Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family, Vol. 1

By TAa, based on Fate/Stay Night by TYPE-MOON. Released in Japan as “Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan” by Kadokawa Shoten, serialization ongoing in the magazine Young Ace Up. Released in North America by Denpa Books. Translated by Ko Ransom.

In the beginning there was Fate/Stay Night, a visual novel with three routes, a whole lot of dead cast members, and infinite anime and manga spinoffs. Then there was Fate/Hollow Ataraxia, a sequel to the visual novel which asked the question “what if everyone in the cast was still alive?”. That too has a manga. This… is not that manga. Sorry, Bazett. Instead we have Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family, which asks the pertinent question “what if we adapted FHA but removed everything that wasn’t making food and sweet, heartwarming scenes?”. This also had an anime, which was just as heartwarming. Now we have the original manga, which is kind enough to not only give us the recipes, but also still has Shirou talking himself/the reader through each meal. The result is the perfect Fate adaptation for those who want to see everyone stop dying and just being really nice to each other. It’s as sweet as pie.

The “Emiya Family”, at its core, are the five who tend to eat dinner at Shirou’s house almost every evening: Shirou, Saber, Sakura, Rider, and Taiga. That said, worry not if you’re a Rin fan, she’s all over this volume and a frequent visitor, as are Illya, Lancer and Caster. Heck, even Assassin gets a chapter devoted to him and delicious sandwiches. Archer is around as well, though for most of the volume the joke is that we never see his face. Each chapter follows a similar trajectory: we set up a situation, find the perfect food for the situation, and the food is made over the course of the next few days. This could be salmon Lancer recommended, sweets celebrating Hinamatsuri nd Illya growing strong and healthy, Chinese food to celebrate Rin and Sakura’s new bond, etc. Even when there’s a brief hint there may be conflict, such as when Saber sees Shirou teaching Caster how to cook, it’s quickly defused.

The manga does, I will let you know, assume that you are familiar with the original Fate visual novel and what happens in it. (Though my guess is that, in regards to the chapter with Shinji, they’d rather we forget about it. It’s the only chapter that left an unpleasant taste in my mouth, though at least it’s less “Sakura is trying to please her abusive brother” and more “Shinji is the pickiest eater around.) In particular, if you don’t know the relationship between Rin and Sakura, you might wonder why they’re flirting with each other. They’re embarrassed for a different reason. That said, apart from that, the manga can be read by anyone who enjoys Fate and doesn’t mind a complete lack of conflict. Even Caster is on her best behavior here.

Most importantly, as every good foodie manga should, this volume made me hungry, and wanting to try some of the recipes. If you are like Shirou, Rin and Sakura and love to cook, or are just like Saber and love to eat, this is a terrific pickup. And for anime fans, there are one or two things here that weren’t animated, though future volumes should have even more of that.

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