Akiba’s Trip The Animation Review - "Protecting Akihabara from the Forces of Evil"

Protecting Akihabara from the Forces of Evil

  • Episodes : 13
  • Genre : Comedy, Ecchi, Sci-Fi Action, Supernatural
  • Airing Date : Jan 2017 – Apr 2017
  • Studios : Gonzo

Contains Spoilers


Akiba’s Trip The Animation Introduction and Story (Spoilers)

Loosely based on the game series by Acquire, the anime itself tells its own original story. Tamotsu Denkigai (his name is a word play on Electric Town, Akihabara’s nickname) was just a regular 18-year-old Otaku until his he died in a battle between the Bugged Ones, mysterious creatures with super strength. And all he wanted was to buy a super sentai figure. Feeling sorry for him, Mayonaka Matome, a Bugged One allied with humanity, uses her powers to bring Tamotsu back to life with a kiss. Tamotsu is back and stronger than ever, but he consequently becomes a Bugged One.

Though he gains many of their strengths, he, unfortunately, gains their weaknesses. For starters, if he (or Mayonaka) is stripped to his underwear exposed to air, then he will die. Another major weakness (that some people wouldn’t probably mind having) is that he can no longer leave Akihabara again. Any attempts, he is stopped by an invisible barrier limited only to Bugged Ones. Together, they protect Akihabara from the evil Bugged Ones who wish to rid the world of Otakus. Allying our main duo is Finnish otaku martial artist Arisa Akohaiken, resident scientist Tasujin Ratu, and Tamotsu’s little sister Niwaka.

What You Liked About Akiba’s Trip

For certain writers in Honey who reside in Japan and live within an accessible distance from Akihabara, or for any viewers who have a strong familiarity with it, the series does a very accurate job of portraying it. Even for some of you readers who have never been to Akihabara, this is probably the ultimate tool in educating you what the landscape is like. For example, outside of the station is a green bridge where the JR Sobu train line runs, and it's surrounded by some other landmarks. For example, the red building you see in the opening is based on a SEGA world arcade.

In addition, there are a few episodes where the characters eat at Carl’s Jr. Yes, the North American burger chain itself is not only in the show but also in the actual city of Akihabara as of Fall 2016. The anime does a picture perfect job of portraying both the interior and exterior of the Akihabara location. Furthermore, the series also features a legendary Maid Café chain, Maidreamin. It captures the franchise’s purple maid uniforms and the fun customers can have there.

Discussion Time

Beyond its portrayal of Akihabara, the series is great for the dedicated anime fan or for those that wish to get more into it. In addition, if you have no familiarity with the original games, then that’s cool. If not, for those that are purists, you may not like it but we do encourage fans to watch this with an open mind. The series has a variety of tracks that keeps this 13 episode series fresh if soundtracks are your thing. But for those that are of the artistic persuasion, the simple character designs and repetitive panty shots may turn off some viewers.

Why You Should Watch Akiba’s Trip the Animation

1. It’s For Dedicated Otakus (or for the otaku who wants to be educated) and Japanophiles

In its own way, it is a very immersive series for hardcore Otaku all over the world. Not only does it capture the Otaku culture, it is a very excellent (and yet cynical) satire of Japanese society as a whole. In one episode where the female cast attempt to become idols, they are nearly scammed into starring in a porno video and apparently, there have been claims of this happening to some Japanese women in real life who were forced into the porn industry under the assumption they’d become idols. The series goes as far as doing a shoot in a certain indoor roof top pool that is famous in Japanese pornography. In another instance, Tamotsu gets a job that has him working non-stop without sleep. The series goes as far to directly criticize the present working culture and how it really does nothing productive for society and just demoralizes individuals. So if you want a series that makes you laugh and sticks it to the man, this is the series for you.

For some of you fighting game fans, in episode five where Tamotsu plays Street Fighter, the show uses actual footage of both Street Fighter II Turbo and Street Fighter V. So for some Street Fighter fans, you’re likely to get a huge kick out of this.

