OP: 「One In A Billion」by Wake Up, May’n!
「ビーフシチュー/モーニング」 (Biifu shichuu/Mouningu)
“Beef Stew/Breakfast Special”
If a hidden well is what makes the desert a beautiful place, then Isekai Shokudou is a hidden gem that takes place in a delightfully quaint restaurant, existing halfway between reality and a fantasy realm. I have to confess that my interest in Isekai Shokudou stems from being familiar with a similar light novel series called Isekai Izakaya “Nobu”. Though it is too early to make comparisons, I really like how both are relaxing, and most importantly, I highly approve of how food is thematically handled. As an aspiring ‘Iseguy’ who is incidentally an avid foodie, allow me to be your tour guide for this special adventure. Let’s dive into another world packed full of culinary riches, through the mysterious door of Nekoya!
Other than sharing a focus on food, there is not much in common between Isekai Shokudou and the well known Shokugeki no Soma. Our calm and collected chef Tenshu (Suwabe Junichi) starkly contrasts the hotheaded Soma. However, where we lose an air of flamboyance, I would like to contextualise this quote from Saint-Exupéry’s ‘The Little Prince’:
“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”
Seeing ordinary folks enjoy delicious foods in ordinary ways marks quite a nice departure from exaggerated foodgasms. Not that I dislike Shokugeki no Soma, but the novelty really wears off after a while. Not to mention, listening to explanations on food science can be exciting, but sometimes gets a bit excessive. Though the scenes we got with food obviously functioned primarily for aesthetic purposes, my feelings of extreme happiness mostly came from observing the reactions of customers who clearly enjoyed their food. While enjoyment is not exactly tangible in form, I fully agree with the notion of it being a truly beautiful experience that can be felt out with the heart.
Aletta and Tenshu
Here, I must also highlight the potential reverse isekai, where an inhabitant from another world is transported to Earth in order to live out a dream life. Not an innately exciting concept, but a particularly refreshing change. Instead of your stock NEET/Otaku who is reincarnated following a bizarre death, we get what can be described as a genuine character with human problems in the form of Aletta (Uesaka Sumire). For me, her experiences of poverty and discrimination are also far more relatable, compared to the experiences of other protagonists featuring in stories revolving around isekai. Aletta’s struggles were well incorporated, and perhaps in a darker fantasy setting, she would be resorting to prostitution. So, thank goodness for her that we have a light-hearted eatery on our hands!
Ignoring her charming character designs for a moment, Aletta is adorable for many reasons. She’s softly spoken, likes to nervously fiddle with her hat, and has deep-seated insecurities about being partly demon. The intricate detailing of her skittish mannerisms is something I deeply appreciate, since Silver Link could easily have gone for what I would describe as cheap moe points. That may be something one call pull off in your stereotypical CGDCT series, but for a work of fiction that is slightly more mature in its telling, we would naturally want something substantial.
Where I will praise the series for being especially wholesome, is how we are presented with a strong dynamic between Aletta and Tenshu that defines their relationship as benefactor and beneficiary, as well as boss and employee. There isn’t so much of a fine line in this casual setting, where the two seamlessly blend together. You won’t get Tenshu strictly shouting orders at Aletta, the culmination being a safe environment where the vulnerable Aletta works for an honest living, while greatly enjoying the fantastic food during her breaks. However, Aletta is still expected to earn her keep by working 14 hour shifts, which I must remind you is no small task. As a student looking for a temporary job this summer, the vacancy Nekoya offers is pretty much as dreamy as it gets, vaguely playing into the wish-fulfilment aspect you would often find in isekai stories.
Isekai Shokudou’s overall premise is rather intriguing, so hopefully we’ll see production capitalise on the fantasy element. Otherwise I’m pretty happy to just sit here watching different food items roll in every week, with some side helping of backstories where the restaurants customers are concerned. If you are a foodie (paging Cherrie), you simply cannot pass up on this anime. Otherwise, I wholeheartedly recommend Isekai Shokudou to casual or hardcore anime watchers alike, as it offers a uniquely relaxing retreat that you might not find anywhere else this season.
