With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Friday, July 23, 2010

ACF 638: ristorante Paradiso reviewed

ristorante Paradiso © 2006 NATSUME ONO

Recently published in America by VIZ Media as part of its Signature line of manga, ristorante Paradiso is the story of 21 year old Nicoletta, whose mother had divorced her father and left her in the care of her grandfather fifteen years earlier. Mom felt she was "destined" to be with a restaurateur who would never marry a divorced woman, let alone one with a child. Angered and resentful at essentially being abandoned, Nicoletta travels to Rome to expose her mother's secret and ruin the relationship.

Instead, Nicoletta winds up working at the restaurant, the Casetta dell'Orso, where the staff is otherwise male. Handsome, somewhat older males, all of whom wear wire-rim glasses. A prospective romance develops, and suspense is maintained as to whether or not Nicoletta will reveal the truth about her mother.

For me this was most unusual manga, in that it is completely set in Italy and none of the characters are Japanese. It is beautifully drawn in a very linear style. The panels are primarily black and white, with a bit of mid-tone greys thrown in from time-to-time.

ristorant Paradiso is a "T+" rated title (for older teens).

ACF Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars, very highly recommended. A great story-line depicted in lovely images.

Also be aware that Ono has also written a "prequel" manga series entitled Gente: The People Of Ristortante Paradiso. The first volume takes readers back to the opening of Casetta dell'Orso. Both it and volume 2 can be pre-ordered from amazon.com.

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