Title: Restaurant to Another World Volume 1
Author: Junpei Inuzuka
Release Date: Food, Isekai
Publisher: Yen Press
Like manga, food can impact our lives and emotions so much that there’s a sub-genre completely focused on it. Restaurant to Another World is one of these titles, this time with an isekai twist. While it won’t move you in any way, it may make you hungry through highly detailed pictures of food, which is better than nothing.
Restaurant to Another World opens with the introduction of the Western Restaurant Nekoya, a small, unassuming restaurant in Tokyo that serves Japanese versions of western dishes. While Nekoya has the appearance of your everyday eatery, one day a week, it happens to serve as a magical portal to another world. Nekoya’s owner embraces this fact, confidently bringing human dishes from our world to elves, dragons, demons, and a number of other fantasy creatures.
Unlike other isekai series, Restaurant to Another World also finds fantasy creatures in the real world. Well, I won’t get too ahead of myself, not the entire real world, just a small part of it. This creates an interesting dynamic where instead of seeing humans from our world react to a fantasy setting, we see fantasy creatures react to our world, but more specifically, the food. This opens the possibility for some humorous scenes, given that mundane food items to us could be quite magical to an elf, dragon, or demon.
Everything about Restaurant to Another World seems fine and good until you consider what the point of it is. Sadly, the pacing is all over the place as the narrative takes a lazy approach at the slice-of-life genre as it hops from chapter to chapter with minimal purpose.
Restaurant to Another World is as episodic as an episodic series can get. Each chapter can be viewed as completely standalone as they have very little connection outside of small teasers at the end.
The series’ lack of a deep plot isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however. A series without much plot hanging over readers’ heads can be a blissful escape from the stresses of real life, but, sadly, I don’t think Restaurant to Another World will do much for readers other than make them hungry.
The entire manga is exceptionally generic, as seen in its art, writing, and even its premise. There’s nothing within Restaurant to Another World volume 1 that will make me think about the series after writing this review.
And yet, even after all these complaints, there were some things that held my attention. The story was as easy to digest as the food in its pages. The little characterization I got from the employees and patrons of Nekoya ended up being enough to make me genuinely like them, most especially Nekoya’s nameless owner and Aletta, the restaurant’s demon waitress.
Regardless these two characters aren’t enough to save Restaurant to Another World from mediocrity. While fans of food porn may enjoy finding out what new tasty treat Nekoya’s owner will cook up each chapter, there isn’t much else to pull readers back in for volume 2.
In the event that you have some extra money and are starving for something light on the flavor but decent on the eyes, then Restaurant to Another World may satisfy your appetite. Even though it brings fantasy themes to the real world, it has trouble standing out, but there’s still some enjoyment to be found in its pages.
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