Ok, I am thoroughly confused. I’ve never watched the cooking anime’s because they didn’t seem interesting to me. I mean, I watch enough cooking shows on Food Network with my wife, not to mention the Great British Baking Show she’s addicted too. But, as a fantasy fan, I decided to watch this anime Restaurant to Another World, and I was instantly hooked! I mean, I binged it in a week. I couldn’t help it. It’s one of those shows that, once you start watching, you can’t stop.
The basics of the story is that a door to a restaurant to another world appears once every seven days at various places across this fantasy world. Some revere the door as a gift from the Gods while others see it as doorway to a magical place whose knowledge has been passed down for generations. In any case, the patrons are mostly regular customers (with a few newbies thrown in for boot) who are not known by name but rather by the name of their favorite dishes.
I mean, it highlights two dishes per episode, and yet, they weave them into such fun fantasy stories that you’re hooked! As patrons eat the dishes, they talk about the distinct flavors, textures, and complexities of the dish. It’s like Myron Mixon talking about barbeque (yes, I watch those cooking shows too! Like I said, addicted!). And it varies from a pork cutlet to an ice cream soda. But like I said, it’s no ordinary cooking show.
What makes it so fun to watch is how the dishes match the personality of the character eating it. I mean, I would expect an Elf to eat only vegetarian food, so naturally the chef serves her grilled tofu, rice balls and natto rice; but tuna carpaccio for a siren and chicken curry for a dragon? Who’d of thought! The food not only compliments the diner, but it tells a lot about them–human or not! And it’s all protected by a Red Dragon Queen who loves her beef stew. She even brings a large pot with her for take-out. Now that’s unique!
The cooking is not the only aspect of this anime that makes it interesting. The backstories of all the characters are so well developed, and in a way, interconnected. We even discover that the chef and master of the restaurant is descended of a warrior from the fantasy world who accidentally fell into our world; and let’s not forget that the waitresses are a demon girl and a dragon in human form! This show just doesn’t let up!
I can’t even imagine trying to write a story like this. We always talk about finding your niche, something unique in fantasy to stand out from the rest, and sure enough, this is it! I mean it has all the basics of a fantasy story: Knights, dragons, wizards, Elves, Dwarfs, demons, magic, etc. It’s all there, just like your basic Dungeons and Dragons game, but with food.
So, unfortunately this anime only had one season so far. Now, it’s time to get the original source–the manga–to see where this story’s going.
Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniversepublishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.