Posted by psgels on 25 June 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Ristorante Paradiso

I’ve turned into quite a fan of the modern horeca-series, brought back and popularized by Bartender. It’s a genre with an atmosphere unlike any other genre, and one of those very few types of series targeted solely at adults. The latest installment is Ristorante Paradiso: yet again a short but charming and relaxing series about a restaurant somewhere in Rome.

From the outside, the premise of this series indeed looks quite shaky. It’s easy to think that this is just a harem, but this time the lead character being a female in her twenties and the male characters all being stereotypical bishounen in their forties or above. Thankfully, the series proves that it’s fully able to avoid this cliché. There is one lead couple, and the rest of the characters all have their own romances.

One of the things that makes this series so enjoyable is how well it manages to handle its limited airtime of only eleven episodes, and yet it manages to develop a relatively large cast of characters. Every episode is basically dedicated to one or two characters, but they’re all inspired and miles away from stereotypes. The characters here have realistic problems and issues, rather than those overdramatic ones you tend to often see in anime. Every episode keeps you guessing on what’s going to happen next; despite the next-episode previews, you’ll hardly ever find yourself able to predict what’s going to happen next, or what the next character’s back-story is going to be about.

And still the series forms a coherent whole in the end. A major theme is the past, and how it affects characters today. Surprisingly, most people in this series have relatively dark pasts, but unlike most other anime they hardly ever bear grudges or feel depressed. A major theme of this series is not getting worked up about what happened in the past, but instead using these experiences to enjoy today. It’s a theme that’s explored wonderfully throughout the series, and makes it feel complete.

Of course, you need to know that this isn’t the series for those who want action or lots of drama. Instead, it’s meant to be relaxing, while most of the drama is done very subtly without ever dragging on. Apart from that though, I couldn’t find any major flaws in this series, or reasons why one would not want to watch this. It’s not anything epic, but what it does it does really well: the creators really put thoughts into how they could make this show work best, and not let a minute go to waste. It’s a recommendation for those who are looking for a short relaxing series.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10

One Response

  1. soyahoney says:

    After Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou had ended, I yearned for another ‘nostalgic’ series. This anime really hit the spot.

    This was a relaxing ride indeed. There weren’t any bumpy roads just small stops to discover the different towns, but in this case, to uncover the characters’ past.

    As Nicoletta weaves her way into each person’s past, she’s also creating an image for herself or marking her stamp on the restaurant itself.

    The animation was simple and the music was also light and heartwarming, but that was enough for us as we tried to understand the concept, ‘how to move on’.

    It was subtle like a whimsical wind in yet mysterious and sometimes dark like the night. The ride had its twists and turns, but it never once steered in the wrong drection. In this case, “La cena era deliziosa, grazie.”

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  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 06:51 PM)
    Hype kills anything. In regards to the kind of emotional manipulation Clannad and maybe Undertale uses, it’s like a drug. The more you are subjected to it, the less of an effect it has.
    Still there are examples of something which comes close to expectation. People say Muv Luv Alternative gives you PTSD and in a kinda does. Though it’s helped by the connection you build with the characters though the first two games.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 06:47 PM)
    @Kaiser,I haven’t updated the old entries of my MAL in quite a while. Pretty sure Code Geass is sitting at a 10 on it and I am sure if I give that a rewatch that rating is going to fall harshly.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 08:59 AM)
    I say this because people often like to hype up the genre or those elements. I bring this up/think about it now because I played a game called undertale lately on my brothers recommendation and he was all like it emotionally destroyed him but I never ended up crying, I mean don’t get me wrong its a good game, there were laughs to be had and there was sentiment but it wasn’t THAT sad/funny.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 08:44 AM)
    Given how many people cry at some drama, clannad included.
    That reminds me…
    I can’t actually remember the last time in my life where I cried, I draw a blank.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 07:58 AM)
    @Aidan: Something always feels off to me when you criticize clannad, I mean I’m critical enough of key these days too but it seems odd that you rank it as an 8 on MAL when you’ve always made it sound its more of a high 6 or a 7.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:45 AM)
    But I’m no fan of gung-ho soldier games/most fps games so I am glad clannad, a visual novel outsold call of duty.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:44 AM)
    I said it once I’ll say it again. I preferred the clannad movie over the tv series, had more style, a more mature feel to it and cut out all the superfluous arcs/comedy for the better. It also concludes better than the series. The emotional involvement in the kyoani version doesn’t work for me anymore, doesn’t hold up. However the film remains emotionally engaging after revisiting it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 03:19 AM)
    Holy hell Clannad is selling like hotcakes on Steam. Even beat Call of Duty in sales at one point.
    Kinda happy to see a VN get recognised and it would help open up the market for more titles to come over. But..well..Clannad really isn’t all that great.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Nov 25. 2015 02:29 AM)
    I can remember when I first got into anime when I was a whole lot younger I always said I would watch lodoss war, El Hazard and slayers, yet I never ended up doing so…
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Nov 24. 2015 05:34 AM)
    Ha, the child in me would love to see a film like that I’d imagine, when I was young I was pretty crazy about Egyptian supernatural stuff.

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