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The Oinky-Doink crew and their scrappy underdogpig status has always been one of the key narrative components of Akiba Maid War. It coincides with Nagomi’s so acceptably anime desire to improve herself, be the very best, like no maid ever was, and maybe bring all her new friends with her. So what would that sort of ambition actually look like apart from our leads just trying to survive the day-to-day actions of Akihabara, and how could it tie in with the overall power struggle plot that’s driven this show and its style so far? That’s the turning point reached in this week’s episode, as Nagomi’s renewed ambitions collide with a tradition baked into the early history of Akiba maids. The poor girl has no idea what she’s just set off.

There’s something beautifully dissonant about the notion of a ‘festival’ story in a show like Akiba Maid War. Plenty of other anime, often of the school-focused variety, have delivered overly outlandish plots involving high-stakes food stall operations and climactic contest activities. So even allotting those engagements to the blood-soaked aprons of all these killer cute servers in their 20s and 30s isn’t that outrageous a proposition. The wild side of it comes from the broader framing itself, as the whole of Akihabara seems to happily turn out for a day of revelry and celebration put on by what the public must know is effectively the yakuza in this particular pocket universe. The commitment to community service some criminal organizations have and all that. It drives that dissonance that’s always been essential to the Akiba Maid War experience; throngs of otaku and happy families energetically enjoying snacks and cheering on their faves even as vicious food stall shakedowns are happening, and people are turning up dead behind the scenes.

Nagomi kicks off the narrative thrust for this episode (and potentially, the remainder of this season’s story) by a simple sitcom screw-up from, who else, Chief. The idea of the Oinky-Doink crew developing ambitions above their station because they quite literally didn’t get the memo is the only way this could have happened.

This deep into their character and relationship development, it’s sweet to see recruits Nagomi and Ranko insist all the other maids they work with deserve to be recognized as top-tier cute contenders as much as any of the others from the broader murder menagerie. But simple appeal isn’t worth anything once you’ve turned cuteness and crime into a commodity. It’s all about continuously contributing to the ecosystem of the broader group.

There’s something more profound to be analyzed there about the broader effects of real-world moe culture and how it coincides with everything from the idol industry to maid cafes. But as this story has just started detailing Nagomi’s disruptive rise, it’s a hypothesis that ought to wait. Instead, we find ourselves at a speed where we can sit back and enjoy the fireworks of this festival, the all-out Running of the Maids that caps off this celebration in the fashion we all expect from this show by now. Akiba Maid War has always been a show that generally looked ‘good enough’ with bursts of more robust animation. The whole of the Akiba maid industry going all Takeshi’s Castle on a giant tribute to the original murder maid while simultaneously beating the holy hell out of each other is one of those bursts. If I have one ongoing issue with this series so far, it’s that its focus on the broader workings and politics of its world, alongside building up Nagomi and Ranko, hasn’t left time for other characters like Zoya to show off beyond introductory or focal episodes. So seeing that roughhousing Russkie and the other piggy pals cut loose with some strong brawling animation is a welcome treat. It’s delivered alongside Nagomi’s demonstrating that her lingering ninja warrior training presumably let her pull this sort of thing off better than she would have a few months ago.

It’s Maid War at its most classically compelling, as we’re heartened by Nagomi achieving a come-from-behind success story even as it precludes Nagi’s rage at such an ecosystem-disrupting upheaval, taking it out by killing off the cafe’s primary otaku-camouflaged contact. It lands as an effectively punchy ‘Oh shit!’ moment distinct from the heady, misguided attempts at serious-seriousness. I’m now increasingly glad we could move past the sixth episode. This sort of structure sits comfortably with what worked so well in last week’s baseball-based outing: Nagomi’s earnest engagement with what she thinks are less violent ways of navigating the Akihabara underworld and proving herself, all while the bodies still pile up in the background as a result.


Akiba Maid War is currently streaming on

Chris is a freewheeling Fresno-based freelancer with a love for anime and a shelf full of too many Transformers. He can be found spending way too much time on his Twitter, and irregularly updating his blog.

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