Light Novel / Isekai Shokudou

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Isekai Shokudou ("Restaurant to Another World") is a fantasy light novel series by Inuzuka Junpei. It received an anime adaptation as part of the Summer 2017 anime season. It is available for legal streaming with subtitles on Crunchyroll here, and with an English Dub on Funimation here.

Hidden away in a poor corner of a city shopping district lies "Yōshoku no Nekoya", the Western Cuisine Cat Restaurant. At first glance, it's a small and unremarkable place, albeit with very good food, courtesy of the hard-working chef Tenshu. On Saturdays, however, it caters to a very unusual clientele: the denizens of a fantasy world.

One evening, Aletta, a starving and homeless young demon girl, wanders into Nekoya after it's closed for the night and helps herself to some food. When Tenshu finds her the following morning, however, he's not at all angry. In fact, he offers her a weekly job as a waitress.


Isekai Shokudou contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Bar Full of Aliens: A fantasy version of this, since also it has alcohol as part of the menu.
  • Beast Man: Lionel is a bipedal lion.
  • Big Eater: Kuro.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Befitting the nature of several characters as inhabitants of a fantasy world, they have different names for common Earth ingredients. For example, Thomas calls shrimp "shripe". However this is a bit justified as besides potatoes, these common ingredients have a bit of a taste difference to them. Enough that it effects how a recipe needs to be prepared
  • Declaration of Protection: When Aletta becomes a waitress at the restaurant, the Red Queen takes notice. As she considers Nekoya to be part of her "treasure", employees and all, Aletta is now under her protection as well.
  • Deface of the Moon: The moon of the other world is missing a huge chunk, with the debris orbiting it like makeshift rings.
  • Depending on the Artist: There a few design differences between the Manga adaptation and the Light Novel (which the anime takes more after). While most are the same, others are quite noticeable (such as Artorius being bald and shaven, and Victoria being a Dark Elf).
  • Dragon Hoard: The Red Queen has quite a large hoard in her mountain lair. Since a portal to Nekoya is part of that collection, she is rather protective of the restaurant and the people in it.
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue: While Gaganpo the Lizardman speaks in a guttural and coarse voice when talking to humans, he speaks perfectly normal among his fellow Lizardmen.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": "Tenshu" is not a name but rather a title. Specifically, it is how one addresses the owner of a restaurant in Japanese. His father is similarly unnamed.
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: Tatsugoro.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: A culinary version. Thomas Alfade is famous in his native land for making pasta into a dish enjoyed by nobles with plenty of innovations in both the noodles and sauce to the point where he is hailed as a genius chef. All Thomas was really doing was trying to recreate the taste of Nekoya's pasta so that he could have it anytime he likes.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Due to the Demons' War of Conquest, humans don't like or trust demons. However, since 70 years have passed since the end of the war, the racism against demons have lessened when compared to the time demons were killed on sight. Still, getting outed as a demon is what lost Aletta her job in the human capital.
    • Fardania carries some disdain for humans and their cuisine, since elves are strictly vegan. She warms up to Nekoya after Tenshu serves up a delicious dish of tofu steak that fits her dietary requirements.
    • Victoria is a half-elf noble, despite both her parents being human. Because of this distinction, she will never marry and is generally kept inside her home. However, she doesn't share the elven dietary restriction.
  • Food Porn: Oh so much.
  • Hidden Depths: Through her deal with the manager, the Red Queen claims the restaurant as her treasure. As an ancient dragon, it's unwise to disagree with her. However she will only ever go there when she is certain no other customers are around and claims this is for their benefit as well as her own. Furthermore when Aletta is made part of the restaurant staff she receives Red Queen's blessing as well.
    • She also makes sure to wear clothes in her human guise whenever she goes. This is also shown to be for Nekoya's sake as she has no problem at all strutting around her hoard, naked as the day she was born, in the same humanoid form.
  • Horned Humanoid:
    • Aletta's distinguishing demonic characteristic is a pair of small, curved horns.
