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Maid Café—An Anime Experience

McDonald’s took on a new look on the 30th March as the Manga and Anime Club of MIT, in collaboration with Glam and Glitz and Chords and Co., used the venue for their event, Maid Café. With live music and themed decorations, the event offered a new dining experience for the people of Manipal.

The maid cafés, a subcategory of cosplay restaurants, is an intriguing aspect of the Japanese Otaku Culture, that has been popularized by the anime series, Kaichou wa Maid-sama. Inspired by the Victorian era, these cafés give their customers a royal treatment, with the servers dressing up as butlers and French maids. For people living stressful lives in Japan, maid cafés offer a form of recreation that is especially appealing to fans of manga and anime.

While the customers were being served their food, they were kept entertained by the live bands playing popular English and Hindi songs. The servers chatted up with the crowd and engaged them in games of rock-paper-scissors.

Each table had a placard with a hand-drawn anime character, a personal touch added by the MAC. A few customers jokingly complained about the absence of moe omelette rice, a dish served in Maid Sama! and attempted to decorate their burgers with ketchup as done by the maids on the entrées served in the maid cafés. With the food being served by acquaintances or friends instead of strangers, the experience was quite an unusual one.

The influx of customers increased after 8 PM and with the venue not being big enough to accommodate the crowd, the atmosphere became a little suffocating. After a while, a few orders started getting delayed and mixed up, creating a lot of commotion.

“It’s a really creative idea and although I am enjoying the event, I was expecting the servers to pull off the customary outfit, complete with the frills and the headgear. The collaboration with music is a good addition to the event,” said Snigdha Burkule, an avid manga reader who binge watches anime.

A lot of the people who turned up had their minds laden with misconceptions that they’ve seen portrayed in anime series, which made some of the servers uncomfortable. “Maid cafés are a part of wacky Japanese traditions and people visit them for the experience. Anime series sexualize this tradition to gain popularity, but the concept is, in reality, just a combination of Japanese pop culture and tradition,” said Pranav Devati, a member of MAC. The event concluded with members of Chords and Co. performing Unravel, a rendition of a popular anime theme song from Tokyo Ghoul.

Photo credits: The Photography Club

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