To paraphrase the Doctor: Food anime series are cool.
Joining an illustrious lineup that includes 2011 favorite “Antique Bakery” (also from RightStuf), “Ristorante Paradiso” is a delight — at least in the first four episodes. The complete 11-episode series was recently released on DVD.
It’s the story of Nicolette, who, at 21, returns to Rome, where she had spent her childhood. She’s there to wreck her mother’s marriage. Why? Well, her mom abandoned her when she was very young and kept her a secret. Olga then married a man who didn’t want to marry a divorced mother.
Nicolette tracks her down to a restaurant called Casetta dell’Orso but quickly becomes enamored of the older gentlemen who work there, all in spectacles (a fetish of Olga’s her husband, Lorenzo, is happy to indulge), and one in particular.
So instead of ratting out her mom, for the time being anyway, she winds up working there and getting to know the guys.
So far, it’s one of those great, character-driven, slice-of-life shows. There’s drama (the one she likes may be hung up on his ex-wife), but nothing too outrageous. There’s plenty of humor, and it’s just a nice all-around show.
As Nicolette works through her issues, it’s fun to see the evolving relationships with Claudio, Luciano, Vito, Furio, Teo and Gigi. All six men have distinct personalities, ranging from shy to nice-to-a-fault to grumpy old man. But they all obviously enjoy working together, and they all take Nicolette into their hearts.
With all the soft focus and elongated character designs, I was expecting at least a few of the guys to be gay, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. But they are all quite popular with the ladies who frequent the restaurant.
The character animation is strong, but I have to say some of the background work can be annoying. The camera moves through the computer-animated streets at an unnatural pace and with some jarring turns.
But if that’s the worst thing I can come up with to say about this show, it’s doing pretty well. I’ll definitely be finishing the show up this week between holiday projects at home this week. (There won’t be many posts while I’m off.)