If you live in the Southern California area, or are just an Anime/Manga fan in general, you no doubt know that Anime Expo will be starting up this week. It’s not the only though! AM2, Orange County’s answer the loss of AX. Although still young, in comparison, AM2 provides just as much entertainment and opportunities as its elder brother AX. However, one thing AM2 will have that Anime Expo does not, is AniMaid Cafe. Providing an experience usually only offered in akihabra, Japan, AniMaid Cafe is very much the same, but with an Anime Twist. Their President, Kchan, described it perfectly as, “A place where anime fans are served by anime fans.” I was lucky enough to talk with both AniMaid Cafe’s President Kchan, and Vice President Venus-Chan, where we talked about some of the new and exciting experiences they will be providing at AM2.
I had my first run in with AniMaid Cafe last year. They were holding a picnic event at the Irvine Regional Park, I was offered a ticket and so I went. Having no experience with the maid culture of the akihabra area, I really didn’t know what to expect out of it. Almost, immediately I was drawn into the experience. Right off the bat you are asked to choose a maid who will serve your food to you. I, being new to the experience, just pointed toward the closest maid, who just happened to be Venus Chan. The day was truly quite amazing; you quickly are drawn into the setting as they provide a truly friendly and fun experience. Throughout the day they would have dance shows, and several board games that made their way around the picnic area. In fact, they took Jenga to a whole new level; I never knew just how epic that game could be prior to playing it with AniMaid Cafe. The experience is exceptional, and everyone should give it a try. At AM2, they’ll be going beyond just the maid theme; they’ll be adding two additional shows. One is AC High School, a two show special that will put you right in the middle of a High school Anime experience. The second is the Host Club. An event specially aimed for their female friends, as the Hosts will be stepping forward and assisting you with their own charm. The Host Club will only be at AM2, so don’t miss it! For more details, read the interview below.
Okay. I’ve had the pleasure of attending one of your events, I’m sure not all of my readers have though. So in your words, how would you describe AniMaid Cafe?
Kchan: AniMaid Cafe is a maid cafe with anime twist. Maids and Hosts of AniMaid Cafe are Otaku, or anime fans, so we want to entertain and serve other Otaku. We also want to introduce a Maid Culture through AniMaid Cafe to fans in America. We don’t have a specific location, so we go to each convention and try to introduce the maid culture to fans that don’t have a chance to attend a maid cafe in akihabara, Japan. AniMaid Cafe is actually a place where I can say Anime Fans are served by anime fans.
You’ll be returning to AM2 this year, and providing two new experiences, correct?
Kchan: Yes, this is the first year we have a host club, which is exclusive for AM2, and the AniMaid High School! Both new events are different from the maid cafe.
Kchan: In the maid cafe, guests will be served by both maids and hosts, and we welcome all guests! In the host club, this event is exclusively aimed toward our lady guest. There will be no maids serving and the environment is like a Japanese club.
No boys allowed huh?
Kchan: We do welcome our goshujin Sama (Master) into the host club.
Kchan: Of course, but expect to be served by a pretty boy
I have a feeling some wouldn’t mind that.
Kchan: I bet! I wouldn’t be surprised to see some goshujin Sama in there.
How did these ideas come about, and what are some of the major changes happening?
Venus Chan:When the school theme was suggested among our staff, everyone became super excited and ideas began to fly. Whenever we notice
that kind of enthusiasm, we try to capture it and deliver it to our guests. The same goes for our Host club. In the beginning, our poor hosts were often in the background and were craving a time to shine on their own. So this year at AM2 we’re getting the chance to let them run their own show. Since then, they’ve been practicing slow dancing, training on how to pour and serve special mixed drinks, and getting together to brainstorm the perfect host club. It’s really charming.
Kchan: For the high school event, we want the guests to experience a Japanese High School class. We want to bring what we see in anime to life. It is not just our volunteers in high school uniforms, but the environment will be different and also the style that we serve too.
That’s some exciting stuff. I noticed in the AniMaid High School, the volunteers have titles. So can we expect to be picked on by the School Delinquent, or defended by the kendo captain?
Kchan: Yes, it is a fun part for both volunteers and guests! Our volunteers love the idea that they can be what they want as if they were in a Japanese high school. They are having so much fun preparing for their characters. So if you get into a table with the delinquent, please be prepared because he/she will pick on you.
There is also a High school Graduation event, correct?
Kchan: YES!! I can’t say much about the HS graduation because it is a secret. It might surprise some people, but we think it would be great to have our last show, especially in the summer, be a graduation.
*laughs* You sound excited about it.
Kchan: I am very excited about our school theme. It is a part of high school life. You go to class, you study hard, then you graduate and you say good bye to friends.
Will this become a permanent thing for AniMaid Cafe?
Kchan: It might. We may do it once in a while, or we will have different themes every time we do an event. It is very important in AniMaid cafe that we have our volunteers involved with the preparation, and put in ideas. So if our volunteers want to do a Fairy Tale Theme, we might do it, for example.
Venus Chan: Lots of maid café’s in Japan have special themes. For example some are cat or train themed for respective enthusiasts. To honor that tradition, we try to do a fun theme to spice things up a little every year!
Am2 is coming up in three days, any plans for after AM2?
This is your final event for the year?
Kchan: Our maids and hosts will be taking a month vacation after AM2. Then we plan to have another event in August or September, and we also do a maid cafe in Hawaii this year at the end of September. This year, we also have maids and hosts from Arizona and Hawaii coming over to volunteer at our cafe too!
Really? So you guys are no longer limited to the California area?
Kchan: Correct – if we have a chance to promote the maid culture to outside of California, we will. This year we have Trinku Chan, who is the head maid from At Your Service Cafe in Arizona coming to help us. Sado Chan, Kele kun from Hawaii is also coming! I think it is a great experience for everybody because we can exchange the idea of maid cafe.
Indeed, it seems like you guys are growing quite quickly.
Venus Chan: AniMaid Café is getting better every event. We’re developing our skills, expanding our games, and making some impressive connections all around the world. We have lots of brand new videos coming out along with our monthly live broadcast we have new dances, music, interviews, behind the scenes footage from the last two and half years, Music videos, more photo shoots, tutorials, major updates to our website, and some super cute merchandise like stickers, buttons, and personalized dolls!
So you can expect some major movement from us soon! XD
Any final words for our friends?
Kchan: Please come and support the AniMaid Cafe at AM2! It means a lot to our volunteers to see our guests coming to the events, and please free to get involved more with the cafe on facebook or our forum at www.theanimaidcafe.net!
There you guys go! Don’t forget AM2 is this week, starting Friday! It’s a free to enter convention, but you do have to buy tickets for events. To purchase tickets to AniMaid Cafe go here!You’ll also see a complete list of their shows, and when they start. I’ll be going, so I hope you go too! See ya then!