Restaurant to Another World
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Restaurant to Another World ?
Restaurant to Another World seems to have reached at least a minor realization about its format, because this week's episode tells a single story involving two different dishes rather than splitting the episode in half and devoting each to a specific food and person. That doesn't absolve the story of all of its issues, but it does feel like a step in the right direction, especially since the basic theme of the episode is “Aletta's Day.”
We haven't seen much from Aletta's perspective since she first entered the story as a something of a castaway wrecked upon the shores of Nekoya's paradise. She's been employed there ever since, and she narrates the experiences that followed this week. It's also a great opportunity to throw in a little fanservice, since her day starts with a shower mandated by her “master.” Although we get the impression that Aletta isn't sure why he wants her to be clean before working with food (which fits nicely with the pseudo-Medieval world she's from), she also isn't about to object, because the joys of hot water and “scented oils” (liquid soap) are not to be missed. Naked flesh aside, this is actually a delightful little moment – you can see Aletta relax as she washes the rest of her week from her body and gets transformed from a hated demon to a valued employee.
Slightly more bizarre is the fact that the chef has clearly gone out and purchased her a chemise and modern underwear to wear beneath her uniform. While underwear was nonexistent in the Medieval period, so she very well may not have owned any, it still feels like a kind of weird detail that serves more to protect the chef's modesty than Aletta's, since she finds them a somewhat strange addition to her wardrobe. This was more likely thrown in so that we could have a shot of her in her undies, although it's a nice detail that he bought her an undershirt rather than a bra, since it's rather easier to get for someone whose exact size you don't know.
Sadly, all of these day-to-day details are the most interesting part of the episode. After Aletta's dressed and helped to fetch some more ingredients, the show switches tracks to the regulars arguing over what makes the best sandwich, which is essentially a recap of everyone extolling the virtues of their favorite dishes, just with bread added in this time. I'd like to think that if I was really into sandwiches, this part would be more interesting, but I suspect that it wouldn't be, if only because we've seen this all before. While it's nice to see the regulars interacting, and I love that the poor lizardman can only repeat his usual order and clearly has no clue what's going on around him, for the most part this makes for a very long middle of the episode. The fact that many characters are off-model despite just sitting around yelling about bread fillings certainly doesn't help.
That said, this week does do a nice job bookending the whole sandwich fiasco with Aletta's opinions of potatoes. She doesn't care for them, because she's basically just eaten them raw or at best undercooked in the past, so seeing her discover the joys of butter on a steamed potato rounds out her narration nicely. Since she first came into Nekoya because she was cold and starving, her newfound appreciation of a hot potato, one of the ultimate comfort foods, feels like a good analogy for everything Nekoya has come to represent for her: food, warmth, and comfort with someone who is kind.
Since next week's episode looks like it will finally introduce the dark-haired elf and bring the dragon back for more than a cameo, this single-story format may be the new normal for this show. That would definitely be a plus – this week's episode may not be a great example of making it work, but it indicates a potential for storytelling that's at least different, if not yet better, than the pattern of the first five weeks.
Restaurant to Another World is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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