I woke somewhat excited about the prospects of some sort of interesting publicity event surrounding the debut of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal being held in conjunction with a sale at the Shibuya 109 department store. But I also tempered my expectations, knowing the that publicity even could turn out to be nothing more than a bunch of posters and banners. Around mid-day, Jon and I took the trains to Shibuya, exiting the station at the Hachiko exit into a mild rain. As soon as we crossed the intersection, we could see the giant Sailor Moon banners attached to the 109 building.
Staff in orange polo shirts manned each entrance, handing out Sailor Moon bargain sale cardstock fans to every passerby. Immediately I was a bit crestfallen, as I was hoping that the free promotional fans would be a bit more substantial and permanent than mere printed cardboard.
The left interior wall of the ground floor lobby was adorned with large posters of the Sailor Senshi. The mall seemed especially packed with female shoppers, some obviously arriving for the Sailor Moon promotion and an equal number coming just for the discount sale. I directed Jon toward the elevator, and we rode up to the 8th floor. On that floor we found the Spinns store that had exclusive new Sailor Moon tote bags, charms, and walking shoes, but nothing seemed especially bargain priced. I was a bit disappointed to learn that the 8th floor photo area would not provide costumed models for photographs. Rather, (female) customers that purchased at least 3,000 worth of goods in the Shibuya 109 building’s dozens of stores earned the opportunity to change into their choice of the provided Sailor Moon cosplay outfits and have their photo taken by a professional photographer.
As we departed the building, Jon suggested stopping for lunch. We exited the left side of the building and began walking up the hill. Across the street, at the Toho Theater, I thought I spotted a Girls Und Panzer poster captioned “Now Showing.” Jon suggested stopping at the Mos Burger, so I agreed, as I haven’t eaten at Mos Burger during this trip yet.
I ordered a double teriyaki burger with the drink & fries set. To my moderate dismay, the only cola that the restaurant seemed to have on tap was Pepsi Nex. After paying, we took our drinks and sat down. Moments later a server brought our burgers out to us. The Teriyaki burger was quite tasty, with a mix of tart, sweet teriyaki sauce and a heaping serving of sweet mayonnaise that tasted similar to tartar sauce. Pepsi Nex, I discovered, is not an especially tasty diet cola.
Returning back across the street, we discovered that limited theatrical screenings of the Girls Und Panzer: Kore ga Hontou no Anzio-sen Desu! OVA started playing today. (In fact, I didn’t actually realize that the screening was an OVA premiere and not the Girls Und Panzer motion picture until the 38-minute episode ended with a teaser trailer for the movie.) Since the screening was short, tickets were only 1,200 yen instead of the standard 1,800 yen. I bought two tickets; we selected our reserved seats from the ticketing machine, then we figured that we had an hour to kill before the screening.
We walked a few blocks over to the Mandarake store where I tried very hard to refrain from extensively browsing and instead just head to the shelf of film comics. I picked out a used Heart Cocktail film comic for 315 yen that I’d seen during my previous visit to the store but inexplicably didn’t buy. I also happened to spot of Sasuga no Sarutobi book priced at 105 yen. Since the width of the book was wrapped in transparent plastic, I could only barely thumb through the top of the book’s pages. From what limited amount I could tell, the book appeared to be an unusual English language color manga. I decided that it would be a worthwhile chance for a dollar.
After paying for my purchases, Jon & I took the elevator up to the third floor to see what the Animate+ store contained. The sizeable store was primarily a bookstore with a substantial supplement of character goods. The shop had a lengthy rack of doujinshi for girls. I didn’t see if the store had a comparable section for male readers. I did spot brilliant hard plastic stackable storage boxes specifically sized for typical Japanese doujinshi. I wish I could bring a few of those back to Florida with me.
