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Ristorante Paradiso: The Complete Series

Score: 83%
Rating: 13+
Publisher: Rightstuf Inc.
Region: 1
Media: DVD/3
Running Time: 275 Mins.
Genre: Drama/Anime
Audio: Japanese Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English

Features:

  • Clean Opening
  • Clean Ending
  • TV Commercials
  • Ristorante Paradiso NOISE Trailers
  • Background Gallery
  • Rome Scenery Gallery
  • A Guide to Rome
  • Liner Notes
  • Original U.S. Trailer

Most of the anime that Iíve seen tends to fall into the action category, with a bit of drama and comedy thrown in. Ristorante Paradiso isnít like any that Iíve watched before. Ristorante Paradiso is purely drama. Itís a solid drama focusing on the subjects of love, relationships, and family. Granted, Iím not sure if I agree with all of their ideas, but they do have a lot of them.

Nicoletta is the heroine of the story. Nicolettaís mother, Olga, abandoned her when she was 6 years-old to marry a man in Rome named Lorenzo who didnít want to marry a woman with a child, leaving Nicoletta with her grandparents. Now that sheís 21, Nicoletta has decided to track down her mother and meet this man who stole her mother away. The man owns a restaurant called Casetta dellíOrso and Nicoletta goes to the restaurant to confront her mom and her husband. Once there, she finds a place unlike any sheís ever seen. All the waiters are older gentlemen, and they all wear glasses. Olga convinces Nicoletta to keep quiet for now. She promises to talk to her about it all later and even rents an apartment for her to live in the city for a while. Nicoletta agrees to all of this for now as she is curious about the city and especially the restaurant. Nicoletta goes back to the restaurant for lunch as she runs into Claudio, one of the waiters, on the street. Claudio invites her to eat with the staff. Nicoletta finds herself drawn to these men more than she ever expected, especially Claudio, even though heís well over 40 and sheís just 21. Of course, thatís not necessarily a good thing as he does wear a wedding ring. The question is, is he really married or is it just for show?

Nicoletta decides to keep quiet about being Olgaís daughter. She decides that since she just moved to Rome without thinking it through, she should probably start by getting a job. Of course, being so distracted with love makes it a bit hard to find a job, so Nicoletta blackmails Olga into getting her a job at the restaurant. She decides that she wants to be a chef because she learned to cook from her grandmother and itíll give her more time to be with Claudio at the restaurant. Even though Claudio rejected her first advance, Nicoletta is still determined to give it time and see. Itís not easy though. Claudioís ex-wife Gabrielle is friends with Olga and she knows that Nicoletta is Olgaís daughter. They both work at a law firm where Olga is a divorce attorney and work is quite important to both Gabrielle and Olga. They tend to put it above their loved ones.

Nicoletta tells Claudio that sheís Olgaís daughter and explains why Olga left her. It wasnít just Lorenzo that she left for. Olga spent more time in work and left her with her grandmother a lot even before she abandoned her for Lorenzo. Claudio admits that his ex-wife left because she got too busy with work as well. Oh and Claudioís real name is Santo Claudio Paradiso; I believe it translates to Saint Claudio of Paradise. He says that he is picked on for his name. Clearly Nicoletta is winning him over slowly, but surely.

Gigi is the wine specialist at the restaurant. He is amazing at his job and can recommend exactly what a person wants before they even know what they want. Gigi and Lorenzo are half-brothers as well as cousins. Thatís quite an interesting tale that somewhat explains why Lorenzo didnít want to marry a woman who already had a kid. Given that she never had a child with him though, Iím not sure why it mattered to him, but thatís never really talked about. There are quite a few other interesting characters that work at the restaurant to entertain you. Youíll hear about several of their tales of love. This show really makes me want to have a glass of wine simply because theyíre always drinking wine with their stories.

Most of the special features are galleries of the artwork and trailers of the anime. There is one called "A Guide to Rome" that I found fascinating. It goes through the places mentioned in the anime that are real places in Rome. It provides a bit about the place historically and where it appeared in the anime. Since I havenít been to Rome, it was great to read. Plus, I love that they mentioned real paces in the show. Ristorante Paradiso is an interesting anime. I really wouldnít recommend watching it all at once, as I found I needed a bit of a break from the heavy drama from time to time, but I did find that I really wanted to know what happened to the characters. I personally find that they ended it on a good place, but if there were a next season, Iíd still like to know what happens next. If you are a fan of drama and happen to want an anime drama, you might just enjoy discovering a little cafť tucked away on a side-street near the center of Rome in Ristorante Paradiso.



-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

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