In the aftermath of Shadow’s “I am Atomic” explosion, Iris walks away with a very important artifact that the Cult of Diablos want back.
Recap & Reaction
The beginning of the episode starts off with a shadowy figure entrapping a poor soul in the middle of an alley, being murdered in cold blood under the guise of being apart of the Shadow Garden.
This is a very simplistic upfront hook for what is to come for the episode. Clearly, the audience is aware that there are some kind of Shadow Garden imposters roaming around Midgar.
Once again, Por and Skel does what all high school filled testosterone boys want to do, pick up chicks. Both of them go on to convince Cid to go to “Mitsugoshi” to go buy something fancy like chocolate to help woo some girls. Cid wonders to himself how good the the chocolate of this current world is.
Iris and Alexia meet up with the girl with pink hair from the end of the previous episode. Apparently, Sherry Barnett is the smartest researcher in all of Midgar and they want her to decipher the Cult of Diablos artifact that was found at the scene of Cid’s explosion.
Here, it establishes Sherry’s role in “The Cult of Diablos” plot. As straight forward as it sounds, there is already an obvious connection somehow between Sherry and the Cult of Diablos. Along with the introduction of her father, there could be something bigger in store for these two fresh new faces.
Here, we also learn of Iris’s new faction of knights called the “Crimson Order,” resulting from the suspicions against the Knight Order. This small faction of knights are members that Iris can trust the most.
Once again, this confirms the fact that at the very least, Iris and her followers are aware of something dark and mysterious occurring from the “shadows” of Midgar. Without more world building and more characters introduced to represent the Knight Order, there isn’t much in the story yet to feel the lurking presence of a menacing evil.
The scene switches to Cid, Skel and Po waiting in line to get into Mitsugoshi. Po mentions to Skel that he wants to get home before dark because there is a “killer on the loose.” In the middle of Cid asking Po about this killer, a random lady with a sign walks specifically to Cid to have him take survey. He kindly accepts as Po and Skel try to convince their way in.
The lady takes Cid through the department stores and up to the roof, where a massive mansion is present with none other than Gamma waiting for his arrival. Cid concludes that everything in Mitsugoshi turned out to be very modernized from Cid’s past life most likely due to his stories that he told to the Shadow Garden. As Gamma walks down the stairs to greet Cid, he explains that she is probably the “smartest out of the Seven Shadows.” However, she is quite uncoordinated..
As Cid sits on the throne that Gamma has created for him, they discuss Gamma’s business ventures of Mitsugoshi and how she is expanding and profiting. Cid keeps deducing that somehow Gamma was able to achieve all of this money because of his stories. Eventually, the topic of this rogue killer claiming himself to be part of the Shadow Garden come up. Cid flashes back to the blood splatter incident he had with Princess Alexia off screen and assumes that he knows who that killer is.
Like in episode 2, the story brings back the element of Cid’s faux deducing skills while Shadow Garden members like Gamma, praise him for faux foresight. The creators seem to go with the presentation of the funny scenario being humorous rather than adding any extra effects to make the humor a lot more hard hitting. It works fine and doesn’t disrupt the flow of the dialogue.
Cid starts walking on his way out, but Gammas stops him first to introduce a new member named “Nu.” Before he leaves, he asks Gamma for the cheapest chocolates that she has and Gamma offers the best she has to offer for free. As he laughs it off, he uses some of his slime to sneakily reach the pile of gold coins to “procure some wealth for himself.”
Using the humorous trait about Cid that was established in episode 3 about shamelessly doing “unwanted” activities for money, seems like it will be an ongoing theme. Interestingly enough, he had to sneakily steal the gold coins rather than just ask for it. It’s kind of a confusing situation to find out clearly Cid and the Shadow Garden’s relationship. Most likely, Cid is just embarrassed that he couldn’t come up with the money himself as Gamma just literally gives him the chocolates he asked for.
It’s getting late and Cid, Po & Skel go running home because of being late for “curfew.” Cid confirms in his own head that he assumes that it is Princess Alexia going around killing people. In the middle of running, Cid senses blood-lust and the crossing of swords nearby. Suddenly, he stops and gets on his knees where the funniest bit of the episode goes down.
