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Ready. Set. Strip.

Akiba’s Trip: The Animation is an upcoming anime series based on the video game series, Akiba’s Trip. The anime (the first two episodes of which I viewed at a preview showing) follows protagonist, Tamotsu Denkigai, and friends in Japan’s own otaku mecca, Akihabara, as they battle a hidden evil by tearing its clothes off–wait, what?

For those who are assuming that this whole “tearing clothes off” thing is just a gimmick to get cheesecake shots of girls getting forcefully stripped… well, it is. But it is premised on halfway decent reasoning. Evil beings, called “Bagumono,” are spreading chaos throughout Akihabara by taking over humans and causing them to go berserk. However, the Bagumono have a weakness to the Earth’s atmosphere. By exposing their flesh, the Bagumono can be defeated, thus the need to remove their clothing for maximum exposure.

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The story begins with Tamotsu, an otaku, going through his daily life, checking out various limited collaboration otaku hotspots with his sister, Niwaka. Their day is interrupted when a young girl with glowing hair falls from the sky and crashes into the street. The girl proceeds to then fight a group of pursuers and defeats them by ripping their clothes off. Tamotsu and Niwaka head off, assuming the battle was some kind of eccentric street performance.

After a second and then a third chance encounter with the mysterious girl, Matome Mayonaka, Tamotsu learns of the existence of the mysterious creatures called Bagumono. Eventually, Tamotsu joins Moayonaka’s battle to save Akihabara through aggressive denuding.

Right from the start, the Akiba’s Trip: The Animation has a fun, casual atmosphere. It’s clear the creators have a love and appreciation for Akihabara itself. From the buildings and shop displays in the backgrounds to the sounds and music playing from stores, anyone who has been to the actual town can look at the scenes and recognize that they’re in Akihabara.

It may be because the anime is based on a video game, but the initial episodes also had the feel of a video game tutorial. You had the initial setup, the lead-in with character introductions, the establishing of the rules, the location that would serve as a shop, the location that would serve as a side mission hub, the first battle to introduce the battle system… Honestly, by the end of the showing, I ended up wishing I had a controller in my hands.

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At the end of the day, Akiba’s Trip is a story about ripping the clothing off of bad guys. More than that though, it is a story about Akihabara as a place of shared values where like-minded individuals can go and indulge in their own obsessions. If you can’t get to Akihabara and don’t have such a place of your own, escaping into Akiba’s Trip: The Animation may be the next best thing. It certainly costs less than travel fees.

Akiba’s Trip: The Animation will begin airing in Japan on January 4, 2017. No simulcast information has been announced at this time.

Image copyright: ©2017 ACQUIRE Corp./AKIBA’S TRIP Production Committee

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