and aerial gymnastics. These 12 young woman work really hard for this show and I want to thank them all.
And then the actresses came out to greet those of us in the audience and my suspicions about Minako were totally confirmed. ^_^ I wasn’t filming, but I did capture photos of Venus throwing a kiss at my wife, and Mars reacting with jealousy, then Venus holding on to Mars for the rest of the greet. ^_^
Here’s the photos in a time lapse video.
Of course by then, we were all ready to spend money at the shop. Belatedly, I noticed we had nothing Mercury themed. Had I realized, I would have ordered a blue drink. Poor Ami.
It was a wonderful time and we all enjoyed the heck out of it.I recommend it highly if you’re already a fan of the series or are looking for a themed cafe and show.
After watching Minako in this little scenario, I’m more than ever convinced that it’s way past time for a 21st century update of Sailor Moon, in which the full range of gender and sexuality in the characters is openly acknowledged. Haruka as genderfluid, Minako as pansexual, the Starlights as trans…I think it would be swell. ^_^