The new original TV anime Akiba Maid War from the tag team of Cygames and P.A.WORKS is now airing on Wednesday, October 6, 2022.
Nagomi Wahira, a 17-year-old maid, and Ranko Manyen, a 35-year-old maid, join the maid café “Tonton Tonton” as new maids, and the aftermath of the war between the Maidlian family, which has been at odds with each other for some time, and the largest group, Kedamonoland family, continues.
A staff roundtable discussion with director Soichi Masui, series composition writer hiki yoshihiro, producer Nobuhiro Takenaka of Cygames, and producer Mitsuhito Tsuji of P.A.WORKS. We asked them about as many behind-the-scenes stories as they can tell us at this time!
Quotes Anime Times
- Akiba Maid War Interview
- Starting point for the anime Akiba Maid War
- Determining the story of Akiba Maid War
- Akiba Maid War is difficult to understand
- Akiba Maid War Production Period
- Akiba Maid War : The Story Behind the Setting
- Akiba Maid War : Voice Actors
- The Meaning of Akiba Maid War Maid’s Work
- Who is your favorite character in Akiba Maid War ?
- What is the future of Akiba Maid War ?
Akiba Maid War Interview
Could you tell us again what position you were all involved in the production of this work? I would also like to ask about the relationship between all of you. ……
Nobuhiro Takenaka: I am a producer at Cygames, and I was the one who first said, “I want to make this work. I don’t have a specific job.
─ You mean that you are the originator of this animation?
Takenaka: I think it is a bit exaggerated to say that I conceived of the idea. I just came up with the project (laugh).
Mitsuhito Tsuji: I feel that Takenaka-san is the one who spearheaded this project.
Takenaka: Just that. I said, I want to do it, and everyone worked very hard to make it happen.
I don’t think that’s true, but I understand for the time being (laugh). Next, Mr. Tsuji, please!
Tsuji: I am a producer at P.A.WORKS, and I was given the opportunity to create the animation for Akiba Maid War .
Takenaka: (Lively) Yo!
Tsuji: Sorry for the very rough explanation (laugh).
Soichi Masui: I was the director of this anime. I was invited to participate as an animation director, so I was able to participate in this project.
Takenaka: Well, you are not wrong. …… (laugh).
Yoshihiro Hiki: Yes, that’s right (laugh). I was also invited by Takenaka-san and his team to be in charge of the series composition of the work.
Starting point for the anime Akiba Maid War
Director Masui and Mr. Hiki told us that Mr. Takenaka invited you to join us. Could you tell us about the process of staffing until everyone here got together?
Takenaka: Originally, Mr. Tsuji and I were acquaintances and we were talking about how we wanted to do something interesting together. We had several projects in mind, and Akiba Maid War was the one that Mr. Tsuji said looked interesting.
Tsuji: Were there several other projects by Mr. Takenaka? What were they?
Takenaka: I think there were about three projects. I don’t really remember which one I brought to Mr. Tsuji myself (laugh). Then we decided to pick up the story of Akiba Maid War . Then, I remember that we talked about who should be the center of the script in creating the story.
Tsuji: I brought this project to the head of Pita Corporation, a company with a scriptwriting team, Mr. Rishi Sugiura. We didn’t dare to decide on the series composition. I was going to gather a lot of brains and brainstorm about what kind of project and story I wanted to tell. If I remember correctly, there were about five of us talking about this at the beginning.
Takenaka: That’s right. After that, there were four of us.
Tsuji: Among those four people was Mr. Hiki, wasn’t he?
Takenaka: Then, when we thought about how to proceed with the project, we decided that it would be better to have a series director (laugh).
Tsuji: We were talking about how the plan was not quite coherent (laugh). So we decided to set up a person who would structure the project.
─The plan didn’t come together (laugh).
Takenaka: That’s right (laugh). After that, as we were putting together the plan with Mr. Hiki at the center, we said, Now that we can see the completion to some extent, let’s call the director! Then Mr. Tsuji suggested the name of Director Masui. I said, “If Mr. Masui himself is willing, by all means.
Tsuji: So I contacted Mr. Masui and asked him to take a look at it. He said, “Sounds interesting,” as I recall (laugh). At the time, I am aware that he gladly accepted the offer.
Determining the story of Akiba Maid War
I understand that the animation project started with the idea of doing something interesting together. May I ask in detail what kind of discussions took place between Mr. Takenaka and Mr. Tsuji?
