Anime food tastes better than regular food. It’s a fact that anything with your favorite character on it is going to taste better, and Osomatsu-san‘s staff seems to know this well. At any given time around Tokyo, there’s an event happening featuring exclusive merchandise or goodies to obtain. It’s equal parts soul sucking and thrilling to obtain a reservation or track down a Osomatsu-san cafe collaboration before all of their merchandise runs out.
There are typically two different kinds of cafe collaborations, ones that you can walk up to and ones that you sit down at. Sit downs tend to require either a reservation through a lottery system, or showing up early to get a ticket and coming back when your ticket tells you to. Some of these are ultra competitive, particularly ones that sell exclusive goods you can’t get anywhere else. Tower Records Cafe was an example of this; at the height of Osomatsu-san‘s popularity, unfortunately I didn’t get in.
Another example would be アニON (ANION) STATION cafe. There were two Osomatsu-san x アニON STATION cafes held in Tokyo, one in Shinjuku and one in Akihabara. I stumbled upon the Akihabara one by chance, and went inside figuring that they’d turn me away for not having a lottery ticket. To my surprise, I was let right in. In fact, I was the only one in the entire cafe. The cafe was dungeon-like with minimal lighting and no windows, and just one slideshow of screenshots projected on the screen while the character ending tracks looped over and over. Let me tell you, it was one of the most bizarre situations of my life.
I ordered Osomatsu’s yakisoba dish, Osomatsu’s soda, and Ichimatsu’s chocolate strawberry cake. All were just fine, if not a bit overpriced. I didn’t try my hand at buying any merchandise, in fact, I really just wanted to leave. Note to self: go to these things with friends.
And so I did! The next day, I met my friend Ashley and we ventured to the Shinjuku one together (I should mention I got us wildly lost on the way there and she didn’t make me feel bad about it, thank you Ashley). The Shinjuku one was a million times better than the cavey Akihabara one, and even included… themed tables!!!
Osomatsu table: little pieces of sushi, Atami travel magazine (the vacation spot he suggested to Choromatsu)
Karamatsu table: guitar, sunglasses, roses
Choromatsu table: double-sided otaku fan (“Nyaa-chan LOVE/I love you!!”), tissue box, glow sticks
Ichimatsu table: sanitary mask, cat food, cat treats, cat toy
Jyushimatsu table: baseball and bat, wristband
Todomatsu table: phone case, hat, shampoo set
As two Osomatsu girls, we were disappointed that the Osomatsu table was taken, so we settled for Karamatsu since he had the funniest stuff. We ordered two sodas each (we were thirsty after all that aimless walking) and got the sampler dish of everything, as well as Todomatsu and Ichimatsu’s desserts. The bonus here – aside from actual light, a much friendlier atmosphere, no fear of death – was you got coasters with every order!! I was so excited to get Detective Osomatsu and Inspector Choromatsu. All in all: halfway decent food, fun coasters, exclusive merchandise to win, and fun tables to cater to diehards – not a bad experience!
But if you don’t have time to sit down or simply don’t want to drop ¥2000 on anime food, even more accessible are the walk-ups that operate as their own existing establishment, but with an option to choose an Osomatsu-san variation. Crepe stands, gelato joints, and bubble tea places… you name it, Osomatsu-san has probably set up shot there. While these don’t usually come with exclusive merchandise, you still get a random postcard or coaster per item purchased, which makes the concept a little more inviting.
The randomized goodies serve as a fun memento; that ¥500 bubble tea is a little easier on the wallet when you have a postcard to remember it by. I’ve accumulated a slew of coasters and postcards from these little collaborations, and they conjure up fun memories of the experience and what kind of day I was having. For something sentimental, can you really complain about the cost?