Restaurant to Another World
Director, series composition: Masato Jinbo
Character designer: Keiichi Sano, Takao Sano
Animation Production: Silver Link
Why it’s great: Western Cuisine Nekoya is a perfectly standard restaurant during weekdays, but on Saturdays, they close down to regular customers and invite in the denizens of a parallel fantasy world, which leads to individuals from all sorts of magical races wandering into the restaurant. The show’s structure is formulaic all the way through: even as important events happen — such as training a dragon who could accidentally end all life — every episode attempts to present a couple of different delicious-looking recipes that are sure to please the extravagant customers. As the show progresses, clients grow acquainted as they would in a standard bar, all the while the establishment gains curious new employees, too. Cooking anime is a well-established genre that usually relies on amusing exaggeration, the series remains understated; even as political instabilities are dealt with, adversary species come into contact, and interpersonal relationships develop, it all remains pleasantly calm. Both for its cast and audience, Restaurant to Another World is just a warm place to return to — where you’ll grow hungry staring at animated food.