Restaurant to Another World Season 2
by Mercedez Clewis,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Restaurant to Another World (TV 2) ?
“Okonomiyaki” (Book 1, Chapter 10) returns us to an early story in the series, novel-wise, which is interesting because technically… the story comes before Kuro is even present. In the anime, however, this story is set much later when both Kuro and Aletta are workers at Nekoya. It focuses on the rather effeminate Doushun of the Ocean Nation (i.e. fictional Japan), and the rather masculine bodyguard Souemon of the Mountain Country (i.e. well... fictional Japan), two men with beef from two countries that, similarly, always have beef with one another.
Naturally, this continues well after they entered the restaurant, to the point that Aletta gets incredibly worried about them disturbing the peace. A few barks get exchanged before Kuro steps in and reminds these two gentlemen that this is, indeed, a restaurant, and manners are necessary.
However, Nekoya has the power of western-style Japanese food and well, Japanese food, on its side, and the okonomiyaki is enough to bridge the gap between Souemon and Doushun, who are definitely arguing over who has the best taste in Okonomiyaki. And despite their bickering, it's quite apparent in both the source material and the episode that they have gotten quite close to each other and are ultimately good friends
In the novel, “Okonomiyaki” is about twenty-two pages, and gives us additional context about the Mountain Country and the Ocean Nation, which are definitely based in Japan, just in two different eras. Doushun favors the look of a court onmiyoji (a divine in both this world and our own), while Souemon favors that of a samurai. It's familiar territory for fantasy fiction, but well-executed enough that I kind of wish we get to know a bit more about their homes. Then again, the places of origin of Nekoya's visitors aren't as important as the food, which takes center stage because mmmmmmmmmmmmmm… Okonomiyaki is comfort food at its best, and goodness me, the Okonomiyaki in this episode is animated so well I almost licked my laptop screen.
Outside of some context as to how Souemon found the restaurant, the episode is pretty true to the novel. I'd argue that thus far, most of Restaurant to Another World 2's episodes have been like that, allowing anime-only viewers to enjoy the story as is without needing much additional context, which is how all good light novel adaptations should be.
This swings us into the better half of episode 7, “Green Tea Shaved Ice”, which had my mouth watering even though it's cold enough outside that shaved ice isn't in season. Still, everyone likes shaved ice: it's one of humanity's easiest treats to make, bridging that special gap between cold and sweet with a treat that colors your tongue all manner of colors.
Now, as far as I could tell, “Green Tea Shaved Ice” isn't in the current English release of Restaurant to Another World, which, at the time of this article, has five published volumes. I have to assume that either A) it's in Volume 6 or beyond or B) I missed it in the table of contents somehow. I think it's the former, not the latter, because this episode is definitely one I'd have remembered.
“Green Tea Shaved Ice' is, at base, a story about Ilzegant, an elf who lives on a floating island in the sky called Paradise. Naturally, living in Paradise is… not all it's cracked up to be, especially if when you're a nigh-immortal creature who has not a lot to do. That is, of course, until a mysterious door with a cat on it appears and you end up in a literal Restaurant to Another World.
Part of what makes the back half of episode 7 so enjoyable is Ilzegant themself (and I say them because we never get told any pronouns); as an elf who hasn't interacted with others in over two hundred years and out of step with the rest of the world, there is a sense of heightened enjoyment to watching them devour a big bowl of shaved ice.
If you thought watching Aletta and Kuro eat shaved ice was fun, then watching Ilzegant groove on some green tea shaved ice (complete with azuki beans and mochi) is a delight. I suppose that's really what made them such a neat character, and one of my favorite in the Restaurant to Another World universe. There's all these textural descriptions that really make the experience feel full-bodied, evoking the texture of finely shaved ice, the delight of experiencing mochi for the first time, and the awe of seeing a new color repurposed in food.
Restaurant to Another World 2 continues to be a really charming series that I certainly hope others aren't passing up this season. It's digital comfort food, packaged with a pleasant piano-heavy soundtrack that playfully evokes the joy we all feel when eating something utterly delicious. Whether you're chowing down on Okonomiyaki laden with bonito flakes or sampling some delicately shaved ice, this show is a delight from start to finish.
Next week: “Roast Beef” and “Cheesecake Again”, the latter of which revisits that delightful, cheesy desert that no one can resist, lactose-intolerance or not! And while it's hard to wait an entire week… something tells me it'll be worth it to wait patiently for the next Day of Satur when we'll all venture back to the restaurant in another world.
Restaurant to Another World Season 2 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Mercedez is a JP-EN translation and localization Editor & Proofreader/QA, pop culture critic, and a journalist who, when not writing for ANN, writes for Anime Feminist, where she's a staff editor, and for But Why Tho?. She's also a frequent cohost on the Anime Feminist Podcast, Chatty AF. This season, she's devouring Restaurant to Another World bite by delicious bite. When she's not writing and reviewing, you can find her on her Twitter or on her Instagram where she's always up to something.
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