Tsuji: Takenaka-san told me that he wanted to do something interesting. As for myself, I had a strong desire to depict the work of maids as an anime. But Takenaka-san said he wanted to do something chivalrous. It was a bit like we had conflicting opinions about what kind of animation we wanted (laugh). So it became a question of which element to put in more strongly.
─ Before the broadcast began, some people probably thought it would be a realistic work anime about maids.
Tsuji: I think so. As it turns out, there aren’t many elements of maids’ work in the whole thing. But as I worked on planning and production, I felt a response of I can do it in this genre too!
Did you decide on the title of the anime from the beginning?
Tsuji: The title was decided at the beginning. It was already decided, or rather, it was …….
Takenaka: The title was already decided in my mind.
Tsuji: In the end, we kept the title.
Akiba Maid War is difficult to understand
What kind of impression did HIKI-san and director Masui have about the work when they were told about this project?
HIKI: When I received the proposal, it was in the proposal stage. When I heard about it, I thought it sounded interesting, but at first I couldn’t understand what the animation was about. …… (laugh).
Takenaka: Ha ha ha ha!
Hiki: At the time, I wondered if it would be an interesting anime just because of the part about the beautiful girl maids fighting. I thought that kind of thing was not really my cup of tea (laugh). But after listening to the story, I realized that was not the case. As a result, they talked about it in a nuanced way, like about 10% of the story is about beautiful girls fighting.
Tsuji: Is it really 10% (laugh)?
HIKI: The other day, I went back and read the very first proposal I received at the time. It said 60% comedy, 10% action, and 20% drama. I thought, “That’s a total of 90%!
Director Masui, how did you get involved in this project?
Masui: Actually, I was shown Mr. Tsuji’s plot by Mr. Hiki. By the time I saw it, the story had already been worked out in pretty detail. I thought the project was interesting. ……You mentioned beautiful girl maids earlier, didn’t you? I couldn’t quite understand the separation between the activities of the maids and the depiction of violence.
I remember thinking, “This is interesting, but what should I do with it? I felt like I was a bit intimidated by the difficulty of understanding it. So I asked Takenaka-san and Hiki-san a few questions.
Takenaka: Yes. I received a letter of questions.
Masui: I started by making a list of the planning parts that were difficult to understand and asking what you all were aiming to produce with this animation.
─What was written on that list?
Tsuji: (Looking at his computer) I still have the notes from that time. They are quite voluminous (laugh). I don’t think I’ve written all the contents of those days here.
Takenaka: When I received that list of questions at the time, my impression was, “Well, that must be true. (laughter)
Masui: At the time, I didn’t understand the worldview of the anime and wondered what kind of world it was. I remember asking questions about the costumes, the city, and the type of car that the maid would be driving. “It’s not a normal car, surely.”
In the beginning, there were parts of the car that Takenaka-san and I disagreed on. I was thinking of so-called painted cars or cars with fancy wings. I thought those were the standard setting of the world, but surprisingly, Takenaka-san said, “I want to use a Mercedes Benz” (laugh).
Also, the theme of the anime was to complete each episode by itself, so we shared ideas on how the characters could be connected to each other in order to balance the entertaining aspects of the story and the flow of the story throughout the series.
Takenaka: At that time, timing-wise, we were in the early stages of the animation project, when the script had not even been written. First of all, I wanted the director to give shape to what he wanted to do with the animation, so I remember me and Hiki-san listening to the director’s opinions as we shifted our movements toward completion, saying, “Let’s make adjustments.
Akiba Maid War Production Period
I’m sure you are all talking about it as if you were reminiscing. It was a long time ago, wasn’t it?
Takenaka: Yes, it was.
Tsuji: The script period was crazy long, really long compared to PA’s other works. It took about two and a half years from the start until the last episode was uploaded. Production-wise, I shouldn’t have taken that much time (laugh).
So it took you a long time to boil down the project.
Hiki: But from my experience, the production period was quick, and I got the impression that we didn’t have many major dead ends. The director commented that “the staff, cast, and characters are all just living a serious life,” and I think it took about a year to capture the atmosphere of comedy but seriousness in the animation (laugh).
Takenaka: I think the production went smoothly after the director joined the project. I think it was important to have someone who has the final say (laugh).
