Monday, December 20, 2010

Little BSD: Cosplay Izakaya in Akihabara

Name: Little BSD (Referencing the freeBSD operating system, inexplicably. )
Hours: 6:00PM-11:PM Sunday through Thursday,
6:00PM-First train Friday and Saturday.
Price: ¥300-600 for food (healthy portions.)
¥600 for beers and cocktails.
Events: Seasonal and anime related theme parties.
Address: 3-7-14 4F Soto Kanda, Chiyoda-Ku (Right by Suehiro-Machi station past Akihabara.)
Japanese Level: Picture menu, so you can order with grunts and gestures, but that would be missing the point.

Everyone loves rooting for the working girl. Be they a bubbly waitress, busking street musician, or single mother hostess milking the client to help buy baby food, the fact that they’re doing their best to get by in this cold, cruel world brings out a protective instinct in the male clientele that helps them open their wallet to her plight.

Take the initiative and request them to draw something special or you'll get cheated with something played out like Doraemon.

Which isn’t to say that you need to rationalize a night out to Little BSD, the cosplay Izakaya squared away in the Suehiro-Machi side of Akihabara. With portions like this, you're loosing money going to a standard Izakaya. By virtue of location you’d expect a maid cafĂ©; by the staff profiles on their homepage you’d expect a cabaret. The reality is somewhere in between, with reasonably priced bar food served with mizu-shobai hospitality.

Riyu owns a $1600 dollar Lina Inverse costume that she won't wear in public for fear of it getting sullied. That's either dedication, insanity, or one of the perks of living with your parents after college.

Order a custom cocktail and your waitress will chat you up as she works the juicer or draws a personalized message on your croquette. They’re accommodating, charming, and most of all, busy. The only way to tie down a waitress is to order more food—A sneaky innovation on the pay-to-play system. 

Surprisingly, most customers came in by themselves, sat facing the wall, then cleared out after a beer and late-night snack without exchanging more than a few friendly greetings with the girls. It seems that the true appeal is not in interacting with the staff, yet rather placing yourself in the middle of this hive of honeybees as they buzz sprightly around you.

Oh, the energy of youth!

Oh, the tastefully understated costumes!

Oh, the moe!

If their sweet smiles don't give you diabetes, the hot pepper filled cream sundae will.

But what are they working towards?

The motives of each girl are as varied as their taste in manga. Some see it as an extension of their hobby. Some were digging out from under a mountain of cosplay-induced debt. Still others just like the vibe the place gives off. But for many, the job is fertile ground for building up grass-roots support for their idol debut.

Emboldened by the mega-success of groups like AKB48 who gathered nationwide attention by acting locally, these girls are ready to wide the moe-wave out of this island Akiba and into the mainstream.

From the official staff blog.

On the night we visited the staff had recently returned from Moemotion, a promotional mini-concert featuring other cosplay cliques. Little BSD’s booth drew in attendees with bar food, copies of their original CDs, and, to boost audience participation—Green leeks, naturally.

The girls who get noticed can bulk up their resume working as indy-game voice actresses, anime songstresses, or contribute to voice clip collection CDs where they berate their boyfriend (the listener) for playing too much Monster Hunter, pelt him with wet kisses, or breath heavy into the microphone while doing pushups.

Each CD you purchase brings them one step closer to their goal. And you want to see these working girls succeed, right? Onii-San, onegai!

The Mousou Voice collection is available at Little BSD or online through the publisher.


  1. Hey Scum Brigade, my fiance and I are in Tokyo for the next two weeks. Any idea what to do when everything shuts down around New Years?

  2. You can still catch Comic Market tomorrow, the 31st, if that's your things:

    Aside from that there's count down parties/concerts all over the place:

    But during the interim between the 1st and the 3rd, pretty much everything crawls to a stop. Big department stores start their New Years bargain sale around this time and pretty much every store (including novelty places like Village Vanguard) puts out their "fuku-bukuro," or grab bags of random product. You're guaranteed to get your money's worth, though the content may be questionable.

    Things pick up again on the 4th when everyone punches back in. I wish I could be more help, but the whole country is obliged to stay at home and eat hot pot.

  3. Thanks for the tips. I managed to pick up a lucky bag at Kaiju Blue which ended up being pretty nice.

    Sorry to bother you dudes around New Years, but I have one more question. I've been reading Kinokine's manga collecting blog. Where on earth does he find signed stuff like this:
    or even just pages like this (what appears to be promotional):

    I've only ever seen something like it once or twice in Nakano. Any ideas? Or maybe I'm not looking hard enough.

    Thanks a bunch.

  4. @Anonymous: One place to pick up stuff like that, and usually for shockingly low prices, is Mandarake's auction website:

    Most hardcore collectors tend to barter with other collectors more than anything, though. From what I hear, the majority of ultra rare stuff bounces back and forth between a handful of people, whether it be in trades or for extra cash until they can afford to buy it back.

    A lot of dudes we meet are just so happy to find someone who understands their particular manga niche fetish that they are willing to hook you up with awesome stuff for the sake of having a conversation about it later, like our friend Kinokine.

  5. I've been to Little BSD. I absolutely loved it and highly recommend it to anyone who makes it to Akihabara. However I must point out the error in the original post. "BSD" stands for "Beauty Satanic Diner", not an operating system.

  6. How I wish it was actually an occult-themed izakaya! To be more specific, BSD comes from Barkley Software Distribution's Unix OS whose mascot is a little red daemon. This pun of the producer goes way over the heads of the girls working there, so I'm sure they each have their own interpretation of "BSD."