Did you know that themed restaurants is a big thing in Japan? They have everything from food courts to coffee shops dedicated to a certain tv-show, anime or video game. One of the more famous ones (and the one we picked), was the Square Enix Café in the nerdy mecca Akihabara. Usually they have a mix of all the different franchises from Square Enix, but when we went, there was an ongoing Final Fantasy 15 event, causing everything in the shop to focus on that specific title. We went there not knowing that we needed a reservation which was a big mistake since everything was fully booked. The only chance to get inside was to wait until the last “open” time that was at 9PM the same evening. Since this was a big thing for us, we decided to accept the offer and left the restaurant with special tickets. What we didn’t know, was that this evening was a once in a lifetime moment with one hell of a surprise.
Later that night when we returned, we had to line up outside the building, waiting for the staff to come and get us. While in the cue, two girls suddenly started to scream, causing others to crowd in front of the shop to check out what was going on. Suddenly, the director for Final Fantasy 15, Mister Hajime Tabata appeared, making everyone extremely excited. It turns out that he was going to join us during the dinner.
After getting special “guest” passes, they showed us to our tables before closing the restaurant doors so that others couldn’t get it. The seats soon filled with Japanese giddy girls, us and a guy from Spain. The reason why Mister Tabata joined us was because he wanted to talk to fans about Final Fantasy 15. What was good and what was bad? Did we have any wishes for future changes, additions or DLC’s? Everyone who had something to say were welcome to sit down by his table. That’s what he said when he introduced himself, as well as his two friends who also were a part of the crew for the same game.
For each drink you ordered, you got a special “random” coaster with one of the characters. If you also ordered food, you got a poster on the way out. All these items are limited edition and things that can only be found at the café. The slightly small room was filled with posters, cards and tv screens showing trailers and clips from FF15. The menu all had nicknames dedicated to the characters and on the side of the restaurant was a small store where you could buy new and unique items (not only with Final Fantasy, but also with Nier: Automata and other games).
After getting some food and drinks, we decided to head over and say hi to Mister Tabata. He wanted us to sit down by his table, something that we couldn’t refuse. We talked about Sweden, work and he said that he really liked the company Dice. Hajime Tabata also took notes of everything we talked about regarding the game. He wanted to know what we did and did not like, and if there was anything we were looking forward to. Something that we liked, was that he really listened to the fans wishes and works hard together with his crew to make Final Fantasy 15 the best game it can be. That’s something to truly admire.
If you get a chance and you’re a Final Fantasy fan, this tiny but nostalgic and cosy restaurant is something for you. If you want to go there for the event, remember that it’s ending on October 13th / 2017. Who knows? Maybe you’ll also bump into Hajime Tabata when visiting the Square Enix café!
Square Enix Café / Akihabara (9AM – 10:30PM)