Update (9/29/2017): Re-arranged screencaps
Update (11/19/2017): Added screencaps for the OP and ED.
So take the cooking from Amaama to Inazuma, the monster girls from Demi-chan wa Kataritai, and the peaceful vibe of both shows and you pretty much get Isekai Shokudou. The very premise of the show alone had me hooked (I listed it as one of the few Summer 2017 shows I’m excited for in my Season Preview) but the execution of said premise nevertheless made me very happy.
I was a little skeptical of the show being yet another isekai show (the damn word is even in the title) but Isekai Shokudou is very different from other shows of the genre. The protagonist, Tenshu, is not an otaku self-insert who dies and reincarnates into a fantasy land but rather is just an experienced cook whose restaurant just so happens to be an inter-dimensional portal. There is also hardly any bells and whistles or pizzazz to the fantasy element. In fact, this show plays things pretty casually for the most part. It’s alarming how Tenshu can easily deal with a bunch of fantasy characters fighting over each other’s food. He acts as if this kind of conflict is something he has had to deal with on a regular basis.
There is definitely a mystery being set up here. We briefly see a picture on the wall showing Tenshu and what is presumably the previous owner of the restaurant (maybe even Tenshu’s dad) and it’s hard to ignore how the red dragon lady calls the place one of her “treasures”. This mystery is mostly put in the background of this episode but one thing that is clear is that Tenshu clearly is not the first owner of the restaurant and he’s been serving food to RPG adventurers for a long time.
I am also curious as to how much of the fantasy world will actually be shown. It’s not really something I absolutely need in this show and it is entirely possible that it’s almost always set in the restaurant. Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing Tenshu shop for groceries in the other world or seeing Aletta explore our world.
Speaking of Aletta, I do think that she is the real “heart” of the story. Tenshu is pretty cool (he’s even played by Junichi Suwabe) but I think Aletta’s innocent and modest personality adds a huge amount of charm to the show. I just love how she reacts to something as simple as tomatoes and soap as some mystical luxuries. Her background is admittedly told through a lot of exposition but it’s easy to relate with how Aletta struggles maintaining a living due to discrimination. I am curious as to how much her background as a
monster girl demon will be explored. Tenshu clearly has no problem with her being a demon…but even that merits some explanation given how big of a deal demons are to some people in this show.
At the very least, can Aletta just work full-time? It’s hilariously sad that she has to go back to a haystack after a long day of work.
I know I haven’t talked much about the cooking but the truth is that, Isekai Shokudou started things with some pretty basic meals. The second meal is deliberately something simple for employees to eat during breaks. But you know what? I’m fine that it started that way this episode. Amaama to Inazuma started things simple (admittedly way too simple) and that worked given the slice of life vibe (as well as to show the main character getting better at cooking). Even Shokugeki no Soma (easily the most tantalizing cooking anime) saves a lot of exquisite dishes for later. If Isekai Shokudou starts showing more impressive stuff as time goes on, I’m fine with the first episode being a bit low-key in this regard.
On paper, Isekai Shokudou sounded like it’d be right up my alley and this first episode certainly convinced me more that that’ll be the case. It’s too early to say this is something I’ll blog weekly but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this show.
OP: “One In a Billion” by Wake Up, May’n!
ED: “Chiiisana Hitotsubu” by Kiyono Yasuno