What’s the show? Restaurant to Another World (2017).
What’s it about? It’s a warm cup of tea on a cold Winter’s day.
What if I don’t like tea? Then it’s whatever your preferred beverage of choice is! That’s not really the point I was trying to make!
‘Kay but what is it actually about? Well put simply there’s a magical door and it appears once a week in a parallel fantasy world to our own in various locations around this world allowing residents of said fantasy world, be they king or commoner, fairy or adventurer, lizardman or elven princess, dragon or wizard, to access ‘Western Restaurant Nekoya’ a humble eating establishment somewhere in modern day Tokyo.
So it’s a? I hasten to call it a slice of life, because it has a sharp fantasy edge. It’s as committed to food porn almost as much as Food Wars but that’s where the comparisons end. It’s honestly a hard show to pin down and it’s kind of all the better for it.
But if you had to categorize it? Well if I had to, I’d say it’s an adventure show where the adventure is as much about self discovery via food as it is about exploring new possibilities and enjoying the little things in life, no matter who you are or what you do. It’s about finding joy and solace in quiet moments and about sharing them with friends and strangers alike.
I don’t know what this is but I know I want to watch it now! Then my work here is done.
Hold up! We’re not even a third way done yet. Who are the characters? Well the restaurant is run by the unnamed owner of ‘Western Restaurant Nekoya’… now that I think of it, it’s kind of a brilliant stroke that they never bother to name one of the main characters, I mean he’s so central to the story but he is also just a chef, it’s never about him it’s about his food and how it speaks to peoples souls… man the more I think about this show the more I adore it.
Okay, ol’ no name aside, who else is aboard for the ride? I won’t bother to mention all the restaurant patrons, even the recurring ones as there’s too many to mention but Aletta is the head waitress who also happens to be a homeless demon girl from the ‘other world’. Though her only demonic attributes appear to be the goat horns on her head. Later on an ancient dragon who lives on the moon ends up working at the restaurant too.
And let me guess, she’s dark haired and mysterious and totally your best girl? You know me so well. Also she talks through telekinesis and is coincidentally the most dangerous creature in her universe.
Of course she is. *grin*
Man… This show is wild, I mean I know we’ve covered some crazy anime in the past but I’ve never been so simultaneously uninterested and completely intrigued by an anime before! I did say it was a hard show to pin down, did I not?
Well okay, what are the episodes like, individually? What format do they take? Ah! But that’s part of the adventure itself! Some episodes are self-contained stories that whisk you away to far off reaches of the titular fantasy world, others are more humble and simply take place in the restaurant, from episode to episode you never know what’s going to happen but it’s always something interesting and different!
Cool, so um what else do we have to talk about? I mean it feels like we’ve kind of done the business on this show. What comes next? Maybe nothing.
Nothing? Well, maybe it’s better if we just sit back and enjoy those sweet moments of life where nothing happens and we can take stock of what we have and how important it is to us…
You started watching the show again, didn’t you? I need this in my life, don’t you dare try and take it away from me!
I would never! Good.
So did you have anything else to say? This show is a treasure, it’s rare and beautiful and wholly unique, it’s like your favourite childhood dish, it’s like a mother’s wholesome hug, it’s like the light at the end of a tunnel.
So recommended then? I don’t expect everyone to have the same reaction I had when watching this show, I mean let’s face it, it’s not like there’s legions of people singing this shows praises online. Some people might find its pacing too slow or not connect with the way deifies ‘food experiences’ but at least for me it resonated deeply, and not in any way that made immediate or obvious sense.
Final verdict? It’s hard, going into this review I thought I knew how much I liked this show, I thought I had it quantified. But even in simple reminiscence I found myself not only falling in love with the show all over again but realizing the true brilliance of the show from many other angles. Every ingredient is essential to the dish and the dish is sublime, 92 out of 100.