If you view 1 anime this yr about gun-toting yakuza maid cafes, make it Akiba Maid War

“The violence is section of the work,” suggests Nerula, an alien-themed company employee in the maid cafes of Akihabara, in a second of nonchalant, offhand absurdity that the new primary anime Akiba Maid War has now conditioned me to anticipate and enjoy. In a series with an outrageous screen of bloodshed, it could be the show’s determination to a straight-faced make a difference-of-factness about the violent life of cafe maids that helps make it even funnier, its characters internalizing “moe moe kyun” as the guiding basic principle for which they bleed (“moe’’ has a broad that means, but mainly connotes a “cute” vibe). It feels like there’s much more anime than at any time this year, but even amid a season filled with substantial profile exhibits like Chainsaw Guy, Bleach, and Mob Psycho 100, Akiba Maid War deserves your attention.

Directed by Sōichi Masui (Sakura Quest) and produced by P.A. Is effective (also accountable for this year’s Ya Boy Kongming!) and Cygames, it’s a potent contender for the funniest anime of the year, an authentic taking care of to maintain its very own in a season packed with significant hitters. A broad homage to yakuza films and other gangster shots, Akiba Maid War supplants prison brotherhood with maid cafes dotted all around Akihabara, each individual working as the arm of just one of two wider teams — the animal-themed “Creatureland” and the sci-fi themed “Maidalien” group — competing for regulate of the spot and bristling towards a tenuous peace treaty.

A yellow-haired anime girl in Ganguro makeup wearing a pig-themed maid outfit cheering alongside a black-haired anime girl in an identical maid outfit.

Graphic: P.A. Functions/Sentai Filmworks

It somewhat (and that’s intense emphasis on “somewhat”) recollects is effective like Kinji Fukasaku’s yakuza movies, like if anyone threw a frilly apron on his despairing and influential Battles Without Honor and Humanity saga distinctive in tone but tracing the evolution of warring gangs around the system of a long time and the betrayals and cycles of violence that completely transform them. The Creatureland Group’s bid for organization dominance incorporates echoes of the Yamamori gang constructing on their own into the capitalist conglomerate Tensei Group. As the exhibit explores the ins and outs of what it suggests to exist in the moe mob, the underhanded politicking is compounded with echoes of the bloodiness of Takashi Miike’s work (the brain will also wander to Tarantino, looking at the shared inspirations). Key difference is, the gangsters in this display also devote their time decorating omelets with ketchup faces.

Akiba Maid War goes about contrasting these homages with the cuteness that its characters so earnestly depict. You could say it’s in close proximity to this year’s Lycoris Recoil, which played with the conceit of teenage assassins using a cafe as a front as the tale unfurls a lengthy-working conspiracy plot. Even as each take pleasure in that gulf concerning sweet and fatal as viewed in the subgenre of women-with-guns motion, Lycoris takes advantage of present-day surveillance and authoritarianism as its set dressing fairly than felony enterprise, although Akiba Maid War plays items far more solely for laughs.

A brown-haired anime girl wearing a maid outfit with pink pig ears spills a pink-colored beverage onto the face of a customer.

Impression: P.A. Functions/Sentai Filmworks

The idealistic Nagomi is the audience’s route into this absurdist history. Unaware of the barbarity of her picked out career, she learns the tough way through many skirmishes with other rival cafes, confronting a single a different in dialogue laced with animal-themed threats, all admirably committed to silly wordplay with utter seriousness. As Nagomi joins the pig-themed Oinky Doink Cafe in the initially episode, she befriends the seemingly gloomy Ranko, an older maid new out of the joint for a criminal offense not still disclosed.

Nagomi and Ranko’s first outing with each other is absolutely nothing small of a disaster, nonetheless — Ranko introduces Nagomi to the reality of maid get the job done, massacring a rival cafe on an errand at first meant to offer the two up as sacrificial lambs to appease an age-outdated beef. The end result is a deranged set-piece for the ages, with the episode spiraling out of management adhering to an extremely dark gag the place blood from a headshot whistles out of the wound and onto poor Nagomi’s maid outfit not when, but 3 moments in delayed succession.

The shock of the moment turns into utter mayhem, with a shootout fight spilling out on to the streets as episode director Tomoaki Ota cuts again to Oinky Doink Cafe, the place Nagomi’s coworker Yumechi is accomplishing a large-electrical power variety termed “The Pure Maid’s Grasp-Killing Kiss.” The intercut sequence moments Ranko carrying out elaborate feats of gun-fu with wotagei (fundamentally a type of dancing completed by idol followers) to the resultant uptempo and vaguely threatening insert tune about exploding hearts, with Ranko popping off rounds in time to the conquer while knives and guns both of those get on the purpose of glow sticks. To borrow some important parlance, it rips.

