Akiba Maid War has been all about screwing with our expectations from the starting. So the demonstrate going for some type of stunning swerve here at the midway place of the period is, by itself, technically not that surprising. They set ‘War’ suitable there in the title just after all, we need to have sensed that a greater conflict concerning the many crime cafes was brewing, with Oikny-Doink’s rather more…explosive tactic to conflict resolution due to the fact Ranko confirmed up to be an evident inciting element in that. Manami, the huge bad boss maid who reveals up in this week’s episode to really codify that escalation, is even recognizable as the proprietor of those people overwhelming legs all our principal characters are squaring up towards in the show’s intro. Her arrival heralds this most bold, risky flip for the collection yet: Akiba Maid War essentially needs us to just take it significantly now.
That is a proposition that is automatically going to vary by viewer. But to its credit history, Akiba Maid War commits to this convert just as comprehensively as it has every single other step on its efficient journey so far. Manami’s arrival to the Maidalien offices may possibly be the strongest instance yet of the show’s “Crime drama scene performed straight other than in maid outfits” gimmick. That is been the stage of so significantly of that preceding planet-making and contextualization, it looks: That we can check out this rigorous Yakuza tale acted out in the most absurd costumes this show has still offered. At this stage in the episode, it practically would seem like the ‘joke’ of Akiba Maid War is nonetheless in entire influence, as it can be not any place else you are going to get to witness a candy-colored space maid critically mutter the identify “Oinky-Doink Cafe” in a deadpan, vengeance-swearing tone.
But then, as the drums of a complete-blown Maid War carry on to defeat throughout this one’s run-time, we see and hear figures like Manami and Ranko discussing their pasts and paths that led to this position, and more of an thought of what this anime may be about begins to arrive into target. “New ain’t often the solution to everything.” Manami intones, agreed upon by Ranko. Ostensibly, it can be an assertion of these two established maidenly murderers bringing their more direct flavor of trouble-fixing back to the imply streets of Akihabara. Manami in specific is set out by the modern-day management’s fashion of settling grievances with peace choices and uncomplicated enterprise resolutions, rather thoroughly believing in the a lot more assertive, may-makes-correct street to respect attained through any bloodshed needed. It truly is a theoretical issue that will be amazed on weak Nanami by this episode’s conclude, that occasionally violence, sacrifice, and violent sacrifice are the only earnest possibilities to transfer forward.
On the other hand, this concept can also be go through on a metatextual degree, and if you know me, you know I enjoy the crap out of metatext, so let us get meta for a moment. Manami’s (and to a degree, Ranko’s) embracing of the aged-university can also be witnessed as embodying Akiba Maid War‘s design and style of story by itself. What we could possibly in the long run be viewing right here is the creators’ endeavours to keep the spirit of typical, challenging-boiled criminal offense tales alive the only way they thought they to begin with could in the present climate: Drenched in all the campy, otaku-interesting finery that they could muster. But that veneer by itself is couched as a throwback, in all the grunge of the switch-of-the-millenium Akihabara setting. They’ve bemusedly drawn us in consequently much, so what else is left on the agenda than for the Akiba Maid War anime crew to appear in swinging like Manami with her bat and present all us youngsters how a tale like this actually turns out after it will get going?
The middle of this turning position is Nerula, the cheerful Cafe Destron maid whom Nagomi befriended and has been finding advice from since the show’s get started. I experienced actually been all but specified that Nerula was likely to be packing some type of late-sport id-based mostly twist, her basically-sweet presentation of temperament established to give way to her turning out to be a substantial-rating maid manager or an undercover cop or one thing. But all those theories ended up as doomed as Nerula herself turns out to be. Even as Maid War thrives on subversion, it’s also focused to effectively flavorful foreshadowing, so we can really very well guess that things are not heading to convert out effectively for Nerula as she starts piling up demise flags in regards to her marriage with Nagomi. Is it to key us to be a minor much more accepting of the seriousness of her loss of life when it comes at the episode’s conclude, or is it basically to mark the entire workout as 1 a lot more main step on Nagomi’s character arc using her into the correct darkness of Akihabara? Why not each?
Akiba Maid War is however influencing some of that trademark stylistic irreverence by way of this. The sisterly maid marriage scene concerning Nagomi and Nerula is a spotlight, swapping out symbolically-shared sake sippings with a huge ol’ bowl of ramen. It truly is tonal dissonance that continue to underscores the story importance of this mechanic, laying out the motivational previous of Ranko’s possess dropped sister, and offering way to the later implication that Chief only oversaw Nagomi’s Oath of Sisterhood as an in to spying on Maidalien. That’s how you actually know Maid War is taking a swerve for the significant: Nagomi phone calls Chief out on her underhanded moves, and it can be an accusation performed fully straight this time. It belies the classes Nagomi is studying in watching the initiatives of Main, Ranko, and the some others as factors escalate right here: What essentially ought to be carried out, what you have to be willing to do, to endure as a maid in Akihabara.
That’s all a roller-coaster of heady themes around what’s very easily the most straightforward criminal offense-drama episode of Maid War nevertheless. Even the visual gag of it all staying carried out by cafe maids can’t carry on as an full joke at this stage, given that all the show’s dutiful environment-making has, perhaps also properly, cemented for us that this is just how Akihabara performs in this odd alternate historical past. To that, and Nerula’s, close at the climax of this episode, we occur to the key question of: How major do we want Akiba Maid War to get? Due to the fact what we have here is robust, impacting storytelling, particularly for an arc like Nagomi’s that we realized would have to be included by some means faster instead than later. And it truly is not like the show’s forbears this kind of as Black Lagoon weren’t ready to stability out darker, sadder cases of storytelling with other outlandish indulgences afterwards, then swing back to heaviness yet again. Is that aspect of the gimmick then? Is the show’s presentation confronting us with Nerula’s demise and daring us to check with why a cafe-total of sheep maids overwhelmed to dying is a punch-line, but this one maid bleeding out in an alleyway is a tragedy totally because the tone of the tale mentioned so?
That is a query that may well not be answered prior to the collection is around, as we wait to see what variety of landing Akiba Maid War is even aiming for prior to we can see if it sticks it. Apart from the visceral delights of the show’s presentation up to now, there is prospective for it to attain some certainly rigorous highs following this. But it’s plotted out an specifically narrow tightrope-walk for by itself now in approaching it this way. In a vacuum, I feel this episode labored as a tense, very well-structured 50 percent-hour of thematic drama on the two a base storytelling and symbolic degree. But when compared to the series as we’d been drawn into it until eventually now, it truly is an anomaly that may be a swerve much too far for some. And even if a single does respect it, as I do, we will not know how its real benefit shakes out until eventually we know for confident wherever it was likely.
Akiba Maid War is at the moment streaming on
Chris is a freewheeling Fresno-dependent freelancer with a enjoy for anime and a shelf full of way too numerous Transformers. He can be found expending way far too much time on his Twitter, and irregularly updating his blog site.