Tsuji: Before that, there was no one to take the helm and say, “Okay, let’s do this! (laugh). Without a director, People couldn’t make decisions.
Akiba Maid War : The Story Behind the Setting
The setting of the anime is Akiba in 1999. Was there a reason for that setting?
Hiki: In the early stages of the project, there was a discussion about not wanting to use cell phones, so the year 1999 was suggested. ……
Masui: When you have a smartphone, communication becomes easier. When there were no cell phones, there was a wait time. You would get furious if you had to wait 30 minutes in front of a station (laugh). When the cell phone appeared, it became too convenient. So I was thinking that if I had a smartphone, I would set it up in a backstage setting where it would be confiscated at the store or the time to use it would be restricted.
Sounds like a strong school club.
Masui: Yes, yes. I wanted to make it so that you have to rely on the landline as much as possible.
Takenaka: In 1999, we already had cell phones (laugh) But smartphones were not mainstream like they are now. What I also wanted to do was to create a fin-de-siècle atmosphere and cityscape. I like the feeling that light bulbs are still in use. It wasn’t a very particular decision, though.
Tsuji: But I remember thinking, It’s hard to set an anime in that era (laugh). I wondered how much I could recreate.
Masui: I thought it was interesting. It was a long time ago, but it was a very subtle time. I am not very familiar with Akiba, and when I thought about what has changed between now and 1999, there were …… pitches,and mobile phones, but there were no smartphones.
I also wondered if otaku and moe culture, and for that matter maid cafes in general, were not thriving. Before the otaku culture took root, so-called real junk, word processors, microcomputers, and wireless communication devices were still alive. I thought that was definitely different from today. On the screen, it may not look much different from now, but if you look closely, you can see that the computer connection is slower, or they don’t have smartphones. I thought I had to show those differences. Also, the car models are different.
I don’t have much knowledge about cars, but do car models change that much in less than 20 years?
Masui:Cars of 20 years ago were more angular.
Tsuji: I have the impression that cars are becoming more rounded as they get newer.
Akiba Maid War : Voice Actors
Please let me ask you about the casting too. I heard that there was an audition for the Tontonton members.
Takenaka: The main members were decided by audition. Because of the long production time, I think that the (production team’s) image of each character was surprisingly consistent. We started with tape auditions, but I think we were able to narrow it down.
Tsuji: We didn’t have many disagreements.
Takenaka: Yes, it was decided surprisingly quickly.
Masui: I nominated Tomoyo Kurosawa for the role of Shi-Pon. At first she said it would be difficult because her schedule didn’t allow it, but I said I would still like her to play the role (laugh).
It’s was so.
Masui: I had worked with her before on another anime, so I thought that the role of Shi-Pon would suit her. She is the kind of person who takes the work seriously, so in a way, I think she was unsure about appearing in a work that was such a joke (laugh).
Takenaka: I apologize (laugh).
What did you think about Mimi Tanaka who played Yumechi and Ayaka Takagaki who played the store manager?
Tsuji: Mr. Manabu Nii, the character designer, said, “Ms. Tanaka definitely fits the character.
Takenaka: I thought that Ms. Tanaka would be a good fit for the role of Yumechi, and indeed she was a great fit. Everyone was raving about Ms. Takagaki’s role as the store manager from the audition stage.
Ms Reina Kondo told us during the audition stage that she dared to express the lovely and atmosphere of Nagomi in a different image.
Takenaka: I clearly remember Ms. Kondo’s audition. There was a sense of uniqueness. It was refreshing to see her play Nagomi in a way that was different from the way we had tried to create it in our calculations. I remember I suggested to everyone, How about you, Kondo-san?
Masui: I was impressed that Ms. Kondo responded to my order when I asked her to “play it dirtier. Everyone has a cute voice, so I couldn’t help but make it cute. In such a situation, she did it with all her might without worrying about cuteness. 「Yes! That voice!」 I felt like. Like the scene where she gets punched (laugh).
Takenaka: Limited acting (laugh).
-Ms. Sato herself too once worked part-time at a game center in Akiba and wore a maid’s uniform.
Takenaka: Really? I didn’t know that (laugh). As for Ms. Sato’s role as Ranko, I felt from the audition that she was the one.
The Meaning of Akiba Maid War Maid’s Work
─ At the time of this interview article’s publication, the anime has aired two episodes. Through the feud, each character’s unique characteristics and Nagomi’s struggles were depicted.
