I See Crack.. The Eminence in Shadow Episode 16 [Review]

In an interesting turn of events, Rose goes on the run as she escapes from whatever happened between her and Asshat. Cid goes on to compete in the preliminary rounds, while Annerose witnesses too many coincidences from Mundane Mann’s “techniques.”

Recap & Reaction


Regaining the dark and mysterious vibes of the previous two episode’s revelations about what is going on with Rose Oriana, this episode starts off with Alexia and Natsume (Beta) contemplating their next moves. Beta state that Rose Oriana ended up fleeing north after allegedly stabbing Asshat.

Since Rose is just a foreign exchange student and not a foreign diplomat, the Oriana Kingdom asked that Midgar Kingdom let them handle their issues internally. Alexia references once again from two episodes ago how much her father will continue to let events unfold with a “wait and see approach.” Beta goes on to mention how she will be punished for her crimes. Although, her status as royalty will likely allow her to escape the death penalty.

Then, the scene shifts to Rose with a sword in her hand in what looks like an underground tunnel. She is seen struggling, likely due to the “Demon Possession” and possibly running away from someone or something.

Given how important the previous arc was to the overall story of The Eminence in Shadow, it’s when the story focuses on actual mysteries and characters that are not all powerful like Shadow and the Shadow Garden that makes it the most compelling. While the previous episode was more lighthearted and poked fun at many anime tropes, these mysterious and contradicting revelations that makes you play Detective Conan like what is happening with Rose keeps the episode engaging.

First of all, we don’t know for sure what is happening with Rose. Secondly, we know that Rose is not the kind of character that would just stab someone, even if it is Asshat. Lastly, it is the most compelling part of the story because it effects every other character in the show, opening up many more intriguing possibilities.

The Trio’s Fragility

Unsurprisingly, Alexia and Natsume find themselves at odds when Alexia brings up that they should find Rose before Oriana Kingdom does to find out the real context. Natsume tells Alexia to pump the brakes because Rose carefully kept both of them out of the loop for a reason. Alexia finds it slightly offensive and infers that Natsume is suggesting that they abandon her. Then, the most humorous aspect of their relationship begin to resurface as Alexia pulls Natsume’s shirt in a balled fist like a bully getting ready to wail on a little kid. Natsume uses her sarcastic distress response of “please don’t kill me!”

This is still one of the most surprising and fun relationship dynamics stemming from the previous arc. Every character before Beta and Alexia acted independently in the story besides the Midgar sisters. Having meaningful characters establish relationships between each other and be somewhat important to the plot makes it feel like they matter that much more.

Alexia brings up the fact that she already knows that Rose hid her personal concerns for a reason and brings up the fact that they all made a pact together to be “sworn allies,” including Natsume. Both of them agree to continue gathering information and Alexia makes her way out.

I always found it ridiculous that Alexia would try to make such a strong and trustworthy pact with a stranger like Natsume. That would probably be my biggest criticism from a logical standpoint of Alexia, Rose and Natsume becoming allies so quickly. I guess all three of them experiencing the whole Cult of Diablos fiasco from the previous arc is enough..

Beta stays back and speaks with a Shadow Garden member. It turns out that Rose escaped into a sewer and was seen “grabbing her chest” on multiple occasions.

At this point, Shadow Garden is pretty much aware of anything that is happening in the story. It feels pretty convenient that they do know everything, but I guess it’s the joke in the end.

The Smell of Elves

The scene shifts to Cid and Skel watching the Bushin Festival fights with Skel sweating out his terrible gambling decisions. Cid deliberates over the loss of Rose as he reads the newspaper over Rose possibly “eloping.” Taking it as face value, he wonders if he should find another “patron.” Then, he gets back into the mindset of what his role-playing journey has been all about and that is the The Eminence in Shadow underground war that is going on.

As Cid starts to leave the auditorium, walking through a tunnel, he runs into a mysterious new character. Out of the blue, this mysterious character states that Cid smells like elves; asking him about if he “knows any elves that look like her,” stating further that “she’s my late sister’s daughter.” Cid answers that he “does know of some” and she iterates the same question about knowing any elves that look like her. Because this mysterious elf character has a hood on, Cid asks her to take it off. Then, she reveals herself to look almost exactly like Alpha and Olivier. Seeing how she looks, Cid purposefully lies about knowing another elf that looks like her and the mysterious hooded elf makes a surprise attack on Cid.

