Original Story: Natsuya Semikawa
Manga: Virginia Nitouhei
Character Design: Kururi
Page Count: 164 pgs
Release Date: 18th September 2018
Published By: UDON Entertainment
In a European town during Medieval times, a Japanese pub called ‘Nobu’ exists down a back alley. Famous for their foreign cuisine, with a new menu every day, it seems completely out of place in a town such as this. Their customers range from everyday citizens, to a spoiled heiress and a couple of tired German soldiers. Everyone’s worries and troubles just melt away as they indulge in ‘whatsontapp’ and Japanese food. Just where does the owner of Nobu get his ingredients from?!
This is not an action-packed story, but it is a lovely read and a great way of having a small break before starting another series. It is set in a fictional town called Eiteriach, which seems to be based on real-world Germany. It is certainly unusual to find a Japanese pub down a back alley, especially one that has such incredibly fresh seafood in a town far from the sea. Their beer alone is enough to make this pub the talk of the town. Each chapter is named after a famous dish in Nobu, which is quite interesting. It is only Chapter 4’s title that poses a challenge, which adds a layer of emotion to the food-based story.
The majority of characters in this volume are from the army and are of German descent. All are tired, hard-working soldiers, some of whom are contemplating leaving their duties in order to live another life. Of course, payday brings with it the opportunity to indulge and treat yourself, and what better way than trying the talk of the town – ‘Nobu’. With it’s welcoming waitress Shinobu Senke greeting all the customers and head chef Nobuyuki behind the grill, each customer has their own tales to be told, as they either dine alone or with friends under this roof. We also have noblefolk and a tax collector amongst the clientele. There is more than meets the eye to this humble little restaurant. With a mysterious background, origin and maybe even the location of this store itself, it will be very interesting to see how this series unravels in the next volume.
Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu was first published back in 2014 as a light novel by Natsuya Semikawa and artist Kurukri. It is still running today, with four volumes printed in Japanese at present. It was later adapted in 2015 for a manga run in Young Ace magazine. This adaptation is illustrated by mangaka Virginia Nitóhei, who previously penned a Tiger and Bunny Doujinshi manga. This manga, Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu, is currently at five volumes and is still ongoing. It is being published in English by UDON Entertainment. The opening pages to this manga are in color, with the rest in the traditional black and white format. As with any other Japanese manga, it is read from right to left. Interestingly, as the story is set outside Japan, there are only two Japanese characters in the manga thus far, both of whom work at the bar (as the chef and the waitress, respectively). This manga is drawn from the viewpoint of the customers experiencing the restaurant for the first time. The character designs are clear and there are even slight differences in their appearances in order for you to identify the difference in nationalities. It could easily be adapted into an anime just from the artwork alone; don’t even get me started on the artwork for the food!
This is a touching and light-hearted manga series, with some mystery under the surface. It will definitely get you quite hungry when reading, so make sure to have a few snacks at hand when you pick up this volume!