Today's Menu for the Emiya Family
Episodes 1-2

by Gabriella Ekens,

How would you rate episode 1 of
Today's Menu for Emiya Family (ONA) ?

How would you rate episode 2 of
Today's Menu for Emiya Family (ONA) ?

At long last, the Fate franchise has achieved its ultimate form with a show that's literally just all the cooking parts of the original visual novel. That's right – Kinoko Nasu's foodlust could no longer be contained, and a vessel had to be created to prevent his obsession with household management from taking over the entire franchise. Over the coming years, I can only imagine that we'll be treated to the likes of Chore List for the Emiya Household, Cleaning the Archery Range with Shirou-kun, and Sitting in my Shed All Night Thinking About Swords. This hero is insatiable in his domestic desires, which can only be held at bay by the occasional sacrificial offerings of our attention.

Alright, so this is straight up just a slice-of-life cooking show starring most of Fate/stay night's primary cast. To use fanfic terminology, this show is a sort of “coffee shop AU” for the Fate franchise, in that all of the characters are inexplicably friends hanging out and not trying to kill each other like they normally do. You're not supposed to think about it too hard, so no explanation is given. It's just supposed to be cute, so sit back, relax, and let the food porn wash over you. Shhhh. See that bean cake? Saber's going to shove that into her pie hole. See that salmon? Well here's Cu Chulainn fondling that salmon with his shapely man hands. Seriously, it's as if they knew I'd end up reviewing this show and wanted to make a good impression with Cu in the second episode.

As slice-of-life, this show's quality is largely determined by its production values, so it's a good thing that they're excellent. The whole series is chock-a-block with fluid motion, features some excellent character animation, and is rendered in a pleasant watercolor style. Most importantly, the food looks delicious. I've got to say that this is one of the best-looking shows I've seen out of the food porn genre, with aesthetics on par with the more deformed comedy stuff Kyoani will put out every once in a while (Nichijou, Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid). Irrelevant of its subject matter, Today's Menu for the Emiya Family is a feast for the eyes, and I look forward to partaking of it on a weekly basis.

I was also pleased to find that the show's fanservice generally steers clear of lascivious territory. Fate's sexual content is a controversial subject, but Today's Menu for the Emiya Family avoids the franchise's mature elements to remain family-friendly throughout. This isn't to say that the show lacks material for fans who are attached to particular Fate characters. The detailed character animation is certainly pleasing in that regard, and the antics are plenty cute. It's just that this element of the show is refreshingly non-exploitative.

On the subject of accessibility, this show doesn't require intimate familiarity with Fate to be enjoyable. While a good number of major twists come pre-spoiled by virtue of the cast's character dynamics, most of those are covered by the Unlimited Blade Works anime that came out a few years ago. So if you've seen that, I'd say that you're fine to watch this. Otherwise, the remaining few reveals will be covered in those Heaven's Feel movies that started coming out last year. In general, I'm glad that Today's Menu for the Emiya Family features a low barrier of entry. It's probably the most accessibly mainstream thing I've ever seen Type-Moon put out, and a solid step forward for a property that's been edging closer to that type of popularity over the past few years. Super-comfy, relaxing, and hunger-inducing, I'd recommend this show to anyone with even an ounce of affection for these characters.

With all that out of the way, here's what I want to see in the future:

  • Kirei and Gilgamesh show up for inevitable mapo tofu shenanigans

  • Shinji dies, or at the very least, gets dunked on incessantly

  • Shirou and Archer have an intense chuuni cook-off

  • More of Cu's biceps please I am needful

I'll also point out the foods if they don't look like something that most English-speakers would be familiar with. While the salmon dish in episode two is pretty typical over here, the first episode featured some more specifically Japanese cuisine. In the beginning, Shirou and Saber stopped to buy some imagawayaki, which are cake buns filled with red bean paste. Typically they're served at festivals, so it seems appropriate for our heroes to be eating them on New Year's Eve. The episode's signature dish is toshikoshi soba, a type of noodle dish with a deliberate symbolic connection to the New Year, as Shirou explained at the episode's end. Personally I'm not too hot on soba, so I had my eye on the tempura shrimp Shirou made alongside it.

Otherwise, I'm excited to get acquainted with more tasty treats over the coming months. Now if only I had a super-domestic boy living in my house to cook all of my meals for me. You know, Taiga has worked her way into a pretty good situation.

Grade: B+

Today's Menu for the Emiya Family is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Gabriella Ekens is constantly hollering about Fate on her Twitter. Follow her for secret B-side opinions about Cu's abs.

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