Okay, so now that this show is nearly at its end (three episodes left), we’re finally able to see whether it used its time well or not, and whether the series composition knew what it was doing. And if I have to say so, Ristorante Paradiso passes with flying colours. It really made excellent use of its limited eleven episodes, and it turned into one of those series that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
It’s been a very slow and quiet series, but that really is part of its charms, and really managed to capture the essence of slice of life. Even though the past few episodes have been themed to a certain character, it really NEVER FEELS FORMULAIC. Every episode is different, and yet they all have the same atmosphere, feel together as a whole and they really don’t take any stereotype for granted. If the creators can pull off a great finale, this series is really going to be complete, but that often is much harder than it looks. I’ve got faith in the director, though. She has pulled off some creative endings before, and that’s exactly what this series need.
I remember, when this series first started, that I compared it to Antique Bakery, but now I see that those are two completely different series. Antique Bakery stood out because of its originality: it dared to go where no other anime had gone before and was very creative in its storytelling. Rispara however, is much more about its characters: subtly fleshing them out, and letting the viewer slowly get to know more about them.
This episode yet again toyed with our expectations. We were promised a Furio-episode, and yet Claudio got just as much development as he did, when it turns out that when they were younger they used to work at the same restaurant: Furio as one of the top chefs, while Claudio was very much a rookie waiter without much talent. He was even less secure than he is now (you can now really see that his older version is more confident in his actions, while still recognizing that insecure version that he was 20 years ago. Now THAT’s subtle development!), but it was Furio’s fiancee who gave him enough inspiration not to quit being a waiter.
Rating: ** (Excellent)
Lots of depth for Claudio and Furio is always welcome. Very meaningful dialogue.