「メイド心中 電気街を濡らす涙雨」 (Maid Shinjuu: Denkigai o Nurasu Namidaame)
“To Die for Love: Tears Fall on Electric Town”
Episode 10 of Akiba Maid Sensou brings us another love story gone awry when sparks fly between Ranko and Suehiro. But because Ranko is not allowed to be happy, the world conspires to tear the two apart and throw more burdens on her lap, courtesy of Nagi.
WHEN WILL YOU LEARN! THAT YOUR ACTIONS! HAVE! CONSEQUENCES!?
My main bugbear with the show is how so much happens so quickly that important information and significant plot developments get placed on the back burner until they’re needed or necessary. We never learned the ramifications of Ton Tokoton going against the guidelines because it’s just expected that it means they’re going to be killed now.
But everyone’s been trying to kill them in particular from the very start. If Creatureland and Maidalien weren’t both trying to kill them, then what even happened in these past episodes? Were past attempts to destroy Ton Tokoton all happy accidents? Oh, this time, we’ll actually get a hitman to kill them all instead. As if having entire maid cafes swarm upon them did the trick.
There was something interesting about what consequences Ranko would experience from dating, but again, what consequences actually have meaning in this universe? Nerula and Nagomi’s sisterhood pact was seen as dangerous because they were from rival companies and there’d be animosity from other maids over their bond. But Nerula’s betrayal was way more damning for her than being in the sisterhood, so we never saw the consequences of a sisterhood between maids from two companies. Likewise, the consequences of winning the festival only affected whether the Debt Collector lived or died, but that just makes the Manager’s life easier.
DOOMED FROM THE START
Suehiro’s connection with Ranko was definitely surprising since I wasn’t sure if he was going to stick by being a hitman or if his relationship with Ranko would thaw out his heart. The added tragedy of Suehiro’s full intention of proposing and Ranko refusing to bring her gun with her also makes it sadder that they were torn apart by a chain reaction of different messed up events. At the same time, it is odd that Suehiro is given a desperate redemption arc when he’s indirectly responsible for the murder that caused Ranko to go to prison.
Same thing with Okachimachi since she pulled the trigger and is as responsible for Ranko’s manager’s death as Nagi and Suehiro. Okachimachi is still highly suspicious in my eyes. Even though she seems to want to atone for killing Ranko’s manager, I can’t help but question whether she really was trying to protect Ranko by killing Suehiro. Okachimachi would have never cared to make up for what had happened to her if Ranko hadn’t returned to her life, and much of her motive behind killing Suehiro was because she was gaslit by him into murdering Ranko’s manager.
Then again, she was also led to believe Suehiro would follow through with killing her. If he strangled Okachimachi as thanks for killing Ranko’s manager, then you’d hate to see how he’d treat a maid he went on a date with and declared his one true love. It’s easy to say that nobody is inherently in-the-wrong since it follows the same story beats as a classic tragedy play where people are only driven to commit wicked acts out of circumstance.
At the same time, the only person I feel bad for is Ranko, who has constantly been screwed over by the people around her. Whether it’s being led into a rendezvous with Suehiro that would’ve ended with her death if he didn’t change his mind, Okachimachi robbing her of her manager and her one true love, Nagi backstabbing her and framing her into spending a decade in prison, or Ton Tokoton constantly thrusting her into one death trap after another, everyone’s had their turn ruining Ranko’s happiness.
AYA HIRANO’S COMEBACK ERA
The most exciting part about this episode for me was the reveal that Okachimachi is voiced by Aya Hirano. We’ve had a Hirano drought for far too long with only a few recurring roles she’s had since Parasyte ended.
The price she paid for shacking up with her bandmates was greater than any of the mangaka who collected explicit photos of children or personally victimized minors. All because some unwashed virginal losers who are likely still unwashed, still virginal, and still losers thought they could be Mr. Hirano or Mr. Suzumiya if they bought enough concert tickets.
I suppose the silver lining is that Hirano could manage to make a comeback because drugs are more of a social stigma than a sex scandal that got blown out of proportion by the same otaku who were fuming that Nagi from the anime Kannagi had a past lover. I know men in cheating scandals tend to get a lot of similar flack, but it would take getting caught with a satchel of white powder for them to recast roles as big as Waver Velvet, Katsuki Bakugou, Makoto Tachibana, and Cloud Strife.
Bitterness aside, I’ve been very appreciative of any of the snippets we get of Hirano’s voice work past 2015. DBZ fans were blessed to be able to hear her as Dende whenever they showed up, but the most recent Hirano performance I’ve heard was one of the Popuko’s from this season’s Pop Team Epic sequel.
She had a very cute moment at the end of the episode where she enjoyed a reunion with Minori Chihara. While my favorite Popuko/Pipimi duo this season was the FMA reunion for Romi Park and Rie Kugimiya where Romi encourages viewers to st*** Pop Team Epic, hearing Aya Hirano as Popuko in the same season where she popped up in Akiba Maid Sensou was a real treat for my younger self. Now just to get them to adapt the new Lucky Star chapters so that we can hear her as Konata once more.