Staff at Affleck’s Animaid cafe have hit out in its defense after a Greater Manchester councillor branded the business ‘disgusting’.
Urmston councillor Joanne Harding has caused something of an uproar after tweeting that the Japanese-themed Animad cafe made her ‘fresh crawl [sic]’
Asking “What fresh hell is this in Manchester?”, her tweet continued: “A ‘maid cafe’ – No touching or asking to touch the maids. We have a gender based violence strategy and ask ‘is this ok?’ – this makes my fresh [sic] crawl.”
After one person replied by describing the cafe as ‘Hooters for incels’, she responded by calling the business ‘disgusting’ before adding: ‘If you’ve got to have a sign up saying don’t touch the maids, there might be an issue. Women dressing in skimpy clothes, acting subserviently – what’s not to love.’
The councillor has now set her Twitter profile to private, but her bio describes her as having ‘ovaries of steel’.
She has represented Urmston on Trafford Council for more than twelve years and has previously spoken out against the harrassment of women in public life, most recently after receiving a sexually explicit card at her town hall office.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that Mrs Harding took the time to understand the bubble tea and cartoon-themed cafe’s concept before going online to denounce the young women who work there.
Vick Littley, a manager at the Animaid cafe, told the Manchester Evening News: “It was out of the blue and just felt derogatory. Most of the staff are young women – the post has been done with no grasp of what we actually are.
“We are a themed café where people can play board games, watch anime, sit and talk, study. We are not like how they are trying to portray us, we’re a bubble tea anime-themed café.”
On a visit to the popular Japanese-inspired cafe, The Manc spoke with a couple of the maids on the misconceptions that customers sometimes bring in with them.
They were keen to stress that, whilst the cafe does draw its inspiration from Japan’s maid cafe culture, in no way are the staff wanting to be fetishised themselves.
Whilst in Japanese maid cafes customers commonly call the maid’s “Princess” and vice versa are called “master”, they explain that in their cafe at Affleck’s the focus is all on having fun – not on sexualising the intimacy between customer and maid.
“In their cafes, […] master and princess is like kind of like fetishist names […] we don’t want any aspect of fetishising anything, we don’t want any Asian fishing or anything like that because it’s just disgusting.”
“We just want to have fun and dress like maids and sell Japanese merch without hurting anyone.”
First opened in 2019, the cafe is the only one of its kind in the UK and has had various different iterations over the years – first starting life off as a shop downstairs before moving onto the second floor.
Inside you’ll find rare anime dolls, imported Japanese snacks, milkshakes named after famous characters and stacks of comics which you can read for free.
Based inside its current unit for three years now, over time owners have expanded the space to add on a proper Japanese-style sakura cafe behind the shop – complete with upside-down umbrellas hanging from the ceiling and its very own sakura tree.
Designed for like-minded people with a shared interest in anime, the cafe has been set up to be suitable for all ages where fans can socialise and initiate new friendships.
All of its maids are anime fanatics and experts too, and with their help owner Rio has created a safe space for anime fans where guests can watch anime, play video games, and transport themselves to cosplaying heaven.
Feature image – The Manc Group
Iconic Manchester nightclub Panacea reopens as IKaro, a new grill and champagne bar
This week, an iconic Manchester venue will reopen its doors with a brand new concept.
The legendary city centre nightclub known as Panacea is about to reopen as IKaro, a new grill and champagne bar on John Dalton Street.
The move follows an application for planning permission earlier this year and sees a new team into the former popular celebrity hotspot Panacea, which has been closed since 2015.
At the restaurant, diners will find two menus focusing on two different elements, fire and ice. On the first, you’ll find Grilled Lobster Tails, Japanese A5 Wagyu Ribeye, and Australian Wagyu Tomahawk.
On the second an array of Sushi and Sashimi such as Torched Hand Dived Scallops and Bluefin Tuna Otoro.
Behind the menus are talented sushi chef, Lattawan Buchanan, who’s spent time at popular restaurants Ivy Asia and former ‘Masterchef: The Professionals’ finalist, Exose Grant.
Head Chef Exose Grant, said, “Our menu showcases the best of the land and sea. We’ll be using fresh, quality produce in the best possible way. Innovative and impeccably presented dishes that don’t compromise on flavour.”
Behind the bar, you’ll find countless varieties of Champagne including a frequently changing sommelier’s selection of rare bottles which, in keeping with the venue’s reputation as a go-to late-night haunt, will be served up until doors close at 2.30am.
Head of bars, Sean McGuirk, said: “Alongside our extensive ‘by the bottle’ offering, you can expect elevated classic cocktails, as well as some uniquely extravagant options.
“Our team will play with flavours and theatrics to deliver an experience like no other.”
IKaro will mark its launch with a VIP event on Saturday 23 September before doors open to the public on Wednesday 27 September.
The court heard how the attack took place as the youngster walked to her friend’s house.
As she walked past the address Valentine was staying at in his camper van outside, she was set upon by a pack of six dogs that were being kept both in the back garden and in the defendant’s camper van, according to Greater Manchester Police (GMP).
The little girl’s older sister then bravely tried to wrestle the dogs off her as she was being attacked on the pavement.
It was only when her mother picked her up that the dogs ran off.
The little girl sadly sustained “serious injuries” to her face, scalp, hand, abdomen, arms, legs, back, and shoulder during the attack – which she has since had surgery for.
Following the traumatic incident, Valentine was arrested on Tuesday 28 March when his van was traced to Fallowfield in south Manchester, and the dogs were subsequently seized, before he was also arrested in connection with another incident back in December 2022 when a man was walking his pet Dalmatian.
Both the man and Dalmatian were injured after being set upon by the dogs, and a member of the public was said to have had to intervene.
Following his trial last week, Valentine was handed a 49-month prison sentence.
He was also banned from owning dogs for life, and has a 10-year restraining order after pleading guilty to eight charges of being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control, and possession of Class B drugs.
Speaking following the trial, DC Goodhand, of Trafford CID, thanked the victims for supporting the prosecution, adding: “Whilst nothing can take these experiences away from them, we hope that today’s sentence goes some way to allowing them to heal and move on.”
DC Goodhand also urged anyone with information relating to dangerous animals to report this to the police, so that “appropriate action can be taken”.