This is one seriously weird show, right from the title. Because the apostrophe is hidden, you think this is called “Akiba Strip”, but you wouldn’t be too far off the mark with it. No, the actually title is “Akiba’s Trip” (“Akibazu Torippu”) and the layout up top is every indication as to how unhinged it is.
For those few people who do not know, Akiba (Akihabara) is in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo. After WWII, it was known as Akihabara Electric Town, owing to all the shopping for household electronic goods and some black market shenanigans. Lately, it is considered by many to be an otaku cultural center and a shopping district for video games, anime, manga, and computer goods. The area is certainly referenced in numerous animes and mangas.
In this show, the location has a lot of vigilante groups, formed more to keep the peace than actually hunting down miscreants, as there is something strange in the neighborhood. One day, Tamotsu Denkigai (guy in back) and his sister, Niwaka (down in front), decide to take in a visit and satisfy their otaku needs. They are confronted by a red-haired girl, Matome Mayonaka, who leaps around the town, wielding that bat of hers (I think it’s a Mizuno) and dispensing justice. Tamotsu is attacked by a Bugged One and appears to be dead when Matome saves him. But there is a price for all of this: he lives, but cannot leave the confines of Akiba. But this is good, as his now-enhanced abilities will stead him well in their battles.
It is there (or here, at the designated HQ for these folks) that he learns of his mission, along with Arisa Ahokainen (blondie at the right; she’s Finnish) and Tasujin Ratu (far, far left. She is an under-aged Indian professor and the boffin for the group). Together, as Electric Mayonnaise, they are the key group to fight these Bugged Ones.
OK, you see the minions scattered about behind them, but they have to go after the mid-level folks and the Bosses. How do you defeat Bugged Ones? You’ll love this, as it references back to the beginning: you have to strip their clothes off of them!
Now, being a family comedy, you can keep your foundations on (bra and panties for the ladies, jockeys for the guys, sometimes the socks) and then they come around to being regular people (although they are thoroughly confused as to why they are thusly presented). The problem with key players (like Matome and Tamotsu) and the Bosses, is that when you lose your clothing, you disappear. I mean, poof, you ain’t there no more. Bye, bye, Miss American Pie.
The tales detail their struggles with ever-increasingly devious Bugged Ones, eventually leading to the double revelation of going up against Metrorica (the shadow group that wants to rule Akiba) and who they really are.
Farce is difficult to pull off, in that you have to keep the pedal to the metal, but know when to easy back. Sure, the Poof Factor is scary, but this show and the presentation of events needed to be far wackier than it was. This is one of those instances when you need more fan service and of a higher quality. I mean, Tamotsu thinks nothing of ripping the clothing from a dozen young ladies all at once, but he should get more agog at all the feminine flesh about, even from his own staff.
And when we get to the climactic battle, you can still have it both exciting and bizarre, to play into the farce better. This is one of those instances where you have a huge amount of effort for a minor goal, as it feels misapplied. Part of that is due to bogus crises that we all knew beforehand how it would play out…and it did. *sigh* I sometimes dislike being correct.
All the parts are there, we had to find the best way to construct it and present it. This aspect of it fell down, so it ended up being not enough in all categories it was trying to score in. It felt like it wasn’t completely sure of the story it was telling, so you got mixed messages and it hurt its own cause. There were some inventive sequences and the fluctuating art style added to the insanity, but the plotting, where it was key, split the difference, so was neither fish nor fowl. However, if you want a light show between all that serious anime you chase after, you could do worse.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Cute girls but strange hair)
Plot 7 (Not enough spin on a standard tale)
Pacing 7 (Getting to the story a bit sluggish)
Effectiveness 7 (There were some frustrating times)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 5 (A similar show would be “Maburaho”)
Overall 7 (Good story, hurt by indecisiveness)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. We are…Electric Mayonnaise!