The Restaurant of Many Orders Review (1992)

The Restaurant of Many Orders Review (1992)

English Title The Restaurant of Many Orders
Japanese Title Chūmon no Ōi Ryōriten
Kana Title 注文の多い料理店
Director Tadanari Okamoto
Release Date 1992
Distributor Herald Ace

The Restaurant of Many Orders is an animated short film based on a fairy tale by Kenji Miyazawa, the man responsible for Night on the Galactic Railroad. Having never read the original story I’m unable to talk about how the animation compares to the original, but the feeling that I get is that it is incredibly influenced by Western approaches to fairy tales. It has a strong Brothers Grimm vibe as the short becomes increasingly sinister as it goes on.

The story follows two British hunters on a hunt are lured to a seemingly abandoned restaurant. In place of staff they discover strange instructions as they quickly realise that they may be the ones for dinner. As The Restaurant of Many Orders is a short film it’s probably best not to go too heavily in to story as that is not really point of the film.

Kenji Miyazawa was a strict vegetarian, and The Restaurant of Many Orders is a very clear expression of this. The two hunters are ugly figures, one obese and the other looking like Rumpelstiltskin. We never really get to know who these characters are, but through the animation and expressionist direction were given the idea that these are indulgent people.

The style is perhaps what is most impressive here, as completely without dialogue the film manages to build up a real strong mood. You’re never lost trying to figure out what’s going on. Visually and tonally it evokes Ted Parmelee’s 1954 adaptation of The Tell-Tale Heart in its scratchy, expressionist nature, with some scenes looking like backdrops for the early Universal horror films. The highlight of the film is a section in which the two hunters become trapped in a maze of multi-coloured glass panels. Frustrated with their predicament the hunters shoot wildly at the panels which sends multi-coloured shards across the screen in an otherwise dram and grim looking film.

Director Tadanari Okamoto unfortunately passed away during production from liver cancer, and the film was finished up by friend and fellow animator Kihachiro Kawamoto. Echoing author Kenji Miyazawa’s death at only 37 Okamoto passed away at the young age of 58. Despite all odds however, his final world The Restaurant of Many Orders remains a success and fantastically atypical example of japanes animation. Unlike Battle Royale 2 and The Empire of Corpses which were irreparably damaged by the passing of their lead creator, The Restaurant of Many Orders retains perfect coherence of tone and nicely caps off the director’s career as a creator of unique animation.

orders

At only twenty minutes in length, The Restaurant of Many Orders makes for a fantastic addition to any Halloween line up. Avoiding any real kind of violence the film is also a good choice for horror fans with kids as it nevertheless spooks up a creepier mood than most Japanese animation.

Relevant Links:

Previous Curse of the God Dog Review (1977)
Next Battle Heater Kotatsu Review (1989)

About author

Craig Hatch
Craig Hatch 39 posts

Horror Japan is Craig Hatch, a Brit currently living in Tokyo, Japan. Horror Japan is a project that aims to review and collate media from all aspects of Japanese horror culture.

View all posts by this author →

Editor review

Rating
4/5

4

Good
4
Summary

At only twenty minutes in length, The Restaurant of Many Orders makes for a fantastic addition to any Halloween line up. Avoiding any real kind of violence the film is also a good choice for horror fans with kids as it nevertheless spooks up a creepier mood than most Japanese animation.