    • The Red Queen has a pair of large triangular horns in her humanoid form.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each chapter of the anime is named after the meal featured for that story.
  • Inn Between the Worlds: A weird and somewhat downplayed version of this.
  • Legacy Character:
    • The first half of episode 2 has Sarah Gold, an archeologist, searching for her grandfather's secret treasure (which was a door to Nekoya). After she basically falls in love with her grandfather's usual order, a couple of other patrons suggest she's the second "Minced Meat Cutlet."
    • Possibly for Tenshu, because he's also the second generation chef. The first one is the chef who met Sarah's grandfather.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: To the inhabitants of the other world, the restaurant is this. Each doorway can magically appear without warning, disappears once the customer who entered through that doorway leaves again, and only shows up on Saturdays, making it hard to find again without knowing the secret.
  • Lizard Folk: The Lizard people actually choose a champion each year to go to Nekoya and bring food for the rest of the tribe each week. They have been doing this for 30 years and the current champion Gaganpo has been a regular for three years.
  • The Matchmaker: Shareef's sister is trying to help him be more brave in his romantic affairs, when she sees how shy and hesitant he is.
  • Mockumentary: Gaganpo's segment has very little dialogue, and instead has a narrator detailing his culture's practices and rituals akin to a nature documentary.
  • Oh, Crap!: Artorius (the wizard) has one when Kuro shows up. The others may just see an elf but he can tell exactly what she is. He also implies that he's aware of the Red Queen's identity as well. Alexander practically soils himself upon noticing Kuro.
  • Pals with Jesus:
    • One of Nekoya's regulars, the Red Queen, is one of the six ancient dragons, and is practically one of the other world's resident Physical Gods.
    • Episode 7 introduces the Black Queen, who is an ancient dragon like the Red Queen. She gets hired as a waitress at Nekoya.
  • Physical God: The elder dragons are apparently at this power level. Just the Black Queen flying over mortals is enough to kill them. Prayers to the Blue Dragon are attributed to allowing a mermaid to gain human-like legs. Many cultures also worship these dragons as deities.
  • Portal Door: Nekoya's door seems to appear in random places waiting to be discovered. Those that discover them usually build homes or shrines around the doors to monopolize their use.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The diversity of the parallel world in the novel allows you to show in the history of pirates, knights, samurai, Renaissance nobility and even cosmic monsters, inspired by Howard Lovecraft.
  • Really 700 Years Old
    • The Red Queen states she is over 100,000 years.
    • In the Light Novels, despite Aletta's youthful appearance, she is mentioned to be 50 years old.
  • Serious Business: The food. Several customers very nearly get into a brawl over which of the dishes they're enjoying goes best with rice. The fight is only stopped by Tenshu himself, who threatens not to cook for them anymore if they don't cool it. Appreciating the seriousness of the threat, they all back down immediately.
  • Shout-Out: The anime has several.
    • Tatsugoro looks like Atomic Samurai.
    • William Gold, a renowned treasure hunter, dresses like a certain famous archaeologist.
    • Lionel the Lion Beast Man holds the nickname "Lion King" for being the top gladiator of his world for 20 years straight. note 
  • Title Drop: Courtesy of Thomas in Episode 3.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Several regulars have one to the point where their fellow diners and the chef use these foods as nicknames. Some examples are Teriyaki (Tatsugoro), Minced Meat Cutlet (William Gold and later Sarah Gold) and Croquette (Emperor Wilhelm).
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Red Queen can shift from a massive dragon into a horned, red-headed human. Likewise the Black Queen can transform into a dark-haired elf.
  • Wham Line: Altrius told Alexander that one of their former comrade during the Demon War, a female warrior named Yomi, is still alive when they thought she was dead. Turns out Yomi is teleported into "another world" and married, and eventually have a grandson. The camera then pans to Tenshu.
  • Win Your Freedom: After his imprisonment, Lionel was bought by the demon lord to be used as a gladiator slave, forced to buy his freedom using the earnings from winning his battles. Not only does he succeed within a year, he goes on to be the arena's top combatant for the next twenty years.
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