Two lucky members of UP AME were invited by Yumeno Cafe last November 16, 2019 to experience the first ever Philippines Ensemble Stars Cafe Event. It was named after the beloved Yumenosaki Gakuen (夢ノ咲学園), a school that specializes in boys’ idol training. With the premise of the customers being the producers visiting the school for the sake of supporting their favorite idol groups in their first ever cafe, Yumeno Café strives to be every Ensemble Stars fan’s “café of dreams,” hence the name (夢のカフェ).
In Ensemble Stars, there are 12 idol groups to choose from, with 2-4 members each with the exception of one of the newly introduced groups, MaM. Under special circumstances, Anzu (you, the main character) was chosen to be the first student under the ‘producer course’ with the task of producing these idols, and later on Anzu starts to produce the idol group ‘Trickstar’ which plans for a revolution in hopes to make the students free to express themselves and perform as they wish.
But before we delve in further in the plot, one can really see that this cafe was made for the fans, and by the fans, as we saw the staff and the butlers alike were very excited for this event. We aren’t really deep into the fandom yet but nonetheless felt welcomed by the joyous atmosphere of the host Anzu and the very quirky butlers serving each table. One of us each went to each of the sessions to get to feel the whole cafe experience.
For the first session which was held at 1 pm until 3 pm, the customers were tasked to sign in their sheets and were given a goodie bag with their photobook, a random coaster, a random photocard of one of the butlers, and a signed photocard with everyone in it. And that’s not all, at the back of the Rising Star Producer Pass is a bingo where if you complete it would give you a special prize! But sadly, we were not able to receive it and we don’t know the contents of the special prize.
During the first session, we were given time to interact with our pre-assigned butlers who were really cute and in character. K-P had Mika Kagehira as her butler, and was taught how to play the Cat’s Cradle as it was his specialty, and also played a candy memorizing game. After a while, stage games have started, with the song guessing game up first. We only had a few seconds to think and to recognize the song. After the first stage event, the food was served. It was surprising that the pasta was still warm despite the venue being known for their coffee and blended drinks. The food was really filling, so it took awhile before everyone was done and was ready for the second stage game which required teamwork from all the tables, a lyric arranging game. It was a bit hard due to the added difficulty of extraneous lyrics but it was fun seeing everyone work together. Lastly, we had the photo session, and it felt longer than just 10 minutes because everyone was roaming around, fangirling and fanboying on their mutual interests amidst taking pictures. The session ended in an organized matter and it didn’t really feel lacking afterwards, if from the point of view of a new cafe goer.
For the second session, food was served first before the stage games. F-P was able to interact with her tablemates and her butler, Chiaki Morisawa. The table played a cup-stacking game after the tablemates and F-P ate their food. The other tables were also playing unique games in which each table had a different game from one another. It was very lively as all of the other tables were actively playing games with their butlers. After a while, the stage games started. The first stage game was a trivia game with 10 questions about the Ensemble Stars franchise. It asked about the game, the anime and even the voice actors of the characters. One question was about Arashi Narukami’s past and present voice actor, in which the answers were Sosuke Soma, and Ryo Kitamura. One person answered, “Kitamura Mao”, which made everyone laugh because that was the name of the cafe head. The next stage game was a blind dating game which a customer will have a chance of having a special moment with one of the three butlers that would try to woo the heart of the customer. The catch is that the customer doesn’t know who they are as they are facing away from the butlers. The questions that the butlers had to answer were all so sweet and very cute, like for example, what season they liked the most or what kind of chocolate would they be. The winner of this blind dating game was Mika Kagehira as most of their answers were chosen by the lucky customer. They had selfies together while one of the butlers was having fun, making silly faces in the background. The session ended with the photo session and a birthday surprise for Kitamura Mao since it was their birthday a few days before the cafe. They thanked everyone who went to the cafe and asked the crowd if they wanted a part two, to which the crowd shouted yes.
As we compared, the games for each session were different so it’s more worth it if you went to both, since it has a discounted price of 750 pesos. Both of us truly enjoyed the event even if we didn’t have in-depth knowledge of the franchise yet. Hopefully there would be a second Yumeno Cafe, and hopefully by that time K-P and F-P are already deep in the fandom!