Anime Review

Restaurant to Another World (Summer 2017) Series Review

Are you hungry? Bored? Looking for something to eat? Did your mom leave you alone for the weekend and you want to look at some boobs while having a nice meal? Then go to the kitchen and make yourself a sandwich because watching Restaurant to Another World can mostly help you with the boob thing. You can’t eat anime. Sorry.

Synopsis

The Chef is a chef owning a restaurant called the Nekoya in a crowded district in Japan. But not any ordinary restaurant… this place serves western style food. Yes. That’s the trick. Oh, and it also operates as a door to a parallel universe where dragons, sirens, lion and lizard people, mages, knights, princesses, elves, half elves, demons, and half demons live. That opens every Saturday, but who cares about things like lizard people, right? Right. They’re not even mammals.

Every Saturday the Nekoya opens its doors to a bunch of monsters and weirdos and offers Japanese-style western cooking, lovingly made by the Chef. The visitors who come in for the first time leave amazed by the fullness of the flavors and the quality of the food provided. Aaaand that’s pretty much every single episode of Restaurant to Another World.

Plot & Story

Now before you get deeper into this review and start getting triggered, let me say this up ahead: This is not as good as it sounds. I am fully aware that there are significant fandoms of food, isekai, slice-of-life, and other ‘supposed to make you relax’ sort of anime. Let me also say that I love food and cooking more than I love sex, which is why I thought watching Restaurant to Another World would be perfect for me. And if someone needs relaxation in their lives, that is also me. But despite its roaring popularity around the web, I found this show to be not relaxing nor able to provide any sort of food-gasm, despite all the food porn going around. The Chef hardly knew the proper way to serve pasta. On the contrary, I found the plot to be repetitive to the point where I was actually laughing every time someone was impressed with the food. 

Now, let’s try and have an objective look at why the show was not as good as it could be.

One problem was the choice of cuisine. Whoever wrote this has a rather distorted knowledge of cooking and of what great cooking is about.  There was a whole episode about ice cream floaties and sandwiches. The majority of the dishes were random and not really the sort of thing to be served in restaurants, especially in one as good as the Nekoya was supposed to be.

Another issue was the relationship of the restaurant with this other world, which is almost completely redundant, something that numerous anime do and really ticks me off. It feels like the special elements that should be characterizing the other-worldly visitors are limited to aggressiveness, lack of knowledge of the food, and some rather poor table manners. Needless to say that everyone always eats the same thing. If you could try cooking from another world, would you possibly be eating the same thing over and over? What sort of real foodie would do such a thing?

Last but not least, the side stories were mostly bland. A lizard warrior. A lion warrior. Other warriors. Princesses with or without magical powers. Vegan elves. Cookie-cutter stereotypes, most with hardly any effort into developing, which makes me wonder: Would the show have been any better if it emphasized less on the characters’ stories and more on the relationships they build with each other when dining in the Nekoya and on how food brought them together? It most certainly would have. Even Shareef’s love for Adelheid was completely overlooked, probably the most interesting of all the side stories. Kuro’s affection for the chef and vice-versa could have also spiced things up, as well as Aletta’s struggles with her half-demon nature; instead we got stuck with angry customers arguing over food.

Art & Music

Visually, if we exclude the food shots (which were, by the way, mostly inanimate), the art and animation of the show was surprisingly mediocre. Numerous times I found faces and bodies looking roughly drawn and distorted, and as for the animation, oh dear, how can I possibly forget the flying fairies that were not… well… flying?! Other deliberate stylizing mistakes like the fact that the sirens were fully dressed when they were nothing but savage bird-people living in the middle of nowhere eating raw fish and not knowing what money is, while Kuro, a perfectly sapient eternal wise being was not aware that humans need to be dressed, constantly made me angry looking at how little effort was put into visualizing this.

I have mixed feelings about the show’s sound; the opening title, as loud and over the top as it might be, is definitely catchy, and I admit that I found myself humming it a couple of times. I also like the brass theme playing in the background when in the restaurant. I was not impressed by the closing song, but then again I’m not a ballad person at all, so don’t take my word for it. The voice acting was overall decent, but I wish the Chef’s voice was sexier. Just an idea there.

Themes & Trivia

The show is obviously an Isekai x Food anime that focuses on very western themes. The food is mostly western-style, even though some of the dishes, like the ebi-fry or Hamburg steak, are more popular in Japan that in the rest of the world. The lore and mythology used for the residents of the other world are also mostly western, including knights, German elves, Greek sirens, and Roman gladiators. Being a westerner myself, I believe I would have enjoyed watching this show a lot more if it was more about Japanese food and lore, but I guess to the Japanese audiences, western themes seem more exotic.

Somehow, I’m hungry again.

Plus:

  • Food imagery. How can anyone go wrong with that? The food was very well drawn and looked delicious.
  • Kuro. Cool bad-ass dragon with a human form and part-time waitress. I feel you.
  • The half-elf who just disapproved of everyone’s behaviour. Nice outfit too.

Minus:

That’s all folks! Being as popular as it was, I can definitely see this show getting a second season, and hopefully a bigger budget, so they can make these poor fairies fly properly.

What did you think of Restaurant to Another World? Did you love it and drooled over the juicy illustrations of food, or did you get fed up with it? Let us know in the comment section, and don’t forget to check more anime reviews on MANGA.TOKYO!

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