(Warning, the following article contains spoilers for Akiba’s Trip. Read at your own responsibility)
It goes without saying that not every anime series can be an award winning classic. So knowing that full well, most of the time the bare minimum I ask from the series I watch is for them to be entertaining, and in that regard Akiba’s Trip surprisingly excels.
Despite sharing the name with the cult favorite video game, aside from taking place in Akihabara and needing to defeat the show’s foes by disrobing them, there is surprisingly rather little in common between this anime and the game it is supposedly based on. Basically, knowledge of the game is absolutely not needed to watch this show.
Normally an anime adaptation only borrowing the name and a few aspects of the property it is adapting is generally frowned upon by anime fans. Many shows get crucified just for changing some parts of the source material, so being an extremely loose adaptation is probably the worst offense an anime adaptation can do. However, there are the occasional exceptions to this “rule”, such as Rage of Bahamut: Genesis.
At this current point in time I would have to put Akiba’s Trip on the Rage of Bahamut: Genesis side of the loose adaptation scale, because while it might as well be its own thing when compared to the game it is based on, Akiba’s Trip is still a more than solid show that has yet to feel like a waste of time to me.
Akiba’s Trip follows an otaku named Tamotsu Denkigai who gets caught up in the fight against evil human-possessing creatures called Bugged Ones one day while visiting Akihabara to shop for rare figures. During the course of all of this he meets two women, the first is a buxom and surprisingly shameless Finnish otaku with Amazonian strength named Arisa Ahokainen, and the other is a high ranking Bugged One who is fighting against her own race named Matome Mayonaka.
Tamotsu ends up sacrificing himself to save Matome, but Matome brings him back to life in a process that also turns him into a Bugged One. On the plus side, he still gets to live, but at the cost of now no longer being able to leave Akihabara as a powerful barrier meant to contain the Bugged Ones in one area was set up around the district. Tamotsu agrees to help Matome fight the Bugged Ones and along with Arisa, who has become a friend to both of them, they form a vigilante group that Tamotsu names Electric Mayo, a pun that comes from both Tamotsu’s and Matome’s names.
So far each of the episodes in Akiba’s Trip have been rather stand alone, though there are signs of a more overarching plot coming together through the reccuring appearance of a high powered villainous Bugged One. What is interesting is that each episode so far has focused on a different aspect of otaku culture, showing just how varied otaku really can be.
In the West there is this misconception that “otaku” are only anime fans(that’s most likely why many anime fans outside of Japan call themselves otaku, ironically rather proudly given the less than flattering connotations the term has in Japan), so it is nice to see a show cover more than just that aspect.
The first episode covered figure otaku, as the whole plot was started by Tamotsu looking for a rare figure of a character from an unpopular Super Sentai show where the Sentai were based on random body parts. The second episode took on gun/military otaku as the Bugged One of the episode was the owner of a replica gun shop. Episode 3 was the inevitable idol otaku/audiophile episode that included one of the best idols ever animated, a girl who only sings “Lalalalalalala” in an emotionless and monotone voice. Lastly, episode 4 gave a look at an otaku base that I didn’t even think existed, the amateur radio crowd.
Each episode has actually done a pretty good job of covering each of the topics they focus on. While there is a little bit of playful ribbing, such as poking fun at how some audiophiles spend insane amounts of money for slight improvements in areas of audio quality most people don’t really notice or care about, it doesn’t really make fun of people with these interests. As in, the show doesn’t go out of its way to point at these type of otaku and go, “LOL, look at how pathetic they are! Come everyone, join in my mockery of them!”.
Probably even more surpring, especially for a show whose title is a pun based on stripping and whose villains can only be defeated by leaving them in their underwear/butt ass naked, there isn’t as much fanservice as you would expect. Of course there is still fanservice, this is an ecchi show after all, but it isn’t really that overt, even for its genre. On top of that, the show is actually rather “equal opportunity” with its stripping, as both men and women can be possessed by Bugged Ones, meaning both dudes and dudettes end up sans clothing.
Visually this show is so far a rather interesting study on which aspects of animation are more important, because it follows the Konosuba school of animation, meaning the show sacrifices detailing and consistently keeping characters on model in exchange for more fluid animation. I still don’t know if this approach is a good thing, but needless to say if you liked the way Konosuba looks, Akiba’s Trip is right in that ballpark.
So, is Akiba’s Trip a great show? Well I’d be hesitant to call it “great” or even “good” as it does have some quite apparent flaws, but it most certainly is a fun show with a lot of charm. I guess it is kind of like this season’s Keijo!!!!!!!!, in that it is a show whose premise would, quite rightfully, make you raise an eyebrow wondering just how much fanservice they can pack into it, only to be surprised that it doesn’t actually have anywhere near as much of the sexual kind of fanservice you were expecting. Plus both shows are simply far more fun than they honestly have any right to be. Either way, I am enjoying Akiba’s Trip and I think it is a trip worth taking if you have the time.