**Please note that the information in this post is as accurate on June 26 2017. **
Firstly, HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone reading this post!
As part of my anime cafes escapades during my June 2017 trip to Japan, I went to the “My Hero Academia X Animate Café”. I was especially stoked that I managed to get a reservation because I didn’t manage to get one back in 2016 when I tried to ballot for it. ^ ^
So I deliberately selected a time-slot (after 8pm) that I thought which could count as off-peak and thus raise my chances of getting the reservations (perks of staying in a hotel near to the animate cafes). I guessed it worked since I got my reservations but when I arrived at the café … lo’ and behold, this was definitely not an “off-peak” period!
Remember my important tip on Anime Cafes? We were all queuing for checks before we could enter the café So please use your real name during balloting and always remember to bring along a photo ID or passport that matches it to the café.
It is recommended to arrive around 10 minutes earlier than your allocated time-slot (in my case I only just made it in time because the lifts were full and I had to wait a couple before I could hop into one) because the Animate Café staff will always conduct verification checks before they admit you in.
Also being in the front of the queue just means you get to enter the café earlier and have more time to indulge in your photo-taking/eating.
I was promptly shown to my table and I got the Bakugou lunch mats! (Table 12) Unfortunately, I don’t get to take home the lunch mats (it’s stuck onto the tables) but I will get the exclusive coasters (11 types in all) if I ordered drinks/desserts/food. (Just an interesting side note: back in 2016, I somehow ended up with a lot of Todoroki stuff as the random items given to me for the My Hero Academia’s activities. In 2017, it was almost all Bakugou 😊 )
As it was rather late (8.20pm!) and I had a late and heavy lunch, I ended up just ordering from the desserts and drinks menu.
Interestingly, each of the “ingredients” in the dessert is based off a member of Bakugou’s Calvary team during the U.A Sports festival.
The biscuit is Kirishima (because it’s hard? lol); Bakugou is the Pachi Pachi Candy (because it supposedly has a pop and fizzle crunch to it?); the nata de co co represents Sero (sticky and chewy?) and Ashido is the strawberry whipped cream (because it’s pink?). The rest of the parfait dessert is completed with red ice-cream (I think its sherbet); pineapple ice-cream and cornflakes. Kirishima’s biscuit tastes really good, by the way ^ ^
Now on to my drink (because you tend to get thirsty after eating ice-cream, no?):
Ordered the Shoto’s Hot Cocoa and Vanilla Ice-cream.
To be honest, this was only alright. Nothing fancy to shout about but I guess it did fit the theme of “half-hot, half-cold” with the hot drink and the ice-cream. (Side note: I much prefer the Alaskan Bomb dessert at the Plus Ultra Cafe SG 2017 as I felt that was a much more fitting theme for our half-hot, half-cold hero. You can read about that here.)
Next, a visit to an animate cafe wouldn’t be complete without taking lots of photos of the decor within the cafe, so here are some of the highlights of the cafe! (Do excuse the photos as I was in a rush and I probably need to invest in a better camera.)
What was most special about the My Hero Academia X Animate Cafe was that it had two arcade game machines at the corner of the store. (Nintama had a photo sticker and name tag booth instead. )
I first played these My Hero Academia arcade machines at the My Hero Academia x Ikebukuro Exhibition back in 2016. Basically it’s a team battle game system and you can use (read: scan) character cards with QR codes to help boost your battles during the game. These character cards can be obtained from playing the game itself. Due to time constraints and a queue forming, I could only play a couple of games back then.
So I was thrilled to see that the cafe had the same game machines as well. The only problem I had was how to divide up my time so that I could eat, buy merchandises, take photos and play the games within 1.5 hours! It wasn’t easy, and I ended up becoming the last customer to leave (oops) and the staff were all cleaning and closing up the store by the time I was making my payment for the drinks/dessert . (They were nice enough to wait for my final card to be printed from the machine haha)
Another perk of visiting the animate cafes were the exclusive merchandises you can only buy at the cafe (second hand shops not withstanding.)
Every customer is given one of these “order” slips to purchase the exclusive animate cafe merchandise. As you can see from the order slip, you can only purchase a maximum of 10 of the key-holders and can-badges respectively.
So how it works is that each time you go to the counter to pay for your key-holder/can-badges purchases, you need to present this slip of paper and the staff will tick off the circles as per the quantity purchased.
Notice how there are also a time-stamp and date on each of these slips? This is likely to prevent cheating, i.e. using a slip from a previous visit to purchase more items than you can.
That said, I’ve seen several Japanese at the cafe whipping out their entire collection of the key-holders and can-badges by the dozens, which means they probably visited the cafe many times!! (Boy am I envious, since I can only visit the cafes if I travel to Japan)
Below is a little peek at the merchandise corner. I really like how they displayed the professional heroes merchandises at the cafe.
If you didn’t get the character you wanted from the merchandises in blind packaging or the (randomly given) coasters, you can always ask the fans at other tables if they would like to change with you. Usually, they will display the ones they would like to exchange at the side of their table.
So for My Hero Academia, I ended up with 3 Midoriya for the acrylic stands key-holders that I bought! While I like Midoriya, I really didn’t want to have the same character for the stands that I bought. So I mustered up my courage to ask some of the other fans if they would like to exchange with mine. Turns out there was a Deku Superfan who obviously didn’t mind (thank you!), and another nice fan who didn’t mind exchanging it for another and I got Aizawa-sensei and All Might’s acrylic stands. ^ ^
Here’s my loot for the day! 😊
And that concludes the end of my first My Hero Academia Cafe (MHA) visit! I really had a blast at the cafe and wouldn’t mind returning for another visit if I had the chance. 🙂
Now did you think that was the end of my MHA experience in Japan? NO! Because there’s always…
So I found out while passing by (okay playing) at the game arcades near my hotel that the My Hero Academia Kuji would start on a day within my stay in Tokyo. So I promptly showed up at the Kuji Counter in the morning at like 30 mins after the counter opened on the first day and there already was a long queue!
Interesting tidbit: The Japanese are really fair. If you told them you wanted X tickets at the start, You can only play X kuji tickets. You can’t, after playing them, ask to play x + 1 tickets if there are people queuing behind you. You have to rejoin the queue if you would like to play more tickets. This culminated into a very interesting experience where I ended up getting the last prize of the kuji due to this fair system. ^ ^
Interesting tip: If you do kuji at the Jump Store in Tokyo Station, you can get tax refund for the kujis! i.e. if you meet the minimum combined tax refund amount and you are a tourist of-course.
My Kuji Loot! ^ ^
I managed to win a Midoriya Towel; the cushion (as seen in the photo); a couple of rubber straps (5 in all) and the last prize!! That itself was an interesting story on how I got to purchase the last kuji ticket to get the circular towel. ^ ^
Oh and to top it all off, I managed to get a Bakugou Plushie from the crane game machines too!! ^ ^
In conclusion, I really had a lot of fun indulging in my anime/manga interest during this trip. (If you are interested to see what else I did, you can check out this summary post here)
So say it with me: PLUS ULTRA!!
P.S: Stay tune for a continuation of my My Hero Academia escapades in Japan 2017 in my next post: My Hero Academia X Namco experience! 🙂