Maid and Tsundere Cafes

Alright. Somehow I managed to miss the plain old Cosplay cafe fascination, only to find out that most of the early enthusiasts moved on to something new a long time ago. Granted, I don’t live anywhere near Akihabara, which is the mecca for all things Otaku, but I felt like I was five years behind the times today when a student explained the Tsundere phenomenon to me.

For those of you who don’t know what Tsundere is, it’s a female character type that alternates between tsun-tsun (cold and cranky; combative) and dere-dere (sweet and affectionate)– usually turning soft only when she’s alone with her romantic interest. This personality type is so prevalent in manga and anime culture that the term Tsundere was coined as a necessary point of reference.

OK, so how do you tease a cafe theme out of the Tsundere archetype? That’s right, you guessed it: the staff at Tsundere cafes are all women who throw serious attitude at the customers only to turn sweet on them before they leave. Many manga and anime otaku just can’t get enough of their selfish, unpredictable behavior.

Minus the disturbingly kawaii lolita/french maid costumes, this sounds a lot like the way objectified females act pretty much everywhere. Hmmmm, let’s recap: female ‘objects of desire,’ who generally dish out abuse but just might give up a smile or a pouty face if it will get them what they want……. these guys could just as easily find this kind of self-serving attitude in the club scene (though I suspect the smiles they receive would be fewer and farther between!).

Having said all that, I have to admit that we checked out a Maid Cafe in Nippombashi last week. Very tame, shockingly interesting (from an anthropological standpoint, of course!), and a brilliant business concept! Customers walk into a maid cafe expecting to get food and/or refreshments and pay for lots of extra services like board game companionship, light shoulder rubs, or ear cleaning (echhhh!), etc. all by the maid of their choice.

Now, before anyone jumps on my case about the objectifying women issue, the male version–Butler cafes–are getting more popular by the day.

I have an opinion on everything, but I am at a total loss about what to think about this entire sub-culture. Apparently Maids and Tsunderekkos tend to LOVE their jobs, so it’s hard to find fault in any part of the Cosplay cafe world. For now, my verdict is: no harm, no foul; what’s good for the economy is good for you and me; let the the otaku enjoy their (incredibly expensive, undeniably weird) fantasy cafes and keep all that yen in circulation!


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4 responses to “Maid and Tsundere Cafes

  1. I didn’t know anything about these cafes until reading this, and I too am really at a loss for words. One the one hand, whatever floats your boat…on the other WTF?
    I only recently heard of Cosplay when a student said it was her daughter’s hobby, I just nodded at that time, then dashed home to consult the fountain of all knowledge, my own teenage daughter. When she explained it to me, I was just astounded that the student didn’t seem bothered that that is her daughter’s hobby, when in my own judgemental mind she should be playing badminton or clarinet or something.
    A few weeks later I put on a bit of lipstick and ventured into the big city Osaka, with aforementioned, fountain of all knowledge.
    I was flabbergasted to see two young women in what appeared to be french maid outfits, but with huge clunky shoes, dark make-up, and little tiny hats with black nets.
    I nudged my daughter and indicated towards them. She rolled her eyes at me, in that ‘God I am so bored and my Mother is such a dork’ wayt hat only a 14 year old girl can really do, and said ” Gosu-Rori”
    I was stunned to say the least, still am. It was further complicated by seeing variations on the theme around Americamura, which I was told
    were not all ” Gosu Rori”, some were Gosu-ress Rori” and some were “Rori-ress Gosu”.
    To think we used to tie tartan scarves around our wrists and play Bay City Rollers!!!

  2. LOL, I had the same experience with a mother telling me her kid was into Cosplay (costume play). I was relieved to hear from my HS students that there are lots of different varieties of costume play, and that most of them are harmless. I still don’t really get it, but I guess there are lots of fascinations that don’t make sense to me. When I was young, deciding to give someone a melvin pretty much exhausted all of our creative energy;-)

  3. Pingback: Tsundere CafĂ© « RosenQueen Company

  4. huh. I don’t know about the *ear cleaning* (holy crap, ew?! ;_;), but if I didn’t even have to be NICE all the time I sometimes think working in a maid cafe would be fun. Maybe if I ever visit Japan and get stuck there, it’d be better than working in a host bar ;)

    (btw, Miss Behaving, you probably figured it out but gosu-rori = Gothic Lolita(gothloli))

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