ED: 「ちいさなひとつぶ」 (Chiisana Hitotsubu) by Kiyono Yasuno
I think your concluding thoughts are spot-on.
I want to learn more about the Queen’s statement —
I’m not expecting any heavy-duty stuff, but it
could add a nice back-story to the whole process
and I wonder if the two will meet in the restaurant.
Also, beautiful ED – my kind of music!
Sometimes with all the heavy duty stuff going on in many other shows, you need stuff like this to chill in between.
The Dragon Queen does seem rather mysterious, albeit eccentric, and I reckon she will definitely meet Aletta upon her next visit. Also, I don’t think the meeting will be that exciting. Probably just an exchanging of pleasantries, including Aletta expressing her gratitude.
For the queen, the restaurant itself as part of her treasure because there is where her beloved beef stew comes from. As Aletta is now part of the restaurant’s staff, she is as precious to her as the chef, so I think someone should think a thousandfold before bullying our little horned girl again if they not want to be targeted by a 100-millenia-old-all-powerful-dragon.
Being an episodic kind of series with a customer/dish-of-the-week format in its storytelling, I do like how they chose to shuffle around the chapters to introduce Aletta — who would appear far later in the show if they followed the light novel to a tee — immediately. She brings in a very innocent kind of contrast to the chef’s stoic professionalism and a sense of constant progression as she herself realizes her particular place in the world.
It also works well that the dragon was the first “menu dish” or so to speak the viewer would come upon. Not only does it imbue that sense of fantastical scale to the restaurant, if the lizard and lion weren’t enough, but it also highlights the fact that there is no foreboding danger that they should watch out for in the show. The restaurant in its entirety (staff included) are under its watchful eye. For those paranoid of the fact that Aletta might be hurt or trouble might brew in the restaurant itself… don’t worry. This isn’t that kind of show.
Great start. I’m eagerly awaiting to see the other maid’s story seeing as she’s apparently in space.
Aside from Aletta’s mostly required infodump, I also like how the show just went straight into the thick of things. No exposition needed, here’s how we roll. Gotta appreciate shows that hold themselves back and just let the audience bask in the atmosphere only to discover the intricacies of the actual setting in a later date.
Thanks so much for the information Clocks! Always helps a ton to have someone in the know like you give insight regarding the source material behind a series. Now that you’ve mentioned it, I particularly look forwards to seeing Aletta’s progression throughout Isekai Shokudou. The chef may be a middle aged, grizzled man, but being a young girl, Aletta still has a long way to go. Plus it will be interesting to see how Tenshu’s stoic professionalism shapes Aletta for the better.
While a vague estimation of the fantastical scale has been achieved, I think Isekai Shokudou can do more with it. It would take more for me to be satisfied, though I’m wary that too much incorporation could ruin other parts of what makes the show great. A balance needs to be attained, and maintained.
While I might not be covering Made in Abyss, I’ve already got my very own Maid in Abyss, assuming this is a lunar crater we’re talking about.
I didn’t like all the fanservice. What, Angelus is complaining about fanservice? Well, it just seemed out of place, like an ingredient that shouldn’t be in a recipe. Let’s hope they tone it down in future, but then it just becomes the cheap “fanservice in the first episode so people will watch the series solely in the hope of getting more” trick.
Anyway, that aside, a pleasant enough first episode with enough promise to keep me interested. The “dragon blessing” bit near the end I think deserves special mention as it (and I don’t know how to express it any better) changed the feeling of the whole thing for me, almost as if it were a final garnish by a master chef that transformed the dish.
And on the topic of food, I can’t quite see where the “foodie” aspect comes in, all the cooking I saw was plain and simple!
Personally, the fanservice was not obtrusive enough to detract from my viewing experience. I can see how it would be jarring for others, but seeing the nudity being dealt with in such a nonchalant manner definitely helped.
