The Eminence in Shadow
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 17 of
The Eminence in Shadow ?
Community score: 4.5
If last week's episode was all fluff, this week's is the exact opposite—well, at least on Rose's side of things, anyway. Two episodes ago, Rose was planning to do her duty and get married to Perv Asshat and wanted Cid to know her heart was still with him (though it's not like Cid noticed this). Then came word she had stabbed her fiancé and run away. Now we get to see precisely what happened.
The whole thing was a setup. She was goaded into stabbing Perv Asshat by himself and the other members of the cult—who now completely control her father's inner circle. Their reason for the setup seems to be to control her as Oriana's next queen. After all, this scandal completely discredits her (by labeling her “crazy”) and separates her from any potential allies. And they believe they can blackmail her into anything by threatening to make her father do something that would destroy the country—like, killing Alexia and Iris' father in front of a crowd at a fighting tournament.
However, the cult's miscalculation is two-fold. Firstly, they are unaware that Rose has the curse and will soon become an eldritch blob monster—so their efforts to control her long-term are ultimately pointless. Secondly, they have no idea what Cid will do—but, to be fair, no one else does either.
Moreover, by curing Rose personally, Cid has given her raw power on the same level as the Seven Shades at best and an average Shadow Garden member a worst. Regardless, she can easily overpower Alexia despite her haggard physical appearance and the emotional strain she is under. What's interesting is that, despite healing her, Cid never reveals himself to her or even tells her she is now part of Shadow Garden. He gives her power and sends her off to do what she wants. To say she's a dangerous loose canon would be an understatement.
But the most important thing we see in this episode is the change in Rose's mental state. With all this going on, Rose is forced to face her own mortality (due to the curse) and her own reality. She knows that her dream of living her life with Cid is never going to come true—which saddens her deeply—but more importantly, she knows that her father and her kingdom are in the hands of an evil cult, and she is powerless to stop them. That's why, when Cid heals her, she becomes laser-focused on her goal. Her brush with death has shown her what she needs to do—and now that she has the power, she is determined to do so.
• Cid dodging his sister by jumping out the window is a great bit—as is her waiting to ambush him when he returns home.
• I love the subtle logistics humor here. Cid managed to steal a grand piano in broad daylight and get it into the correct place in a massive labyrinth to lure Rose in with music. Then, to top things off, he had to get hundreds of feathers to float in the air for ambiance. Where? How? That's up to you to think (and giggle) about.
• I like that Cid is both jealous of his friends and happy for them. It's very human. And something tells me the reason he is aggravated is not that they used the stories/songs/economic knowledge they learned from him and got rich but rather because he didn't think of using that knowledge the same way for himself.
• Beta being a good 10 seconds too late in giving a scared response to Alexia's threat to kill her is fantastic.
• Alexia's ego makes her incapable of seeing the simple fact that Beta is not afraid of her simply because Beta is stronger than she is.
• It's funny, Beta drops her mask in front of Rose after Rose has been healed, but Rose doesn't seem to notice (she's got a lot on her mind, after all).
• I'd like to know more about how Beta feels about Rose being healed by Cid. I mean, she obviously accepts it as it is Cid's choice, but I doubt her personal feelings are that simple.
• Poor Rose... clinging to a used hamburger wrapper as a keepsake of her doomed love.
• In this week's Kage-Jitsu, Epsilon flaunts herself in front of Beta because the others (especially Delta) don't really care if Shadow finds her physically beautiful.
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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