Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food From Another World – Full Season QandA Rundown

A Full Season QandA Rundown of Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food From Another World

This blog is something of a test to see if this ‘Full Season QandA Rundown’-style post is a better approach for the end-of-season reviews. Please leave your feedback in the comments on this more structured approach.

What’s the important information? ‘Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food From Another World’ is a Spring 2018 anime that aired for 24 episodes from April through September. It’s based on a Light Novel series by Natsuya Semikawa called ‘Isekai Izakaya “Nobu”’ and was also adapted into an ongoing manga series of the same name.

What’s it about? The series is about a traditional Japanese ‘Izakaya’ (that’s a pub that serves high-quality food) called ‘Nobu’ whose front door opens to ‘another world’. In this particular instance it opens to the pre-industrial Germanic inspired world of ‘Aitheria’. The series begins more or less as a showcase for animated food porn, but over the course of the 24 episodes introduces more characters and further develops the relationship between its staff and its patrons.

Is that a euphemism? (Spoiler alert, it’s not, this show is wholesome).

Why did you watch it? The series’ premise was initially familiar to that of ‘Restaurant To Another World’—a series I adored and was keen for more of the same. Though aside from the aspect of people eating unfamiliar food from our world (specifically Japanese food) and the fact that it’s got a magic front door—the similarities stop there. Every 15 minute episode spends 10 minutes with the ‘plot’ of the episode and 5 minutes with a live-action segment, which alternate between a cooking/recipe segment in the odd numbered episodes and a travel-style segment involving visiting different Japanese eating establishments in the even numbered episodes. My thoughts on Episode 1 & 2 specifically can be found here.

Be prepared for a lot of dorky dad jokes from this guy as he eats his way ’round Japan!

Did you enjoy the show? The first two episodes suffered from some technical teething problems—the screen was so inundated with text it was almost impossible to read at times—thankfully Episode 3 onward resolved these issues. The show is light entertainment and occasionally comedic with smatterings of character and world building throughout, and yes I did enjoy the show even if it wasn’t a substantial experience it still delivered a reliable good time every episode.

Thankfully this overload on subtitles is only for the first two episodes.

What was your favourite episode? It’s hard to pick because individual moments of greatness a scattered across quite a few episodes, Episode 7 “The Burglar” introduces the adorable homeless girl Olivia who ends up working as a dishwasher at ‘Nobu’, Episode 19 “The Female Merc” touches on some interesting gender issues in this other world. But for the episode that felt the most different and therefore most interesting it’d be Episode 12 “Beauty and the Abura-age” which has the only scene of the whole series that doesn’t takes place either in Aitheria or the Izakaya and also introduces a bit of Japanese mysticism which was kind of touching.

Drama! (That lasts about 30 seconds)

What were your most favourite things about the show? It may seem obvious to say the food, but the attention to detail on the food was incredible. Also the slowly growing connections between the patrons and the staff at Nobu was endearing.

Wbat were your least favourite things about the show? The show can feel very repetitive at times, which sometimes felt comforting and other times felt annoying. The episodes were released two at a time every fortnight and that absolutely worked in its favour as it gave enough time to miss the show but not too little of the show to feel like you weren’t leaving satisfied. I can’t imagine binge watching this show as I imagine it would grow tiresome quickly except for the most patient of viewers.

Anyone else hungry?

Who was your favourite character? While Nobuyuki, the owner and head chef of ‘Nobu’ serves as strong grounding figure there’s no denying that Shinobu, the head waitress is the undoubted highlight—not only my favourite characters but one of my favourite Waifu’s of the Spring 2018 anime season!

And best of all, at 23 years old, she’s a legal waifu too!

What’s something unique about this show? While the live-action segments were indeed a surprise, similar things have been done with other shows and so I’d hazard to say it was unique. The fact that these live-action segments were actually interesting however is probably something unique in of itself. Personally though the most unique thing about the show was the fact it was in part sponsored by the Japanese Tourism board which seems both inspired and odd; “inspired” because food is such a big thing about Japan that why not showcase it in an anime but “odd” because the show showcases nothing of actual Japan the place.

