Restaurant to Another World Chapters 1-3 Manga Review
Restaurant to Another World :
Synopsis: There is a certain restaurant in one corner of a shopping street near the office district. The historical restaurant, marked by a sign with a picture of a cat, is called “Western Cuisine Nekoya.” This restaurant looks completely normal through the week, but on Saturdays, it opens in secret exclusively to some very unique guests. During these hours, doors in various areas of a parallel world open to allow customers of many different races and cultures into the restaurant. This “Restaurant to Another World” and its food hold an exotic charm to these highly diverse customers. This is a story of the heartwarming, once-in-a-lifetime encounters between our reality and another world, between the restaurant’s customers and its owner, and the food shared among them all. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Spoilers to Follow):
Before we begin the review of the series itself, I have a bit of a rant about Crunchyroll’s manga service set up. If you just want the review, simply scroll past this entire beginning paragraph. First up, the entire reason I started this CrunchyCrawl series is because Crunchyroll’s manga library has no proper option where you can look at ALL the series it offers in one comprehensive list. Not even its alphabetical menu has every single title listed. By doing this series, I hope to give other Crunchyroll subscribers an avenue where they can not only see a list of every manga offered by Crunchyroll but also a bit of a through review to help them pick which ones to actually look into. But doing this review of one of Crunchyroll’s more recent acquisition has set me on a whole new reason to be frustrated. Two of the newest manga series, Knight’s & Magic and Restaurant to Another World, have broken links when you’re trying to access them directly through the crunchyroll manga library on your web browser. If you click on them directly through the manga library web page, you just get taken to an error message page. Now, if you’re reading the manga solely through your phone or tablet, this isn’t an issue but for anyone who prefers or is limited to reading it on a computer, you’re going to be completely unable to access it directly through Crunchyroll’s manga library menu. People have pointed out that the RSS feed links for the series work fine so that’s how I was finally able to get decent screenshots for the review and the link to the series at the end of this article but for anyone unaware of all this and trying to access it directly are in for disappointment and frustration. What’s all the more annoying and frustrating is that this has been an issue since when the series was first uploaded and people have commented in the Crunchyroll forums to complain about it but 3 months later, the problem persists. I get that there are roundabout solutions and options to avoiding to this problem but it feels a bit frustrating that Crunchyroll seems so laidback about properly maintaining their manga service.
And now back to your regularly scheduled manga review. Restaurant to Another world is a series that focuses on using a food dish as the impetus for someone’s personal tale and showing how food can be more than just nourishment for the body and can warm the heart and soul by bringing back fond memories. For readers who seek out emotionally fueled tales, Restaurant to Another World might turn out to be a surprisingly good fit despite its title probably making one think only of food and the restaurant business. So far, every chapter has focused on a new character and told their story using food as the catalyst. The stories generally have a touching message or theme at its core such as the first story where the food she eats at Nekoya helps a young girl understand and grow closer to the person she has idolized for all her life. Or, the second, where a downtrodden girl is comforted through food and is given a new lease on life and a way out of the suffering she has been enduring so far. And finally, the third where a rather vain girl learns to open her eyes and realize the problems with some parts of her thoughts and attitude towards others thanks to a rather impressive dish she gets to eat at Nekoya.
As you might have noticed by now, some of the stories so far can be rather dramatic and if you’re someone who isn’t a fan of mushy story lines or drama centering around unusual things, in this case food, then Restaurant to Another World will not impress you. Some might even find it ludicrous that good food is what apparently changes the attitude of someone who could be labelled a racist in everyday society. So if you’re someone who needs extremely logical or convincing stories, Restaurant to Another World might be too fantasy heavy for your taste.
Addressing the matter of the food itself in the stories, it’s a shame that the series isn’t in colour as there’s so much detail put into the food imagery and they would have looked even more amazing in colour. Thus, if you were thinking of checking this series out for mouth watering images of food, it might be best to stick to the anime instead. However, while the mangaka has given due diligence in ensuring that the food looks good, so far it seems clear that food and cuisine isn’t the star of the series as unlike other series with food as the main attraction, eg. Food Wars!, Sweetness & Lightning, we haven’t been given a recipe for any of the food featured in the story so far. Now I could be completely wrong as i am basing this solely off the current Crunchyroll translated copies which is only 3 chapters long at the time of this article and doesn’t feature any recipes thus far. Maybe once they reach the end of this first volume, we will be treated to recipes for some of the most popular items featured in the story as part of the extra content.
While the title may make one think that the series is about the restaurant, the main stars here are the customers and the people who end up finding their way to this restaurant rather than the place itself. Each chapter so far has focused on someone new so while there are characters in the story that are already recurring cast members, they do not necessarily fit the role of main characters perfectly. We barely know anything about the owner of the restaurant other than that he is a superb cook, kindhearted and that he inherited the restaurant. The series seems inclined to be more about how every new customer comes to have a unique and personal experience through food at the restaurant rather than following a particular character’s tale or even the restaurant itself for now.
Now is Restaurant to Another World a manga for you? Yes, give it a chance if you like the sound of emotionally fueled tales of self discovery that also happen to feature or center around food. As someone who watched the first episode of the anime and walked away unimpressed, I feel that the manga does a decent tale of narrating its story in a manner that makes it easy for readers to connect and understand the new characters it introduces every chapter. I say that because the first episode of the anime itself felt a bit too cramped and vague to me and even chooses to tell its tale in a chronological order that differs from the manga’s layout. For example, the first chapter of the manga was adapted in the second episode of the anime and the first episode of the manga is an amalgamation of the second chapter and an as-of-now untranslated chapter of the manga, and the third chapter of the manga is pushed back to the fourth episode of the anime. So, if you had a lukewarm response to the first episode of the anime but didn’t dislike it outright, then you might still find yourself enjoying the storytelling pace and style of the manga. However, as mentioned earlier, if you need your emotional tales to have extremely well crafted buildup that take up more than just a chapter, you might do best to give this series a skip.
Restaurant to Another World is available digitally via Crunchyroll.com.