Today's Menu for the Emiya Family
by Gabriella Ekens,
How would you rate episode 5 of
Today's Menu for Emiya Family (ONA) ?
Seasons change, the calendar's pages turn, and as April gives way to May, a new episode of Today's Menu For the Emiya Family drops into my CR queue for me to review. This month's premise is that, as thanks for feeding those folks at the temple last episode, Issei gives Shirou a bucket of freshly harvested bamboo shoots. Later in the day, Sakura is doing some grocery shopping and happens to run into Ayako. This encounter gives her the idea to make gratin for dinner, so she heads over to Shirou's house in order to make it with him. They combine their foodstuffs in order to create a tasty dish that succeeds in satisfying their servants' hunger—for now.
Unfortunately, this episode has something like the opposite problem of last month's in that it features popular characters, but little in the way of a seasonal hook to make their antics interesting. As a result, it comes off like a less focused version of the very first episode, in that it's just some people making ordinary dinner in Shirou's house again. I think this was supposed to be Sakura's spotlight episode, but I found it pretty disappointing on that front, as her interactions with other characters – from Shirou to Rider to Ayako – just weren't that interesting or novel to watch. It feels like we got more of that way back in Ilya's dedicated episode, which showcased stuff like Rider's protectiveness of Sakura or the lingering awkwardness between Sakura and Rin. This is a shame, since Sakura/Rider is the dynamic I'm most eager to see more of in this show. After everything that Sakura has gone through, it's especially nice to see the two of them living a happy, normal life together.
This brings us to the episode's conclusion. I don't even really want to talk about it, but I know I gotta, so here goes. It is an odd choice to say the least for this show to revise Sakura and Shinji's relationship into the form it takes in this episode, where Sakura happily cooks for her brother while hiding from him in fear/anticipation that he won't like it. Remember that in Fate/stay night, Shinji is at best Sakura's abuser and at worst her rapist. Unless he's just a totally different character in this canon, Sakura shouldn't be anywhere near him, much less trying to please him with odd trepidation. I don't appreciate the attempt to recast Shinji as a benign grouch who Sakura will eventually get through to with her earnest kindness. That's not the sort of thing that you can sweep under the rug in your iyashikei cooking show.
For the sake of my own sanity, I'll just pretend that Sakura slipped poison into his dish, and that that's why Sakura and Medusa were watching him eat with such anticipation. Hopefully, he won't appear again, so I can just quietly assume that he died without anybody noticing or caring.
Today's Menu for the Emiya Family is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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