All ‘Maid’ Up – M.A.I.D Café by Manga and Anime Club
The clatter of cutlery against crockery and the slow beats of indie music welcomed one into the (quite crowded) expanses of Egg Factory. For one night, it was transformed into a maid cafe, an interesting aspect of Japanese culture, popularized by anime series, ‘Kaichou wa Maid-sama’. Models from Burning Ice, dressed elaborately as maids and butlers, faced the added pressure of dealing with the sudden onslaught of people standing in line, waiting for tables. Armed with wacky headgear and a notepad in hand, these one-time maids were a sight to behold as they dealt with problems ranging from the sad replacement of penne pasta by fusilli to a suspicious lack of forks at a table for ten.
The Manga and Anime Club outdid itself this time around with its semi realistic maid cafe, which was its first major event this semester. This paves the path for many more events to come, including a few movie screenings which is always a favourite of the diverse Manipal crowds.
Setting up this cafe was a grueling process in itself. The models from Burning Ice and the PR head of the Manga and Anime club, Anish Mahapatra, volunteered for special training from the management at Egg Factory. From learning about kitchen – order techniques to table settings and services, it was almost as if they were to compete in a face-off with the folks over at the Welcomgroup School of Hotel Administration. The Club’s collaboration with Burning Ice was a pleasant one, with both clubs working with a common aim in mind – to introduce Manipal to the whimsical world of Japanese culture and make people happy, not forgetting to look good while they do it.
Maid cafes are a unique part of Japanese culture, and are one of the most influential kinds of themed restaurants. Their specialty and appeal lies in how up – close and personal they are. This scale of comfort and contentment is difficult to find in normal restaurants and cafes where stern, mustachioed stewards often ruin the cosy ambiance with their insistence to take one’s order and take it now. In comparison, the employees at a maid cafe breed a sense of familiarity and friendliness that one would usually detach from dining out.
The main organizer of this event, the Manga and Anime Club, was founded about two years ago. It is an accepting and enthusiastic space for people who are passionate about anime and Japanese culture. “People who like anime and manga more often than not tend to be introverts and it takes time for them to come out of their shell. We know because we relate.” explained a laughing Protiti Datta, Chief Editor of the club. The MAC has a variety of people; from hard core fans who can recite the detailed history of cosplay in twenty minutes to anime enthusiasts with the superhuman ability to finish entire seasons of a series within a day.
On the Club’s plans of expansion, Protiti remarked ‘We have a Manga and Anime centered fest coming up soon, and we’re also planning out a few events in collaboration with other clubs, like LDQ. And then we have our own event in Revels too.’ Evidently, the Manga and Anime Club has quite a few tricks up its sleeve to give Manipal a sample of the different colours and flavours of Japan.
Meanwhile, the Maid Café proved to be a major success, with its appealing milieu and unexpectedly large turnout, along with maids and butlers willing to go the extra mile and perform a little beyond the call of duty.