Naïve Nagomi starts working at the Oinky Doink maid café with emotionless Ranko.
Episode 1 – “Oink It Up! Starting Today, You’re an Akiba Maid!”
Do you like maid café animes with short skirts and delicious incantations of “moe, moe, kyuun!”? How about hardboiled gang turf war dramas with sad Enka music end credits? Both, did you say? You’re in luck! Studio P.A. Works brings us Akiba Maid War (アキバ冥途戦争 – Akiba Maid Sensou), which combines adorable maid café outfits and street violence. Each maid waitress persona finds a home here. The stoic veteran, Ranko, starts off the gun-fu dancing for the season. Will the other maids have their scenes? I want to see it!
Who Fights the Akiba Maid War?
Set in 1999, when “Windmill 95” was still a thing on CRT monitors, wide-eyed Nagomi Wahira comes to Akihabara to work at a maid café. But as we saw in a prologue set in 1985, the bright sidewalk signs for these shops hide dark alleys. Ranko Mannen, the flat-voiced maid, appears to be a veteran maid waitress of both the light and the dark. Let’s meet the cast of Akiba Maid War.
- Nagomi Wahira (voiced by Reina Kondou – Hana Ichinose from Slow Start) arrives in Akihabara to fulfill her dream of serving masters in a maid café. Her name in Japanese, 和平なごみ – wahei nagomi, means “peace and quiet.”
- Ranko Mannen (voiced by Rina Satou – Sailor Mars from Sailor Moon) is a charmless 35-year-old. She has the skill set to make it as a maid waitress in Akiba: she knows maid gun-fu! Her name in Japanese, 万年嵐子 – mannen arashiko, means “eternal storm child.”
- Yumechi (voiced by Minami Tanaka – Mary Saotome from Kakegurui) works at Oinky Doink Maid Café. She is fun and friendly to customers but cold to coworkers. Her name in Japanese, ゆめち – yumechi, refers to dreams (yume).
- Shiipon (voiced by Tomoyo Kurosawa – Rebecca from Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, and Kumiko Oumae from Hibike! Euphonium) is a dark-skinned “gyaru.” Her name in Japanese, しぃぽん – shiipon, means “I’ll take that as a yes.”
- Tenchou (voiced by Ayahi Takagaki – Chris Yukine from Symphogear) is an ex-maid and a natural-born troublemaker. She poorly manages the Oinky Doink cafe’s finances.
Experienced director Souichi Masui ran the operations for P.A. Works’s earlier anime, Sakura Quest. So, I’m curious to see how well he handles gritty action scenes with colorful slice-of-life moments. I already laughed out loud at the blood-spurting scene!
Akiba Maid War starts with a flashback prologue. Old-timey maid café in Akihabara from 1985. It was raining, so I noticed how the tire tracks filled up with water again. Oh wow! Maid waitress hitwoman! Did the yakuza drive black Mercedes Benzes back then? Because this looks like a gangland murder.
Boom! The opening theme music smashes hardcore. The cutesy maid voices in Akiba Maid War tickle me so. Walking around Akihabara like Reservoir Dogs in frilly maid uniforms. Fun! There’s rainbow censorship on one of the maids. No spoilers yet! Moe, moe kyuun! Ranko makes explosions with guns as Nagomi starts grease fires! Watch out. The panda will be a supporting character. Maid café dance time! It’s all here!
Suddenly, it’s 1999 in Akiba Maid War. Look at all the animal-ear-maid-waitresses. Welcome to the Oinky Doink Café! Yumechi turns off the charm like a light switch. Ooh, that lizard look from the other maid gives me fun shivers! Nagomi, suit up! She’ll be a “gambarimasu!” kind of character. Nagomi Wahira will live at the café too, and she’s only seventeen years old. How long will she keep her energetic innocence? Whoa! Lizard girl is also a rookie! Emotionless, flat voice… watch out for Ranko! What does her “#96” mean? Ranko Mannen is 35 years old and certainly knows how maid cafés work. She resembles the maid from the 1985 prologue.
Manager-san (Tenchou) loves motivation. Hahaha! Okamachimachi, the panda, is just chilling in the corner. What does a panda have to do with the pig theme? I have questions. That’s good because it makes me want to keep watching. Har. Yumechi thinks Nagomi is shooting for the innocent clumsy maid character. Cynical pro maid café girl over here. Ominous. Tenchou asks Nagomi and Ranko not to go missing on her. Hoho. Even worse! Nagomi says she’ll work like her life depends on it!
Akiba Maid War shows us how the maid café girls work. Yumechi knows how to work her otaku “masters” for tips and orders. I get a kick out of Hidive translating “tontokoton” as “oinky doink.” Yes! “Moe, moe kyuun,” from Ranko in monotone. Ranko has the script but doesn’t have the delivery. Or, hear me out: she needs to pick clients who prefer her type. In Ranko’s defense, seasoned visitors to maid cafés can play along with her character to build rapport with all the staff. This is how you get extra service as a regular! Don’t be so rigid, shoukun. Shiipon offers pointers, but Ranko still filters them through her personality. Work with what you got!
Cringe. Unfocused energy will turn Nagomi into a clumsy maid. Wait a minute. Akiba Maid War needs a “clumsy maid character” type! Work with what you got, Nagomi! Ugh. Otaku stereotypes were alive and well in 1999. Oh! This guy is a mob enforcer! Where’s the protection money? The maid cafés have unique code words: “sweets money.” Har. The Oinky Doink Café belongs to the Akiba Maid War production committee. The name, Creatureland Group, explains why the maid café girls wear different animal ears. Is he trying to make the manager fart? Or worse? Whatever it is, Tenchou is constipated. She’ll need to pay “dues” another way.
Nagomi will deliver a letter to the Wuv-Wuv Moonbeam Café. This will handle their issue with the Creatureland Group. Please come back alive! Ranko volunteers to go with Nagomi because she knows what this letter delivery errand means. Sending a letter to Creatureland Group’s “competitor” sounds like gangster shenanigans in Akiba Maid War. Ranko’s face resembles the one she made in the prologue. Listen to the code words. Take this money to order “pork broth ramen” downstairs. Nagomi orders something off-menu, but Ranko knows what “sides” to ask for. The ramen chef recognizes her! That bag of “extras” sounds heavy. Nagomi forgot to take her napkin bib off. Tenchou is already looking for replacement maids!
What did Nagomi and Ranko walk into? Akiba Maid War likens cutting off hair to yakuza thumbs! Woof. That’s a rude letter. Oinky Doink maids declared war on Wuv-Wuv Moonbeam! Whoa! The blonde maid is slapping the crap out of Nagomi. How will Ranko respond? Blammo! That packed lunch was packing heat! Gah! Good thing Nagomi still had her bib on! Blondie has a lot of blood… Now, how do Ranko and Nagomi come out of this alive? Here we go, here we go!
Akiba Maid War incredibly puts two maid dance routines on at the same time. Ranko uses gun-fu and treats the guns like light sticks. This is making me giddy! Ouch! Ranko got shot in the arm! That only made her angrier. I’m dying. Ranko’s moves match Yumechi’s choreography! Hahaha! The short swords are light sticks too!
Oh boy. The end credit theme music is Enka style! It looks like a crime drama from the 80s or 90s, and The Oinky Doink maids also sang it! Akiba Maid War epilogue. Nagomi needs to run away, but her roommate is Ranko. She can’t get away!