Shining Moon Tokyo was supposed to last forever, but like the Silver Millennium Moon Kingdom, it’s now a thing of the past.

It was with great fanfare that Shining Moon Tokyo opened last summer. While it may not have been the first Sailor Moon-themed restaurant, Shining Moon was special. It wasn’t a limited-time pop-up cafe, but a permanent restaurant, and what really made it a must-visit was that Shining Moon Tokyo hosted live stage performances starring Sailor Moon, her Sailor Senshi pals, and Tuxedo Mask every single day.

Factor in a location in Tokyo’s Azabu Juban neighborhood, the part of the city where Sailor Moon protagonist Usagi lives, and fans weren’t just coming for a meal and a show, but a lifelong memory. Unfortunately, though, while the Sailor Senshi have defeated countless monstrous opponents over the years in their mission to protect humanity, Shining Moon Tokyo has reached the difficult conclusion that it’s unable to protect customers from the coronavirus, and so the restaurant has announced that it’s permanently closing.

▼ Photos of Shining Moon Tokyo

Shining Moon Tokyo’s end comes not with a bang, but with a quiet fade-out, like the moon softly disappearing into the light of the morning sky. The restaurant stopped serving customers in April, in what was initially meant to be a temporary suspension of business operations in response to the government-declared state of emergency in Tokyo. But as the pandemic stretched on, Shining Moon Tokyo has remained shut-down, and the restaurant has now released a statement informing fans that:

“Though the state of emergency has been lifted, after much discussion and thorough consideration we have come to the conclusion that it would be difficult to take sufficient measures to protect the spread of the coronavirus in the environment of the restaurant, and so we have decided to permanently close the restaurant.”

It’s worth noting that in Japanese, “difficult” is often used as a euphemism for “impossible,” or at least “impractical enough that it can’t be done,” which makes sense considering the sort of experience Shining Moon Tokyo sought to provide. A relatively small venue (by stage play standards) where people are encouraged to come with groups of fellow fans to eat and drink, with the cast giving energetic performances at close distances, ticks a lot of items on the checklist of high coronavirus risk factors.

▼ These photos show not only how close the performers are to each other, but how close they are to the audience.

Given how much the restaurant and entertainment industries have been impacted by the coronavirus, it’s not surprising that Shining Moon Tokyo, being a convergence of the two sectors, would be hit especially hard. All the same, the news that the restaurant is folding, and without the opportunity for a final curtain-call performance in front of an audience, has been met with a tearful response online, even as fans express their understanding and gratitude, with comments such as:

“I was able to go one time, and it was truly like a dream come true. I was so happy. Thank you.”
“I never got a chance to go, but with things being the way they are, it can’t be helped.”
“The customers really do sit close to the stage there.”
“I went on my birthday in September. I love Sailor Mercury, and seeing her right in front of me was just the best. To all the staff and cast, I wish it could have lasted longer, but thank you.”
“I went twice, which is like a miracle. I’ll never forget that I was able to say ‘Mako-chan, I love you!’ to Sailor Jupiter [actress] Mayuka [Ida].”

“It was a wonderful place where Sailor Moon fans from all over the world could gather,” another Japanese commenter chimed in with, and sure enough, Shining Moon Tokyo’s decision to permanently close has also prompted overseas Sailor Moon fans to send bittersweet messages of thanks.

“I’m very happy I got to visit last year.”
“I loved my visit to Shining Moon Tokyo!!! Thank you so much for the memories.”
“It was magical.”
“Noooo!!! I was going to go in December.”

However, in keeping with the Sailor Moon franchise’s frequent message that even when things seem their bleakest, it’s important to hold on to any sliver of hope, there’s a tiny bit of encouragement contained in Shining Moon Tokyo’s announcement:

“We apologize deeply to everyone who had been eagerly waiting for our reopening, and hope that someday we will be able to see you again.”

It’s not like the restaurant’s core concept was flawed, just that it doesn’t mesh with an ongoing pandemic, so maybe, at some sadly still-unknown point in the future when the coronavirus is no longer such a concern, we’ll see Shining Moon Tokyo return in some capacity. After all, if the Sailor Senshi were able to come back from the dead, their restaurant should be able to too.

Related: Shining Moon Tokyo
Source: Twitter/@sailormoon_SMT via Nijimen
Top image: Shining Moon Tokyo
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Follow Casey on Twitter for periodic bouts of blatant Sailor Jupiter favoritism.