When Square Enix's gamester marketing guru Hidemi Matsuzuka decided to throw in the towel after years of creating merch for such amusement as the Final Fantasy and Kingdom of Hearts sagas, he did the most logical thing for a career move. He opened up a restaurant in Tokyo.
But it isn't just any restaurant. True to the gothic themes of the games for which he used to create action figures and other paraphernalia, Matsuzaka opened up a rather ornate eatery that hearkened the Victorian era, a contrast of the prim and proper with a Dickensian doom permeating the interior. In short, a vibe of everything that was dark and dangerous at Square Enix. He appropriately dubbed it Chamber of Raven.
With the wrought-iron trimming that adorns the main entrance of the joint, easily within walking distance of the Ogikubo subway station, the first thoughts might be filled with trepidation. It's hard to figure out whether you're entering a former marketer's bar and grill or a torture chamber.
But some parts of the establishment are easier on the eyes, such as the main dining area, which resembles the interior of a clipper ship with a scale model of such a vessel perched on one of the tables. But one foyer resembles a museum of sorts with skeletal renderings of dinosaurs taking up some real estate.
Then there's a contrast with luxury upon entering the bar, with plush leather chairs and a giant window with a large red velvet curtain. Another room dubbed the Divine Salon is the brightest area in Matsuzuka's business, resembling the leisure rooms of yesteryear where chamber orchestras entertained their elite audiences.
There's also a rather diverse menu being served at Chamber of Raven that's anything but Victorian. Visitors can chow down to entrees that include a chicken and olive stew with rice, jerk chicken sandwich, or even an octopus and celery ragout. Prices on these items range between $9 to $12.
It was certainly captivating enough for gamester fans to let go of their joysticks and ignore the action on their consoles, if at least for a few seconds. The images from Chamber of Raven, posted on Twitter in late Augusty, have since racked up nearly 35,000 likes. Many of them raved over the thematic decor, although a few missed his absence at Square Enix, where Matsuzuka would also provide sneak previews of the latest game accessories before they hit the market.
But with a restaurant built to resemble the games' merchandise he used to peddle, it's safe to say that Matsuzuka hasn't entirely left the fantasy world.