Welcome to another edition of the Mad Men of Springfield. We will be going into depth on the history and background of the male species running around our lil towns as well as those not yet in the game.
Just think about it. What Man living in Springfield is “normal”? Not a single one that I can think of. They all have at least ONE thing wrong with them. Seriously! Think about it. How many issues does Moe have? A Reverend a “little” obsessed with trains? An owner of a Kwik-E-Mart that goes to counseling with the same person that robs him, on a daily basis? Not to mention the “inbreeding” and other strange happenings going on at the farm. Oh the idiosyncrasies.
So sit back, relax, grab your favorite beverage, and enjoy as we kram your brains with some Simpson knowledge of the MAD MEN OF SPRINGFIELD.
For this Mad Men, it’s time to take a gander at our newest premium man of Springfield… Akira. Akira is a classic Simpsons character who is often seen in the background of scenes. Appearing early on in the show, it is about time he made an appearance in Springfield. Heck, I said I wanted Akira way back in September 2013. But this post isn’t about the wish-fulfillment of a walking carpet, it’s about our new Asian-American. Sushi Chef, Karate instructor and all around Oh My Guy… Akira.
NERD NOTE: Akira is a common first name for Japanese boys. There are several ways to write it in kanji but the most popular means “bright” or “intelligent”.
So let’s take a look at the elements of Akira’s life. For one, he is a sushi waiter/chef. His original appearance was in “One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish” (S2:E11). In this, he was a waiter at the Happy Sumo.
We see Akira working at the Happy Sumo again in “In Marge We Trust” (S8:E22). Homer and the kids find a mysterious Japanese box with Homer’s face on it. As the only consistent Japanese Springfieldianite, it makes perfect sense that Akira would explain Mr. Sparkle to them. In this appearance, Akira greets the Simpsons at the entrance where he also answers the phone so he may serve as a host at the restaurant too.
I’m pretty sure the interior of the Happy Sumo is shown again in “The Food Wife” (S23:E5) when Marge, Bart and Lisa become food bloggers aka the Three Mouthketeers. Gotta love Akira being the kind of guy who fist bumps. Also important to note that this time Akira is acting as the sushi chef.
Apparently, Akira is not beholden to the Happy Sumo because in “What Animated Women Want” (S24:E17), he’s a waiter at the Swanky Fish. My favorite moment of this has to be Akira and the staff shooting edamame at a guest who’s being thrown out for using soy sauce.
But Akira’s not just a sushi waiter/host/chef, he’s also a practitioner of the ancient Okinawan art of Karate. “When Flanders Failed” (S3:E3) shows us Akira is a karate sensei at the Springfield Mall. He even has his own commercials for the Springfield Martial Arts Academy (right next to Shakespeare’s Fried Chicken).
“Karate focuses the mind and gives one self-confidence. People from all walks of life… doctors, homemakers, landscape architects, choreographers… hai karate at low, low prices.”
Using the Art of War by Sun Tzu, Akira promises to teach children karate so they never need use it. Apparently you also need to fill your head with knowledge so said knowledge can help your head break blocks of ice.
Besides Karate, Akira also practices the art of jujitsu in a different dojo. In “The Great Wife Hope” (S21:E3), he trains Marge so she can later fight the UPKCC commissioner.
“Now we stick foot in mouth, tie arms like pretzel and pop discs in spine like bubble wrap.”
Alright… sushi and mixed martial arts seem very stereotypical. Doesn’t he have a job like normal American schlubs? Well, yes. He’s also a furniture salesman as seen in “Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes” (S3:E24) when he demos the Spinemelter 2000 for Homer.
We do learn other items about him early on in the Best. Show. Ever. Apparently Akira is a naturalized citizen of America. In “Much Apu About Nothing” (S7:E23), bear fears turn Springfield’s attention towards illegal immigrants in their town. Turns out Apu, Luigi, Bumblebee Man, Dr. Nick, Moe AND Akira were all not US citizens.
We can also add murderous conspirator to Akira’s repertoire. In “Guess Who’s Coming to Criticize Dinner” (S11:E3), he is among the restaurateurs that plot Homer’s demise after too many bad food reviews. The venue for said demise, the Taste of Springfield Festival. Akira is present and is working a booth for the Happy Sumo. Only Homer “could take a part-time job at a small town paper and wind up the target of international assassins.”
I’d love to say that Akira isn’t just a stereotypical Japanese character but I don’t like to lie to my favorite readers. He does do other things as evidenced by his many appearances in crowd scenes. Examples include being on the same plane as Marge and Moe in “Mommie Beerest” (S16:E7) and waiting for the cat flu vaccination in “The Fool Monty” (S22:E6). Unfortunately this kinda implies Akira just runs with the crowd. I don’t love this character because he’s multifaceted though. It probably has more to do with living in Japan for 6 years.
Akira joined TSTO with Level 44 along with the Happy Sumo. Let’s take a look at how his tasks line up with his character:
|Serve Questionably Prepared Fugu||2hrs||$175,40xp||The Happy Sumo|
|Hand Out Sushi Samples||4hrs||$260, 70xp||Outside|
|Speak Japanese with Kumiko*||6hrs||$575, 145xp||Android’s Dungeon|
|Karate Time||8hrs||$420, 105xp||Outside|
|Plant Bonsai**||12hrs||$600, 150xp||The Happy Sumo|
|Work a 24hr Shift||24hrs||$1,000, 225xp||The Happy Sumo|
**Will change to Prune Bonsai and then Re-Pot Bonsai. After all 3 are complete it will go back to Plant Bonsai and you’ll be given a Bonsai, you’ll find it in your inventory.
Akira was first voiced by George Takei but his voice duties were then taken over by the uber talented Hank Azaria. I for one am thrilled to have added him and his building to my Springfield. Just for fun I thought I’d share a glimpse of his Simpsons Mania Card and his bio from the back of it.
Education: Yokohama Center for Creative Non-Cooking
School Cheer: Sashimi, Sashimi! Raw, Raw, Raw!
Bio: As a young boy in Japan, Akira was a minor child-star on television. He spent four years playing the part of “Whitey” on “Let Trouble-Makey Beaver Do Himself.” a Japanese sitcom inspired by a 1950’s American TV show. As he grew older, acting jobs became scarce, so Akira enrolled in a cooking school. Upon graduation, he came to America and opened a restaurant in Springfield called “The Happy Sumo.” In addition to the culinary arts, Akira practices the martial arts, teaching karate at the Springfield Learning Annex. Lately, Akira has returned to his first love, acting. He has recently been seen on the stage of the Little Tokyo Theater in Kabuki productions of “Sumo Like it Hot” and “A Raisin in the Rising Sun.”
So what do YOU think of Akira? What are your thoughts on his involvement in TSTO? Any thoughts on his typecasting? Have a sighting or moment I didn’t mention which is your favorite? Sound off in the comments below, you know we LOVE hearing from you!