Sunday, May 29, 2016

Japan Fall 2015 - Love Live! Part 2: Minalinsky Birthday Cafe @ Akihabara Cure Maid Cafe

To continue in the series of Love Live! posts from my Fall 2015 Japan trip, we have a visit to the Kotori Minami...or rather, Minalinsky Birthday Cafe held at Cure Maid Cafe in Akihabara!

After I saw the Love Live! School Idol movie at a small theater in Shibuya, I took the train back to Akihabara to line up for the cafe with a friend. Kotori's birthday had just passed, and Cure Maid Cafe hosted a special menu as well some limited edition merchandise to go along with the event.

Cure Maid Cafe is of particular interest to Love Live! fans because it served as the model for the maid cafe which Koto...erm, "Minalinsky," the nickname she takes up while on the job, works for during the animated series. The inside of the cafe looks similar to how it does in the episode and the long maid dress Kotori wears is the same as what all the servers wear.

I went on the last day, so the line to get in to the cafe was long. Located on the sixth floor, customers had to wait along the dreary staircase on the side of the building leading up to the cafe. The wait was a brutal two hours long on an already cloudy, gloomy day, but it was worth it to finally arrive at the top of the staircase to pretty young women in maid dresses.

The atmosphere of Cure Maid Cafe was much different from what most people would expect--myself included--out of one of Akihabara's most popular tourist attractions. This place was much farther from the cutesy, moe-type maid cafe's that Akihabara is known for. Instead of mini-skirts, wide-eyed contact lens, and speakers blaring denpa songs for the maids to dance to, Cure Maid Cafe embraces a totally different outlook on the maid culture that is much more sophisticated. They serve tea, the muscat grape was delicious, and for the event they played all of Kotori's solo songs from the Love Live! series, albeit on a much lower volume. The maids are much more composed, calm, and seem very professional. While they won't infuse your food with super cute powers, ala this hilarious Tommy Lee Jones commercial,  they will be glad to pour your tea for you and make you an omelette that probably tastes just as good. While it's a different atmosphere the no-pictures policy is still enforced, but you can get an idea of how the inside looks from pictures on the internet, like the above one from their official site.

Kotori's favorite food is cheesecake and Cure Maid Cafe offered a special slice decorated with her signature bird face as part of their special menu. They also had omelettes and other desserts on the menu but this cheesecake was too cute to pass up. It was also delicious, especially with the muscat tea. Some of the voice actors also paid a visit to the cafe and left a signature board for them to frame. The post cards below it were presents for ordering items off the special Kotori menu.

Although it was a painful wait to get in, the entire experience was well worth the visit. Even if you find yourself in Akihabara looking for an alternative to a typical maid cafe with a more relaxed atmosphere, pay a visit to Cure Maid Cafe. Check out their official website for directions, a list of events, and the menu. It's located in the same building as a store with nothing but gachapon machines and isn't very hard to find. Cheers!

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