I’ve been going back and forth on the issue of whether or not Kannagi, with its otaku-heavy supporting cast and frequent allusions to visual culture, can constitute proper otaku metaculture or not. Although it never becomes the focus of the series, it’s done with such reverence and genuine expertise that it’s difficult to ignore.
Regardless, there is a sequence in episode 6 that cannot go without comment. In it, the Kannagi gang visit a local meido kissa, which is very obviously modeled on my all-time favorite Akiba meido kissa, the Cafe Mai:Lish. The Kannagi animation team have really done a bang up job in this episode of recreating the Mai:Lish perfectly in 2D, down to the slightest detail. Have a look at some side-by-side comparisons.
Here we see the entrance to the cafe (it’s upstairs). First is Kannagi’s “Cafe Maidia”
Then the real life Cafe Mai:Lish
What they have done here is not subtle. Next we have an interior shot, showing the view from just inside the entryway. First is the Maidia
Then the 3D equivalent.
Not the best angle to compare from (I wish I could match these up better, but sadly I am not in a position to take pictures myself) but the salient details are all visible. There is also a recognizable shot of the merchandise wall in the entryway, visible from the same location if the viewer turns 180 degrees. First the Maidia version
Then the Mai:Lish
And finally, a quick shot of the bar area. The Maidia
Then the Mai:Lish
To me, what’s impressive about this is not just that the animation team have managed to recreate the location down to the slightest detail, but also that their taste in meido kissa is downright impeccable. “Impeccable” in this case being code for “similar to mine”. But honestly, for a genuine meido kissa experience, the Mai:Lish is second to none. If you’r ever in the area, I cannot recommend it highly enough.