Originally, I was going to do another “Streaming on Hidive!” column for this season’s anime. I’m glad that the streaming service is getting more exclusives here and there, and it’s good to recommend great series. However, on a whim I decided to watch the premiere of Akiba Maid War and now I want nothing more. This is a series that exceeds all my expectations and I can’t wait to catch up weekly.
What is Akiba Maid War?
I’m not really into idol singers or maid cafes when it comes to consuming anime. However, I like a dash of comedy as well as subversive shows, and this one does not disappoint. The anime takes place during 1999 in Akihabara, where maid cafes are all the rage. Nagomi Wahira is a naïve yet well-meaning girl that wants to the Oinky Doink Café, a pig-themed maid café.
She’s not the only newbie, as Ranko Mannen also ends up joining the same day. An uneventful first day turns action-packed as the manager sends the girls on a mission to visit a neighboring café. Nagomi is the epitome of someone wet behind the ears, but Ranko is not. She uses her professional skills to negotiate with the rivals.
Of course, by skills I mean, “brutally kills the whole gang of maids in self-defense.”
In a way, Akiba Maid War reminds me of Way of the Househusband mixed with Sabagebu but with higher stakes. The first scene is a 1985 flashback with maids getting murdered in cold blood, which also may explain Ranko’s backstory. The second half of the episode is filled with gore and high-stakes action. It’s no wonder Nagomi tries to leave by the end of her first day (but is stuck bunking with Ranko).
However, it’s also still an anime that revolves around a fledging maid café. This series shines a light on the cutthroat business of maid cafés and idol singers. However, at its heart it’s still a bubbly show about cute characters trying to succeed.
Akiba Maid War: A mix of guns and girls
The highlight of Akiba Maid War’s first episode is in its climax. The Oinky Doink Café performs a cute song while Ranko is racking up a body count and Nagomi helplessly watches. It seamlessly punctuates percussion with projectiles as multiple characters are shot and killed. However, the energy is kinetic and the action gives off a goofy vibe. It’s like the action sequences of Everything, Everywhere at Once and I dig it.
The gritty underbelly of the series is always offset by its cutesy veneer, but there’s always something to remind you that there’s more than meets the eye. It reminds me of the businesslike aspects of Magilumiere Co. Ltd. and Puella Magi Madoka Magica’s subversive style. It also helps that Ranko is simultaneously good and bad at her job. While dedicated to service customers smiles, her rigid personality and cold persona causes fear in her clientele. Ranko’s killer gunplay works well with Nagomi’s fun naivete and the rest of the café’s supporting cast.
Anime of the season?
Look, I’m a Chainsaw Man stan and was also impressed by the premiere. However, I’ll also say that Akiba Maid War has the chance to be this season’s anime to watch too. This anime is a breath of fresh air and if the show keeps it up, it can reach some great heights. Hidive has hit a homerun with Akiba Maid War.