Ristorante Paradiso: anime review – the story of lives going well

Review: Ristorante Paradiso surely looks different because almost all its characters are adults but the best part is that these people don’t just look like adults, they act like one, with incredible grace and maturity. This show gives good examples on how to deal with problems wisely and peacefully.

The series may be told through a teenage girl’s view, Nicolleta, but don’t let that fact deceive you. Ristorante Paradiso almost exclusively deals with matters of adults. The show begins with Nicolleta arriving at Rome for the first time. Her main objective is to look for her mother who has left her with her grandmother since she was little. Initially, Nicolleta wants her mother to pay for what she has done but the events takes unexpected turn and Nicolleta ends up working in the restaurant own by her mother’s new boyfriend. The restaurant is popular for its delicious food and for the staffs who are all attractive middle aged men with, fake or real, spectacles.

By genre, Ristorante Paradiso is a drama through and through with mild flavor of romance on Nicolleta’s side. The story is arguably episodic for in each episode, different character is focused and explored and simultaneously, Nicolleta’s story which is the main plot continues to developed, albeit at very slow pacing. As a result of the limited episode number, most of the character explorations for the staffs of the restaurant are done in retrospective pattern, there’s just not enough time for progressive development. Since she is too young to have any history, Nicoletta’s character is the only one that moves forward. Nevertheless, by the time the show concludes, the viewer will have already known every staff member of the restaurant. It is a pity that the anime ends a little too soon, just after we start to know and love all these characters.

Everyone has a problem or two but the anime is unusually uneventful; problems are solved so easily and smoothly just by talking quietly. For example, Claudio and his ex-wife, Gabriella treats each other unbelievably well with warmth and passion, like old friends. When Nicoletta learns of Claudio’s difficult feeling towards his ex-wife, she openly tells Gabriella and everything is solved without any arguments. Another similar situation is when Lorenzo learns that Olga has been hiding Nicoletta’s true identity from him but he is not mad because he understands Olga’s feeling. At first, things seem a little dull but after thinking carefully, watching this anime is quite uplifting. These people are kind, understanding and, most importantly, forgiving. Their lives are far from perfect but how they behave is simply ideal. Unlike other anime, Ristorante Paradiso never tries to excite the viewers by making things go wrong or creating unfortunate events for the characters. Instead, the show relies on optimistic view of life and makes the viewers feel good that everything turns out well.

Rome is beautifully portrayed in this anime. Great deal of attention is put into lights and shadows resulting in almost magical atmosphere of Rome at night. The use of CG graphic is obvious but not interrupting. Though never catchy, the music significantly adds unique flavor into the show but never interrupts the show’s peaceful feeling.

Watching this anime is like going on a vacation to Rome and taking a break from the commotion of shonen anime, the noisy high school life and from matters of teenagers. The maturity, tranquility and the silence are exceptionally refreshing. Ristorante Paradiso is the kind of anime that is so easy to be overlooked for its mild manners and stillness. It may not be an absolute must see for everyone and the spectacles fetish could be awkward to some but once you really look into it, the treasure hidden inside is unmistakable.
Rating: B+

Title: Ristorante Paradiso
Genre: drama, romance
Released date: April 8, 2009 – June 2009
Episode: 11
Director: Mitsuko Kase
Animated by: David Production

18 responses to “Ristorante Paradiso: anime review – the story of lives going well

  1. “Ristorante Paradiso never tries to excite the viewers by making things go wrong or creating unfortunate events for the characters.”

    That’s the main reason why I didn’t finish this series yet. At that point in time, I was probably looking for something more upbeat. But I’ll definitely pick this back up and finish it.

    The scenery of Rome was lovely and watching them in the restaurant made me feel like eating some Italian food.

  2. After finding out that this has the same author as House of Five Leaves I went looking for it the other day. Your review definitely makes me want to watch it, it sounds like it shares many of the traits that I loved so much about HoFL.

  3. I really enjoyed this anime and covered all episodes! Music and interesting art techniques, including wonderful backgrounds, were especially good. The story is nice as well, but I found it somewhat different from HoFL – I couldn’t finish the latter.

    Many characters have problems in this anime, and I wouldn’t say that they get resolved easily. What this anime does show though, is how people can cope productively with the stress in their lives, unlike horrible conditioning mass media subjects unsuspecting spectators to.

    • Yeah, maybe it ‘maturely’ is the word I was looking for, not ‘easily’.
      Over the top conditioning really complicates things especially when one does not stop to think it through. Nevertheless, difficult conditioning is quite entertaining as long as one does not let it gets to himself.

  4. Great anime. Doesn’t get nearly the love it deserves. Its approach to relationships is just so mature.

    • The show is too colorless that lots of people dropped it, and I do not blame them since I do that a lot as well :P

      By the way, thank you for visiting!

  5. This show gives good examples on how to deal with problems wisely and peacefully.

    Well, it looks like this isn’t the show for me then.

  6. This looks pretty good. A mature story about adults is something you don’t see in anime everyday.

    I should watch this, if only to see Rome beautifully rendered in anime.

  7. So many negative reviews of this series scared me off, even though the cover art of the manga and the screen shots of the anime were really attractive to me. Usually negative reviews don’t scare me off too bad but the words that made me run away the most were that it feels like this series is incomplete. I had done some more research and saw there is only 1 volume of manga, but 11 episodes of anime. That’s a really startling manga to anime ratio. But you know what, what the hell, I’ll give it a try. Even if I don’t end up liking it, at least I’ve satisfied my curiosity.

    • The ending was indeed not clear-cut. Actually, the show revolved around what happened in the past more than in the present. It’s very slice of life but in the end, I didn’t feel like anything was missing.

  8. It took me forever to finish this anime. Agree with all you said about the nice mature characters and lovely imagery of Rome, but I think watching this series made me realize that I don’t do well with slice-of-life type anime. I’d rather see mecha attacks and samurai and you know, STUFF happening. ;) Also, Natsume Ono’s art style kind of jars my eye. Not as badly as One Piece, but the character design is just sort of… I don’t know. But still, I’m glad I watched this series. It’s definitely good to spend a little anime-watching time with adult characters for a change. :)

    • Haha, when I think about this anime I realize that NOTHING actually happen in it. Most of what happen happened in the past, not the present :)

  9. Blog interessante , grazie per l’ articolo! Continua a tenerci informati.Giulio

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