I imagine my longing for some exceptionally good hard cider I had in Scotland is similar to how the characters in this show feel when remembering delicious meals at Western Restaurant Nekoya. The meals at Nekoya are special occasions for the patrons, as they are only available on a basis of once every seven days. Such a wait merely breeds anxious excitement in the customers as they look ahead to the next time they can enjoy their favorite dish. Just as Heinrich last episode yearned for fried shrimp and was ecstatic to find the dish, a sickly woman this episode fondly remembers a magical dessert she had as a child (which she knows only as “clouds”) and a business man goes so far as to recreate Nekoya’s dishes in his own world so that he would not have to wait so long for tasty pasta. Nekoya is a magical place not just because it is an inter-dimensional restaurant employing a demon girl as a waitress (Yes, that certainly helps) but because it provides sheer bliss and comfort for those who pass through its doorway.
This week continues the trend of a split episode, with each half focusing on a new patron and their dish, Thomas & Sirius and their spaghetti with meat sauce, and Princess Adelheid and her chocolate parfait. This is sort of like this show’s version of “monster of the week.” The short tales remain enjoyable, but they represent the biggest problem with the show as of now. There is an absence of any sort of character development and plot. While most of the characters we have seen so far have been entertaining within their own condensed stories, their reactions inside Nekoya all pretty much follow the same pattern of disbelief, followed by wonder, then renewed vigor. To be blunt, these people are fairly two-dimensional. I was of the mindset after last episode that the show would try to interweave its characters into a larger narrative both within and outside of Nekoya, but the fact that the restaurant was practically empty aside from the focal characters this episode does not do much to support that. The best the episode offers is a quick post-credits scene incorporating most of the characters introduced (which I only saw because my eye caught the suspiciously long remaining duration of the video before closing my app). There’s really no substance to it, but it exists as the hope that the show will craft a larger narrative in due time. For now, the show’s structure is bordering on boring due to its repetitive nature, but it still maintains a sense of relaxing tranquility within these short glimpses into other worlds, so this aspect is not necessarily a death flag for the show. It just would be nice for a surprise now and then.
This is really minor, but I am going to be nitpicky here, and I in no way hold this against the show. For a show that prides itself on small visual details such as condensation from glasses of water and clumps of Parmesan mixed in with the finer granules, the parfait in this episode just bugged me. It looked as mouth-watering as all food in the show always does, but the fact that the chocolate at the bottom showed no residual smears of yogurt or cream (or whatever) just seems like a strange oversight given the show’s track record for detail thus far. Maybe the staff wanted the chocolate to look appetizing on its own, which would be fair. It just irked me, as did the spotless interior of the serving glass after the parfait was consumed and the mysteriously size-shifting strawberry. Again, very minor, but things I just wanted to address nonetheless.
This episode feels a little more creative than the last, showing how the restaurant has impacted food culture in one world and how a near-forgotten memory of the place helps heal the broken spirit of a sickly lady, yet it also feels less compelling. That is possibly due to the storytelling structure being formulaic and predictable or even the fact that this week’s characters just seem completely bland. Even so, Restaurant to Another World remains enjoyable on the merits of it just being so pure and innocent. I am hopeful for a stronger narrative in the future (or at least more details on how the cross-dimensional aspect of Nekoya works), as the current format does risk getting stale, but even if it fails to develop one, the show will likely still succeed purely as providing uplifting entertainment to brighten viewers’ days.
Restaurant to Another World - Episode 3
- Heartwarming and uplifting
- Mouth-watering food visuals
- Insight into a business practice of Nekoya
- Formulaic storytelling
- Characters are not compelling
- The potential of Nekoya as a setting is untapped
- Adelheid's condition is glossed over
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