The dragon’s blessing definitely provides reassurance for now, though it doesn’t completely rule out potential interference by other fantasy creatures on the level of our dragon. I’d like to think even those who could contend wouldn’t want to bother, so we should be safe for a long time.
If we define a foodie as a person with a particular interest in food, then it would most certainly still count. Simple food is still food, and I’d say my favourite dishes tend towards simple anyway, rather than extravagant.
im a rebel and i don t do warnings but damn…how i was wrong
“the little match girl:isekai edition”
Well, I don’t know what to expect with this anime (not really a foodie person), I hope aside the episodic eating we can see some character development, and I think I’ll get that with Aletta working in Nekoya.
I’m curious as to how Tenshu create contract with the dragon in the first place, it can be just accidental dragon meet the door, find delicious food, create contract for delicious food. Or it can be bigger.
And that ED just wows me away. It was beautiful and made me miss the anime already, really good.
Lighthearted mystery with helpings of food in between. The more I think about that idea, the more I like it. I don’t know what to expect either, and that’s a whole part of the fun! Usually, I’m used to seeing recurring trends, meaning it’s not difficult to anticipate what comes next in a certain pattern. However, that’s not something I can do with Isekai Shokudou! 🙂
As for the ED theme, I wasn’t quite blown away by it, though the use of pastel art was pretty neat.
Wow the first episode is surprisingly delicious! I’m glad this has no over-the-top foodgasms and they able to present the foods in simple way.
Light and relaxing, Isekai Shoukudou will be our “appetizer” for the hypeful main dish, Shokugeki no Soma season 3, next season.
Food porn (trope) without the need for foodgasms. That beef stew and breakfast dish look as scrumptious as Tonio Trussardi’s spaghetti alla puttanesca. (*chew*)
Character designs by Baccano!’s LN illustrator, Enami Katsumi.
Shokudou’s an ongoing webnovel series on Shousetsuka ni Narou, together with titles like Knights and Magic and Re:Zero. According to Narou’s ranking of “most widely read webnovels”, Shokudou’s the 11th-13th most widely read series on Narou.
Top 10 titles include Mushoku Tensei (#1), Arifureta:From Common Job Class to World’s Strongest (#3), Re:Zero(#6),and Death March (#7).
(Knights and Magic fluctuates between the lower 20s and top 30s.)
Seeing Mushoku Tensei at #1 makes me happy. I can see why some people take problems with it, but it’s my favourite light novel nonetheless. Surprised Arifureta is at #3. While it started off pretty exciting, I personally felt it tapered off.
As for Isekai Shokudou’s rankings, that sounds rather promising. Would you know if Iseka Izakaya Nobu ranks higher?
@Zaiden: Nobu’s currently at 104th place.
I checked out Arifureta – main story’s done, but the author’s still pumping out sequel afterstories. He always releases a new chapter weekly.
Definitely recognized May’n singing the opening theme, but Wake Up… The Wake Up, Girls! seiyuu unit?
Hmm, so this series is kinda like Bartender, but with food and other-world visitors. Also, after playing the cool teacher Tetsuo Takahashi in Interviews With Monster Girls, Junichi Suwabe is now a supreme chef? Allrighty…
A bit amusing to see Shizuka Itou as a powerful ancient red dragon instead of being the love interest of a certain harem lead who gets his powers from a powerful ancient red dragon. That’s one roundabout casting gag. (And she’d also be at home in the world of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, too.)
And like the character she plays (the dragon queen, not Akeno Himejima), I also enjoy a well-cooked beef stew. Especially when the beef is soft and easy to chew on and the soup stock adds to the flavor (and goes well with rice, too). Though to be honest, the beef stew I usually eat lacks the added veggies seen in this show.
