Review: Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu 1 by Natsuya Semikawa

Posted June 24, 2024 by Lola in Fantasy, Review / 0 Comments

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Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu 1Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu 1 (Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu #1)
by Natsuya Semikawa (author), Virginia Nitouhei (artist) and Kururi (Character Design)

My Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Fantasy/ Manga
Age Category: Adult

A Japanese style pub called “Nobu” exists in a back alley of the fictional medieval European city of Eiteriach. Its customers? A pair of slacker soldiers, a spoiled heiress, an uptight tax collector, and more… When the citizens of this strange world sit down to enjoy some unfamiliar Japanese cuisine, their troubles simply melt away…

The curtain rises on this otherworldly eatery and the gourmet fantasy about to unfold within!

My Review

I received a free copy from the publisher through Netgalley.

I liked the sound of this one and the food theme, so I requested this one when I saw it on Netgalley. This manga reminded me of an anime I watched recently called Restaurant to Another World and that comparison was pretty spot on, except I liked Restaurant To Another World a lot more than this one.

Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu focuses on an izakaya, a type of Japanese bar, that serves modern Japanese dishes to the characters in a Germany inspired fantasy world. Every chapter introduces usually a new character or characters who visit the izakaya and are wowed by the amazing food there. This episodic nature meant it is hard to really get to know the characters, although there are 2 who return in the last chapter, but so far I don’t really feel like we get a good feel for the izakaya and those who work there either. I am hopeful this is something that will improve in future books.

My favorite chapters were the one with the little girl heiress, that tofu dish she got sounded and looked delicious too, and the tax collector guy who got a pasta dish. I didn’t really care about the military guys who visited the establishment.

There also isn’t much depth about the world, it’s a Germany inspired fantasy world, but there are very few details about anything. Or about the izakaya and why and how it got to be there. Again I am hopeful this will get more fleshed out and we learn more in future books about the world and the izakaya.

At times it felt a bit over the top, all the normal food in this German inspired fantasy world is super bland and boring and all the characters seem to dislike their local cuisine, but the Japanese izakaya food is all amazing. And even foods they are not familiar with or seem odd to them are delicious.

There are a lot of German and Japanese words in this book. Luckily I had no trouble with the German words as I know a little bit of German and I was familiar with a lot of the Japanese words and dishes as well. Although people who don’t know any German or Japanese might struggle more as there are a lot of words in both languages. Both German and Japanese terms do get translated in English when used and there is a list of all words and dishes used and their translations at the end of the book.

What I did like about this book is the food theme, it’s just fun to read about delicious food and see the characters enjoying the food. I thought the art was pretty well done too. As I’ve seen Restaurant to Another World I couldn’t help but think animation brings the food alive in a way that just art can’t accomplish, but despite that I did think the art and the food all looked good.

To summarize: I liked the food theme and the art of this one. This is the first book in a series about an izakaya in a Germany inspired fantasy world. Each chapter focuses on another character or characters who come to the establishments and enjoy the food. I struggled to get a feel for the characters and world due to this, but I am hopeful this will improve in future books. I enjoyed the chapters about the little girl heiress and the tax collector the most, but wasn’t as interested in the military guys who visited the izakaya. It also felt a bit over the top at times with how all the normal food in this world was seen as really bland and boring, while the izakaya’s Japanese food was all amazing and delicious as well as cheap. I also couldn’t help but compare this one with the anime of Restaurant to Another World that I recently watched and I enjoyed that one a lot more, so this one felt even less good in comparison instead of scratching that itch for more similar stories.

3 Stars


You can also read my review on Goodreads.

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