Five places for anime fans to go to in Japan

Collectibles from the swimming series Free! (above right) wereon sale.
Collectibles from the swimming series Free! (above right) wereon sale.PHOTO: ANIMAX
Humanoid machines.
Humanoid machines.ST PHOTO: CHAN BOON LIAN
Take a shot at dubbing a character’s voice at an interactive display (above).
Take a shot at dubbing a character’s voice at an interactive display (above).PHOTO: SUGINAMI ANIMATION MUSEUM

1 ANIMAX CAFE

At Animax Cafe in Akihabara, Tokyo, the staff dream of becoming professional seiyu, or voice actors, and handily belt out songs to entertain diners.

The theme at the concept cafe changes regularly and extends to the merchandise, food and drinks menu and also the coasters. The popular taiyaki snack, a fish-shaped cake with various fillings, gets an anime twist and is shaped into characters from shows.

A new branch of the cafe opened in Osaka in June.

When The Straits Times went to the Tokyo cafe last month, Star-Mu, an anime series about high school students of a music academy, was in the spotlight, while collectibles from the swimming series Free! were on sale.

Where: 3-7-12 Sotokanda Chiyoda-ku Tokyo

When: Noon to 10pm (weekday), 11am to 10pm (weekend)

Admission: 500 yen (S$5.70) plus a mandatory food and drink order for the table area and a mandatory order of either food or drink at the cafe area

Info: cafe.animax.co.jp (in Japanese)


2 ROBOT RESTAURANT

This could well be a draw for those who love mecha, a specific genre of robots and humanoid machines with titles such as Gundam and Neon Genesis Evangelion.

The kaleidoscopic waiting area, with its lights, mirrors and glittery surfaces, is merely a tease for the over-the-top neon fantasy to follow - performers drum up a storm, laser beams bounce off the walls, a clown sits in the lap of a giant female figure and, yes, there are robots dancing.

Sit in the first row and have the action take place a hair's breadth away.

Where: 1-7-1 Kabukicho Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku Tokyo

When: Daily shows at 4, 5.55, 7.50 and 9.45pm. Arrive 30 minutes before showtime. Closed from Dec 31 to Jan 3

Admission: 7,000 yen a person, discounts available on the website

Info: www.shinjuku-robot.com/pc/?lng=en


3 J-WORLD TOKYO

Shonen Jump is a long-running weekly manga anthology and many of its popular titles have been adapted into anime, including ninja action drama Naruto, pirate comedy One Piece and volleyball series Haikyu.

At J-World, step into the shoes of your favourite character and, for example, solve puzzles to collect Dragon Balls or try to spike a volleyball set up by star player Kageyama. There are also limited-edition merchandise to buy and character-themed food and drinks to tuck into.

Where: 3-1-3 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo Sunshine City World Import Mart Building 3F

When: 10am to 10pm daily Admission: An Unlimited Attractions Pass costs 2,600 yen for adults and 2,400 yen for children (aged four to 15) and includes the entrance fee and unlimited one-day access to rides and attractions. A Night Passport for use between 5 and 10pm costs 1,800 yen for adults and 1,600 yen for children

Info: www.namco.co.jp/tp/j-world/en/


4 SUGINAMI ANIMATION MUSEUM

Find out what goes into the making of an anime.

Learn the basics of animation in a workshop and take a shot at dubbing a character's voice at an interactive display.

There are also exhibits on the history of the genre, a library stocked with anime-related material and photo opportunities such as pretending to be a member of classic character Chibi Maruko-chan's family. Note that most of the material is in Japanese.Where: 3-29-5 Kamiogi Suginami-ku, Tokyo

When: 10am to 6pm. Closed on Mondays, from Dec 28 to Jan 4 and on the day after a national holiday

Admission: Free

Info: sam.or.jp/english-home


5 ANISONG CONCERTS

Animax Musix, organised yearly by Animax Japan since 2009, is one of the biggest anisong (anime song) live concerts in Japan.

At the Nov 21 edition at the 17,000-seat Yokohama Arena, fans were on their feet for more than six hours in a song-and-dance extravaganza, waving their lightsticks in perfect timing to the rhythm of every track.

Apart from hearing their favourite anime theme songs from more than 40 acts, they were also treated to one-off collaborations between artists.

Rocker Gero caused a stir when he appeared in drag as the seventh member of girl group iRis for the pairing Gero-Ris.

The next Animax Musix concert will be held in Osaka on Feb 13.

Info: musix.animax.co.jp (in Japanese)

Boon Chan

•Animax Musix 2015 Yokohama will air in April on Animax (StarHub Channel 532).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2015, with the headline 'Five places for anime fans to go to in Japan'. Print Edition | Subscribe