Let us roam in some more unknown territory in this episode of Restaurant to Another World; territory where there is cold blood or no blood at all. I am talking of course about lizardmen and vegan elves. That’s right: While lizardmen are primitive barbaric tribes that live in the south and have the physique of classical statues and devour eggs, someone decided that the elves (being the posh hipsters they are in every damn lore) in Restaurant to Another World should be vegan. And use MACs. And wear oversize tortoiseshell glasses. That said, vegan food is great, and inaccurately related to hipster culture. Now, let’s have a look at this week’s episode.
Japanese Original Episode Title: オムライス / 豆腐ステーキ
In the first part of this episode, we are being introduced to the lizard tribe of the lizard people that feed of off larger lizards like crocodiles and every year the champion, the strongest lizard warrior, visits the Nekoya on a weekly basis, have two rice omelettes to themselves and bring another two king size ones back for the tribe’s unworthy lizard peasants to eat. (*heavy breathing*) That little trip is an important event to the lizard people’s life and probably its only highlight ever, so as you might guess everyone’s pretty excited about it and the lizard-boss we follow in the episode aspires to win again and eat plenty of rice omelettes for another year. Good for you, man.
In the second part of the episode, a very blonde elf (I would say wood elf since she’s carrying a bow around and seems to be living in the trees, but more on that later) is leaving her home to go get some mushrooms and cook for her dad and make an offering to her dead mother for her death anniversary. Cheerful. On her ‘shortcut to mushrooms’, way she casually heals a baby deer and ends up finding the door to the Nekoya. To her disappointment, the Nekoya does not serve vegan food but she feels too uncomfortable to leave without ordering anything, so she has a go anyway. The chefs cooks her a tofu steak with ponzu sauce and it’s so good she’s deeply offended, so she decides to dedicate her life to make elven cooking better than human vegan cooking. Good for you, girl.
It’s time for some anthro-porn: You know that awkward moment when you casually start watching an anime episode waiting to see pretty pictures of food and end up staring at a lizardman bathing in a lake and showing of his glistening abs to the very detailed description by a sensual voice? Not to mention the phallic imagery of the tails flapping around. Not cool. I am not gonna say that word, but not cool.
Paying in coins: Damn your bags of coppers and silvers, you are the bane of every waiter. That why I hate serving lizard people. Get a debit card. And learn some human language, seriously.
Lizard diversity: When Gaganpo was fighting some other lizards I had a really hard time distinguishing who is who. The only one I could tell apart was the elder, because he looks like a dried raisin. Is this article turning into a discriminative attack against lizards or what?
The Elves are vegan: Well not the Tolkien ones (that by the way are flexitarians or ‘selective herbivores’ – yes there’s online debates about that) but the elves of this alternative world are not keen on eating anything originating from animal products. I was actually quite happy to see some variety in the stuff the Nekoya was cooking so far. However, I’m not sure why they couldn’t serve her any bread? Was that a brioche or something? Also, Ardania’s face when looking at the others eating reminded me of a vegan friend’s reaction when I squished meat juices out of a medium cooked beef burger. I still feel bad about it.
Three’s a crowd: There’s finally more people gathering in the Nekoya, but it still seems pretty empty.
The letter: What about that letter Ardania’s father tried to give her on her way out before the end of the episode? Maybe we’ll find out next time.
Themes & Trivia
Home Shrine: ‘Butsudan’ is a shrine typically found in Japanese Buddhist homes, along with offerings the family provides for their dead member. Looks like this tradition reached all the way to the other world because Ardania is planning on making an offering to her mom’s shrine.
Ponzusauce: Citrusy Japanese sauce, usually including vinegar, reduced seaweed, and/or tuna stock. Great when blended with soy sauce.
Elves in lore: Trying to keep this to a minimum, elves are creatures mostly encountered in German and English folklore. However, most references to elves are nowadays based on Tolkien’s lore, according to whom there’s three main races of the elves; Vanyar (Galadriel), Noldor (Elrond) and Teleri (Legolas). There are different categorization of elven races in different lores, my favorite being the one found in the tabletop game D&D that is also found in the Elder Scrolls games: High Elves, Wood Elves, and Dark Elves. I’m not entirely sure how to categorize Ardania, so I’ll leave that to your imagination.
Veganism in Japan: I thought it was a bit funny how Aletta freaked out at the request of a vegan dish, given how common veganism has become in western culture. Her reaction makes me think it is not as frequent to see vegans in Japan. Historically, the nation always had a strong relationship with seafood. However, Buddhism applied vegetarianism on the 6th century AD. Nowadays, veganism is slowly inserting itself into Japanese culture.
A good chef knows his allergens
The chef has managed to demonstrate his skill in quantity and flexibility terms in this episode. Looking forward to the next one and his new cooking endeavors that will hopefully include much less lizard porn.
Did you like Episode 4 of Restaurant to Another World? Let us know in the comments below by using either the forum or the Facebook tab! Join us in our new forum and let’s talk about our favorite series! Also, don’t forget to check the rest our Summer 2017 reviews!
NEXT TIME: Pork Cutlet Rice Bowl / Pudding a la Mode (カツ丼 / プリンアラモード)