Restaurant to Another World Season 2
by Mercedez Clewis,
How would you rate episode 9 of
Restaurant to Another World (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.3
Episode 9 begins with “Macaroni Gratin'' and Myra, the daughter of a brown-bread baker (say that five times fast y'all) who came up with a succulent combination of bread and Knight's Stew. Acquiring the recipe for the Knight's Stew (introduced in episode 4) proved to be a wise investment; business is booming for Myra and her father, allowing them to pay back the silver they bought the recipe for in a mere five days and providing them with a decent standard of living.
Yet all of these customers meant that Myra has little to no time to herself: that is, until Johan, her childhood friend, invites her to “an incredible restaurant” named Nekoya. What ensues is yet another pleasant trip to the famous otherworldly restaurant, and a taste of macaroni gratin.
Macaroni Gratin is a dish that I have a personal history with: while living in Japan, it was one of many cheap, Western-style dishes I enjoyed at Saizeriya, a chain of family-style restaurants a la Olive Garden, but Japanese and with hot wings and the world's cheapest escargot. The gratin I often favored had spinach, chunks of thick-cut bacon, and of course Knight's Sauce (bechamel). I often paired it with a batard of garlic bread as well, which is perfect for sopping up all of the Knight's Sauce left behind. Safe to say the first half of this episode was quite nostalgic for me, though most of the joy comes from watching Myra enjoy each aspect of the gratin, from the first bite of bread to the moment she decides to introduce the dish to her father's eatery.
The episode is yet another faithful adaptation of the source story (found in Book 3, Chapter 50). Myra works at her father's inn, just like in the episode, and is enticed to Nekoya by her friend who takes her there for a break. It's really just extraneous details that stretch the story to almost twenty pages, and once again, the anime shines because of its succinct storytelling. Not that one is necessarily better than the other – in fact, the brevity of the anime further enriches my appreciation of the novel, and vice versa.
This brings us to “Fruit Jelly”, my foe from abroad. Though I can't stand the stuff, returning customer Fardania and Alice certainly can, as does the mermaid-witch they meet there. It's with this watery witch named Camilla that the girls learn the secret of fruit jelly, which leads us to how Camilla found a door to Nekoya.
Camilla's adventure into the unfamiliar space (to her) of Nekoya is quite charming: she wanders in, immediately gets confused, but still convinces herself to sit down. It's here, of course, that she discovers the curious “Fruit Jelly”, which is much more refined than the rustic treat Fardania and Alice dine on. And I hate to say it, but the fruit jelly… looks marginally good. It's got this vivid purple with little slivers of fruit, as well as a pleasant wiggle-jiggle that kind of made me want my own portion.
Adaptation-wise, “Fruit Jelly” is interesting because of the rich details that we don't get in the episode. Unlike “Macaroni Gratin”, the missing details do influence the story, as it gives a bit more texture to Alice and Fardania's dynamic. Camilla is also much more fleshed out in the novel than she is in the show; one major missing detail here is that Camilla is an immortal directly in service of the Lord of Blue.
That said, the adaptation is more than serviceable: you still get a grasp on Alice and Fardania's relationship, which is what makes “Fruit Jelly” the episode such an enjoyable vignette. When we last saw them, Fardania was still rather skeptical of Alice, and definitely wasn't sure she wanted a charge to care for. Now, it's clear that Fardania and Alice are thick as thieves, adventuring around the world together as mentor and mentee, and occasionally, companionable company over new delightful treats, both in and out of Nekoya's otherworldly walls.
Episode 9 is really, really enjoyable: there's something nice about pairing the simplicity of the front half with the slightly more action-laden back half. It's also nice to see Fardania and Alice (featured in episode 6) return to the digital bit screen. The combination of simple, rustic, cozy vibes paired with a bit of adventure really did it for me this week, making for yet another sufficiently suffonsiying trip to an otherworldly restaurant that, week to week, I find myself longing to visit on the Day of Satur.
Next week: “Teriyaki Burger” and “Chocolate Parfait”. It sounds like another solid pair of vignettes, and while I strongly dislike chocolate, I am excited to see yet another fantastical denizen indulge in something sweet! Until then!
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