Manga Review: Today's Menu for the Emiya Family Volume 1 by TAa
Food Direction Makoto Tadano
Publisher: DENPA BOOKS
Published: March 5th, 2019
Availability: Buy on Amazon physical or Kindle, your local bookstore
Shirou Emiya lives an ordinary life in a Fuyuki where Servants no longer battle for the Holy Grail; instead, they spend their time doing mundane tasks such as holding down a job. And what does our Hero of Justice do when there are no Grail Wars to fight? He prepares delicious meals for his Family, from Illya to Saber and Lancer, Masters and Servants gather around the dinner table for a delicious meal at the Emiya household.
The Manga is a Breath of Fresh Air for Fate Fans
I did review the anime that adapted this volume of the manga. My review for the Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family (2018) anime was very positive. But Does that mean the original source material is good? Well, that’s an interesting thing to ask. My answer is that the writing itself is very well done. The manga gives very detailed explanations of how to prepare all the dishes shown in the manga.
The writing itself is very good, not like the most amazing writing for a Fate manga but it doesn’t need to be, this isn’t the Heaven’s Feel manga or Fate/Zero or the Fate/Stay night manga where they need to have amazing writing to truly stand out compared to the original visual novel or the anime adaptations.
This is a Fate spin-off that’s just meant to be good old fun while promoting Japanese cooking, and it does that very well. It’s not some amazing masterpiece; I’ve seen people complain that the recipes chosen are too simple. But since this is a manga meant to promote cooking it makes sense to start with basic, easy cooking for Japanese readers.
I did see many comments for episodes on the anime adaptation on Crunchyroll saying that it was easy to prepare the meals featured in the anime that this manga is the source material for, which means the manga did a great job of explaining it for the reader if the adaptation can easily explain it too.
After the Heavens Feel movie trilogy is over, you’ll need this as a pick-me-up.
The Characters are So Much Fun in a More Relaxed Setting
It’s so nice to see both Masters and Servants living together and getting along with each other since they have to fight each other in the mainline adaptations of Fate/Stay Night, these sorts of interactions are impossible, depending on the Route; your favorite Master/Servant duo might be dead!
I really love seeing the interactions between Servants when they don’t have to fight and they can just chill out, relax and have fun together.
I also love the interactions between Shirou, Rin, Sakura, and Illya too, since this is a relaxed setting, there’s no drama, just all of them spending time together and having fun.
It’s very refreshing since these interactions don’t get to happen in the main adaptations due to the plot, which changes how much all of them interact with each other depending on the Route since some of them see each other more in different Routes.
The Artwork is Adorable!
The artwork is adorable for character designs for Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family. TAa did a great job with the art. They’ve made the illustrations cute and adorable for the female characters. Even Shirou is adorable in this manga.
While it’s not really an action-heavy manga, the beach scene in one of the chapters is fun and enjoyable.
It may not be the best manga art I’ve seen, but it’s cute and fun if you’re a fan of this franchise.
The art is definitely a highlight of this manga series. It might seem strange for a serious franchise to be portrayed in a less serious manner, but the art makes it fun to look at.
There is no Real Plot to Speak Of
Do not come to this manga expecting a complicated plot, sometimes that’s what the Fate franchise is known for. This is not that kind of manga. While it is very wordy and has a great deal of text, it’s mainly for instructions on cooking the recopies featured in the manga and since there is no coherent plot to speak of, do not come to this story expecting an amazing storyline.
This is just a fun Fate spin-off that Fate fans will enjoy, especially if they enjoyed the visual novels many meal scenes, which have been cut from all adaptations of the mainline Fate/Stay Night due to time constraints.
Now you can have a light-hearted, heartwarming manga with all the characters you love from Type-Moon without having to worry about if your favorite Master or Servant is going to die in the Fifth Holy Grail War.
I Found a Typo
I did notice that in one chapter, Caster called Shirou Emiya, Emiyan, I think it was a typo, but it’s still funny that no one caught it when they were translating and editing the manga localization in English
Having Previous Knowledge Makes this More Fun
I have heard of newcomers finding the Fate franchise because of this series, and while I do find this an odd starting point for getting into this franchise due to the drastic difference in tone between this and the main adaptations, even Fate/Stay Night (2006) wasn’t the cheeriest setting when it came to the overall tone of the Fate route adaptation, although it can be seen as the scenario with the “happiest” ending, depending on who you ask and which route they picked as their favorite.
Having previous knowledge of the series makes interactions more entertaining, especially if you’re invested in the characters. You can still come as a newcomer, but you won’t get much out of it besides thinking that the manga and the character designs are cute.
It’s Fun and Refreshing for Fans of the Fate Franchise, Confusing to Newcomers, Especially if they go to the Main Fate Franchise Expecting this Tone
If you’re a new fan and you go into any of the mainline Fate/Stay Night entries expecting the lighthearted, cheerful tone that this manga has, you’ll be disappointed. While the Fate route and the Fate/Stay Night (2006) anime adaptation has a lighthearted tone compared to the other route adaptations, it’s not funny or lighthearted all the time.
This is a fun spin-off of a serious franchise, so the major tonal shift between this and the original visual novel can be very jarring.
This isn’t really a series meant for newcomers, but it’s more fanservice when it comes to what fans like from the franchise and a nice change of pace in the franchise that usually has more serious spin-offs.
Will you read "Today's Menu for the Emiya Family" Volume 1"?
What Doesn't Work:
There is no overall plot to the story.
It's heartwarming fanservice for fans of the Fate franchise.
Requires previous knowledge of the franchise to enjoy it.
My Grade: A
I love Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family. It’s fun and endearing. It’s a neat slice-of-life spin-off of a serious franchise that is a breath of fresh air when Fate fans need a break from the more serious side of the franchise.
I enjoyed the writing and it’s fun but there is no plot to speak of whatsoever. If you came to this manga expecting one of the complicated plots in this franchise, you aren’t going to get that.
This manga is refreshing for fans of the franchise and not necessarily the best place for newcomers to start since the author expects you to know who these characters are when you start reading.
I highly recommend Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family by TAa if you are already a fan of the Fate franchise. You’ll enjoy the lighthearted, slice-of-life aspect of the manga. I recommend buying it if you’re a longtime fan. It might not be at your local library because the Fate franchise while becoming more popular is not really a mainstream franchise that anime fans will know it based on name basis alone.
While it is becoming more popular because of its expensive blu-ray releases, it’s not going to be purchased widely by anime collectors when it comes to the collection of the mainstream anime. The physical release of Today’s Menu for the Emiya family will be very expensive but this manga is not. So if you enjoyed the anime you should definitely buy the manga version, but this is not a great place for newcomers to start but it’s still an enjoyable manga release to read if you’re already a fan.