I didn't plan to watch any new anime from this season, but then one caught my eye...and then another, & before I knew it I was keeping up with 5 new shows.
Funny how that goes. Funnier that so many shows this season took place inside restaurants.
Ah yes! Restaurants....the new frontier for fantasy.
5. Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi
This was the anime that started if off. I caught sight of the promo image somewhere and thought hmm is that an oni?
With some ayakashi? Then that's probably a human girl...is this gonna be like Kamisama Kiss?!
Is that a bathhouse in the background? Is this Spirited Away meets Kamisama Kiss?!
A human girl, college student, gets spirited away to become of the King of the Oni's bride. But, she has no intention of becoming anyones bride.
Then she discovers the marriage was arranged to settle her late grandfather's debts.
Still determined to remain unwed, she vows to work in the spirit realm instead. She opens a restaurant. Each episode we meet various employees and guests of the bath house.
We get a glimpse into spirit world politics.
Beautiful food shots.
And a budding romance.
The master Oni can actually be sweet. He might just win his bride after all.
There is also a mystery to solve. Who was the ayakashi that saved our female protagonist as a child?
This is a great watch for fans of Kamisama Kiss, it just feels more mature. The anime will continue on into the summer season for 26 episodes.
The original source material is a light novel not yet translated into English, but I would love to read it when it is.
4. Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori
Genre: Seinen, Slice of Life
A low key, slice of life series about four bro's that run a restaurant.
A tranquil traditional building set deep into a bamboo grove, Rokuhoudou is a cafe like no other. Customers could easily walk right past it from the road, but those lucky enough to make the discovery become instant regulars.
Another show about
following your passions
and living the life you want
No matter what others think about it.
We get some backstory to our main four, mixed into episodic tales surrounding each new guest.
The Italian latte artist, Gure, is definitely the fan favorite by both patrons in the show and watchers. He's like what happens to a fish out of water character if they stay long enough. They still stick out.
There is absurdist comedy in the moments when the food is taken too seriously, or the latte art turns out terrible. Or when the owner becomes cat obsessed.
But because it's a seinen don't expect fan service. The men offer high quality tea, food, & service, but they are not hosts.
Great for viewers with gentle, artistic, foodie, personalities. And it does have crossover josei appeal.
3. Isekai Izakaya: Koto Aitheria no Izakaya Nobu
Genre: Fantasy Foodie
Wait. Haven’t we seen this before? Isn't this Restaurant to Another World from two seasons ago?
I loved Restaurant to Another World, so I was on board to watch another version of it. However, this one fell flat.
Izakaya Nobu's door only opens to one alternative world. So each episode we get patrons from the same world. We don't get much backstory, other than their circumstances for visiting.
We don't even get a reason to care about the Izakaya owners until episode 12.
From a storytelling standpoint, its not an interesting show. Leaving me to believe the focus is truly on the food and that exaggerated oishii moment.
In Resturatunt to Another World, the door opens to many different fantasy realms & with each episode we get world building for the new place and a backstory for the new guest.
Nobu would appeal to fans of straightforward medieval fantasy setting, and izakaya, Japanese pub food.
The extras at the end of each episode where they show you where to get or cook the dishes IRL is a fun idea, but your better off watching an actual cooking or travel show.
I'd rather not solely compare one work to another, but Nobu & RTAW are so similar that it can't be avoided. And I would say Restaurant to Another World is the far better watch.
2. Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai
Studio: Doga Kobo
Genre: Slice of Life, Romantic Comedy
Tada kun Never Falls in Love is an anime that I almost abandoned, but didn't, & then ended up being way better than ever should have been possible.
The plot is basically a cheesy hallmark or lifetime movie.
Teresa is studying abroad in Japan.
Passionate about the Rainbow Shogunate Drama
And she's also secretly the Princess of Luxembourg & next in line for the throne.
Why did I pick this show up? Good characters. The first episode is really strong, but subsequent episodes drop off in enjoyment.
We get bogged down in high school life, photography club, secret identities, funny cat. Some of these kids are real annoying. Why isn't Tada the main character anymore?
I almost abandoned it, but it was so beautifully animated that surely there must be more to the story.
Then there was that underlying theme about being honest with your feelings & that falling in love silently hurts. Was that setting something up?
And the dam title is "Tada Never Falls in Love" so Tada needed to at some point take back majority of the screen time, right?
He does. And it was heartbreaking.
This anime sucker punched me with 2 plots I am weak for:
1. Girl falls in love with boy she can never actually be with due to other responsibility.
2. Boy is emotionally unavailable and only realizes his feelings after its too late.
Teresa has a betrothed. She loves her country & must marry to become queen.
There's no room for her to fall in love with Tada, but they share a genuine connection.
When she can't check her feelings, Teresa runs back to Luxembourg, leaving Tada and her Japanese friends to wonder what happened.
It is at this point that Tada realizes he should have told her how he felt. If only he could speak to her one more time.
This anime goes from cheesy, to messy, to I'm not crying, you're crying -- all within 13 episodes, and ultimately leaves viewers with a great message.
Oh and since this is the SEASON OF SO MUCH RESTAURANT ANIME where does Tada work? His grandfather's coffee shop.
1. Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Office Life
At this point I was already four shows deep, whats one more? I could have kept up with the restaurant theme, but chose an office romance instead.
I can't believe I almost didn't watch Wotakoi, it seems absurd to the me who has watched it.
This is a funny, realistic, story about four adults nerds. Their hobbies, their job, and their love lives.
The nerd jokes are hilarious & relatable. There are laugh out loud moments when it comes to things like
solo gamers not helping in the RPG campaign
frustration while playing Mario Kart with an expert
The characters struggle to balance nerd hobbies with professional life. Simply put, there's a good chance that people unfamiliar with anime, manga, & video games only see these hobbies as childish.
So its relatable to watch these four switch back and forth between professional working stiffs and geeking out depending on what the setting calls for.
I really loved the scene where the four of them plan to go out to dinner after work, but then stop into a bookstore -- buy a bunch of new manga each -- and all want to go home to read instead of going out. #relatable
But what's best about this anime is the romance plot surrounding adults trying to make relationships work.
The title might be Love is Hard for an Otaku, but love is hard for everybody. You gotta learn it, you gotta work hard at it.
Romance anime can be rough to watch.
Especially when it centers on high school students confused about their feelings, or plots where miscommunication keeps getting in the way. Or even when blackmail & abuse is somehow twisted into the foundation of a relationship.
Wotakoi bypasses all of that by establishing a new romance in episode one & and giving us a secondary couple, in a long term relationship.
Our main couple are childhood friends, and are able to use that foundation as they become more attracted to each other.
In both couples, insecurities arise and are dealt with. And expectations are voiced and compromised on. It's refreshing to see anime take slice of life romance literally.
What did you watch this past season?
Thanks for reading!
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