Akiba’s Trip The Animation – Review
Akiba’s Trip The Animation:
Original Air Dates: January 4th, 2017 – March 29th, 2017
Synopsis: Tamotsu Denkigai is a pretty big Otaku. His tastes clash with the mainstream and he has a deep interest in less popular franchises. On a trip to find a rare action figure in Akihabara, he stumbles upon Mayoka, a red headed girl with a baseball bat that’s running around stripping everyone she comes into combat with. Tamotsu finds his life turned upside down when he defends Mayoka against a rapid group of super powered individuals known as “Bugged Ones.” As he’s mortally wounded saving Mayoka, she imbues him with the same power to fight back and thus begins Tamotsu’s epic battle to save Akihabara from a secret menace.
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Akiba’s Trip is at its best when focused on its silly, one-off theme stories. The series is akin to an anthology, focused on one-off, barely connected narratives that seek to spoof or work around gags related to a specific theme or plot device. Akiba’s Trip shines during such outings, particularly in episodes focused on Tamotsu building his own, sentient, personal computer or when the gang needs to take down a baddie who’s the king of a Yu-Gi-Oh-esque card game.
Linny: The actual main plot, Tamotsu and gang’s quest to take down the big baddie herself, is rather boring and generic. So much so that it’s hard to deny that the show is best when it is spoofing beloved franchises. Like Tom mentioned, the Yu-Gi-Oh spoof and the custom operating system episodes are the best of the season and have the potential to entertain anyone even remotely familiar with either subject matter. Akiba’s Trip is through and through a show for viewers familiar with popular anime and games as it throws in reference after reference, even including an officially endorsed Street Fighter based episode. Its humour is also extremely self deprecating at times, making fun of the peculiar quirks and eccentricities associated with otaku and fandom culture.
Tom: Not only is your interest for the one-offs partly going to depend on personal taste, but on the quality of the writing. Akiba’s Trip bounces around frequently between witty gags, clever dialogue and boring, generic, samey-samey feeling dialogue that fails to leave any real lasting impression. When the series flounders it flounders hard, making it a struggle to recall any of the lesser episodes. The dub partly alleviates this, managing to elevate the humor by sprucing up the dialogue, but even then things are far from perfect.
Linny: Akiba’s Trip is clearly meant to be a goofy homage to all things otaku. It pokes fun at itself, Japanese geek culture, and even ends on a somewhat twisted note where it applauds the greedy consumerist mentality of collectors and fans as a form of love. It’s lax with consistency as clearly defeated and damaged characters seemingly instantaneously teleport to a concert in a snap for the sake of a grand, all inclusive finale. It’s a show you’re meant to watch in a ‘hah I got that reference’ kinda way, not one you deconstruct on any level.
Tom: The same can be said about the cast. No one here is meant to be all that gripping or deep a hero. Tamotsu and everyone is pigeon-holed into classic stereotypes and the show never bothers to delve into anyone’s greater character, outside of the occasional backstory gag. This means your introduction to these individuals within the first couple episodes will define how you feel about them for the entire season. Tamotsu is from beginning to end the very same Otaku-obsessed, but has a heart of gold, kinda guy.
Linny: The main cast felt so generic to me that I now struggle to define, criticize or even praise them. There is ONE female character, the token busty blonde named Momoi who did leave some sort of impact. She speaks in the third person and loves to cosplay, initially touted as the friendly dumb and action oriented team member. However, towards the finale, she is revealed to be an extremely intelligent super achiever. One could interpret that as an attempt to make up for her previously dumbed down persona and her relegation to the boobs of the show..but it’s more likely just an effort to be funny with the contrasting reveal.
Tom: While the main cast is generic, at least we spend plenty of time with them and perhaps their one note personalities will grow on you. But the series villains are near entirely undefined. It’s only in the final two episodes that we get any kind of exposition dump that sheds light on these adversaries and by then it feels far too late. Most villains, outside of the big bads, exist mostly to act as cap offs on episodes, to give the show a reason to have one last big silly strip off fight before its on to the credits.
Linny: Anyone even vaguely aware of the source material, or even just reading the series’ summary might assume that this show is brimming with lewd imagery but that’s not exactly true. While the show does have a fair amount of stripping of villains and some comically suggestive scenes, it’s actually a lot tamer than it sounds. The comedic nature of the show helps to make most of the stripping feel genuinely silly rather than perverted fan service.
Tom: One aspect that might save Akiba’s Trip, specifically for animation buffs is its fluid and outrageous animation that helps to elevate its first and last episodes. This more wild, free-form style helps to keep the animation fluid and the action intense. Character models are more frequently off then on, but the series makes up for that with the extreme fluidity and fast pace.
Linny: If you’re like me and have absolutely zero interest/knowledge in the Akiba’s Trip game franchise and are more familiar with anime and otaku culture over gaming culture, you might find yourself bored or lost during the more game-centric episodes. This show is not a must watch for the more casual anime viewer but if you’d enjoy a hilarious spoofing of card game shows, then I’d highly recommend episode 9. The constant dips in the quality of content and comedy makes this show a dicey recommendation for anyone who isn’t already extremely interested in the world of games and anime culture. However, you do not need to be familiar or even a fan of the game franchise it is based on to be able to enjoy the series as the adaptation is extremely lax, with the games used as more of an inspiration than an actual basis.
Tom: Overall there’s places where Akiba’s Trip shines and I think it’s well worth a watch. But then there are episodes that are so dry, so uninteresting I feel like the series is almost a waste of time. My suggestion might be to skip around and only watch the episodes that really stand out (Namely 1,3,5,6,9 and the three part finale, 10-12, if you’re feeling invested.)