2. You Don’t Need Any Exposure to the Original Source Material

With some adaptations of certain games, you need some exposure to the original game such as Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. With Akiba’s Trip, viewers just need to be an Otaku, or the desire to become one. The anime does a great job in establishing its own story and characters and gets the audience invested in them. It has its own set of themes and its own brand of comedy. We can’t deny just the anime or the game, but the Akiba’s Trip brand name as a whole is probably the best representation of Otakus.

3. It’s Supply of Ending Songs

For a series that is only 13 episodes, it still has a list of catchy ending songs. In fact, it has 10! Various artists such as Otaku Queen Shoko Nakagawa perform some of the songs. The voice actresses of Mayonaka, Arisa, and Niwaka (Rie Takahashi, Yuki Nagaku, and Marika Kono) also perform some songs as the unit group known as the Earphones, and their characters officially become an up and coming idol group within the series. The songs accurately reflect Akiba’s Trip as a cutesy energetic comedy. The clips of the ending songs are actually accompanied by images of the real Akihabara. It could evoke feelings of frequent visitors who are likely to recognize every landmark featured or encourage non-Japanese residents to some day take not of where to check out.

Why You Should Skip Akiba’s Trip

1. Too Many Panty Shots

Let’s face it. Panty shots have been done to death since Go Nagai. Though the series does find a way of contextualizing it in relation to the story that the Bugged Ones possessing humans need to be stripped down to their underwear in order to kill them, to some viewers, it’s a lousy excuse just to do it. It gets rather repetitive and seeing Mayonaka nearly stripped naked and having Arisa exposing her voluptuous figure loses its novelty after the first episode. So if you prioritize endless panty shots as a reason to not watch an anime, Akiba’s Trip may possibly not be for you.

2. Not the Best With Character Designs

Though most viewers could give credit for how the environment of Akihabara is portrayed, the character designs are simple and generic. They don’t really stand out in comparison to other modern titles such as Steins;Gate, No Game No Life, and Madoka. For other non-main characters, they are drawn as if they were children’s drawings of people. We can’t deny that this anime didn’t have the budget. Some of the character designs such as this laborer who is acquainted with Tamotsu is drawn simply with a round face and only has two dots and a line for a face. Its design does a great job of conveying this series as a comedy, but for those that put art and animation as their criteria, we can’t say this is our best recommendation.

3. Maybe Not For Purists

With good news in relation to not having to play the game to enjoy this series comes with bad news. There are numerous changes to the anime that may seem trivial to some, but a big deal to others. For example, the characters in the anime version were never featured in any of the games and vice versa though they share some loose similarities. In addition, the enemies weren’t the Bugged Ones but were vampires. However, the means of defeating them remained the same, by stripping them down to their underwear in order to expose them to sunlight.

While other anime adaptations of games from Street Fighter II to Phoenix Wright are faithful to its source material to a crossed "t" and dotted "i", those animes do a great job of accurately representing their source materials for new audiences. For some, it’s only natural to include why can’t Akiba’s Trip do the same? In addition to the story, the game’s design and animation come across as edgier and a little grittier with the colors while the anime tends to be high-res and more childish with the simpler designs.


Final Thoughts

If you want a comedy that isn’t afraid to be politically incorrect, this is the perfect anime for you. If you can more about substance over style, then we are positive you are likely to enjoy Akiba’s Trip. Though this anime is relatively new (at least within the confines of 2017), the very franchise itself has been around since 2011. Some of you readers may have watched this with previous exposure to the games. Sometimes making changes to adaptations of established franchises are likely to have consequential controversies and many people get that. For those that may not have played the games, maybe this series is likely to encourage viewers to play it. All we can say is this is a series that kind of has something for everyone that loves anime which is why we strongly recommend it!

Justin

Writer

Author: Justin "ParaParaJMo" Moriarty

Hello, I am originally from the states and have lived in Japan since 2009. Though I watched Robotech and Voltron as a child, I officially became an anime fan in 1994 through Dragon Ball Z during a trip to the Philippines. In addition to anime, I also love tokusatsu, video games, music, and martial arts. よろしくお願いします

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