I picked up some good recipes from these segments!

What other anime are most like it for the sake of comparison? As mentioned before ‘Restaurant To Another World’ shares some DNA with this show but rather than being a sibling series it’s more like an estranged cousin. Tonally the show is reminiscent of the café set scenes in ‘Is The Order A Rabbit?’ just with less CGDCT shenanigans. It’s also at least passingly similar to ‘Today’s Menu For The Emiya Family’—though I’ve only seen a couple of episodes of that show so bare that in mind.

Pretty fancy for pub food! But that’s Japan for you!

Who would you recommend it to? Anybody who enjoys good food and watching people and eat and get happy about good food, and that kind of endearing food-culture that Japan has should enjoy this show. It’s certainly not a remarkable or life-changing anime but it does fill me with a warm familiarity and nostalgia that’s wholesome and appreciated. If you’re looking for plot or drama or heavy character development you won’t find it here, but if you’re looking for casual entertainment with personality and food porn you can’t go astray.

Protect little Eva-chan!

Sum up the season in one sentence: ‘Like your favourite comfort food, it might not seem anything special on the surface but it makes you feel good all the same’.

Final score? 74 out of 100.

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Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food From Another World Episode 1 & 2 – Anime QandA Review

An Anime QandA review for Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food From Another World Episode 1.

What’s the show? Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food From Another World, Episode 1 & 2.

And I’m guessing from that title it’s a food anime? Yes! If there’s one thing I hone in other than cute girl anime it’s food anime!

So what’s this one like? Well at first I was worried it was going to be too much like 2017’s surprise favourite ‘Restaurant To Another World‘, and while the similarities are pretty close. I.e. Japanese style pub food sold by Japanese chef to inhabitants of a fantasy world through mystical restaurant that has the ability to be a portal between worlds.

But there’s key differences I assume? Well I can’t speak for the light novel it’s based on, but basically what this anime is is just a 15 minute tourism video for Japanese pub food.

You mean it feels like it is. It isn’t actually— The main production sponsor for this anime is Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO).

Oh. Which is kind of bizarre considering it takes place in a fantasy world, though a lot of the show is just these Germanic inspired, pre industrial revolution era people salivating and loosing their damn minds over how good Japanese pub food is. Which to be fair, it is damn good if I do say so myself.

Right, so what’s the plot of this show? Didn’t I just say? It’s literally just people eating Japanese pub food and having foodgasms (not Food Wars style ones mind you, just the regular kind). There’s a tiny bit of characterisation, and a hint of the world outside, but it’s mostly just people eating food.

Hmm. Oh! Except the last 5 minutes of each 15 minute episode is live action footage devoted to something food related. In the first episode there’s an instructional video on how to make Daikon steak and potato salad (which I’m keen to try myself) and the second episode ends with a Japanese celebrity visiting a Karaage place and eating the most ridiculously crunchy looking fried chicken I’ve ever seen.

Live action… right… Hey, I’m just as confused as you are but I’m not one to criticise a good thing just because it’s a little weird!

You like this show?! Yeah of course, it kind of reminds me of those Japanese ‘light entertainment’ programs you see on Japanese TV where people just go to different places and eat food, and it’s just watching vaguely famous people reacting to delicious food. It might sound boring but the Japanese people’s enthusiasm and respect for food is just so infectiously endearing I can’t help but smile at it!

O…kay then! Do you recommend it then? You’ll know just by reading the review if this is the kind of show for you, I mean it’s nothing special, it’s certainly not Restaurant To Another World quality, in fact even after just two episodes it’s kind of repetitive, but I don’t know, I just liked it. Not enough to recommend it but enough to keep watching it! Even if it is just a glorified tourism add for Japanese pub food!