A purple haired woman in a maid outfit stands in the middle of a dark street filled with the bloodied bodies of dead maid waitresses, holding to silver pistols in her hand that glint in the light from a crescent moon overhead.

Impression: P.A. Works/Sentai Filmworks

The present could have burnt out speedily soon after the shock of that initially episode, but it capably transforms and regularly iterates on what could be a single joke premise inside the context of the story by itself, violence is merely envisioned. The seventh episode barrels into all-out war following authentic tragedy, with a classical soundtrack and sax solos scoring blood feuds. The eighth upholds that hallowed anime custom, the baseball episode, complete with severe roughhousing and, of study course, a double murder. An early beloved of mine is the third episode’s journey to a combat club, which quickly turns into a riff on Ashita no Joe, evoking Osamu Dezaki’s common 1970 boxing anime with freeze frames of cross-counters and other iconic poses, as well as the supervisor turning into a sleazier get on Joe Yabuki’s mentor, Danpei.

The 3rd episode also can make for an excellent introduction to Zoya, a Russian expatriate who struggles to match in owing to her stoic look, who fights Ranko physically and ideologically more than no matter if or not the two of them can even be considered “cute” or deserving of currently being maids. The clearly show goes a single phase more by playing out her backstory by using a dramatic flashback, as she switches languages to Russian in however an additional second in which the present surprises the viewer by just how seriously it treats the facts (in a fantastic contact, Zoya’s voice actress, Jenya, deliberately leaned into her indigenous Russian accent to get the function on place, aggressively rolling her R’s).

A purple-haired anime girl in red boxing shorts with pink frills punches a silver-haired anime girl in turquoise blue boxing shorts.

Impression: P.A. Performs/Sentai Filmworks

Aside from the action, the personalities of its goofy direct forged are pleasant on their possess — Ranko is an obvious standout from the moment she comes, as she earnestly and really very seriously conducts maid function with glorious monotone cadence. Just as there is much more to Akiba Maid War than its surface area absurdity, there are also persuasive complications to Ranko, who is equally ruthlessly violent but also the most receptive to Nagomi’s naivety and quixotic pursuits of peace.

Then there is the manager, an eminently watchable weasel who in no way stops hoping to press whatever minor advantage she can get, exploiting all people in her care she’s so awful she comes back again close to to staying totally watchable as she constantly sinks to new lows. Not to mention that the Oinky Doink maids count amid their ranks Okachimachi, an arsonist in a panda mascot costume who silently acts like an genuine panda.

Though there is a good deal extra likely on in phrases of the show’s smart comedic timing, the floor touches are a delight to practical experience in and of on their own. Each and every episode begins with a shotgun blast of ’90s ephemera by means of the dingy online video textures and The Prodigy-esque rave seems of its opening track, “Maid Daikaiten” (sung by the solid). Its grimy synths all of a sudden transform into the variety of sugary pop track that a person would anticipate from a maid cafe, in an extension of the show’s fun clashes of tone. (The ending, by contrast, is a hilariously soulful regular enka observe sung by Ranko’s voice actress, Rina Satō).

A purple-haired woman in a maid outfit with pig ears brandishes a pistol, walking down a street lit by neon advertising signs while holding the hand of brown-haired woman in an identical outfit and a white blouse covered in splattered blood.

Impression: P.A. Works/Sentai Filmworks

Within just the context of the episodes on their own, there is a pleasurable clash of rough brushwork and vibrant glitz amidst some remarkably effectively-choreographed fights, all of which assistance to location the show within just this crazy parallel-universe get on this period of time. It assists that the writers also know when to be sincere and when to be foolish, when to uplift the maids of Oinky Doink as very well as when to make their victories self-defeating — as well-meaning as a couple of them are, as they defend themselves they also blunder their way into a number of turf wars and standoffs that threaten to tear their livelihood apart. This kind of moments also display the writers’ intelligent commitment to deepening a feeling of record in its absurdist re-development of the district, which dovetails with how Akiba Maid War expands into other genre parodies as the tale escalates its depiction of an lovable prison empire crammed with stone-chilly killers dressed like farm animals.

In Akiba Maid War, as mentioned ahead of, brutality is simply just an day-to-day element of the career just as a great deal as handing out flyers is, and the display has a lot of fun with showing the many degrees to which this infiltrates the trivia of working Oinky Doink. As it does so, its homages to yakuza movies are thrown into a meat grinder with a prosperity of other genres and anachronisms in the institution of its alternate heritage of 1990s Akihabara and beyond (in the earth of Akiba Maid War the marriage in between maids and violence is a happy tradition of 200 decades, with a festival and anything). That, and you have cosplay maids throwing down in gambling rings and struggle clubs. What additional could you inquire for?

Akiba Maid War is accessible to stream on HIDIVE.

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