For anyone still following, happy 6th anniversary to us! I’m relieved that my motivation for the past year picked up. As you can see, my playing speed is much faster when I don’t have to write spoiler posts. However, I do like checking my spoiler posts as and when for personal reference. So I think I will do a mix of them from now on.
Also, I see that quite a few people enjoyed my last post about otome-related places in Japan. I have a tendency to visit themed cafes, so I’m going to try to do my best recall my experiences, and post about them one by one. Of course, I will also write about any other interesting places or events I visit. For starters, I will describe my experience at Otomate Cafe, since I think many otome fans are curious about it!
I visited Otomate x Pasela Collaboration Cafe (Akihabara) two times, and interestingly the two experiences were soooo different. My first visit was with Chromite on a Friday, during the 1:30pm session. Not sure if it was because of the New Year break or not, but there was hardly anyone else. Besides our table, I think there were only two other tables occupied – each with a single customer. Moreover, we were the only table that came on time, and stayed till the end of the time slot. Probably also the only ones who made a reservation.
Speaking of reservation, you can easily do so online. Reservations open on the 1st of each month for the 16th – end of the month, and on the 16th for the following month’s 1st – 15th. By paying 1000 yen (plus a small fee), you get your reservation, a free drink and a freebie – usually a can badge. The can badges you receive usually changes. During the first visit, the can badges were Collar x Malice. After reserving online, you can head to Lawson when you’re in Japan itself, to exchange for the entry ticket. The good thing is, there’s no rush to collect your ticket in person (unlike Otomate Garden). Also, you can choose to either pay with your credit card online first, or to do so in person at Lawson. I’ve never actually tried the second option, but I think it was a selectable option.
The menu then, was before they revamped it later this year. So coincidentally, all of the menu items which we had ordered – are no longer available haha. It’s a pity because I remember that I really enjoyed Kent’s drink, and that Chromite really liked her Yunohana SpRING! afternoon tea set. But it’s a give-and-take. Since the revamp means that they could replace it with menu items for their newer games.
At your table, you will receive a random table mat. It can be from any Otomate series. You can choose to order and pay separately, which means that you will each get an ipad to order from. Whenever you order a main, you also receive a coaster – randomly, of course. During this visit, there was only one staff. And I’m not sure if it was my imagination or not, but it either felt as though she wasn’t comfortable with us foreigners, or would’ve preferred it if we had left earlier so that there would be zero customers left. I guess it really depends on your luck. Because another friend had recounted to us how she was the only customer in that morning for a good one hour, and she got to enjoy a pleasant conversation about Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly with the staff cosplaying as Hikage. Oh well.
The cafe space is pretty decent, with a small area hidden behind sliding doors and the walls are decorated with CGs – embarrassing CGs lol. Since there was no one else by the time we left, we were free to take photos of the cafe. By the way, if you look outside of the window, you will be able to see Animate Akihabara Girl’s Selection across the road!
Now let me describe my second visit, which will be closer to what you may experience. Since this is after they revamped the menu in April, and started to have a limited cafe menu in addition to their regular menu. The first theme they did for this was Code:Realize – which was what I went for. (After Code:Realize, they did Collar x Malice, and now it’s Natsuzora no Monologue.)
The reservation procedure and so on is the same. Aside from the obvious change in the menu, the cafe atmosphere was vastly different. I went with Rei (whom some of you might know), as fellow Code:Realize fans, during a Friday 4:00pm slot. It was packed! I’m not sure if it’s due to the Code:Realize fanbase, or if there’s a large crowd in the afternoon, or because there is also a small additional 16:00-only menu. But it was a full house.
Moreover, we were assigned to a table at the area, where the walls are decorated with (embarrassing) CGs. By chance, we were seated next to two tables with very passionate fans. I have already witnessed the fangirl passion from the itabags I have seen elsewhere, and from the vast collection of cafe merchandises fangirls will carry to cafes each and every time. So these passionate fans had those traits – and more. They don’t just have itabags or clear folders to store their can badges for trading. One girl carried a folder for you to browse the table mats (for trading). One table brought every other Code:Realize merchandise they owned to build a shrine with the food on the table. One girl brought a mini whiteboard to write down the items they want to trade for. One table constantly talked to a waitress whenever they had the chance, which probably highlights just how much of a regular they were.
Honestly, I bet that it was such a rare sight even among fellow fangirls. (Rei overheard a table commenting that even among themselves, they were impressed by one girl’s collection.) Moreover, we were seated next to two such tables. And yes, you are free to trade the coasters and can badges. Just take out the pink card (which should be somewhere already on the table), and place it openly for everyone to see. The good thing about having a full house and such an enthusiastic crowd with you, is that the other customers will be actively looking out to trade. You have more choice too, when they willingly bring along their entire collection to the cafe.
The (passionate) customers had no reservations in approaching our table to trade. I wasn’t able to trade my table mat (because Moujuutachi to Ohimesama), but I was able to trade my can badge and coaster! I think that we were very lucky to have gotten a slot with such a crowd. It was a really…unique experience.
Due to the full house, there were more staff and three of them were cosplaying as well! There was Lulu (Wand of Fortune), Laito (Diabolik Lovers), and Saint (Code:Realize) that day. From what I recall, you are free to take photographs of them – but do ask them first if you wish to upload the photo online. My impression of the staff this time, were that they were really nice and understanding. We made the mistake of also ordering our free drink via the ipad, instead of only verbally ordering. Hence we ended up with a double order, and had to apologise for our mistake. I also blindly missed out the pink card (which indicates that you are willing to trade), till a waitress told me where it was.
When I was paying for the bill, the staff also informed me about a stamp card (I remember vividly that it was the staff cosplaying as Saint). I’m not sure since when the stamp card was implemented. But anyway – you get one stamp per visit when you spend over 1000 yen. When you collect 20 stamps, you can get some limited goods. It doesn’t say what. And I wonder if I will ever fill up those 20 stamps…well, at least there is no expiry date.
Lastly, you may notice that I hardly commented on the food. To be honest, I do not expect much when I visit themed cafes. Especially not after enjoying the affordable but amazingly delicious delights of the countryside. However, I feel that the food served at Otomate Cafe was reasonable enough. At the end of it all though, I’m mostly there for the cafe theme, its characteristic atmosphere, and I suppose, the chance to observe how other fangirls are like.
I think that’s about it! How was your experience like? Do you plan on visiting Otomate Cafe? I know there’s a branch in Osaka as well. If given a chance, I would like to visit it as well just to see if the atmosphere is any different.