Akiba'S Trip The Animation Episode 11
by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Akiba's Trip: The Animation ?
After sticking to single-episode story arcs for most of the season, Akiba's Trip is getting ambitious this week with a bigger plotline. With a major festival in the works, everyone in Akihabara is gearing up to let their otaku flags fly. Unfortunately for Tamotsu and the other members of Electric Mayonnaise, a group of impostors has started committing unspeakable crimes and leaving them to take the blame. One good fight scene is all it takes for our heroes to clear their names, but they have much bigger problems headed their way. A government official has shut down the festival, and Mayo's evil impostor has Tamotsu in her sights.
The setup for the fight against the impostors is arguably more entertaining than the battle itself. The nefarious crimes are all otaku-themed: stealing the toys out of capsule machines, replacing the racy contents of fanzines with blank pages, and littering to stop people from lining up overnight for big events. It's all amusingly petty in the grand scheme of things, but it's also thoroughly unforgivable when viewed through the lens of otaku culture. The trial of Tamotsu and friends also features some decent comedy, with the court presenting laughably flimsy evidence against them. As far as the actual fight scene goes, the presentation is competent but unremarkable. The big joke is how unconvincing the fake versions of Tamotsu and Arisa are, and that's just a recycled bit from the courtroom scene.
Since the series is actually setting up next week's story for once, it's worth looking at how it goes about laying that groundwork. Mayo's lookalike is somewhat interesting, since she's the only one who isn't an obvious fake. Is this an evil twin or perhaps some kind of clone? Whatever she is, Fake Mayo is at least clever enough to use her appearance to lure Tamotsu into a trap. Since her kiss causes his hair to go back to normal, it's safe to assume that our hero has at least temporarily lost his Bugged One powers. Without that supernatural boost, it will be interesting to see how he manages to fight back against the baddies.
Of course, the big festival provides a clue as to where things are going. We already have all of the Akiba vigilantes gathered together, and the promotional posters imply that some of the other episodic good guys are in attendance as well. With the big bad government cracking down on all things otaku, I wouldn't be surprised to see everyone band together to defeat an army of Bugged minions. That would actually be a decent outcome for Akiba's Trip; as predictable as it may be, it would tie into the show's theme of people uniting over their shared passions. The only big question mark remaining is the main antagonist, who has yet to reveal much about her intentions.
Regardless of where things end up going, this is a pretty decent “part one” episode for a series that hasn't attempted such a thing before. It sets up some villains who are more powerful than the usual episodic baddies, and it ups the ante by taking away the main character's special abilities. The key going forward will be finding a way to make the ending exciting without losing sight of the show's strong points. Akiba's Trip is at its best when it goes all in on being willfully ridiculous, so I can only hope that the final showdown is as far over the top as possible.
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