Looking back on 2014, part 8: the noitaminA café ate my weekends!

Merry Christmas!!
p.s. here’s a look at some of the other postcards you could have gotten from this Christmas campaign…

If you’re a noitaminA fan, then this is one experience you really shouldn’t be missing when you make it to Japan. Perhaps you’ve heard of the noitaminA café – there’s one in Osaka as well, but the main one is at Odaiba, an artificially constructed island in the Tokyo Bay area that has become a well-known leisure area. It may in fact sound familiar, for you’ve probably heard of the life-sized Gundam that hangs around outside Odaiba’s Diver City. Furthermore, this island is also the location of Tokyo Big Sight, the convention center where Comiket is held twice a year. However, though I do still want to check Comiket out at least once, I think that my favourite place on Odaiba will always be the noitaminA café. And one thing that I would say defined my stint in Japan this year involved tripsing out there to watch the two noitaminA series each week!

Admittedly, if it had been two series I was less interested in, I probably wouldn’t have gone so often, but in the end, I found myself at Odaiba for 6 out of the 11 episodes of Psycho-Pass 2 (and of the first cour of Your Lie in April). I missed 3 episodes when I was out of Tokyo, and the last one should have screened on the day that I left…but for some reason, they changed the schedule such that revamped episodes for the 1st BD would be screened instead. Perhaps the production team was a little behind schedule? Or perhaps they wanted to keep it under wraps until it was actually on TV? Whatever the case, that was probably a blessing in disguise, for I might seriously have missed my flight otherwise – especially considering a certain report that I had to pick up… As a consequence, I also missed out of a full set of those postcards – though I’m not actually too fussed, since the missing one is on Mika! I didn’t always understand everything that was being said (Your Lie in April was far easier to understand, for obvious reasons!), but I always got a thrill just out of being there. A conversation I struck up with one of the other fans there is another thing that I will remember fondly, from the tips she gave me about coming to the screenings, to a couple of extra badges that she gladly sold to me, and the excited speculation we got to about the Psycho-Pass episode we saw that day. And frankly speaking, I would gladly go back just to spend more time working my brain cells on identifying all the theme songs, which were obviously what the playlist was made of!

IMG_3630 IMG_3626
And here’s most of the collection I came away with… ^^

However…you could say I spent more time in the line than at the café, for the only way to get a seat at the café on a screening day was to line up outside the building before it even opened. Getting there around 9-9.30am generally netted me a seat at the 2nd screening (2pm). The fan I spoke to observed that this kind of popularity has only ever happened with two series, Psycho-Pass and AnoHana. Apparently, people who wanted to get into the first screening lined up from about 7am! Given that it took me roughly an hour to get to the café, needless to say, I never did… In fact, Psycho-Pass was so popular that for the final two weeks for both S1 and S2, they opened up another viewing area at the Fuji TV buildling opposite Aqua City!

A day at the noitaminA café on the weekend generally begins here…

As fate would have it, the first time I ever went to the noitaminA café in Aqua City, Odaiba, was back in 2012 when the first Psycho-Pass series was on. I watched Psycho-Pass episode 10 for the first time at the preview screening, on the weekend before it was broadcast on TV. That’s the one with Kougami running around with Akane’s friend in that abandoned, underground area, and it was pretty difficult to keep it to myself until Friday, when everyone else online had seen it! I also picked up Kou-chan’s jacket and treated myself to a “Bitingly Spicy ‘Psycho’ Roasted Steak Plate.” There were three levels of spiciness you could choose from, and though I can’t actually remember, given that this is Japan we’re talking about, I think I went for the “Lethal Eliminator” option…

But I’ve definitely rambled on for long enough! If you are a noitaminA fan, I do recommended dropping by the café at least once whilst you’re in Japan, preferably on a weekday, to check out some of goods exclusively available there, and perhaps to try some of the menu, which changes with each series. If your Japanese is up to scratch, then I’d suggest to try going to at least one screening, if only to bask in the (admittedly lame) knowledge that you’ve seen something five days before everyone else overseas has. I don’t expect everyone to love this kind of thing as much as I do. Standing in line for two hours or so when you could be doing something else probably doesn’t appeal to many people, especially if you don’t know enough Japanese to get by watching without subs. But there are other things to be had as souvenirs from the experience. For example, the postcards are only distributed at the screenings (you can only pick one up each time you go), and these 9 ‘super-deformed’ coasters are the bonuses I picked up from all the food I ordered this time round. After picking up one of Akane on my first trip, there are 10 more that I’m missing. Hm…is anyone willing to try and get them for me? ^^

About karice
MAG fan, translator, and localization project manager. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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