Before Ranko went cold, I had a pretty strong inkling which way Nagomi would break in response. She tried to turn the other cheek and live by Nerula’s example, but losing Ranko was a pig too far. As a result, while her fellow Oinky Doink maids don black to grieve the loss of their 36-year-old big sister, Nagomi dons black to announce that she’s gone to the dark side—the way of the gun. She intends to kill Ranko’s killer with Ranko’s revolver.
Nagi didn’t order Ranko’s death—rather, it was someone who, like Nagomi, wanted revenge for the death of her fellow Wuv-Wuv Moonbeam maids, so stylishly slain in the first episode. In that regard, Ranko reaped what she sowed, which is why she died with a smile on her face. She owned what she did, and was happy to have found a home and family at the Oinky Doink.
But with Ranko gone, it’s once again open season for the pigs, as Nagi has ordered their extermination. Nagomi is jumped in the street by the cow maid she shot in the foot and beaten to a pulp, and after the police release her, she goes through Ranko’s bag and finds little mementos that turn her away from the darkness and back to the light.
The head maids under Nagi’s employ don’t want to shed any more blood lest they attract too much police attention, but Nagi wants this done, and she kills the head Bear and Cow maids to impress upon the others the price of questioning her orders. The next morning Nagomi, rejoins her fellow Oinky Doink maids in her normal maid outfit
They’re ready to join her in taking a last stand right there at their home against the other Creatures, and she tells them they’ll give their enemies a real “maid war.” They tuck into what may well be their last supper at the ramen joint below them, buying an extra bowl for Ranko and each of them taking a slurp from her bowl. Meanwhile, Nagi and her army are on the march.
When Nagi enters the ramen joint and the owner gets a little too sentimental, she kills him. He was one of the few people who knew her when she was an orphan taken in by Miss Michiyo, and who ordered a hit on her adoptive mother when she went non-violent … due in no small part to the arrival of young Ranko.
I thought we’d get one more elevator gag, but Nagi is all business as she walks down the hall to the entrance of Oinky Doink, her soldiers standing at attention. But even though she envisions herself being shot in the head before opening the door, she’s met by an entirely non-violent and very moe Oinky Doink welcome.
Following Nagomi’s lead, the Oinky Doink maids treat Nagi and their would-be murderers just like any other masters or mistresses who walk through that door: like they’ve come home to the pigsty. And to most of the maids’ shock (including Ranko’s killer), Nagi actually humors them, ordering everyone to sit down.
The main event of their hospitality is a song-and-dance by Nagomi that embodies the gentle, immortal spirit of moe moe kyun from which she, Ranko, and Michiyo all believed the maids of Akiba had strayed. Watching Nagomi perform…not so greatly reminds Nagi of Ranko when they were still sisters. She shoots Nagomi in the side, but it’s apparently only a grazing shot, because Nagomi keeps on going.
Nagomi’s performance briefly captures the enthusiasm of the crowd, but when it comes to a close it’s met by cold silence and a light smattering of applause. Nagi responds by shooting one of her own Dazzlion maids in the hands. Nagomi tries to get through to Nagi with sentiment and words, even telling Nagi that if she ever feels lonely she’ll always find cozy companionship at the pigsty. But Nagi simply doesn’t want to hear it.
The fact is, she’s seen and heard enough, so she fires the rest of her bullets at an off-camera Nagomi. But then something happens that she never expected in a million years: the former Wuv-Wuv Moonbeam, now Axolotl maid, who killed Ranko, shoots Nagi in the head.
Apparently, Nagomi got through to her. And getting through to one among the dozens was enough. Okachimachi finishes the job by throwing Chekhov’s sharpened bamboo spear through Nagi’s gut. We didn’t get any more Hirano Aya, but the panda had her day.
After a credit sequence altered to include visuals of and vocals by Nagomi, we flash forward to 2018, where we learn that in the end, Michiyo, Ranko, and Nagomi won. As it was when I visited, Akiba is a vibrant but peaceful place, where the maids are no longer packing heat. In a final welcome surprise, a wheelchair-bound but alive Nagomi carries on Ranko’s legacy at the New Oinky Doink Café—as a 36-year-old maid everybody wants to meet.
Akiba Maid War was exactly what was advertised on the tin, and more. At times totally ridiculous and bonkers and at others genuinely moving and compelling, it held true to its weird and novel premise to the end, framing those bloody times we witnessed as a dark chapter in the history of animal-themed café maids. The doves beat the hawks, not with swords or bullets, but with the boundless power of moe moe kyun.