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.
This series has shown a very delicate touch when it comes to the “canon” of the Fate universe. To a fairly large degree, understanding the character interaction requires familiarity with the source, be it the game, anime, manga, whichever. There are also little “bonus” bits that reward a reader who knows things deeper than the source, but aren’t required, such as why Gilgamesh is hanging out with a bunch of little kids. That said, sometimes you actively have to ignore the original game. Emiya Family is a light, fluffy spinoff where everyone is happy and everyone cooks. When we see the backstory of how Shinji and Shirou became friends, we’re meant to think “a ha ha, what a delightful tsundere he is!”, not “what a disgusting rapist abuser”. Shinji isn’t a villain here, just a jerk who doesn’t know how to be a good friend. Maybe food will help!
Likewise, there is a story here where middle-school Sakura asks Shirou to teach her how to cook, and we see her sad dead eyes and think “poor girl, she must be having a rough time at home”. But we’re not going to ever see HOW rough a time in this manga. At the end of the chapter, we see Sakura happy and full of life, but it’s not because she’s in love with Shirou, it’s because she was saved by the power of beef stew. Emiya Family is a light-hearted slice-of-life manga, but it never forgets its purpose of food and recipes. As a result, even Caster and Shirou are getting along now, mostly as her cooking has improved enough that Kuzuki is consistently praising her now. That said, the Gilgamesh chapter comes close to just being written for fun rather than food, despite the fact that yes, there are corndog recipes here. (What would Lancer think!?)
Speaking of spinoffs, I’ve said before that the core of this “universe” is Fate/Hollow Ataraxia minus the plot, and we get a chapter here that the author basically admits is just one of Hollow’s scenes made into a manga, where Yukika (one of “those three girls”) gets a mild crush on Assassin and gets Shirou’s help in making him sakura mochi. Assassin’s incorporeal nature is not really brought up until the final panel, so it works very well as a “cute girl + stoic guy” story. There’s also a shameless fanservice chapter where the girls all go shopping because they want to see Saber in different outfits, but it’s wholesome fanservice – we the reader also want to see Saber dressed in something different. And one of the chapters was made into the first episode of the anime, which was being created at the same time, and is a must for fans of the Shirou/Saber pairing.
Unless you don’t think it’s Fate unless there are people dying (in which case, Fate/Zero is right over there), this is a must buy for fans of these characters. And try a recipe or two as well!