Cid Uses the Ultimate Background Character Technique! The Eminence in Shadow Episode 8 [Review]

Cid teams up with Sherry as they come up with a plan to stop Gaunt Knight.

In the previous episode, the faux Shadow Garden members led by Gaunt Knight, attacked Midgar Academy while putting up a barrier that stymies the use of magic. Attacking the classroom where Cid and Rose Oriana are going over class elections, Rose goes toe-to-toe with one of the faux Shadow Garden members. With the lack of control over her magic, Rose came close to receiving a fatal blow. Out of nowhere, Cid throws himself in the way to get fatally gashed in her place. This episode begins with Cid’s point-of-view that lead to that decision.

Recap & Reaction

Cid Commits to His Ultimate Sacrifice Technique

Once the faux Shadow Garden group barges into the classroom, Cid couldn’t help himself but get a huge “background character” erection at this classic “terrorist-hostage” situation. As Rose gets close to getting whacked by the faux Shadow Garden member, Cid springs into action as he can’t let one of the main characters get slain when his ultimate background character techniques are ripe for use.

Robbed of his epic moments of showing all of his background character techniques in the fencing tournament, Cid is faced with the perfect opportunity to display the ultimate sacrifice; sacrificing his life for the “main character,” Rose Oriana.

Rose sees a dead Cid laying on the ground and cries assuming that Cid sacrificed his life because he “loved her.” The scene uses flashbacks of their earlier match to portray Rose’s assumption. This plays on the trope where the side characters basically “simps” for the main female lead.

“Don’t ruin your life for random chicks guys!”

To make fun of anime cliches, you have to creatively manifest those moments as naturally as possible within the story. This show has been able to manufacture a lot of fun scenarios that allows these jokes to fully hit. Rose assuming that Cid died because he “loved her” was a perfect cliche to make fun of in this moment.

Cid uses “Background Character Secret Technique – 10-Minute Death: Heartbreak.” Essentially, this move allows him to “use magic to control his blood flow to his brain while his heart is stopped.” It’s a fatally high risky move that is necessary to main his background character frame.

By the time Cid gets himself mobile again, everyone in the classroom seemed to be rounded up and gone. To be able to use his magic, Cid uses some kind of “threads” to help secure his control of his magic while the barrier is up.

This scene does a couple things for the viewer. It provides a little bit of humor and insight to Cid’s incredible abilities. Saying “incredible abilities” does hit a bit different when explained through this anime’s context. Cid displays an incredible amount of wit and resiliency as a “background character.” As of right now, there hasn’t been a foe or real challenge to make him grow as a character.

Cid has shined best when he’s helped other characters. When it is just Cid himself, it becomes just about the joke.

Cid Basks in the Cliche Tropes

In the next scene, Sherry is studying the Cult of Diablos artifact when she comes across some eureka revelations. In that moment, Rex comes barging through the window to retrieve the important Cult of Diablos artifact. As Rex goes straight for a blow against Sherry, Glen of the Crimson Order, parries the attack in her defense. Marco comes to help Glen out while Sherry runs off to try to save herself.

Cid stands on top of a skyscraper, looking down on the situation. All the hostages were all gathered into one area of an auditorium while the knight order stand outside the barrier, figuring out what they should do without being able to use their magic. He goes on to marvel at the cliche “hostage” situation with him standing above it all as “Shadow.”

As Cid lauds how classic this hostage situation is, many more tropes pops up as Glen and Marco show up to protect Sherry. Typically, these kind of moments spawn epic fights or epic fails from these characters. Unlike Cid, Glen and Marco are of the “epic fail” background character mold.

Standing frustrated that he can’t really be “Shadow” during the day, Cid decides to slime snipe a slew of faux Shadow Garden members above until it turns into nighttime. Then, he notices that Sherry isn’t quite making herself “quiet” as she finds a way to escape within the building. In her defense, Cid begins sniping every bad guy that chases after her. In Sherry’s perspective, she is being very adept at being sneaky and just ends up “imagining things” as Cid captures one faux Shadow Garden member one after another.

I just love how un-apologetically saveage Cid is when he mass murders a slew of faux Shadow Garden members. There’s just no doubt in his mind about killing any of these bad guys. That’s one of the few characteristics of his personality that separates him as a character compared to other animes. At the same time, Cid picking off every bad guy as they try to capture Sherry, while she “sneakily” finesses her way from the bad guys; provided some enjoyable light humor. The delivery during these scenes wasn’t in your face funny as it could have been, but it was fun to see.

Important Plot Point

Sherry beings crawling up the stairs, but falls out of nowhere to fall into the arms of Cid. Cid ends up scolding her for being so noisy and they end up in another room together. Cid says to himself that “she must be the main character for the arc,” but something seems to be missing with this story.

