Akikan! (アキカン!?, lit. Empty Can!) is a Japanese light novel series by Riku Ranjō, with illustrations by Hiro Suzuhira, known for her artistry in Shuffle!. The first novel was released on May 24, 2007, and as of April 24, 2009, eight volumes have been published by Shueisha under their Super Dash Bunko label. A manga adaptation began serialization in Ultra Jump on October 18, 2008, an anime adaptation began airing on January 3, 2009. On December 22, 2008, an early release of the first episode was streamed on the internet through Bandai Channel. On the day the final episode aired on March 28, 2009, an Akikan! OVA was announced to follow on 23 October.
Akikan (”Empty Can”) is the unlikely story of high school boy Kakeru Daichi, whose can of melon juice soda magically transforms into a human girl. More "akikan" girls begin appearing, each of them needing to be infused with carbon dioxide from their respective drink types to survive. The akikans were created as part of the 'Akikan Elect' to determine whether steel cans or aluminium cans are superior. The akikans must battle each other until only the strongest can type is left standing.
- Kakeru Daichi (大地 カケル Daichi Kakeru?)
- Voiced by: Jun Fukuyama
- The series' main Protagonist. A sixteen year old male virgin studying at Kyuugetsu Academy. He's a perverted boy who loves to crack lewd jokes. He enjoys collecting rare juice cans and basically likes juices. One day, he bought a melon soda that transformed into a girl, which was an Akikan. He was later invited by Hidehiko Otoya to join the "Akikan Elect" and "Intelligence Port Project" but being a person who hated fights, he rejected the invitation (although he was later forced to participate). Later, he made his mind to crush the projects together with his comrades. A certain incident during his sophomore/junior high school days made him afraid of hurting somebody. Later on, he will also be the owner of Shiruko, who is another Akikan.
- Najimi Tenkuji (天空寺 なじみ Tenkūji Najimi?)
- Voiced by: Aki Toyosaki
- Kakeru's childhood-friend and classmate, whose charm point is her "antenna" hair which changes form according to her mood. She's an heiress to the Tenkuuji group of companies and she holds a romantic feeling toward Kakeru. She's gentle and easy-going, but her weird sense of imagination tends to warp her into her own world. She became Yell's owner as she bought a sports drink at the night of Yurika Kochikaze's birthday party. She has the history of being saved by Kakeru from being kidnapped. She also gets drunk off from carbonated drinks and will attempt to strip when under the influence.
- Misaki Miyashita (宮下 美咲 Miyashita Misaki?)
- Voiced by: Ryou Hirohashi
- A junior high sophomore student who owns Budoko. She was a timid girl who hid inside her shell and didn't have friends. She was afraid of making friends, thinking that someday she and her friends might hate each other, just like her parents. Her hobby is drawing and she often refers people to Otaku terminologies.
- Melon (メロン Meron?)
- Voiced by: Sayaka Narita
- A steel Akikan who came from a melon soda, owned by Kakeru. She's competitive and strong-willed, which was the reason why she was always having a fight with Kakeru. Although she likes her owner she cannot express her feelings well, which ends up telling opposite of what she wants to say. She likes watching baseball matches, even on midnight telecasts, though she has stated she has no clue on how the game is played. She basically hates Aluminum Akikans and is always having small quarrels with Yell. She mostly uses carbon dioxide based cool drink sorcery in battle.
- Budoko (ぶど子?)
- Voiced by: Aoi Yūki
- An Aluminum Akikan who came from a grape juice. She's small but strong willed and talks in a funny way. She was killed once by Melon as a result of the "Akikan Elect" battle but was revived later as RG:A (this does not happen in the anime as Kakeru made Melon miss). She loves to watch the stars together with her owner, Misaki Miyashita.
- Yell (エール Ēru?)
- Voiced by: Mamiko Noto
- An Aluminum Akikan who came from a sports drink, owned by Najimi. She's usually cool and composed but she becomes furious when someone tries to insult her owner, going as far as to attempt to kill Kakeru when he (unknowingly) upsetted Najimi. She's got sharp vision which was the cause for her being sensitive to moving objects, causing her the urge to play with it. In this aspect and several others, she is very cat-like. Her tail-like hair that twitches when she sees moving objects ecentuates this fact. She also loves animals and she has a pet turtle called "Kame". She uses the "isotonic sword" as her cool drink sorcery, which can cut through anything made of organic matter.
- Shiruko (しるこ?)
- A steel Akikan who came from a sweet red bean soup. She has the appearance of a 5th grade school student. She is very shy is easily scared by loud noises, but she is a kind-hearted girl who worries for everyone. Unlike Melon and Yell, she dislikes being cold and prefers warm temperature. She loves taking hot baths and she likes to eat red bean rice cakes. She wears mouse-style pajamas when she sleeps.She does not make an appearance in the anime.
- Mai (舞?)
- An Aluminum Akikan who came from a can of vegetable juice owned by Toudou. At first, she seemed to be a selfish Akikan who did not care for her owner but later it was discovered that she was a caring Akikan who always thinks about what is best for her owner. She talks tomboyishly. Her cool drink spells are the vegetable-summoning "Gevetarians" and the knuckle bombing "Mixed Vegetable".
