Misaki KunoHaruki IshiyaJouji NakataMasumi Asano
Akiba's Trip
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2017: A
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2017
Director: Hiroshi Ikehata
Writer: Kazuho Hyodo
Actor: Eriko Nakamura, Haruki Ishiya, Jouji Nakata, Marika Kono, Mariko Honda, Masumi Asano, Misaki Kuno, Rie Takahashi, Yuki Nagaku
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 13 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=18734
Website category: Anime 2017
Review date: 29 July 2018
I liked it a lot. It's silly fluff with an outrageous premise, but it's not the sleaze-fest you'd imagine. It's a lot of fun, actually.
SLEAZY PREMISE: parasitic undead are attacking Akihabara, aka. Akiba, the Tokyo district that's widely known for being Japan's mecca for otaku. These undead are called Bugged Ones and they have superpowers. Ordinary people can't fight them, but they have one weakness. You can defeat them if you strip off their clothes!
Yup, it's the vampire-stripping anime! (Thinking about it, this makes sense. If sunlight hurts vampires, then they might try to protect themselves with clothes. Technically, though, I think this show's Bugged Ones are vulnerable to air rather than sunlight. There's also no blood-drinking. They're just superpowered undead, really.)
It's based on a video game series with the same premise, by the way. (Example title: Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed.)
WHAT THE ACTUAL SHOW'S LIKE: it's a light-hearted, high-energy love letter to otaku culture. The stripping is there, but it usually stops at the underwear and we never see the important bits. (Any perverts buying the Blu-rays in search of nipples will be disappointed.) It's comedy fanservice, basically. There certainly are gratuitous shots, especially in the early episodes. That's the joke. You'd be outraged if you watched a show called Akiba Strip and there weren't any. However the art style is cartoonish, it's not trying to be sexy and after a few weeks the show almost forgets about it anyway. Instead, the episodes are all about silly episodes that tend to revolve around an Otaku Obsession Of The Week. Our hero will get into ham radio, build-your-own custom computers, trading card battle games and more.
The story never has any weight... hell, there's barely any story. You could jump from ep.1 to ep.11 and barely know you'd missed anything. What it has instead is a great sense of fun and lots of knowledge of what it's talking about. The trading card battle game parody in ep.9 is brilliant. I was in stitches. I say that as someone who's inflicted on myself way too many (i.e. any) of those episodes, admittedly, so I was a particularly ripe target. Nonetheless the genre skewerings here made me laugh aloud, from the card deck designs (Evolution Of Nerd vs. Sparkly Pretty Boys, with appropriate superpowers for each) to the hairstyles, to Matome's indifference and to the contrast between SHINY ANIME MEGA-BATTLES!!!! and the much less impressive sight of two nerds at a coffee table. I could write an entire review just about this episode. It's putting the boot both into anime silliness (e.g. unrealistic game mechanics) and into what it's like to play these games in real life. (The rare-to-worthless card ratio in Arisa's expansion pack purchases is all too realistic.)
That was my favourite episode, but the show's can come up with zingers on any subject. In ep.3, the girls form an idol group and a photographer tries to get Arisa to take her top off. She's fine with that, but her horrified friends stop her and she realises that from a professional point of view, they're right. "If I strip now, I'll have nothing to fall back on when my career goes south!"
I think what I enjoyed about this show was its combination of joyful silliness and surprisingly sharp wit. It'll happily skewer itself and the otaku lifestyle for which it's cheerleading. "A man's value is not determined by his annual income! It's all about what percentage of that income he's willing to spend on hobbies!"
It'll also delight in stupid or deliberately implausible plot developments, if they're funny. "I used the instant ice making machine that the professor happened to be carrying!"
The cast are a laugh. My favourite was Arisa, the cosplay-loving Finnish blonde who's so bubbly that she'll skip and twirl as she walks along. She'll even do this if she's carrying the equivalent of a car over her head. (She's completely human, bizarrely, but stronger than any undead.) People think she's an idiot because she never comes down from cloud nine, never has meaningful dialogue and has huge boobs, but underneath all that I'm not sure she has any limits at all on her abilities. I loved watching Arisa. She's a sun of happy rays. Incidentally, her voice actress (Yuki Nagaku) also manages to be enormously likeable despite the double handicap of a surreally high-pitched voice and dialogue that's studded with gratuitous foreign words.
Of the other regulars, Tamotsu is the Team Mega-Otaku, Niwaka is his little sister and Matome is an undead on the side of good. Niwaka is slightly bland, by the way. She's thoroughly nice and I liked her, but she's getting very little foreground time and so she's a weaker than usual example of this kind of mini-moe character.
It's a happy show. It's the kind of joyful nonsense in which you welcome the rampant silliness of the ending. The forgettable baddies are distinguished mostly by their character designs, but that doesn't matter either. At the same time, though, it's also waving a flag on the rampants for the right of otaku to love what they love and not let anyone tell them otherwise. I'd put this roughly on a par with Those Who Hunt Elves, for what it's worth, for being a comedy that's not at all what you'd expect from its sleazy premise. I was pleasantly surprised.