Cid breaks down like it’s one of those sacrificial moments that one must take in order to save his friends, except Cid is faking that he needs to take a serious poo. He melts down to tell Skel & Po that he would be taking one of the worst poops ever perpetrated by mankind in the middle of an alley. Like any close friends would do, they honor Cid’s request that they won’t tell anyone about his back alley poop and that he is “making the right choice” by not running home with poopy pants.
With the previous episode presenting more of the darker and dramatic elements of the plot, this episode takes us back more to episode 2’s feel and tone. This might be one of the more “in your face” humorous bits that the show accomplishes pretty well. There’s nothing like comically satirizing a very well known trope in anime like “sacrificing yourself to save the others.” In Spy x Family’s episode 10, they did a similar scene using a dodge ball tournament as the premise. Making fun of these kind of moments always seem to go over well.
Standing on the top of the roof, Shadow witnesses Princess Alexia fighting the Shadow Garden member imposter. To his surprise, he realizes that he is of course absolutely wrong about Princess Alexia. He watches as Princess Alexia gets ambush by more members of this fake Shadow Garden group and gets seriously injured before Cid steps in to save her.
Playing into another classic trope of “characters wanting to know the mysterious character’s aim,” Princess Alexia questions what Shadow’s whole aim is? Cid responds in his deep Shadow voice saying, “stay out of it.”
After leaving Alexia wounded and stranded in the alley, Shadow tracks down those imposters that escaped, taking a couple of them out of commission. Nu appears to applaud Shadow’s “quick-wittedness” in finding the fake Shadow Garden out. Nu busts out her Shadow Garden uniform and slices down the last fake Shadow Garden member, leaving him barely alive for interrogation. She states that “she is not as forgiving as Shadow.”
One of the highlights of the action in this show is the Shadow Garden members just brutally obliterating everyone they face. It might just be a popular thing about isekai’s like Tensei Slime that has epically strong side characters with their own highlighted moments against enemies. While it’s pretty fun to see side characters actually being useful and overpowered in their own right, I hope it doesn’t oversaturate the anime market with these kind of characters all being this epically portrayed. Many characters in this show have their own “posterized” moment.
The scene shifts once again to the real puppet masters behind this late night killing spree. It turns out that this “Mr. Gaunt Knight” hired some puppet masters to help him find out about the whereabouts of the missing artifact from Iris.
This scene only gave us a small glimpse into what is likely a high ranking Cult of Diablos member. We don’t know anything about this character other than he helped orchestrate those murders late at night in Midgar. It is clear that this is a “set up” for a future unraveling of the plot moment that will coincide with Sherry in the near future.
After a brief moment revealing that there is some kind of antagonist working from behind the scenes, a bandaged up Alexia speaks with Iris about what transpired between Shadow and the fake Shadow Garden. Iris mentions that she encountered a real Shadow Garden member in Alpha. Alexia poses the question to Iris about who the real enemy is? Iris responds with “both.”
Considering how powerful the Shadow Garden is and how much weaker Iris and Alexia are, they kind of just serve as a plot device. By bringing in this Cult of Diablos artifact and asking a completely new character in Sherry to be involved, it brings forth fresh new plot elements that helps build this next crescendo moment.
As if Skel and Po were ever top-tier friends with any real honor in the first place, they end up sweating through their dishonorable sweat glands, hastily trying to get Cid not to notice over the gossiping of him pooping his pants. Switching topics, they ask Cid if he had the chocolates to use to ask out the girls and he confirms he does.
In a embarrassingly unconfident beta fashion, Skel bows over to an upperclassman girl, offering the chocolate sweets as Po & Cid watch from down the intersection of the hallway. Turns out the girl already has a boyfriend and he shows up to “pay a lesson” to Skel, while the upperclassman girl keeps the chocolate.
Next up is Po’s miserable attempt to court a lady, He goes full creep mode by researching everything about a particular girl. Off screen, he chases down the girl down to have her just accuse him of “stalking” her; causing a ruckus in the background. For Cid, his whole purpose is to look the part of a background character, so he decides he’s just going to gift the chocolate to the next girl that he encounters. Coincidentally, that girl that shows up is none other than the pink haired girl, Sherry Barnett.
