Lord El-Melloi II-sei no Jikenbo is the manga adaptation of the light novel of the same name, and it absolutely amazes me how before the anime adaptation no one really talked about this manga.
The pacing is slow and while being set in the Natsuverse not everything is explained as it expects some familiarity with the setting. The world-building will make or break it for the readers as the details of the magic system have to be known to understand the way the cases are solved.
It is a fantasy and mystery story that follows Waver Velvet's life and career as a detective after
the 4th Holy Grail war from Fate/Zero, and his challenge to keep his promise to Iskandar.
Sanda Makoto really has an obsession with magic, and draws heavy inspirations from actual occult literature and Neuro-Linguistic Programing. It has a heavy emphasis on symbology like in The Da Vinci Code. Keep a Bible close if you're scared or turned away of these type of elements.
The art and paneling of this manga is absolutely stunning. Keita Saiki has a style that resembles a series storyboard. Just the right amount of detail for every moment.
Velvet is an entertaining protagonist, who tries to be a serious stoic individual. He tries. The other characters are pretty stereotypical especially the girls however the author has found a way to make you like them. Of course there are some ambiguous relationships with them that may raise some eyebrows.
Gray will have a lot of fans, and characters from other Fate series make an appearance.
I love it. Too bad that it is published so slow. You may want to search for the light novel to read the story in its entirety. There are only a few English scanlations available and for the moment nobody is doing them as the original Japanese is way ahead of them.
It's no masterpiece but the way the story is pieced together is really entertaining and the cases represent more than meets the eye.
The anime adaptation that is aired is beautifully made, and I also recommend watching, though it will adapt a small portion of the story from the light novels and has an anime original beginning and after that adapts volumes 5 and 6 of the light novel. There isn't any official translation of the novels as of writing this review.