Waifu-worthy character spotted. Though I’d imagine if she were working as a waitress while the restaurant is in Earth (as opposed to the other worlds), the customers might think she’s cosplaying as a Draph from Granblue Fantasy. XD
Also, the restaurant accepting different currencies from different worlds made me chuckle a bit. (I almost expected Continental Hotel gold coins** to be legal tender in that restaurant.) And Tenshu even knows the approximate exchange rate of the fantasy world’s currency to Japanese Yen!
(** – From the John Wick ‘verse.)
Actually, he doesn’t. He’s made an assumption of 1000 yen to 1 silver, and so tries to translate 10000 yen, Japanese minimum wage, to 10 silver. However, her reaction indicates this is significant overpayment, and the novel chapter for this scene narrates a bit to tell us that 10 silver is enough for her to live on for a month. He’s paying her the equivalent of a month’s wages for a single day of work.
Now, since there almost certainly isn’t any government agency set up to regulate this sort of inter-world contact, it is his exchange rate to set, his money to spend, and his employee to pay as he wishes. But the fact that converting yen to silver changed a low wage to a high one indicates to me that he doesn’t really grasp the value of money in the other world.
Perhaps his 10 Silver was not an miscalculation. She can only work 1 Day in a Week for him, and how she would eat and drink the other 6 Days? Perhaps he really needs an 2nd hand in the Kitchen, and have a big heart
On the other hand, the exchange rate may be completely accurate, but it happens as in real life: people from poorer countries work for a salary that might not be precisely high, but the money they send home or the savings they bring back with them are certainly more valuable in their home country.
Under that light, he might not be overpaying her from Japan’s standards, but since she doesn’t need to pay for a Japanese rent, Japanese food and Japanese bills, and can go back to her world literally through a magical door, she can save up a small fortune from the point of view of an agrarian economy. To pay her for Japanese work with medieval salaries, that would be unfair.
@Mistic: I think the way to say it is that the exchange rate is probably based more on the value of silver in Japan than in the other world. It depends on how large those coins are, but they would need to contain at least 17 grams of silver at current prices to actually contain 1000 yen worth of silver. In Aletta’s world, though, it’s worth a lot more.
Dude, I swear he paid her in 50 yen coins, because that’s exactly what my money change jar looks like.
Imagine if the chef died by accident on his world and the dragon queen came on promised day…just to find the shop already abandoned, oh the grief…I think earth will disappear that day.
I don’t think the Dragon Queen would get angry. She seems like a rational being who would probably lament losing one of her greatest treasures.
This is shaping up to be my favorite show this season, possibly one of my favorites this year if they have more scenes like the beginning where mythological grandpas argue over Teriyaki Chicken or the dragon queen’s fondness of homecooking. I always enjoy anime centered around food and people enjoying delicious looking food, and Isekai Shokudou has the right combination of amazing looking food and coziness of Tenshu’s mentoring Aletta to be one of the shows this Summer that I’m looking forward to following week-by-week.
Hey Choya! Glad you loved this episode. I hope you didn’t see my Summer Preview Picks, and think ‘Even though I love the look of this, I’ll leave it to Zaiden because he put it on his list first’. *Guilt Intensifies*
Although the season is young, if we exclude Sakurada Reset carrying over from spring, I would agree on the evaluation where Isekai Shokudou is shaping up to be one of the finest shows of the summer. Seeing these eccentric mythical creatures passionately take arms over something like the enjoyment of food brought a weird smile to my face.
Isekai Shokudou has hit all the right notes so far. I hope they delve further into developing Tenshu’s interactions with Aletta, because that’s where most of the potential in this show lies, outside of the culinary aspect.
No worries, it has the recipe of everything I like about food and healing anime, but there were too many shows I was interested in checking out that I’m alright with the ones I’m assigned to. The only new show I was very passionate about writing on was Centaur no Nayami, but everyone was cool with me selecting that one.
I’m glad you’re doing Isekai Shoukudou though. I enjoyed reading your first post on it, and how detailed it examines Tenshu and Aletta. It has a lot of potential in being both light-hearted in its look at mythological beings enjoying food as well as the interpersonal relationship that are built along the way.
