Well, this might be my last weekly review of this show. Not because I’m not enjoying it or anything. I’m just about to embark on an extended trip and will be on writing hiatus through most, if not all, of August. I may play catch-up or something after that time, but for now, this is the last regular review of this show for a few weeks.
In a completely surprising twist (read: totally expected), this episode is divided up into two parts. The first part follows the Lizardman we’ve seen a number of times (I think), named Gaganpo. He turns out to be the hero of his community, and as such he is granted the honor of retrieving takeout food from Nekoya for his fellow Lizardpeople every week. The second part follows elf Fardania as she wanders the forest to gather food and stumbles upon Nekoya. Unable to consume many human foods due to her nature-respecting diet, Fardania requests a dish be made without meat, fish, milk, or eggs. Essentially a vegan dish.
Fardania’s segment is easily the stronger of the two, though that is not saying much given that the show continues to rewrap the same basic plotline each episode, just with different wrapping paper. Someone enters Nekoya and is surprised by the food. The end. Ironically, Gaganpo’s segment strays from this somewhat, with less than stellar results. His portion of the episode is largely told via a narrator, who describes the way of life for Gaganpo and his people, detailing Gaganpo’s preparation for his regular visit to Nekoya. (And she makes sure to take time to drool over his toned body.) The narration itself unfortunately works against the episode, preventing viewers from fully immersing themselves in Gaganpo’s tale. And to boot, it seems moderately unnecessary given the fact that the Lizardpeople seem capable of communication, especially among themselves. Gaganpo’s segment functions less like a snapshot of a wondrous moment in life and more like misplaced expository content. Practically any interactions between Gaganpo and literally anyone else would have been preferable to the almost ten minutes of monotone narration presented, which ends up coming off more like someone reading a childrens’ book aloud.
Fardania’s story revisits the tried and partially true plotline, and it ends up faring a little better, if only because unlike past patrons, barring Heinrich, she actually has a dilemma to face. (Adelheid doesn’t count considering how irrelevant hers ended up being.) It’s worrisome that this story performs better than Gaganpo’s, as it threatens to indicate that the show cannot pull its weight with any sort of alternative plot structure outside the norm of what we’ve come to expect. Hopefully the show will still try to branch out before it concludes, but Fardania proves that this narrative formula isn’t dried up quite yet. Her segment is particularly enjoyable because of the inclusion of several previous Nekoya customers, including Heinrich, Sarah, and Adelheid. While they don’t do anything meaningful or even interact with Fardania, it’s still nice to see the setting filling out like this. They do provide a very enjoyable comedic moment, though, wherein the series proves it has somewhat moved past its unwillingness to fully indulge in such frivolities. I’m excited to see these characters return in future episodes, and I am still crossing my fingers for some sort of intersecting narrative, though I’m not holding my breath at this point.
The episode appeared to be more consistent with its animation this week. For the most part characters and foods look bright and crisp. Previous episodes saw slight dips in animation quality at times, especially regarding characters’ facial structures, but those instances are comparatively rare in this episode, making for a more satisfying viewing experience.
Restaurant to Another World continues to rely on the same storytelling technique it has in the past and falters when it tries to stray away. As it continues to fail at delivering any meaningful character development, the show is not providing much for audiences to latch onto besides aesthetically pleasing food and a sense of relaxation. In my eyes, the best thing that could happen to the show is that it starts devoting entire episodes to single characters, allowing more time to flesh out them and their respective worlds. Character tidbits continue to be sprinkled in (Adelheid’s sickness, Fardania’s apparent rise to independence, Gaganpo’s defending of his title), but the show practically ignores them. As it stands, they’re Chekhov’s Gun, and it’s going to be really disappointing if the series never revisits these character details. The series is still enjoyable enough for the time being, but it’s walking a very thin line with its recycled plotline and underdeveloped cast.
Restaurant to Another World - Episode 4
- Fardania's story is engaging despite its predictability
- Animation is particularly bright and crisp
- Previous customers are starting to fill out the restaurant
- Directional choices in the first half miss the mark
- Plot structure is more of the same