Hiki: There are many set-up aspects in the first two episodes of the anime. The main focus is on scenes to convey the worldview and characterization, but from episode 3 onward, the atmosphere gets more and more joking around, so I hope you look forward to it.
Masui: At this point, Nagomi doesn’t want to belong to Tontokoton (maid cafe) forever. So this is just the beginning. The work animation will start in earnest from now on.
Tsuji: Work…Did you draw it in anime?
Takenaka: We are drawing the maids’ work on the whole ……! They were working in episode 1, and they are also working in the beginning of episode 2 (laugh).
Tsuji: I think if you watch the two episodes, you will understand “this is how you see this work. If you watch only the first episode, you might think, So this is the kind of anime, but you also work as a maid, right? I think that after 2 episodes, you will realize that these guys don’t work as maids for sure.
Takenaka: No, that’s not true! They work at a maid cafe! If everyone says “P.A.WORKS is proud of this work anime,” we’ll be happy, so I’m going to say it out loud! (Laugh)
Tsuji: But I don’t think there are many maid cafes as an element, so I think the scenes where they are fighting will stand out more.
Masui: Well, I think it would be good if …… fans could think about what it means to work in this world.
Who is your favorite character in Akiba Maid War ?
─ And I have a question from Ms Kondo and Ms Sato. Of all the characters that have appeared up to the second episode of the anime, who is your favorite character?
Takenaka: If it were up to episode 2, I think I would like the store manager.
Tsuji: She has a nice picture of her smoking a cigarette. I love it.
HIKI: It’s good. She was asked, “How much money do you want to borrow?” and she answers “a lot”,which is great. I think the director thought of that scene, but I like it.
Tsuji: The most interesting character that I watched until the second episode is the store manager. I also love the scene where the manager says, “Ohineri-chan won’t come out!
Masui: I think she is always doing her best. Yumechi and Shippon get angry at her, but I think she is carrying a lot of things, even though she is told many things. I think they really feel like, “You guys don’t understand!
Takenaka: That’s about all that we can talk about in the second episode. There will be many more characters in the future, so please look forward to them.
Also, RANKO is prisoner number 96, but Kondo-san said she wanted to know why it is 96.
Tsuji: Did this have any deeper meaning?
Takenaka: I remember that, but I dare let it be that there is no special reason there.
I was also curious who came up with the catchy term “Ohineri-chan”?
Masui: We all came up with the idea while worrying about it.
Takenaka: There were quite a few different ideas, but we agreed that “Ohineri-chan” was surprisingly good because of the etymology of the word “twist. There was also a phrase in the script for the first episode, “Give it a twist! in the script of the first episode, so we finally came up with “Ohineri-chan”.
Masui: I liked the way the word sounded like throwing money. Well, if you put it that way, it means “top payment. …… We all discussed it quite a bit, didn’t we?
Takenaka: I think we finally decided on the name based on the sound of the word.
What is the future of Akiba Maid War ?
Please tell us about the highlights of Akiba Maid War in the future.
Takenaka: It’s difficult to say what the future “highlights” are at this point, but the relationships between the characters in the maid café will develop from episode 2 onward. Personally, I think it will become even more interesting from episode 4 onward. Of course, it’s interesting from the start. I enjoyed watching the anime because everyone was able to do what they wanted to do in the anime.
Masui: For those of you who have watched the anime up to this point, I would just like to say that this is how things are going to progress, so please continue to support us (laugh).
Takenaka: There are episodes where things don’t go as planned (laugh), but there aren’t many stories that can be told before the second episode. So I apologize for being so brusque.
Tsuji: Personally, I think it will be interesting to see how Nagomi faces the maids in this world and how she think go about them . That was something I was thinking about as the number of episodes progressed. I think it would be good if you could pay attention to how Nagomi changes and follow her.
Takenaka: Excellent comment. It is a story of Nagomi’s growth. When Tsuji-san says it, it is very persuasive (laugh).
I don’t know if it’s appropriate to say this in an interview, but …… I wanted to make “something interesting even though I don’t understand it. I can’t understand it in my head, but it’s interesting. And I think that eventually it will become a work that can be understood. So at this stage, rather than saying “it’s interesting” or “it’s not interesting,” as someone inside the production, I am glad that people can see and feel it.
Thank you for watching. See you soon.
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