「あったか寄せ鍋」 (Attaka Yosenabe)
“Hot, Hot Hot Pot”
For our final installment of Emiya-kun, we can’t exactly repeat Toshikoshi Soba, as nice as it would be, so Shirou is going one step ahead by making Hot Pot. A wonderful brothy soup in its own right, Hot Pot is the perfect Winter dish with a flavorful broth, well-seasoned seafood, and a plethora of vegetables and toppings to warm your soul. It’s hard not to get as excited as Saber and the rest of them when a hearty, robust soup awaits. Even better is that Shirou used the remaining broth to make Zosui, a simple rice dish that goes wonderfully with the Winter season as a warm and filling meal.
The main attraction of the episode, however, is seeing everybody come together. For their final dinner together, Shirou is cooking Hot Pot for Saber, Taiga, Sakura, and Rider. It was a great way of getting the primary group side-by-side for the last episode and showed us why it’s so charming to see them all gather for a fulfilling and peaceful dinner with each other. It was awesome to see Rider again as she enjoyed the warmth the house provided, but Saber definitely stole the show with how much she loved the food and how willing she was to eat more, including the mandarin oranges that Taiga brought over by the boxload. It’s sad to see the end of this monthly anime, but it ended on a positive note with how much Saber had come to value not just the delicious food that Emiya cooked for her, but also the companionship of their closest friends as they all basked in the delight of Shirou’s cooking together.
It’s hard to bid farewell to Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan. 2018 was a challenging year, but month-in and month-out, it was always Shirou who welcomed us into his humble abode to cook up some amazing food. Dishes might not have been made as precisely or perfectly, but it was great to see the cast of Fate/Stay Night together in such a unique, fun anime this past year. It was an anime that oozed charm as it was tailor-made not only be comfortable but express how mouth-watering the dishes can be. The pastel, sketch-like artwork helped set the tone with the warmth it exuded. Character designs emphasized their personalities with how expressive and cutesy they can get as they react to both the food and environment around them.
Most importantly, it brings everyone together in a way that is highly refreshing for a Fate spin-off. While it is easy to see why people would get fatigue from all of the Fate material that has popped up after the Ufotable adaptations and Fate / Grand Order received acclaim and success, what sets Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan is how much of it focuses on ideas beyond Grail Wars or chuuni fantasies. Instead, it takes the pre-established characters of Fate/Stay Night and treats them as if they’re close acquaintances as Shirou uses his cooking skills to treat Saber, Taiga, and his friends to cozy meals. Rather than being at each other’s throats, the Servants are more apt to helping their Masters enjoy their time and let loose as they contribute to each month’s dish either through ingredients they gather or the emotional support they have to offer. There are also fun group dynamics that create nice what-if scenarios for certain pairings such as Archer and Lancer being close to each other, Caster and Kuzuki going on dates together, and Rider playing a more pivotal role in helping boost Sakura’s confidence.
Part of the appeal is in not seeing these characters in a battle royale to the death, but above all else, it shows us sides of these characters that would only come out during times of peace. Saber especially stands out as her enjoyment of Shirou’s food helps her ease her guard as she gleefully overeats the food Shirou makes. Even with her dignified role and the skepticism she has over former adversaries coming over for food, she quickly finds that she’s able to let herself enjoy the company of people she would have never guessed she’d share a dinner table with. It made Saber all the more endearing to see how she reacted to both food, Shirou, and the new friends she would come to make along the way.
For a landscape surrounded by multiple Fate spin-offs, Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan is the most pleasant treat of the bunch by offering a light-hearted breather from the norm that emphasize the gorgeous food that Shirou makes for Saber and the rest of the old Stay Night cast. I’d be highly excited to hear about any updates that are made to the series and if there are plans to continue it in the future. Even if this is the last time we see Shirou cooking or Saber gorging herself on food, at least we have the fond memories of their culinary journeys to hold onto.