The Eminence in Shadow
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 7 of
The Eminence in Shadow ?
Community score: 4.3
This episode of The Eminence in Shadow is the most straightforwardly comedic the series has been so far. While the series has always been full of dark humor, this episode is basically nothing but a mix of lighthearted slapstick and romantic comedy. With the exception of the episode's final seconds, this episode has little in the way of danger or stakes. It's just Cid trying to be the “backgroundiest” background character he can be—and failing spectacularly.
The core of the running joke this time around is the fact that Cid literally lives for the moments where he can act as the Eminence in Shadow—be that as the shadowy badass “Shadow” or the mild-mannered "Cid". Unfortunately for him, it's far easier to construct moments of badassness as Shadow than it is to blend into stereotypical mediocrity as Cid. After all, a background character's job is to fade into the background. Having the spotlight is antithetical to the core of the character. This paradox is why Cid is just so terrible at being a background character. He can surround himself with the biggest losers of the school, but he can't stop himself from taking every possible chance to act out his chosen role.
In this episode, he gets to face off against the academy's strongest swordsman, Rose, and sees this as one of the few situations where a background character gets the chance to stand out for a brief moment—i.e., when the main character crushes a literal nobody in the first round of a fighting tournament. Of course, due to his fanatical devotion to being the perfect background character, he has prepared 48 different ways to be stomped into dust—complete with fake blood to make it all the more impactful.
The problem is that, after choosing one and taking the hit, he can't resist trying all of the different scenarios he's prepared—who knows when he'll get a similar chance again, after all? But while that is what is going through his mind, the audience instead sees a young man who refuses to give up against a clearly superior opponent—no matter how much physical damage he takes. Is it any wonder Rose and Sherry (and seemingly most of his class) think Cid is a complete badass despite his apparent lack of skill with the blade?
All in all, this episode is just non-stop laughs. While I'm happy to see us getting back to the action with what appears to be “Die Hard in a School” next episode, episodes like this one are a great change of pace every once in a while.
• It's telling that Cid is so distracted by potentially having to act in a way counter to his background character-ness that he totally misses Nu trying to LARP with him about Shadow Garden things.
• Nice of Nu to casually throw in there that she tortured a guy who was brainwashed and thus had no possibility of answering her questions.
• While we haven't gotten much about Nu yet, it seems she was a noble who got kicked out after the curse came for her. She learned the truth about her friends and family the hard way—and then learned what real companionship was all about in Shadow Garden. She's another true believer, that's for sure.
• It's cool that we get a return of the slo-mo time shown in episode two during Cid's fight with Claire.
• I absolutely love Rose's character design in the anime. Compared to her manga design, they really amped up the drill curls.
• Great job setting up the fake blood packs that Cid keeps in his shirt. I'm sure that will never be relevant again.
• The scene with Sherry and Alexia is fantastic. Poor Sherry is dealing with jealousy for the first time and has such a lack of social skills that she basically rubs Alexia's heartbreak right in her face.
• Having your Dad follow you on your first date? Awkward.
• I like that Cid's incidentally repaired his reputation after being known as “the boy who pooped his pants” last week.
• As for this week's Kage-jitsu, if Delta says that the coffee beans still smell like poop, I'm inclined to believe her over Zeta.
The Eminence in Shadow is currently streaming on HIDIVE.
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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