The question in my mind: Why is a show about old men, food and some romance so darn good?
There are some shows out there that are great, and you know why they are great. FLCL is great because it has an insane level of energy and craziness that makes your heart pounding for more. On the other hand, Simoun is wonderful because it has a very intrinsic plot that never becomes predictable and the character development is intense. Saiunkoku Monogatari’s strong and interesting plot twists are perhaps the series’ biggest strength, and makes me want to watch it.
Now, here comes a very different series, Ristorante Paradiso. I am not going to say that this series will ever reach the giddy heights of those great anime. However, from the first three episodes, it has managed to evoke a feeling that only Aria could do to me: that tranquil feeling that calms you down. That says something about this anime.
Good Luciano, you grumpy old man!
The third episode has many scenes that are worthy of mention. One of us concerns the character that I adore the most: Luciano. Shown as merely a grumpy old man in the first episode, Luciano is probably the most sensitive man in the restaurant among all, and I do not mean it in a negative way. For all his grumpiness, this man is very gentle and treats Nicoletta very well in this episode. Yes, he complained and whined about everything under the sun, but that’s simply because he is just a “tsundere.” I probably misused the meaning of tsundere, but he is the type that doesn’t warm up unless it is required to step in. He is the only one that said something at the start of the episode to Claudio. He makes sure that Claudio either stops being overly kind to Nicoletta, if he is not going to give the poor girl a chance. Luciano, without a doubt, is the one that wants to keep harmony for all his grumpiness. He rocks.
He is perhaps the best “gentleman” in terms of quality because he fully respected every single being, and treats everyone with skepticism initially but will be the most loyal ally if you show your worth. That, to me, is pure chivalry at its best. I also smiled when he shook his head over everyone’s insensitivity over the “young wife-old husband” topic.
The main gist of the story involves Olga and Gabriella discussing about Gabriella’s past relationship with Claudio. Olga also revealed that Nicoletta is her child, and it is perhaps interesting how she also mentioned about the child’s love interest in Claudio. The discussion between these two women clearly showed that Gabriella has moved off from the past, and it is clear that she is enjoying her life to the maximum. On the other hand, Claudio continues to live in the past despite knowing that there is no way back for them.
Sadly, the next scene gave false hope to Nicoletta. The bunch were discussing about Vito’s relationship with his young wife. His young wife, merely an university student, met up when they were working in the same place. I thought that the boys were being rather insensitive to Nicoletta while giving her false hope that her obvious pursuit of Claudio might be successful one day. From their associations with Claudio, they should know better that Claudio is extremely stubborn despite being a horribly nice guy. To give a 21 year old innocent pure girl (other than her trying to jump on Claudio in episode 2) false hope is a very mean thing. I can totally understand why Luciano simply sighed.
Obviously from all the talk about older men and younger women, we have Gigi. Gigi is a very interesting entity because he hardly gets involved in the conversation. In fact, he has only said two entire lines for three episodes. Whoever is his voice actor is perhaps earning easy money! (HAH!) However, his relationship and the reason why he is in Ristorante Paradiso is particularly interesting, and I am pretty sure that a future episode will devote some time to him, particularly his friendship with Lorenzo.
The discussion between Olga and Nicoletta is particularly enlightening too. We see that Nicoletta is very straightforward and amusingly similar to Olga. Olga is not the perfect mother by any standards, but she does care about her daughter. Sadly, she did love Lorenzo too much that she has to hide Nicoletta. Is it selfish of her to pursue her love? Perhaps. Is it wrong? I do not have the answer.
At the end of the episode, we realize that Claudio and Gabriella separated because of Gabriella’s work commitments. Claudio realizes that Gabriella’s priority is in her work, and Claudio has to expect being second place in her life. Knowing that dragging the marriage will be painful for both of them, the good guy Claudio decides to pull out. He also told Nicoletta that she can always talk to him about problems if she wanted to. For Nicoletta, she revealed the secret about her and Olga to Claudio.
At the very end of this entry, I like to talk about Claudio. My girlfriend is totally in love with him because of his “gentleman” traits. I have to admit that I dislike Claudio for the same reason she likes him. I feel that his kindness toward all is something that is a major double-edged sword. You cannot be sure that he is kind because it is his way of treating everyone, or because you are a special entity to him. It is misleading and often causes pain. How can that be gentlemanly or chivalrous at all? I am not sure about you, the reader, but I find that Claudio’s treatment of people that way shows somewhat that he is not willing to get close to anyone. He is for everyone, but no one is for him. Isn’t that sad, painful or most of all, horrible to anyone associated with him?