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Pixar's Ciao Alberto Reminds Fans Just How Charming Luca Is

Earlier this year, Pixar took us to the sun-soaked streets of a small Italian village that was being invaded by two pasta-loving amphibian boys in "Luca." Directed by Enrico Casarona, the ridiculously adorable film evoked the same warm spirit of coming-of-age classics like "Stand By Me" and "The Goonies" as two boys spend a fantastic summer together, eventually setting off on their separate paths. Now Disney+ has released an all-new short showing us what one half of this buddy-duo got up to after Luca took a life-changing journey to school. Prepare to say "Hello heartstrings" and "Ciao Alberto" in what might be one of the best spin-off shorts to land on the streaming service yet.

Unlike the feature film, Casarona has handed the directing duties over to "Luca" story artist McKenna Harris, who is having her first try at the director role for "Ciao Alberto." Thankfully, the transition from Luca's big story to this emotional epilogue is seamless and does, with the little time it has, shed more light on Alberto's character and the past he can't seem to let go of.

Life is good in Portorosso

The whole story for "Ciao Alberto" is spawned from the aforementioned amphi-boy-an adapting to his new life in the town of Portorosso without Luca. After receiving a letter from his friend — who's off being schooled about the stars he was so obsessed with — we get a brief glimpse at just how good things are going for Alberto, which really is a joy to see. Knowing the events that unfolded in "Luca" and how things ended, "Ciao Alberto" shows him playing with other kids, welcomed by the locals, and changing to his fishy form without a reaction anymore; Portorosso really is the place to be for Luca's Vespa-obsessed pal. It's just a new job working under the stoic Massimo (voiced by Marco Barricelli) that Alberto is struggling with, along with the relationship that the formerly abandoned fish boy is trying to build (more on that later).

The food in Ciao Alberto still looks incredible

If you found your mouth watering with the various pasta dishes on display in "Luca," then prepare for another continuous tummy grumble with what's on show in "Ciao Alberto." From gelato and pesto to one very saucy tomato dish, we've not seen CGI food this good since it was cooked by a Parisian rat. Even some of the short's uncooked entrees look appealing as Alberto sets off on a fishy delivery that sees him throwing Massimo's catch to local customers. It's one of the short's funniest moments and reminds us why we fell in love with the world of "Luca" in the first place. Of course, besides this collection of tasty synthetic treats, there's still a whole lot of heart at the center of "Ciao Alberto," especially in the growing bond between a fisherman and his first mate.

Pixar catches us in the feels again

It doesn't matter how long that lamp-loving studio has with us — they always give us an emotional jab that rarely ever misses. With "Ciao Alberto," it's in Luca's best friend trying desperately to show his worth to the closest thing he's had to a father figure in years. As revealed in Enrico Casarona's feature film, Alberto was keen to get away and start afresh after being left behind by a father that didn't want him. In "Ciao Alberto," we see him try to help his new guardian in any way he can, clearly from a place of love, which is most evident in the short's final moments. It's honestly a perfect sequence that lets both of them open up, giving more light on two characters that we didn't see enough of the first time around. It's also a great testament to McKenna Harris being able to handle the emotional heft that Pixar films, big or small, are notorious for. We can't wait to see what dishes are up next.