It’s kind of interesting that the writer brought back the joke of getting denied like in episode 3, when Cid’s offer for a relationship actually got accepted by Alexia. The theme continues with Cid’s action as a background character inadvertently makes him a main character anyways. With this kind of light-hearted humor, it just hits a bit more on the bland side with the added fact that it is a similar scenario to episode 3. The novelty of the story and Cid’s character seems to be quickly waning in my eyes.
When it comes to recycled elements in The Eminence in Shadow, the story did do 3 kidnappings in literally the first four episodes. 😂
On the flip side, what makes this anime a bit more unique is the dark humor they use during scenes like when Cid slaughtered the men in the alley with Beta writing in her journal of how awesome Cid is in episode 4. It’s these kind of humorous takes that you don’t see coming that makes the storytelling come off a bit more wittier and more fun to experience.
Sherry takes the chocolate home, questioning what exactly it is. Her father enters the room to explain what it is and the significance of this important romantic trope of “gifting chocolates to a lady.” Furthermore, he explains that “Cid is probably waiting for your answer.”
Finding the Substance in Sherry
Episode 6 has to be the first episode of this anime that felt the most typical of anime episodes out of all the episodes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, It just doesn’t particularly stand out as anything special either. Sherry Barnett appears to be the first of the main female “leads” in the episodes that hasn’t shown any relatable human defects that the female characters before her showed. The fact that she is adopted may provide something of substance in that aspect. In the end, she is just this cute little pink haired girl that’s portrayed as this loving daddy’s girl. That’s the only relationship we can assume could go awry that could quickly change the audience’s perception. Her father mentions that her “mother was a great researcher too,” bringing in some kind of possible mother-daughter complex. There’s so much that could happen from this point, but my sadistic evil bias of the show makes me believe that her father is somehow a Cult of Diablos member. On the contrary, her father does appear to have some kind of sickness. Maybe he’ll meet his end as he tries to protect his daughter once she deciphers the artifact?
Sherry is a character that most anime viewers can quickly identify as an often used archetype for the innocent little genius girl that ends up at least admiring the main character In a typical series, we can expect Sherry to go on to help Cid in his endeavors, but if there is one thing I won’t do for this anime is accept the expected.
The prototype for a character like Sherry presents one of the more boring kind of characters to the show. Although she wasn’t fully featured in the episode, it’s clear that the story has grand plans for her character. The story seems to be weaving this Cult of Diablos artifact that she is studying and this miscommunicated romance with Cid.
In the previous episodes, Akane, Alexia and even Claire provided an interesting layer of depth that goes beyond their initial archetype. Akane was the popular girl that “put on a face.” Alexia is a princess that is highly bitter and judgemental. Claire is the loving sister that “loves” Cid in more violently loud ways. So far for Sherry, it appears as typical as ever for a character with her kind of characteristics. She’s loving, kind, cute and strongly admired by authority figures around her like Iris and her father. However, we should expect some twist to be implemented if we go along with the formula of how the story has been thus far. There’s something about how the anime portrayed Sherry’s father at the end of the episode that just rubs me the wrong way; which actually makes it a pretty good cliffhanger because of the speculative nature that a mysterious new character provides. Sherry’s father can be a good, bad or just a throwaway character.
What I find most fascinating about this anime is its unique story with their own unique spin on archetypal anime characters. That is why I never end up talking about My Hero Academia because it is a typical shonen anime that performs within the boundaries of everything shonen. That is why I enjoy The Eminence in Shadow so much and why episode 6 slightly disappoints in comparison to the other episodes. This episode just has many qualities that we’ve seen in the previous episodes with a slightly evolved take. With a character like Sherry, we need the plot to advance faster for the audience to start caring more about this character, which should be happening sooner than later.
Overall, I still enjoy The Eminence in Shadow. This is the first episode that felt that many of the funnier elements of the show starts to feel quickly played out. After the first handful of episodes of this anime, you start to pick up on some of formulaic parts of the story and how it’s portrayed. With the assumption that the next two episodes will throw a wrench in our expectations, I’m not too worried for the anime as a whole. However, if I had to rate this specific episode on its own, it would be a 7.5 out of 10.
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