Anime: Thriller Restaurant
"Welcome to Thriller Restaurant. I am the Ghastly Garçon, the manager of this establishment... We specialize in dishes that send shivers down your spine. Here is tonight's menu..."
— The Garçon
Also known as Kaidan Restaurant
, this anime is about a series of horror stories told by ghosts in a restaurant, which tend to focus on the same group of kids: Anko, Reiko, and Shou.
The norm is three stories per episode, all organized like the courses of a meal: the appetizer usually deals with a story of the supernatural (ghosts, possessed TVs, whatever); the main course is similar, but longer and almost always with a twist; and the dessert is a short and sweet urban legend, almost always containing a vague moral (Whether this works or not
is up to you).
The manager of the restaurant, The Ghostly Garçon, presents the episode, while a whole host of spooks from Japanese mythology is responsible for the menu.
Essentially a sort of Tales from the Crypt
This show provides examples of:
- Abduction is Friendship: Anko's mother was kidnapped by a lonely water spirit as a girl. She immediately reciprocates his desire for friendship despite having literally been plucked off a riverbank.
- Agent Scully: Reiko sticks to her logical, realistic guns - even after experiencing countless supernatural phenomena herself. It gets annoying, really.
- The Alcoholic - The garçon is implied to be one, given the closing theme.
- All There in the Manual: There are about fifty children's books off of which the anime was based, and you can find out more about cameo characters within them.
- Art Shift: The movie, the first half is done in the usual anime style. The latter half then switches to live action.
- Axe Crazy: The Grim Reaper gets a liiiiittle too excited with that scythe...
- Bishōnen: The garçon's human form even has eyeshadow.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Anko's wart when she takes over the real Anko in Episode 14. What appears to be a bright, attractive girl is really an arrogant, manipulative and sadistic madwoman.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Anko
- Blind Without 'Em: Anko nearly has a conniption fit when she loses her glasses, but actually Takes A Level In Badass when she retrieves them.
- Body Horror - The episode where Ako finds a wart with her face on it gowing on her shoulder.
- But Not Too Foreign: Shou was living in London before the series began, hence the blue eyes and blonde hair. He still speaks very fluent Japanese, and is implied to originally be from Japan...
- Butt Monkey: The garçon just can't seem to catch a break from his mischievous employees.
- Catch Phrase: The garçon's "Minna-sama... (My dear honored guests...)" and Reiko's "Bakabakashi! (Ridiculous!)"
- City of Adventure
- Credits Gag: In episode 6, the soot from Kinjiirobot's rockets is still on the garçon's face as he flies into the title card.
- Creepy Child: A whole school-full, no less.
- Cute Ghost Girl
- Cynicism Catalyst: Reiko's Freudian Excuse for refusing to believe in the supernatural is her inability to contact her brother, who had drowned when she was younger.
- Defanged Horrors: Your ghost host sometimes promises that the stories within your meal are safe for children to consume. Sometimes he's lying.
- Defrosting Ice King: Shou is rather standoffish when he's introduced. Over the course of their adventures, he forms a bond with Reiko and Anko, becoming much friendlier.
- Devil in Plain Sight: When Anko's wart takes over her body, face, and mind, no one besides Kicchomu and Shou seems to notice that there is something very, very wrong with Anko.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Midori turns Kanaya into a flounder because Kanaya had a habit of cheating off Midori's schoolwork and looked a little weird.
- The Doll Episode: Surprisingly averted. "Tatty" is only mildly frightening once, and the rest of it is heartwarming and sweet.
- Easter Egg: You can find the garçon's likeness in every episode, often on Anko's bag.
- '80s Hair: Anko's mom triumphantly sports a poofy side ponytail to go with the rest of her eightilicious outfit.
- Evil Counterpart: Anko's wart in Episode 14 becomes this when she takes control of Anko's face and body.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Kicchomu, the family pet, can sense spirits and demons on occasion.
- Fate Worse Than Death: The kid with the ability to rewind time, he then ended in a fatal situation by falling off a building- each time he 'jumps' back, he only rewinds time back to the event where he's still falling to his own doom... Replay! Replay!
- The Film of the Book: The anime was originally a series of Japanese children's books.
- Framing Device: Each "dessert" story is a tale told by one of the main characters during a hyakumonogatari kaidankai game.
- Glamour Failure: Many of the ghosts in the series can be revealed using Shou's video camera.
- A God Am I: The doctor in "Grim Reaper Killer".
- Grand Theft Me: Ako's shoulder almost gets away with this. It Makes Sense in Context.
- Haunted Technology: A cellphone and a copy machine!
- Heel-Face Turn: The vampire in the Show Within a Show in episode 10.
- I Let Gwen Stacy Die: The final episode explains that a few years ago, Reiko's brother went out for a swim. She fell asleep and when she woke up, her parents asked where he was. The mother even cries out why she didn't keep an eye on him.
- Laser-Guided Karma: A horrifying example exists in Episode 2's dessert course. Midori uses a curse doll to turn Kanaya into a flounder. Kanaya returns the favor by turning Midori into a flounder. And then Midori's father cuts his own fish-daughter up into sashimi for dinner.
- Limited Wardrobe: Absolutely everyone.
- Little Miss Snarker: Anko slips into this when she's ticked off.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Kinjiiro-bot fires off one of these when he's angry.
- Malevolent Architecture: The children's school is rumored to be alive (and hungry for children), complete with scary face.
- Meganekko: Anko.
- The Movie: The series got a live-action/anime hybrid film in August, 2010.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Who wants to get a checkup... at Grim Reaper General?
- Nightmare Fetishist: Shou has a whole library of horror stories from around the world. He's also the one who drives many of the adventures with his morbid curiosity.
- No Name Given: The garçon refers to himself as just that: the Ghastly Garçon. Whether he has a real name or not is unknown. Some employees of the restaurant follow this pattern as well: Kappa, The Grim Reaper, Bakeneko, The Ghastly Widow, etc.
- Pals with Jesus: The garçon is apparently on friendly terms with King Yama, the terrible but benevolent ruler of the Underworld.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Literal versions appear at the festival sideshow in episode 19.
- Schmuck Bait: The boy in episode 8, in a subversion, doesn't take it. Which saves him from the giant, hooved chicken.
- Ship Tease: Between Shou and Anko. The fun begins in episode 3, when she's cast as a possessed princess and he is the knight that rescues her from the curse. The two are often cast as husband and wife or lovers in the main courses. In Episode 18, they are even shown to have a baby together.
- Shout-Out: In the fourth episode's main dish, when Yuuma and his friend are playing a game on the shrine's steps, the sound from the game is definitely from Mario.
- Slasher Smile: Anko's wart does this◊ when she takes control of Anko's face and body and again when she is about to smack the real Anko out of existence.
- Time Skip: Somewhere in the middle of the season, all of the kids suddenly jump from grade three to grade six. Bizarrely, they have the exact same teacher, classroom, and classmates.
- That's nothing compared to the skip in episode 15, which is ten whole years. This should be your first clue that it's All Just a Dream and a Flash Forward.
- Together in Death: The dancers in episode 15.
- Urban Legends: The desserts often consist of these, and one pops up in a few appetizers.
- Woman in White: The Ghastly Widow.