100 Years of Yuri Tour: Sailor Moon Restaurant, Shining Moon Tokyo

September 22nd, 2019

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 came 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. ^_^

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4 Responses

  1. Super says:

    “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”.

    Well, if any of this is an unrealized part of the original intentions of the author, as was the case with Xena, then why not? Similarly, if the author supports such interpretations. But if the reasons for this are only the desire to make some social commentary in connection with current political trends or pandering to the fans, then to me personally this seems somewhat excessive.

    However, when the stuff of the new Dororo added a few new scenes and noticeably rewrote the ending only to openly refute popular interpretations that Dororo was a trans, it was rather strange. Tezuka-sensei is no longer with us, so it’s hard for me to say whether he even had any position on this.

    • I understand your point, but I’ll be honest when I say that author intent only goes so far in regards to fandom. The entirely of fanfic is writing in and around the cracks in a narrative, often wholly reshaping characters and situations to conform with fan desire.

      25 years of author intent has left more than just me wanting a modernized narrative. My assumption has always been that author intent was to see Haruka and Michiru as a kind of Takarazuka couple because in 1994, that was her understanding of a lesbian couple. And in 1994, that was not wrong. It’s 25 years later and I don’t care what Takeuchi wants. She’s had the series she wants, in Crystal. *I* want a series in which Minako is pansexual and Haruka genderfluid, etc, etc. ^_^

      • Super says:

        Well, I don’t know her personal intentions, but personally I have always seen Haruka and Michiru in that way, so, in this matter our opinion agrees, as I see it. In any case, I’m not Takeuchi-sensei, so given that she has never been against various readings or interpretations, I see nothing wrong with your interpretations or thoughts about the series.

        By the way, I understand that the mention of Netflix and Hollywood live action adaptations in this context may sound like trolling, but it is possible that someday you will be able to get such an opportunity in one sense or another. I don’t know if you are interested in this option, but it seems that Hollywood has seriously taken up the anime.

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