Sherry figures out that the Cult of Diablos is using something called “the Eye of Avarice.” Continuing further that the Eye of Avarice absorbs magic and stores it momentarily until it reaches capacity. Cid brings up an interesting point that the artifact didn’t absorb the faux Shadow Garden members’ magic, so Sherry replies with the fact that it can be “programmed” to remember not to absorb certain kind of magic. One big plot point that arises out of the Eye of Avarice is the fact that it releases the energy it absorbs, once it reaches max capacity. The artifact that’s in Sherry’s possession is supposed work with the Eye of Avarice to hold the magic for a longer period of time.

Cid asks Sherry what her plan is to stop the energy from being released from the Eye of Avarice. In a not so bad of a plan, she will go through some hidden tunnels to activate the artifact from underneath the auditorium, where everyone is being held captive.

This part of the episode just helps establish the next stage of the plot and how Cid will most likely guide Sherry to one of the most important moments in her character arc. The fact that the artifact shoots off a huge explosion at capacity, makes the audience think of the “nuclear bomb” that Cid wants to ultimately be able to tank. The fact that Cid hints at some off parts of the plot, makes everyone think that there are more unknown elements to the story, which is very obvious to the viewer. The overall plot itself is still as basic as it sounds. Sherry and Cid are going to save the group of hostages that’s in the auditorium.

This is one of those “expect the unexpected” moments that’s building within the plot.

Gaunt Knight’s Motivation is Unimpressive

It flips back to Gaunt Knight and Rex speaking. Gaunt Knight scolds Rex about not getting back the artifact and how he’s been “ruining their plans.” There’s nothing like a good ole’ “I’ll murder you” declaration when Gaunt Knight tells Rex what will happen if he doesn’t actually get that artifact back.

Once Rex leaves to go try to retrieve the artifact, Gaunt Knight finally reveals his true purpose. Gaunt Knight’s motivation ends up being similar to Griffey Zenon’s. To retrieve the missing artifact, means to have the opportunity to get a seat back into the Knight of Rounds. For whatever reason, being in one of those top seats of the Knight of Rounds is a significant accomplishment.

Without more context to the Knight of Rounds and more about Gaunt Knight himself, it just feels more trivial and “plot device-y.” At least Viscount Grease had a more meaningful reason to be in the Cult of Diablos than Griffey Zenon and what Gaunt Knight has provided so far. It’s pretty obvious who Gaunt Knight is at this point, so how the anime handles these future revelations could be a “make it or break it” moment for some of these characters that haven’t gained much worth to the audience just yet.

Rex goes out with a few of his men to go find Sherry and he runs into none other than Cid. One by one, Cid picks off the henchmen. Rex starts to pull out all of his stops as Cid is moving at incredible speeds and embarrassingly palm slaps him in multiple instances. Because of Cid’s mighty strength and speed, Rex assumes that he using some kind of artifact that’s boosting his power. In a face of horror, Rex shrieks as he gets attacked by Cid, transitioning to the next scene with Nu, leaving what ends up happening to Rex as a mystery.

This is the highlight of the episode!

Cid’s overpowered strength, abilities and no holds bar terror over Rex that makes this scene all the more frightening. Like the alley scene where Cid kills all of the corrupted dark knights, this scene provides similar value as he kills all of Rex’s men and has Rex see all the dead bodies sitting in the seats of the classroom. To Rex’s horror, this casts a metaphorically “dark shadow” over how dark and twisted Cid is compared to what Rex is expecting.

Nu shows up to find a dead Glen and a knocked out Marco. It looks like Nu was about to finish off Marco before Cid shows up. She explains that Shadow Garden is waiting for any of Cid’s commands. Cid explains that he needs to grab a few items to help finish getting the artifact ready to stop the Eye of Avarice. Nu reacts surprised at how much knowledge Cid has. In reality, it’s all Sherry’s genius. As Cid heads back to the room with Sherry, Nu drops the hint again that Marco has been “spared again.”

The episode ends with Sherry intently drawing out a diagram with her father in mind.

The ending gives us a hint at a couple of things that could be of importance. Nu has some deeper individual issues that isn’t Shadow Garden related that could lead to the next plot. Sherry ending the episode thinking about her father, sets up one of the most obvious connections to the current plot. Hopefully, this plot doesn’t play out too predictably.

Last Thoughts

What This Arc Lacks

Cid enjoying the “background-ness” and the cliche “terrorist-hostage” story that he is in is a funny running theme. However, funny feels significantly more effective when it contrasts with something more serious. The Cid and Shadow Garden relationship dynamic is a running joke that is just that, a running joke. Constantly going back to that dynamic can get boring really fast. Nevertheless, Nu’s character tries to provide something more of significance to one of the Shadow Garden characters.