We returned to the theater with a few minutes to spare. The ushers handed every patron a flyer for the Shibuya 109’s bargain sale with an attached coupon for an additional discount. And each patron was handed a metallic silver rectangular envelope that turned out to contain a strip of film from the OVA. The screening was preceded by trailers for Transformers 4, Rurouni Kenshin 2 & 3, Godzilla, Stand By Me Doraemon, Annie, Brad Pitt narrating a teaser for Fury, and ads for Toho Cinemas and an anti-video piracy message. The OVA screening was directly preceded by an episode of Kamiusagi Rope. The “This Is the Real Anzio Battle!” OVA itself is very typical Girls Und Panzer anime. Roughly the first half of the episode is comic preparation for the rival teams’ battle. The second half of the episode is the extended strategic tank battle complete with a fierce tank duel and plenty of tank “drifting” as though the tanks were sports cars. Jon, who wasn’t familiar with the franchise, had a cool reaction to the episode. I found it pretty enjoyable.
As always, the theater lights stayed dim, and the audience stayed seated until the very last frame of the screening. The closing credits were followed by a comic epilogue and a short teaser for the upcoming feature film.
Exiting the theater, I noticed a selection of Girls Und Panzer merchandise available for sale. However, the only item available that specifically had the “Kore ga Hontou no Anzio-sen Desu!” subtitle was a randomly packaged clear file that would have one of six tank designs. The only movie programs available were for the new theatrical screenings of the digital remaster of the 1954 Gojira, the new Rurouni Kenshin sequel, and one each for the three Ghost in the Shell: Arise OVAs. So I purchased nothing.
On the way back to Shibuya’s Hachiko square I spied a restaurant that offered a miniature square watermelon for $108, the legendary full-sized square watermelon for $150, and even had a window display of a heart-shaped watermelon.
Jon & I stopped in to explore the offerings at the Shibuya Tatsuya store. The building’s first floor is new CDs. The second floor is new CDs and home video and a Starbucks. The third and fourth floors are rental CDs and DVDs. The fifth floor is rental adult DVDs. This store did have the three Bouken Shitemoii Goro OVA DVDs available but not the Yonimo Osoroshi Grimm Douwa OVA. Ultimately, I rented the three Bouken Shitemoii Goro discs, the first DVD volume of Nanbo no Monjai!, the Tobe! Kujira no Peek movie, and the new release OVA Itoshi no Muco. Jon paid the extra hundred yen for the option to drop the discs in a mailbox rather than physically return them to the Shibuya store.
We stopped at the nearby Baskin-Robbins, both of us opting for the “Happy Four” promotion that offered four scoops of ice cream in a cup for 490 yen.
In the evening Jon & I walked up the street in search of a restaurant that seemed appealing. Eventually Jon suggested a basement shabu-shabu restaurant. Having no particular preference, I agreed readily. Jon selected an all-you-can-eat course. The waiter placed a donut shaped bowl of water into the warming pit in the center of our table then set down trays of vegetables and thin strips of beef sirloin. Jon & I dumped the raw food into the water, periodically fishing out what we wanted to eat.
The restaurant offered a two-hour all-you-can-drink special for 1,500 yen, and also offered “kodomo beer,” non-alcoholic “starter” beer for children who want to fit in with their beer-guzzling elders at the dinner table.
As the trays of raw strip sirloin started appearing with less regularity, I began to suspect that the restaurant management hadn’t planned on the seemingly bottomless depths of a typical American stomach. As the wait staff seemed to deliberately try to avoid our table as much as possible, I finally decided not to wear out my welcome and conclude our dinner. I can’t say that the $50 bill was entirely unexpected or unreasonable considering the amount of beef Jon & I consumed, but it was much more than I’d anticipated spending on dinner, especially since the previous night’s dinner had cost me $70.
Knowing that the following day was Sunday, with roughly 1,500 Japanese yen left in cash before I could do currency exchange at a bank on Monday, I figured that if the next day’s weather turned out nice, the cash I had on hand would be just enough to get me out to Odaiba and back to see the life-sized Gundam statue.