Maid Cafe/Animation Studio Popopure is a relatively large, and quite popular maid cafe in Akihabara, just by the AsoBitCity shop (not the one on the main street, but the one after crossing the street).
I first learned about this place because several maids stand just outside the shop handing flyers. You can either go inside by yourself, or you can simply approach one of them and ask them to show you where the shop is. I had crossed that place several times when going to AsoBitCity, until one day I decided to actually go in with some friends.
This cafe is unique in the sense that it is not only a maid cafe, but also, as it is implied by its name, it is also an animation studio. This means that for the small price of 1500 yen, you get the unique experience of dubbing a 60 second animated feature, with your voice and those of some of the maids, and get the resulting video on a DVD.
I haven’t tried the video dubbing, but it seems like you do it right in front of everybody, because they have some microphones, a computer, and a projector screen in the middle of the room. While they’re not recording, they show a video of how the recording works, and it appears that they have a choice of about half a dozen of videos for you to try. One of those seems to be designed to be dubbed in English, so overseas patrons can also have this experience.
I don’t remember whether or not they had English menus, but I do remember that one of the girls was clearly American or European, who most likely speaks English fluently. So far, this is the first maid cafe I see with a foreign staff member. A wonderful thing indeed.
The cafe is quite spacious, with white and yellow colors standing out. Tables are for 2 and 4, but they also have a counter. In total, the whole place could possibly accommodate a total of some 20 people, which is a little bit large for a maid cafe.
As with many other maid cafes in Akihabara, the place itself is heavily decorated, but because of its size, it does not feel confined at all.
Service was excellent, and the girls were very active and cute, always trying to get smiles out of their customers, and they greet you with the usual “okaerinasaimase, goshujin-sama!”.
Also, as it is very popular in maid cafes, when they bring you your drinks, the maid gets you to say words like “let’s make it be very delicious!” with her, and by doing so, it does taste much better! ^^
The atmosphere is very casual and relaxed, but also quite lively. The girls are running around, and when they’re idle, they’re showing cute poses and dresses, and talking about how cute they are, so even if you go alone, you definitely won’t be bored. They are also very nice, and are more than willing to start a short conversation with you, but are by no means pushy.
Even though it is technically a maid cafe, not all of them had the same uniform, which adds to the variety; one of the girls was even dressed as a schoolgirl instead, acting more on the imouto (little sister) role. I found that very cute, especially as she said “bai bai!!!” (bye bye) to departing customers. Some others also have glasses, which is very cute as well.
There is no table charge. Soft drinks cost 600 yen, food costs 1200 yen and a dessert set (with a drink) also costs 1200 yen. This is pretty much the average for Akihabara maid cafes, but for the budget maid-cafe-lovers, there are cheaper choices.
Alcoholic beverages are also available, but the repertoire is quite limited. Because of this, I recommend you go with the soft drinks instead.
They also offer taking a picture of you with any member of the staff you wish, in a pose you wish. This costs 500 yen, and the picture is taken with their own instant camera and later given to you signed by the maid you took the picture with.
Popopure also has a point card system, in which you get a stamp for each 500 yen that you spend, with an additional stamp on rainy days. You can then trade these stamps for free drinks or even a free dubbing session, depending on the amount of stamps you have.
To be honest, I really liked this place, and it has become one of my favorites. Apart from the animation studio thing, Popopure is pretty much a very stereotypical maid cafe, the kind of which you see in anime and dramas. Standard cafes like this one are not as common as one would think, so if you come to Japan, and only have one chance to go to a maid cafe, I definitely recommend this one.
Finally, some basic data: