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The Eminence in Shadow
Episode 18

by Richard Eisenbeis,

How would you rate episode 18 of
The Eminence in Shadow ?
Community score: 4.4

Someone's eyes were bigger than their stomach.
©Daisuke Aizawa・KADOKAWA/Shadow Garden
For weeks, we've been building up to the battle between Cid and Annerose. Of course, it goes just about as expected, with Cid easily defeating her—though that's not to say it's not both a cool-looking and unique fight. Until this point, Cid's fights usually use his extreme magical powers and shape-changing slime suit. In this battle, we get just him and a sword—his raw speed and talent with the blade on full display. It's different from what we've seen before, and seeing the fight from Annerose's point of view adds another interesting layer to it all.

However, as far as the overall story goes, this fight is a foreshadowing tool more than anything else. What's important is not the fight itself but rather the conversation between Iris and Perv Asshat. It once again re-establishes that the Oriana Kingdom is more about art than martial skills—that Rose, with her love for the sword, is an extreme outlier. Despite this, we get the reveal that Perv Asshat can see as deeply into Cid and Annerose's fight as Iris is—implying that he is on her level, if not above it. In other words, the anime establishes Prev Asshat as our next big bad and hints that he is the strongest member of the cult we've encountered so far.

Other than this, the episode is just a lot of checking in with our various heroes: Claire is determined to get her baby brother off his ass; Beta has left for parts unknown; Alexia is making her own moves now that she's completely off the leash; Beatrix is still looking for her niece (though she has been distracted by fast food); and Rose is preparing to use her newfound power.

Or, to put it another way, this episode is about setting up the season's big climax—getting everyone into their positions as the tournament's final day begins. All in all, it's got some action and some laughs, but it's nothing compared to the heights this anime has given us before (and hopefully will again).


Random Thoughts:

• Yandere Claire is best Claire.

• I love that this anime always introduces things before they become important to the main story. This week's example: The Lawless City and what's going on there.

• Perv Asshat thinks Cid can't be in Shadow Garden because he's male. And when you think about it, this makes sense: Cid has killed every cult member he has come across after all (and all his public appearances have been at a great distance), so it's unlikely they would know that Shadow Garden's leader is male.

• It's no coincidence that both kingdom's princesses were engaged to cult members.

• Skel getting hauled away screaming as Cid and Annerose have their cliché rivals-to-friends moment is A-grade comedy. So is two of the world's strongest people trading hamburgers.

• I'm glad we got to see a bit more of Beatrix's personality. She seems focused on finding her niece and cares little for anything else. Even being a revered hero and champion in the arena seems to mean nothing to her. That doesn't mean she's rude or hateful; she sees these things as unimportant. It makes her feel both different from Alpha and relatively innocent—especially when she offers Iris a hamburger.

• I like that Cid didn't lie to Beatrix this time: he really hasn't seen Alpha since they last met.

• Rose returning to her burned-out room in the school for a change of clothes is a nice touch. She's preparing for her new life in the ruins of her old one.

• In this week's Kage-Jitsu, we learn that the girls think Beethoven's 5th is about them and that Delta likes classical music about dogs.

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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