Thanks for mentioning Isekai Izakaya “Nobu”. I’ve read some of the manga but couldn’t remember the name.
What is it with Japan and food? There’s almost no animes that don’t have cooking or eating in them (if not being the main theme). I wish I had a dollar for every time some character goes “oishii!”. I wonder if it’s a holdover from the aftermath of WWII or just nervousness about lack of arable land. Doesn’t turn me off, but it does make me curious.
This blog article leans towards the post WWII occupation interpretation.
No problem Bear. Having read the manga myself, I felt it would be weird to not bring it up considering the huge overlap.
Japan actually has good food, there’s that too. Though the article you linked makes a point about post WW2 Japan looking for comfort in various different forms, pertaining to an intrinsic inspection of its own culture.
My mind instantly went to the chopstick battle on the beach between Takao and Hyuga in Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio, lol.
Novices. It’s obvious that the winning strategy is to strongly poke the other person in the crotch, before seizing the advantage created by grabbing your prize.
My mind is already drowned in a ton of questions as to how everything is even happening. How did that door come to be? How do you find other worlds in order to install new doors to them? Who established this restaurant?
I get this is a slice of life, but my mind just can’t help it. This is some fascinating stuff.
“Not that I dislike Shokugeki no Soma, but the novelty really wears off after a while”
If you are talking about the foodgasms, I think SnS itself sort of acknowledges that, as at least in the anime, later reactions aren’t as “foodgasmic” and ecchi as when the series began, and instead focuses on analyzing why the dish is delicious.
“Not to mention, listening to explanations on food science can be exciting, but sometimes gets a bit excessive”
Understandable, given the competitive nature of the series and the fact that it’s set in the POV of the cooks more so than that of the eaters. Which is why Ieskai Shokudou feels refreshing as it’s the other way around, from the POV of other worldly warriors and fantastical creatures no less.
“Which is why Ieskai Shokudou feels refreshing as it’s the other way around, from the POV of other worldly warriors and fantastical creatures no less.”
Of course in addition to what you said about Isekai Shokudou not having exaggerated foodgasms. Sigh, sometimes my full thoughts just wouldn’t all be in one comment you know.
Howl’s moving Castle, has something similar with these Doors. He had 4 Doors, 2 where connected to City buildings and 2 others i forgotten. So these Magic, you can found it also there
Perhaps the Red Dragon lady is the Magic Mentor and Supporter for this Kitchen
Oh right. Now that you mention it, the dragon lady did say this restaurant was her “treasure”. Even though it’s anyone’s guess at this point what that means, I think that has something to do with the origins of Nekoya.
True, later reactions are not as orgasmic in Shokugeki no Soma, but some of them are still pretty over the top. That in itself still provides a stark contrast which could even be described as a tad unrealistic, compared to the more genuine feeling that Isekai Shokudou exudes.
As for the door, I imagine it just appears at random but set locations, with one possibly being fixed to the Dragon Queen’s treasure trove.
“That in itself still provides a stark contrast which could even be described as a tad unrealistic, compared to the more genuine feeling that Isekai Shokudou exudes.”
Also understandable, and also par of the course, as the illustrator for SnS… is also a hentai artist. Yeah, they just couldn’t resist XD
Pretty decent show, but I’m not a “foodie”/into food anime so that’s kind of an issue. Obviously, not a fault of the show (that’s just the kind of show it is), but rather whether this is a fit for me. It’s not all “food plot” of course which helps for me. Pretty clear something is going on in Fantasy World – including the Dragon Queen being connected to the restaurant. Maybe she’s the one who opened the portal or something. Also I suspect some drama with Aletta down the road as well.
Definitely in for at least one more episode. Just have to see how food oriented it is since I am somewhat interested in the other stuff.