For this particular character arc for Sherry, this arc relies more on the plot surrounding the Cult of Diablos artifact than the character herself. Without the serious tone that characters like Alexia and Akane provided, everything that has included Sherry, her father and Nu have been very unappealing to this point. Even Gaunt Knight’s motivations is a very basic one. In the previous episode, Rex had a potentially really sad backstory as explained by Nu about these orphan kids that the Cult of Diablos end up grooming as “First Childs.” At least for this episode, he’s portrayed as just another stereotypical rebellious bad guy. Again, many of these characters feel more like filler and lack enough depth to matter as much to the audience.

In this episode, the 2 best moments were Rose crying for the death of Cid and Cid brutally terrorizing Rex. These are the “payoff” scenes. Rose crying for Cid provided the audience a reason to laugh at Cid’s death. Cid mass murdering all of Rex’s men while tormenting him provides a dynamic that we can only really see from anti-heroes like a Cid. It’s a dark and satisfying twist that quenches some of our darker thirsts for the destruction of villains. These are the highlights that make The Eminence in Shadow at the very least, an average anime that provides good payoffs.

All in all, this current arc lacks a deep enough plot and lack of interesting characters to make it as enjoyable as the first bulk of episodes. Unlike Akane and Alexia, Sherry doesn’t provide that extra layer of character depth that makes the plot feel more secondary.That means the current plot right now with Gaunt Knight means significantly more, which is one of the more weaker elements of the show. Overall, The Eminence in Shadow shines best when the story allows characters to mean more. While the humor and individual scenes of this episode were effectively done well, it would help if the audience could connect on a deeper level. There’s still plenty of time left of this arc that could help round out these characters and the climatic point of the plot has yet to be reached.


  1. In case you don’t know, it’s common practice in this world to give up children that are “possessed” which is a term to use for anyone that slowly becomes mutated. The children are either given to the church to be disposed off, abandoned somewhere where no one find them or lynched.

    Nu was a former noble so she could be in the second category. Abandoning by your own family and fiancée can do massive damage to one’s psyche. If Nu’s action is any indication, it seems Shadow Garden are most doing out of vengeance than a desire to save the world.

    So in the last two episodes ago, Iris make a point that Shadow Garden are an enemy. However this is still a narrow-minded view as the Cult of Diabolos have shown to be a far greater threat and the only reason Shadow Garden exists is because Iris ignored how children are being sacrificed every day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great insight!

      I’m not too familiar with the lore or the manga. I’m merely basing my opinions purely off of the anime and their presentation.

      I don’t think the episodes outright explained Nu’s history, so it all seems pretty vague where her real motivations lie. The whole “First Children” part of the explanation seemed pretty vague as well. Was there an episode that explained that “children are commonly given up once they are possessed?”

      Iris’s role in Midgar Kingdom all seems to be very vague as well. The only thing we know about Iris is that she’s independently investigating the Cult of Diablos and nothing more. If she has anything to do with not being aware of the sacrificed children, the episodes haven’t made that a real part of the story just yet. At this point in the anime, Shadow Garden is definitely fighting for vengeance, but it all seems just directed towards the Cult of Diablos and no one else.

      It all seems like a big jump to come to any conclusions based off of 8 episodes, but I can see where you see the connections based on your points.


      • I don’t think the episodes outright explained Nu’s history, so it all seems pretty vague where her real motivations lie
        – the novel and manga didn’t go too deep into it but at least they gave us the basic gist of things: Nu is your stereo typical aristocrat daughter who does what her parents told her to and she doesn’t have a strong opinion of her own, always going along with the flow until the day she got Demon Possessed and her world got turned upside down, she didn’t hate her previous lifestyle but she is definitely loyal to Shadow Garden after being rescued by them, willing to go as far as to kill her former betrothed if deemed necessary

        The whole “First Children” part of the explanation seemed pretty vague as well. Was there an episode that explained that “children are commonly given up once they are possessed?”
        – yes, in the novel and manga, when Cid first met Alpha, we get to know in detail what exactly is Demon possession; in regard to the “children of Diabolos”, Nu was supposed to explained it to us viewers at the start of episode 7 when she was seen talking to Cid about the cult’s movement but the anime changed it in favor of a new misunderstanding gag

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for filling in the context!

        That makes a lot of sense that Nu would act in that way with Marco. I kind of like the idea that her actions in this episode makes me question her character in the anime. It’s a good foreshadowing scene that feels like it could be more significant down the line.

        It kind of makes sense that the anime turned a lot of the Cult of Diablos stuff into a gag. From the very beginning, it all just felt that way anyways. If these “orphaned kids” are a significant part of the plot, I’m sure there are some upcoming episodes that’s going to fill in that gap. Maybe Rex or Gaunt Knight would end up being a big part of that explanation?

        A lot of the anime’s focus right now has been on Sherry and the artifact. The bigger Cult of Diablos story gets lost the same way Cid has this “whatever attitude” about it lol


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