Figured I’d divide my thoughts between the two segments this time. I might stick with this for the remainder of the series.
1. Hamburg Steak
I suppose it was inevitable that we’d see romance blossoming at Nekoya and I think this vignette pulled it off very well. The circumstances are pretty crazy with the young sailor Roukei (hi Kirito) being saved by Arte, a mermaid who just so happens to know of Nekoya’s existence. The cynic in me wonders if Arte was actually hoping she will run into a sailor with money. I mean….the show does imply that Arte hasn’t visited Nekoya for a while since mermaids generally don’t use money. And I’m sure she saved Roukei out of the kindness of her heart but money is the first thing she asks of him when he repays his debt to her…..
Regardless, it’s super cute seeing these two enjoy each other’s company through the wonders of hamburg steak (which does taste super good, I can’t deny that). I especially took notice to the fact that it’s a normal human and a mermaid eating together at Nekoya. I previously pondered if a possible theme in Isekai Shokudou is how this restaurant brings all kinds of people together. It’s been a bit of a minor thing since most customers eat at their own table and they just argue over food when they do interact (which are admittedly fun to watch). Thus, it’s interesting that for once, we get to see two people of different species eat food together and grow closer as a result. It’s not flat out confirmed that Roukei and Arte hook up but come on, it’s pretty obvious that they’re attracted to each other. For crying out loud, Roukei offers to pay for their extra servings of steak and accompany Arte to Nekoya from now on. He’s practically acting like a boyfriend at this point. And really, in this fantasy world, Nekoya ought to make for the perfect dating spot.
I do have to wonder….if there are two people favoring “Hamburg Steak”, does that mean they’re both getting the nickname?
2. Assorted Cookies
You know…I was pretty content with the screentime Aletta got two episodes ago…but I am super happy that she got the spotlight again! Aletta has already mention that her job hunting is going fairly well but it’s nice that there is time dedicated to actually showing her look for a job. What I find amusing is that Aletta ends up getting hired as a housekeeper by Sarah. Sarah was the one who talked to Aletta about her job hunting back in Episode 6. It’s quite the coincidence but I guess things come full circle in this anime.
Curiously, this segment still follows the “customer of the week” format. We’re largely outside of Nekoya and yet Aletta still ends up serving modern Earth cookies to Sarah’s younger sister Shia. Even more atypical is the fact that we’re presented with food that isn’t even on Nekoya’s menu. The cookies are actually from a baker shop acquaintance of Tenshu and Aletta received them as a congratulatory gift for finding a new, steady job. Maybe it’s a little blasphemous to present food from outside Nekoya (even if the bakery is from our world) but I still really enjoyed seeing Shia grow enamored for cookies.
I especially love how the cookies help break the ice between Shia and Aletta. There’s an earlier scene where Shia takes notice of Aletta’s horns and secretly wonders why Sarah hired her as a housekeeper. But a few cookies later, Shia’s skepticism vanishes and she entrusts Aletta with all of her pocket money to grab more cookies. She even invites Aletta to eat cookies with her during the post credits scene. I think, like the Hamburg steak segment, this segment also delivers the message that good food can bring people together. Admittedly, that good food isn’t from Nekoya but again, I’ll let it slide.
A Quick Thought on Kuro
Not a whole lot of Kuro this episode but then again it took like six episodes for Aletta to get the spotlight so that’s to be expected. Apparently, Kuro talks telepathically all the time which occasionally gives Aletta and Tenshu trouble since she doesn’t always keep them up to date with her waitress activities. I wonder if at some point, Kuro will start to talk verbally. There’s some potential character development there.