The Winter Anime season of 2017 has yet to interest me too greatly. Usually, by this point in time, I’m inundated by a high volume of new Anime to sink my teeth into, but judging by the list of series’ set to begin airing over the next week or so…this season’s going to be a slow one for me.
Having played the video games too many times to admit, it’s Akiba’s Trip: The Animation that has my full focus this time around. Akiba’s Trip: Undead And Undressed, originally released for the PlayStation Vita, has seen some three re-releases at this point in time, meaning that the game is more than just a fluke success. That’s why it makes sense that an animation studio like Gonzo would pick up the rights for an Anime adaptation.
Strangely enough, this mostly unheard of Anime, and by extension video game series, is also receiving the simuldub treatment, with the English Dub being released shortly after that of the original Japanese. We saw this with Space Dandy quite some time ago, and we’re seeing it again now with Akiba’s Trip: The Animation. This must mean that the powers at be have some level of faith in it’s success, and as quite the fan of the video games and what they’ve produced…I’m very proud!
Following a story similar to both video games in the series, Akiba’s Trip: The Animation takes us on an obscure journey through the busy streets of Tokyo’s Akihabara; the holy land for all things Otaku culture. A supernatural force has slipped into the town, turning regular people into mindless zombie/vampire hybrids whose only purpose are to infect others. Some, however, retain their “humanity” and have chosen to battle against these “Bugged Ones” in strange but sensual ways.
Stripping the “Bugged Ones” of their clothing allows the air and sun of Akihabara to hit their skin with full force, dispelling whatever control they have over the humans. Matome Mayonaka is one of the aforementioned protagonists that, whilst infected, retains proper human thought, who fights against the evil “Bugged Ones” so as to stop their eventual conquering of Akiba and therefor…the world.
After what seems to be a destined meeting with one Tamotsu Denkigai, the quintessential Otaku NEET, Matome Mayonaka enlists another to help rid Akiba of these fiends. Becoming like Mayonaka, Tamotsu vows to help his new friend with whatever trouble she’s currently in, and a friendship built on the foundations of life or death is formed.
Akiba’s Trip has a basic story, obviously, and it only serves as justification as to why characters must strip each other bare to come out of battles victorious, BUT it holds itself with only a trickle of sincerity, with most of this first episode being populated with self-knowing gags, and cheesy one-liners that, despite who you think you are, will bring a grin to your face at least once or twice.
The Anime, in a perfect representation of it’s source material, feels almost exactly like the game in this regard. It allows you to appreciate what it has to offer, fanservice included, in a way that doesn’t seem so important. You roll with the punches as the episode goes from gag, to action, to fanservice, and back to gag, never once truly missing a beat, and the whole while hitting all the same notes as the video game.
Despite only four characters mildly introduced within the first episode, it’s safe to say that even they don’t take themselves or the series too sincerely. It almost seems as though the characters themselves are a part of the series so as to just have a good time. It all just feels…fun.
Having played the video game as reference, the series makes several key nods to it’s source material not only in the way that the city visually comes across but even with small interactions and background characters. Akiba’s Trip: The Animation seems overtly like the video game in a way that isn’t too heavy-handed but that also does not go unnoticed by those who’ve had some sort of experience with this world once before.
With Studio Gonzo at the reigns, it’s no mystery that the series looks absolutely brilliant. The studio has been doing less and less as the years have rolled by, with last year only developing a single series. What they have done with Akiba’s Trip: The Animation is, so far, outstanding and I hope they can keep up this quality of animation the entire way though the series.
Akiba’s Trip isn’t without it’s auditory excellence too! Not only does the Anime feature one hell of a rocking soundtrack, but the voice cast to an excellent job with their designated characters not only in regards to the technical side of voice acting but with key techniques like comedic timing; something a series lined with humour cannot go without.
Akiba’s Trip: The Animation will be hard for the wider audience to grasp simply because of it’s high fanservice volume. Those of you out there who have indeed played the game will find instant enjoyment from the series, and anyone else willing to watch, I feel, will be left with more or less the same positive feelings.
Playing host to what can only be called a perverted key feature, the stripping, is justifiably more than enough to scare audiences away, and in any other situation I would ask that people look past that so as to enjoy the rest of the show. In the case of Akiba’s Trip, they key to enjoying it is to lean as heavy as you can into the lunacy, accepting what it has to offer and having fun with it.
I truly think that this one is a keeper, and I’ll absolutely be following it from hereon out!
Watch Akiba’s Trip The Animation on Crunchyroll, available now! Click Here