I know what I’ll be doing with this anime! If me or my Malaysian friends ever get into yet ANOTHER round of discussion on what to eat next for breakfast, dinner or lunch, then we’ll just watch this and decide from there wwwwwwwwwwwwww
Oh man Nishizawa Mihashi, I love some good Malaysian food. Nasi Lemak, Beef Rendang, Sambal Udang, Curry Laksa to name but a few. You don’t need to decide what you’ll eat next, when you’ve got so many natural riches to be found nearby!
But you make a fair point, I was considering trying out the two featured dishes in this episode. Will also let everyone know how that goes in my post for next episode.
…… YOU KNOW MALAYSIAN FOOD!? Whuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
Woah, I certainly did not expect that from someone living 10,000+ kilometers away from me but OK ( ^ v ^ )
Also, if there’s ONE thing about us Malaysians that you should know Zaiden, it’s that whenever it’s chow time, no one, and I mean NO ONE has any idea of what to eat when in a group until somebody says “Aaahhh whatever lah”. That my friend, is what happens when you’re essentially surrounded by restaurants 24/7 on top of having way too much delicious food to choose from 😛
They run a Malaysian takeaway service near my university during term time, and then there’s also the fact one of my goat best friends is Malaysian himself. In addition to being a fellow foodie, if I had to choose a fellow bro to eat through an insurmountable pile of food, no question he would be my No.1 choice.
Also btw, I thought FOR SURE that Cherrie would be blogging this since she loves the art of making exquisite food so much that she’s a chef of some sort. Too bad she couldn’t blog though, oh well. Zaiden, you love exquisite food right?
I think Cherrie is just being really generous to her kouhai. Plus, she’ll definitely have her moment to shine as a foodie when it comes to anything else relating to food, especially in the upcoming season of Shokugeki no Soma! Admittedly, I’d be hard pressed to give up stuff involving elements of isekai, including the upcoming Isekai Izakaya Nobu adaptation.
Hooooooooo? How nice of Cherrie then ( ^ v ^ )
I can imagine her going bananas about the food again with the new season yeah ( ^ v ^ )
You really love your alternate worlds huh? I love em too, especially when they take us on a unique fantasy adventure of some sort! And Izakaya Nobu you say? Hmm, might have to look that up then. I don’t drink ‘the stuff of life’ but it’s interesting to learn about the drinks themselves ( ^ v ^ )
But this Picture tells my drive:
“You can not eat money”
So its basically like a combination of GATE and Shokugeki no Soma? Whats even more interesting is that Suwabe provided the voice for both Itami on Gate and Akira Hayami on Soma.
So its basically a combination of those two roles… even the protection from the Dragon is similar to Rory’s pact with Itami, and the curry rice is similar to one of the meals made by Hayami in Soma.
Definitely an interesting start, I can’t wait to see more!
Also I noticed one of the other worlds shown in the opening credits is apparently in space, so I wonder who or what came from there to eat at the restaurant?
For those people interested, the first volume of the lightnovel has been translated, and quite well.
Sadly, the translator seems to have disappeared since finishing the volume.
I think the interesting twist on the Foodie part of this show is that the food isn’t that spectacular. I’m sure it’s tasty and delicious, but it’s not the usual, “orgasmic food that shocks the world” of the usual food-anime. Rather the food and the chef have the distinct advantage of coming from a society prosperous enough to have developed in the areas of food preservation and preparation, especially when compared to a medieval-style setting.
So rather than being the usual: “make food so good it is transcendent,” it’s more of a “our everyday food is pretty damn good as it is.”
Just a small typo there.
“dynamic between Aletta and Tenshu that defines their relationship as benefactor and beneficiary, as well as boss and employer”
You meant to say employee.
Nice catch Kuro! Sankyuu, and I’ll amend it.
Seems like this anime have an heavy influence of Shokugeki no Soma. It’s trying a mix of Shokugeki no Soma with an Chief that do not need to travel worlds, no the World travels to him.. in a case, the food wars anime mixed with magic and fantasy…
But what is your true strength? what is your own blood?
ep 2/3 passed, but lost its momentum