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The Eminence in Shadow
Episode 16

by Richard Eisenbeis,

How would you rate episode 16 of
The Eminence in Shadow ?
Community score: 4.3

Three characters, one face.
©Daisuke Aizawa・KADOKAWA/Shadow Garden
This is one of those episodes where a lot happens on screen, but at the same time, the overall plot doesn't really progress. Though, that's not to say that what we see isn't entertaining.

Cid is enjoying his time being the dark horse of the fighting tournament. He beats several opponents but again shows that he cares more about participating in his favorite clichés than sticking to the character he is pretending to be. Sure, he dodges and counterattacks “accidentally” by sneezing or cracking his neck, but he does so at a speed only the strongest fighters can see. In other words, he doesn't come off looking weak yet lucky. He comes off looking insanely strong...Well, to the few that can see what he's doing anyway.

In other character development for Cid, there is one rather baffling scene: his meeting with Beatrix. She is searching for her long-lost niece—and given that her face is identical to Alpha's, it's pretty obvious (even to Cid) who that is. Yet, he doesn't share this information. This scene could have used a bit of voice-over because his motives for not telling Beatrix about Alpha would tell us a lot about how Cid views his oldest friend. On the one hand, it could be that he is insecure—afraid that if Alpha found out that her family was looking for her, she might leave him for good like the friends in his past life. On the other, he could be trying to protect her—Alpha's family failed her, as she ended up as an eldritch blob being carted around by bandits. However, his smiling at realizing that Beatrix and Alpha are related is the most we get, and it tells us nothing about what he's thinking. It's rather aggravating.

The rest of the episode only gives us the tiniest trickle about what's happening. Rose is on the run after stabbing her fiancé. She's now in the ruins under the city. The man she stabbed is suspiciously uninjured, and Rose's father, the King, seems to be either heavily drugged or suffering from some form of late-stage dementia...And that's pretty much all we get.

This isn't a terrible episode of The Eminence in Shadow, and there are a few critical plot points scattered throughout, but it feels like it's just this side of filler. Sure, it's fun enough to watch Cid screw around, but the combination of him screwing around and the serious plot unfolding together takes this series to the next level.


Random Thoughts:

• It's interesting that Alexia's biggest problem with Beta is that she seems so fake. Even when physically assaulting the elf girl, Beta is not scared of her—despite her lousy acting. This means Beta is either strong enough not to care or intelligent enough to know she's in no real danger from Alexia. Both options rub Alexia the wrong way.

• As the latest heroine of the arc, Annerose is okay, but... well, after Aurora, she was doomed to be lackluster by comparison.

• Poor Annerose. The moment she realizes that everyone is watching her practice sneezing and cracking her neck is mortifying.

• Cid goes way overboard on the weighted armor cliché. To shatter stone from that height, I bet the weights are so heavy only Delta and Alpha could even hope to lift them.

• Cid dodging Beatrix's blade by falling over is way more than a background character would do. A background character wouldn't even be able to see the edge move before it was at his neck.

• I love that Iris still calls him “Perv Asshat,” even after being told to simply call him “Perv.”

• Rose is good enough with a sword to incapacitate and not kill—even in her unwell state.

The Eminence in Shadow is currently streaming on HIDIVE.

Richard is an anime and video game journalist with over a decade of experience living and working in Japan. For more of his writings, check out his Twitter and blog.

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.

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