- Miku (未来 Miku?)
- Voiced by: Megumi Nakajima
- A mixed juice Steel Akikan who appears in the anime. Her can was girlished by a cat (the same cat that is usually found on the roof of Daichi and Melon's house) who ran off right away. This caused her to have a hatred of Akikans, both Aluminum and Steel, with owners, and she began absorbing their powers and calling herself 'The Strongest Akikan'. Her main cool drink sorcery is Rainbow Splash Mixer, and she also has the ability to make clones of the Akikans she had captured called Zeros. Since she was never given a name, Kakeru gives her the name 'Miku', a name she likes but doesn't admit to it. Daichi offered the idea to be her Owner, something she considered until Otoya showed her a picture of her true Owner and ran off to find it. At the end of the series she is friends with the main cast and still chasing her Owner.
- Yurika Kochikaze (東風 揺花 Kochikaze Yurika?)
- Voiced by: Aiko Ōkubo
- Kakeru and Najimi's classmate who claims to be Najimi's lover. She's always having fights with Kakeru and Yell as her rival for Najimi. She's also a self-proclaimed witch and she often uses cards to throw at Kakeru (which, from the back, look like tarot cards but are normal poker cards). In some instances she shows mysterious powers. Her birthday is on Halloween, which could relate to the reason she believes she is a witch. Her nickname is Yuriri.
- Goro Amaji (甘字 五郎 Amaji Gorō?)
- Voiced by: Nobuhiko Okamoto
- Kakeru's classmate and friend. He was nick-named Gigolo by Kakeru but he was far from being a ladies' man. He is often forgotten by his friends due to his lack of Existence. He also has a crush on Yurika Kochikaze but always ends up not being able to tell her or being ignored. But, he is a reliable person at times of need, always ready to help his friend. He lives together with his three sisters, all sharing the same bunk bed.
- Hidehiko Otoya (男屋 秀彦 Otoya Hidehiko?)
- Voiced by: Ryōtarō Okiayu
- A government official designated to Department of Economy. He is the person who established the "Akikan Elect" and "Intelligence Port project", though his motive for their establishment is not yet clear. A self-proclaimed gay who loves pretty boys, he goes undercover at the school as the school doctor. He's often having contact with Kakeru harassing him sexually, only to be hurt severely by Kakeru every time.
- Airin Kizaki (木崎 愛鈴 Kizaki Airin?)
- Voiced by: Megumi Toyoguchi
- Otoya's secretary. She's strict but shy by nature and is always having a problem with Otoya calling her by her given name, which she was embarrassed to be heard by others. She later becomes the homeroom teacher to keep an eye on the Owners and Akikans. She's also one of the few ordinary persons in the series.
- Literally, an empty can. They are juice cans who turn into girls when drunk. Their life is the juice that is contained within them, and when they become empty, they turn back to an empty can. They can be replenished by pouring the same juice into the original can. Turning into human form consumes juice so they have to keep drinking the same juice in order to maintain their human form, although they can also eat fruits relevant to their juice. Using cool drink sorcery also consumes juice. They can also turn back into an empty can when their pull tab on their ear is pulled. Steel cans have their tab on their left ear while aluminum cans have theirs on the right ear. Depending on the kind of juice contained inside that can, an Akikan can be sensitive to temperature. This meaning that their health is affected by the temperature of the environment they live in. For example, if Melon is in a warm cupboard, once in human form, Melon would have fainted due to loss of carbon dioxide within her body (all because of the warm temperature). On the other hand, if Shiruko was placed in a fridge, due to her "juice" being red bean soup (a hot condiment) she would lose her natural heat and therefore weaken and faint, etc. There is only one Akikan in any type of juice.
- A term for the process of turning an Akikan into human by kissing. Name derived by Otoya based on the fact that it benefits the girl.
- Cool Drink Sorcery
- Magical abilities that are unique to the Akikans. Each has different kind of sorcery depending on their kind.
- Term for the person (or animal) who owns an Akikan after first awakening her. An Akikan will also stop functioning if its owner is killed.
- Akikan Elect
- A competition between Steel and Aluminum cans established by Otoya. It is a death match between the cans made from different materials, and its goal is the eradication of one kind of can. According to Otoya, it was decided by the Department of the Economy that only one kind of can was needed in the juice industry to cut costs.
- Intelligence Port Project
- Another project established by Otoya. Its details are still not known.
- Opening 1 - "Miracle Plan ga Dekichatta!" (ミラクル・プランができちゃった！?) by Charmmy Queen
- Opening 2 - "Juicy Extacy" by Little Non
The ending to each episode is a variation of its theme, performed in different styles with different lyrics, but always ending with, "Would you like something to drink?" Guest artists include k. moriya, Little Non, Charmmy Queen and Miku Hatsune.
- "Riku Ranjō's Akikan! Romance Light Novels to Get Anime". Anime News Network. April 18, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
- "Akikan! Anime Ends, OVA Announced". Animekon. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
- Light novel official website (Japanese)
- Official Anime Website (Japanese)
- Italian FanSite (Italian)
- Akikan! (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia