Posted 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
Posted on with categories: Ristorante Paradiso



Haha! This series pulled it off! Mitsuko Kase really proves that she knows how to make a good series. She’s probably one of the very few female anime directors out there, most of her series are very under-appreciated, but you can really call me a fan of her. Especially when it comes to the endings, nine out of ten anime series simply fail to put an actually good and satisfying conclusion to their story, but she time and time again uses that ending to wrap up all of the hanging plot-lines, develop the main characters, AND pull in a few surprises here and there to boot while still staying true to the atmosphere of the rest of the series. There really aren’t many directors who also have consistently proven to do this.

So yeah, I don’t think I could have hoped for a better ending than this episode. I had to laugh at when they played the scene that showed up in last episode’s next episode preview: when watched in context with the actual events, it was much more humorous (Nicoletta basically out of nowhere slapped a plate of spaghetti over Claudio). Last episode’s preview made it look so dramatic, but in the actual episode it happened so fast that there was hardly any time to build up any tension, and instead the focus fell on Nicoletta, trying to get Isabella to understand to stop making Claudio suffer.

I really liked how the creators resolved Claudio’s issues with his former wife, which was very un-typical of anime. Usually, you’d build up and up, until the climax where characters confess their feelings and suddenly forget about all their problems, but here it was done very gradually. There wasn’t one point at which Claudio immediately forgot about his past. Instead, they just gradually became a couple over the episode: slowly, bit by bit Claudio was able to let go of his past, until eventually he returned his wedding ring. I wish more anime did this.

As a surprise, we also see more development for Olga. Her story was handled with a bit less subtlety, but I still liked it a lot. It really showed how much Nicoletta has grown over the past series: at the start of this series, you’d think that this show would be about a bitch-fight between an angry mother and daughter, but in this episode Nicoletta proved to be much more mature than her mother, and managed to convince her that she doesn’t mind the past anymore.

Overall, I’m glad to have followed this series. It was probably the most un-typical anime of the season, the drama was nearly always subtle and yet packed a punch. The ending wasn’t my favourite, but I would definitely label it among the top 5 of best endings I’ve seen in 2009 so far. The series also had the best character-designs for the past spring-season (in contrast to most people, I’m not yet a fan of Range Murata or Satoko Morikawa). It obviously wasn’t an epic series that had me on the edge of my seat, but it didn’t need to be: it used its time well and delivered a very enjoyable and relaxing series. I’m looking forward to what Noise has in store for us the upcoming season.
Rating: ** (Excellent)
Among my top 5 endings I’ve seen this year so far. (For those wondering, the others are Birdy the Mighty Decode, Michiko e Hatchin, Ride Back and Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae).

Posted on 18 June 2009 with categories: Ristorante Paradiso



Ah, of course: for the conclusion, the creators didn’t just try to focus on the relationship between Claudio and Nicoletta, but also they’re going to try and give a conclusion to Luciano and his dead wife. This episode was much more about the latter, while the final episode next week will probably focus at the former, especially considering that next-episode preview: we now already know how it’s going to end, but I’m curious to see the context in which it’s going to happen.

I loved how in this episode, both Nicoletta and Luciano tried to encourage each other to pursue a bit of romance, but neither of them really got anywhere. Luciano just stubbornly ignored the advances that the woman in this episode tried to make on him, while Nicoletta, who was supposed to invite Claudio to a concert that they were all going to attend, ended up chickening out and invited Vito’s wife instead. I also liked how a bit of extra attention was given to the rest of Luciano’s family. It really makes his back-story more complete to not just focus on him, but also his offspring.

At the same time, this episode also built up the fact that Claudio really doesn’t want to forget about his old marriage, and he still hasn’t properly gotten over the divorce. As a conclusion, it definitely makes sense for this series to wrap up that part of the show, but like with every series: pulling off a good conclusion is hard, and probably one of the things that’s the easiest to screw up in, or to become lackluster at. Let’s see whether this show can pull it off, though I’m confident for now: the director has pulled off great conclusions before with Saikano and Crystal Blaze, which both closed off their respective series pretty nicely. Let’s hope that he can do the same here.

And overall, I don’t think that David Production could have hoped for a better debut in the anime scene. It smartly chose not to go the way that’s been travelled a thousand times already, but instead they went with their own style, and it pretty much worked, and they put down a pretty good series without any major flaws. The artwork also looked really good, with hardly any screw-ups. Now all that they need more is the ambition to continue to produce new series, instead of to simply give up.

Rating: * (Good)
Pretty quiet but solid build-up for the finale, and it’s good to see that even with the finale this close, this show doesn’t forget what it’s good at.

Posted on 11 June 2009 with categories: Ristorante Paradiso



Yup, today it’s time for the Theo-episode. And like always, there’s another surprise in this episode: the reappearance of that mysterious main chef that the restaurant started out with. She indeed was the one who guided Theo through his rookie-years when he first came to work at the restaurant, though they didn’t get along all the time.

And yet it’s very interesting how the creators only show the moments at which they had the biggest fights with each other: we’re simply left to guess what happened in between, and how the two got along with each other on a daily basis. And how they gradually grew to like each other. ^^;

After just completing Bartender, I’ve come to see this series in quite a bit of a different light. Since the horeca-genre is really new when compared to all of the other genres, there still is lots of opportunity to be different within the genre, and so far it’s good to see that all of them decided to focus on something different. When compared to Bartender, you can really see that the creators of Ristorante Paradiso lack the knowledge about food: they did a bit of reading on correct Italian dishes, but it’s clear that they don’t have a deep understanding of how Italian food works. In the meantime, it has other points at which it can be praised: a really calm and relaxing atmosphere, very nice visuals and an excellent characterization.

This episode also indeed showed what last week’s next episode preview had been showing: it’s time for the chefs to create the new menu, and Nicoletta gets to help. Obviously, her dishes are all good, but not good enough to be on the menu, and especially Theo is harsh. But as always, that again was a bit of a misleading part, because it’s not like Theo hates her food at all. Instead, he just had a bit of trouble giving her some good comments, since he himself had to endure the same abuse when he began. Something’s also telling me that he found Nicoletta’s work better than what he managed to produce when he just started out.

Speaking of which, that next-episode-preview of this episode weirded me out a bit. I mean, Luciano getting hit on by some middle-aged lady? It’s obviously not as it looks (I know how sneaky this series can be with that), but still, what do the creators have in mind as a finale for this series?

Rating: * (Good)
Theo’s back-story was very nice as usual.

Posted on 4 June 2009 with categories: Ristorante Paradiso



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.

Posted on 28 May 2009 with categories: Ristorante Paradiso



Misleading previews are very misleading. Really, the first episodes showed the big climaxes of their next episode, and so with the way the next-episode previews are so forcefully inserted after the end of the episode, it really makes you create expectations for that next episode. So, let me ask why the heck the previews for the past few episodes were so incredibly misleading. I was believing that this episode would turn into a date between Nicoletta and Claudio, only for the majority of this episode to focus on Luciano and the date turned out to be an incredibly small thing meant for building up.

So yeah, this was a really good episode about the birthday party for Luciano’s grandson. And really, you can’t get more slice-of-life than this, and it was such a great way to look into Luciano’s character. It’s SO devoid of any sort of clichés, and it really was such a charming episode, seeing everyone prepare and celebrate Francesco’s birthday.

At this point, you can really consider me a fan of Mitsuko Kase, the director. After this series, I’m convinced that she(he?) has her own style: she doesn’t care being mainstream, and what she excels in is subtly fleshing out her characters, with that kind of subtlety that’s really hard to put into words, and yet I’ve noticed the same with both Saikano, Crystal Blaze and Ristorante Paradiso. Her biggest fault is that she tends to be a bit too emo at times (for which Rispara is of course a great way to get rid of that nasty habit). I have really enjoyed the characterization of her works so far (yeah, I don’t care whether I’m the only one who believes so, but Crystal Blaze rocked).

With this, there are only four episodes left. Two will be spent on the remaining members of the cast (Teo and Furio), while the final two will probably wrap up the story between Claudio and Nicoletta, and I wonder what kind of path the creators will go into. This series has already shown that it isn’t of the type “and they killed the dragon and lived happily ever after”. In fact, it doesn’t seem to follow any formula at all, and I really wish that the creators can keep this up, while doing something with the romantic tension between Nicoletta and Claudio at the same time.

Rating: ** (Excellent)
A Luciano episode, still as calm and fresh as ever.

Posted on 21 May 2009 with categories: Ristorante Paradiso



I really love how mature this series’ outlook on relationships is. Because the characters are nearly all so relatively old in this series, it can really show a different side of romance, other than the “falling in love” part that has been explored to death by now by all of the teenagers. Someone finding his love may be interesting if well executed, but maintaining this relationship also definitely has its charms.

While at first sight this episode promised to be an episode about Vito, the main focus instead was on a newly introduced married couple, between which a few problems lied: the husband kept fooling around with younger women and this got on the wife’s nerves. Vito merely served as an example, of how for every relationship different negotiations have to be made.

While Vito’s wife didn’t mind at all to see Vito surrounded by younger women, because she knew that his heard lied with her. The woman in this episode was different though, and didn’t like it at all. The two of them developed really nicely throughout this episode, until the end, in which they finally sat down to talk about their differences. Overall, this entire series has been really refreshing in terms of relationships: some of them really are doomed to fail, but in this time the couple talked in time with each other before they ended up growing apart.

I also loved how subtly the creators managed to show a bit of what Olga does for her job, and with this, I can understand a bit why she ended up falling in love with her job, up to the point where she left home and overworked herself. In Olga’s case, it was her job that she found more important than her husband at the time. And somehow this changed when she met Lorenzo.

Now that this series has passed its halfway mark, I do have to say that Noitamina finally has gotten competition in terms of awesome time-slots with the Noise time-slot. It’s really good to see more time-slots like this that value originality and freshness over the same old formula done over again, and series that consider a different target audience than most other series.

Rating: ** (Excellent)
A Vito episode, with a mature outlook on relationships. Nice.

Posted on 14 May 2009 with categories: Ristorante Paradiso



This really was an excellent episode for this series. It’s really clear that this is a character-study, and this time it’s Gigi’s turn to be placed under the loop, and I must say that he has quite an interesting backstory, and I think that this was one of the first convincing stories of adultery I’ve seen in anime.

So as it turns out, Gigi is Lorenzo’s half-brother. Lorenzo was born because Gigi’s father committed adultery with his own brother’s wife. The interesting thing though, is that none of them really hold a grudge against each other, and the two of them actually grew to be really close. It was Lorenzo’s father’s winery that fueled Gigi’s passion for liquor, and what’s also ironic is that Gigi’s father himself, even though he was outraged by his brother, did commit adultery himself with another woman, which gave Gigi another half-sibling.

I’m also starting to get the central theme of this series: the past. Sure, every character here has his or her own past, and collection of bad memories, but this series asks the question: why would one still hold a grudge for these events? Nicoletta came to Rome in the first place to smack her mother for the things she did to her, but then she came to understand how her mother found happiness that way, and she just stopped with trying to make her mother’s life miserable. Claudio and his wife must have shared a few sad memories when they broke up, and yet the two of them still are on good terms with each other. And this episode shows the same with Lorenzo and Gigi: sure, their parents did some stupid things, but is that really enough to hate them and get emo over it? The only one who got worked up over it was Gigi’s father.

This really is a-typical of most anime, who most often put lots of angst in these sad past events, but this series shows that they can also be very well used in order to flesh out characters without any angst whatsoever. Vito’s up in the next episode, so I’m interested to see what he can offer to this.

Rating: ** (Excellent)
Excellent art direction, combined with Gigi’s fascinating backstory.

Posted on 7 May 2009 with categories: Ristorante Paradiso



Well, like its predecessor Michiko e Hatchin, Ristorante Paradiso sure has been put into a very strange time-slot: it’s gotten two hiatuses already and its first episode aired as a set of two. I really wonder what’s going on at the time-slot when this show isn’t broadcast, and where people get the time to broadcast two episodes at once?

But really, this series continues to be good stuff. Shows in which the lead characters run a restaurant always have their own kind of unique charms. Antique Bakery also had this unique chemistry between its characters, and there is an understanding that is much, much different when compared to your average high school show, even with shows as Natsu no Arashi, which actually has teenagers involved.

This episode was a bit confusing as it suddenly introduced flashbacks from out of nowhere, but it was a great chance to see how the restaurant first was formed, how Luciano and the others were recruited, and it’s interesting to see how there once were three staff-members who have since quit. The youngest one I guess felt out of place, but for the others I don’t think their reasons were mentioned in this episode.

When this show started, I also believed that Nicoletta’s mother forcefully made everyone wear glasses, but in the end it was actually something that just evolved on its own. When Olga first got to see the restaurant, she simply became so happy that she could cry, and that kept the tradition of keeping on glasses going. At first, we’re really lead to believe how she’s the selfish mother from hell, but she’s gradually turning into someone who may have made a mistake in her life, but yet has plenty of good and genuine sides.

I also liked that bit with the little girl who had to wait endlessly for the owner to show up. That’s really typical for them, having to wait for hours really is going to bore any child.

Rating: * (Good)
Nice flashback to when everything began, although it was at times hard to point out what happened when

Posted on 23 April 2009 with categories: Ristorante Paradiso



Short Synopsis: Nicoletta tells Claudio about her mother.
Episode Rating: 8/10 (Good)
I’m really not sure what’s up with this show’s tendency to spoil the biggest plot twists of every next episode but for some strange reason it works pretty well. Since this is a series that’s much more about the characters, rather than these fancy plot twists, which are only there in order to get the best out of the characters. In this episode for example, the most important thing wasn’t for Nicoletta to tell Claudio how the girlfriend of the owner is her own mother, but rather how the two of them start to gradually understand each other, and realize that they’re actually quite similar.

But really, this episode was good stuff, and I’m glad to say that the first three episodes of Ristorante have some of the most solid characters of the season. The advantage it has is that since it’s only 11 episodes, it can’t really waste any time building up like most of the other shows this season: while most of the other shows still have three months to go before they can get to the real meat of the story, RisPara is already there, and like Genji Monogatari in the previous season, it’s a very consistent romance show, although in comparison, the focus of RisPara lies more at the characters, when compared to the storytelling that was central in Genji Monogatari.

It’s obviously not a show for everyone, but you have to appreciate that finally we have a show in which the average age of the characters lies above thirty (perhaps even above forty). I can only think of two other anime who achieved the same: Real Drive (simply because two characters were in their eighties) and Millennium Actress.

It’s interesting how Nicoletta finally got a proper talk with her mother in this episode, and yet the two of them got along pretty easily, rather than Nicoletta trying to scratch her mother’s eyes out and it’s interesting how Olga even was worried about Nicoletta going after Claudio, and in the end she even encouraged her. Olga herself was immediately taken in by Lorenzo, and apparently that feeling came from both sides.

It’s also interesting how Claudio and Gabriella split up over a pretty trivial reason: her work became busier and in the end they got into a fight about a misunderstanding, and so they broke up, even though they seem to have settled their differences by now and are not in love anymore.

In any case, I’m glad to have stuck with this series. At one point I considered dropping this show from blogging instead of Natsu no Arashi, but looking back now, the latter is much more a show where you shut up and watch, and even though it’s probably the most underrated show of the season, I don’t think that there would have been much to say about it aside from that. The director of RisPara has a knack of getting the best out of short 13-episode series, and it’s a very interesting effect to see him dealing with a slow-paced romance show, instead of a suspenseful thriller or extremely sad wartime romance. He’s definitely able to show the best side of the original source material this way in only eleven episodes.

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  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 05:41 AM)
    The romance angle was cute enough too I suppose. Its an acceptable extended episode conclusion to a show I didn’t especially have any strong like or dislike towards. That said I watched this as a light thing to watch after three horror films.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 05:41 AM)
    You know had wicked not told me the reception the tamako market movie was getting I’d never have bothered looking into it, kind of wasn’t pushed to even after hearing that but I ended up watching it anyway. If you want to watch this and you liked the show, the bird unfortunately isn’t in it really all that much , beyond that I guess it was typically well produced, it mildly amused me, I guess I enjoyed it more than the show itself.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 05:34 AM)
    =) I left you a comment on deviant art friend =)
  • Friend
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 05:19 AM)
    @Bam @k-off @ninja @Emma: Finished :)
    http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs71/i/2014/293/3/7/kernion_falls_by_friendist-d83ltlp.jpg
    I’m very rusty so it didn’t turn out exactly as I’d imagined. Still fairly pleased with it though.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 04:45 AM)
    @Bam They certainly don’t come in rapey hentai form though.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 04:22 AM)
    I don’t know, I’ve seen some rapey dogs that certainly don’t mind banging people’s legs, or the people themselves for that matter.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 04:17 AM)
    I just can’t imagine the animal willingly accepting a person doing that to them.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 03:29 AM)
    *you know what I meant, fuckin Kindle …
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 03:28 AM)
    @K-off: bestiality is a strange fade indeed. I’m against limitations as long as nobody gets hurt, so if a someone wants to blow a horse and the horse likes it, then blow away I guess. I’m not saying it’s not incredibly gross and weird tho.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 03:17 AM)
    @Bam: Amazing really the almost creative/strange manifestations human ridiculousness takes =<

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Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]