Otakon 2013: Maid Cafe

maid cafe

Maid Cafe returns for its sophomore year at Otakon. In hindsight, my lack of excitement beforehand foreshadows my conclusions. I feel bad because in some respects, it isn’t exactly fair to make comparisons. After all, Zagat rates restaurants on individual merit and this should be no different. That said, my lukewarm feelings toward Otakon’s Maid Cafe stems from an inherent expectation that I felt went unmet.

The main selling point of a maid cafe lies in creating an illusion of a Master/maid relationship. Otakon fails to deliver this essential on multiple fronts. For one, patrons do not have the pleasure of choosing his/her maid. For another, they are seated together with strangers with eight to a table. The magical illusion cannot materialize without the possibility of an intimate rapport between patron and maid. It also creates a possible, albeit tiny, conflict when choosing a game to play. In short, Otakon’s Maid Cafe is merely a glorified café where wait staff cosplay as maid or butler.

Speaking of which, the service left more to be desired. I didn’t time the duration but for someone who didn’t even order anything, it felt long from the time of order to receipt of one’s drink.

The Maid Cafe suffers from a limited menu. While located in the Hilton, the space is not adjacent to a kitchen. This meant food choices were only of the dessert variety which is clearly publicized beforehand. It’s just that I am sure there are others like me who enjoy having a full meal at a maid cafe and are disappointed that cannot be part of their Otakon experience.

maid cafe

A larger venue could help bring the experience to more Otakon members. The ability to sit more people per session should translate into shorter lines (assuming demand remains flat). Because despite all of its faults, there is plenty to love about Otakon’s Maid Cafe.

The maids and butlers are charmingly cute! This is true in both appearances and personality as demonstrated throughout and at the beginning of each session where they introduce themselves. The contagious cuteness doesn’t stop there. The decadent desserts look so absolutely adorable that one might feel a sad sting in devouring them. Also goth maid <3

Hours of operations is an immense improvement from last year. Not only are there more sessions per day, the Maid Cafe is open on Sunday as well. This, to my knowledge, puts Otakon as the sole convention to achieve this feat that I am confident others will likely emulate.

Shizuka and I didn’t know what to expect when we opted for the surprise session. Turns out it was a birthday song to celebrate Crabby-chan’s 20th complete with cake and candle. Otherwise, patrons are treated to one delightful performance of song and dance.

Including a raffle ticket with the price of admission sets a festitive mood. Prizes range from the appropriately maid headpiece to decorative ornaments. While holding little intrinsic value, they certainly provide a priceless keepsake for three lucky patrons.

Those not as fortuitous will still leave with a framed photo of the lovely maids/butlers that is given to everyone. Patrons will treasure this special souvenir because each maid and butler take turns among all the tables to personally autograph the frame.

Those specifically hoping to magically transform into a Master/Mistress with a maid or butler will find Otakon’s Maid Cafe disappointing. For everyone else, it is a sweet time of fun and games sure to rot your teeth away! See more pictures here.

maid cafe

6 thoughts on “Otakon 2013: Maid Cafe”

  1. Oh, well. I was looking forward to reading your Master/Maid experience, the best article I’ve ever read. I also went to maid cafe at Anime Los Angeles, and couldn’t become a Master that Nietzsche talked about. Maybe con’s maid cafe is hard to be a Master since too many customers? The photographs look awesome though.

  2. Some of the complaints made sounds like it’s more or less out of the con’s control– especially as far as the selection of food since I’m pretty sure all of that is provided by the Hilton and the chances of them agreeing to serving actual food would be very slim, since venues like hotels very rarely change the menus and things they offer. And of course if catering was allowed, the costs to get a caterer might be too pricey as far as the cafe’s budget.

    If I was a maid working at a convention, I probably wouldn’t want to be singled out by a customer. That could easily create problems (socially-inept people creeping or harassing certain girls multiple times over the weekend, etc.), you also have the issue of certain maids being left out or ignored if ‘favorites’ could be picked out, them not having much to do, etc. The random maid is good for not only the flow of whatever crowds they’d get from the convention, but helps exercise all the maid staff’s social skills and helps them become more accustomed and also gives the chance for all of them to actually develop little friendships or at least for everyone to be equally acquainted with each person. It’d be a bit different if it was an actual job where the girls were getting paid to go around and do that stuff, and in an actual establishment too.

    But I’m glad to see that they grew a lot from the first year, both in size and in how they run things. Hopefully in the coming years it’ll stay progressive as far as improvements and emulating the Japanese cosplay cafe scene.

    1. Choosing a maid is dependent on availability so one might not get their first choice but that ensures all maids/butlers are hard at work! Just like anyone that waits tables, the suffering for the maid is temporary when the patron is less than desirable. Not that’s excusable but I guess there’s no way around it :/

      I am also excited to see how Otakon continues to grow the maid cafe^^

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