Do you believe in magic?
One needs to look no further than the line of merry maids standing at attention to greet patrons minutes before doors opened Friday morning. My Cup of Tea, the maid cafe at Anime USA, features thirty maids of your choosing.
Patrons are invited to pick from the photo board at the entrance. Some maids also offer to play a certain personality beyond the default moe such as tsundere. I declined to choose, leaving the hostess to pair me with Maid Toya.
It turned out to be a fabulous decision.
The magic began when Toya addressed me as Master which I found charming. She led me to our table and surprised me when she pulled out my chair. I have never had anyone do that for me. For those in the same boat, try it some time. It’s surreal like a boss. My surprise continued when she refuted my wanting to put my bag in the other chair citing her desire to sit with me. She then proceeded to chide me when I tried to hang the bag on the back of my chair which she insisted on doing. I wasn’t accustomed to such hospitality typically reserved for a master. In fact, I have to admit I was slightly flustered at the majestic treatment.
Toya played her role with absolute aplomb. She didn’t just play the role of a maid. Her actions and words channeled her role as my maid. With her delivery, I was able to grow comfortable in taking on my role as her Master. And therein lies the magic of My Cup of Tea. I am no longer at a maid cafe. I am sitting in my castle at my magnificent dining hall overlooking my vast territory beyond my alligator guarded moat.
While the menu offered variety, it lacked depth and nothing really appealed to me. And the prices will destroy your dealer’s room budget. I was hungry and under time constraint so I opted for egg rolls. Upon its arrival, my maid blessed it with a moe chant before my consumption.
I wanted to write a review from the perspective of a con attendee so I kept my press status hidden. In the same vein, I decided to play a game. I didn’t recognize some of the games on the list including Hungry Hungry Hippos which I chose because it sounded amusing. When Toya returned with the sealed box, I felt somewhat embarrassed at my juvenile choice and remarked as much. She brushed aside my hesitation and cheerfully explained the rules to me as she made preparations.
Starting to adjust to my role as Master, I had an immediate suspicion that she would let me win and voiced my concern. My servant vehemently denied the accusation. Mere seconds later, she beat me. Instead, she fished out the winning gold ball and placed it in my pile, declaring me the winner. I could only smile as I enjoyed the silliness of it all.
Toya surprised me one final time when she moved her chair to my right. I had expected her to sit across from me but the intimate gesture was welcoming. She talked a bit about herself and I was delighted to learn that my maid is incredibly intelligent and talented. And she speaks almost fluent Japanese.
I was sorely disappointed that she lied to me however. In listing her qualifications, she mentioned that she could flip. I demanded a demonstration not realizing her sarcasm. I remember looking at her shoes when she obediently stood, moved into position and conveyed readiness before she chastised me for making such a request while she is unsuitably attired.
“Go change and come back,” I retorted, really getting into my role.
“That would take too long,” she complained.
“I can wait.”
There was a lot of flirting as one might expect. In fact, she speculated that my notebook must be filled with phone numbers. I don’t think she believed me when I replied in the negative so I showed her.
“So my number would be the first?” she inquired with delight.
I wasn’t sure what to think at the time. Is she still in character or is she serious? Then I had my duties as press. What are the ethics surrounding such circumstances? Ultimately, I played along because flirting is a hobby for me but never did press for her number.
Of course it led her to question my notebook which I should have refrained from writing in. Thus I was able to pursue my hobby as we flirted about my keeping secrets.
It was an immense pleasure playing the role of a Master in possession of a maid. While it makes sense that maids are not allowed to eat or drink, I gave explicit permission for my maid to have water. I wish I had given more orders to add to the experience.
Toya served me perfectly. Upon noticing my interest in a passing cosplayer, she confirmed my desire for a picture and flagged down said subject on my behalf. Imagine if I had access to such a service throughout the con!
My favorite part occurred when she addressed me as something else and I had to correct her that I preferred Master. She was speechless for a moment but her expression said all that was necessary. I was having such a grand time that I thought we had achieved world peace.
Sadly, I couldn’t stay longer as my attendance was requested at a panel. I felt forlorn in having to give up my maid. The fantasy started to crumble. I divulged my secret at this point in order to set up an interview. Toya left me with a personal souvenir that she made which I am keeping all to myself by not posting its photo. I am unsure if it’s something all maids provide.
I have two minor complaints. The maid cafe should offer a goth/alternative maid. I am likely in the minority here given that moe is the main appeal. And current seating arrangements mean patrons on the other side of the divide may not be aware when a dance breaks out.
My Cup of Tea at Anime USA is magic personified. For the duration, each patron is transformed into a Master or Princess. This entails the sublime service of a maid. And when one’s maid is away retrieving food or occupied with another table, it’s not rare for another maid or three to stop by and keep one company. The magic is never disrupted and it lives on as a treasured memory.