Winter 2017 First Impressions: Akiba’s Trip the Animation – Episode 01 Review

This new action-comedy is based on the Akiba’s Trip video game series, but in this case the anime has an original story rather than directly adapting one of the games.  The first episode of Akiba’s Trip is dedicated to setting up the initial premise.  Tamotsu, your average NEET hero, is going about his normal day in Akihabara with his sister until a mysterious girl named Matome falls from the sky and strips a cosplayer of their clothes.  As it turns out, these cosplayers are not what they seem; they have become “bugged ones”, ordinary people who have been possessed by a malevolent force and can only be defeated by tearing their clothes off.  Tamotsu finds himself awakening to the same powers as Matome and joins her in her quest to defeat the bugged ones.

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My main issue with this show is that despite firing out so many quick jokes and gags in each scene, none of them really landed for me.  Your appreciation of the humour in this first episode will largely depend on how funny you find “chuuni antics”, because the script isn’t snappy enough to bridge the gap if you aren’t entertained by that brand of comedy.  None of the characters in this first episode pique enough interest to make me stick around either – Tamotsu is your average otaku protagonist; his sister Niwaka is almost a non entity; Arisa, a busty cosplayer who Tamotsu meets while trying to buy a limited edition “Anatomy Rangers” figurine, is overly chirpy and has an irritating speech quirk; and Matome is the stereotypical mysterious girl who could end up slipping into the tired tsundere role all too easily.

The animation in this first episode is functional.  In the action sequences the characters are rendered in a rougher, jerky style that is reminiscent of Gainax/Trigger, but without the frenetic excitement to back it up.  This style lends these scenes a dynamic energy, but some shots are strangely obscured by awkward close-ups which don’t always work and can lend some confusion to what’s happening.  Akiba’s Trip does use bold colour to help sell its energy throughout the backgrounds and character designs, which are simplistic but work for the material.

As you would expect from a show about stripping cosplaying vampires, there’s quite a lot of fanservice.  There is one scene in the first episode where this veers into uncomfortable territory – Matome is on a rooftop with a whole gang of “bugged ones”, who beat her up, hold her down and strip her while she screams, and all the while the voyeuristic camera looms in close-ups over her underwear.  Honestly it’s a bit creepy and one could argue that it didn’t need to go that far to get the point across, especially since it’s so drawn out compared to the other stripping scenes in the episode.

Ultimately, if you like otaku humour and fanservice then Akiba’s Trip will give you what you crave, but it didn’t work for me at all.

4/10

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