With the addition of a brand new character in Annerose bringing in the laughs, we now have what looks to be a more serious character in Beatrix. Given that her appearance is very similar to Alpha and Olivier, there’s a direct correlation to the Cult of Diablos plot. Introducing a fresh new character that potentially has several plot implications keeps these episodes well balanced unlike the previous episode with a heavy focus on the comedic irony.

Cid sees her attack coming in slow-mo and assumes that she will stop short of cutting him. In that moment of the elf swinging, he decides to play right into his “background character” role and suddenly falls over, acting afraid and scared like any NPC would. Surprised that she thought that Cid was strong, the elf apologizes and then introduces herself as “Beatrix.” After a long and awkward pause while holding hands, Beatrix says that he has a “good hand” and that he “will grow stronger.” They part way and Cid interestingly acknowledges that she is somewhat strong in her own right.

I’m not too sure what to take away from long pauses during these scenes. Honestly, I thought my video froze for a moment with the animation the creators chose. It might have made more sense to extend the pan up of them holding hands animation, but it’s a very minute detail in the end. I am guessing the “holding hands” part likely plays into another anime trope as the “I know you are a good guy” moment. At face value, maybe it is just Beatrix acknowledging Cid’s potential?

Is this the first time that Cid has acknowledged someone’s actual strength besides Aurora? Besides the “hahas” about battle power from Goldy, these are the small little details in what characters say that gives us real indication of how powerful other characters are. No matter how oblivious Cid’s portrayal is at times, his “battle prowess” and actual ability to judge other characters’ strength have been accurately noteworthy.

Annerose Explains Crack

Before the beginning of Mundane Mann versus Goldy Gilded, the man who beat up Mundane from the previous episode strokes a conversation with Annerose. They ponder over Mundane Mann’s preliminary fight against Gonzales Machombre and what exactly Mundane did to defeat Gonzales. Quinton speculates that he could be using an artifact and Annerose very carefully mentions that he for sure “moved his right hand.”

As both Quinton and Annerose anticipates Mundane’s fight against Goldy Gilded, Annerose explains how Goldy has been labeled the “Unbeaten Legend.” Annerose has encountered him three times in tournaments, but he immediately forfeits if he can’t beat the other opponent, self labeling himself instead as the “Ever-Victories Golden Dragon.” Building off what we currently know about Goldy from the previous episode, he is actually really good at determining who is stronger than him, thus how he remains “unbeaten.” The one other important insight into Goldy is that he never got to display his true strength.

There are so many layers to these characters “judging” each other’s powers. The show has used Cid and Shadow Garden to show the differences in people’s strength like how Alpha appeared before Iris to show how weak she is in comparison. In this case, Goldy has become the epitome of the biggest anime trope joke of “power levels” being meaningless. Now, we have Annerose parodying the character that can actually witness Mundane’s true strength. Tack on the fact that Cid is the character that can actually gauge everyone’s strength, makes it all the more amusing.

Mundane Man vs Goldy Gilded

The match begins and Goldy Gilded dashes right away to swing right at Mundane’s neck and Mundane Mann dodges it by cracking his neck. Annerose commentates and explains what is happening to Quinton, stating that Mundane “cracked his neck twice.” Both watch in amazement as what Mundane Mane did couldn’t have been just a coincidence.

Goldy, frustrated at his nonchalant attitude starts a patronizing monologue about Mundane being extremely lucky and how he should be a lot more afraid. Carrying on the joke about power levels, Goldy keeps decreasing what he thinks about Mundane’s power is as he mentions that it was 17, down from 27 & 33 from what he mentioned to Skel in the previous episode.

Goldy powers up in a “golden glow” like he’s some kind of Super Saiyan and shares that is power level is 4,330. Like any powered up shonen character, he shouts out his attack as “Demon God Fatal Strike! Golden Dragon Blade!” Right where Goldy was about to hit Mundane, Mundane suddenly has a bout with allergies and lets out one big sneeze, sending Goldy Gilded face planting into the ground, ending the fight.

I know the fight between Mundane and Goldy was just a way to poke fun at these cliche anime tropes. I still thought the scenes were great and pretty damn funny, but thought there could have been a little more offered here on the animation side and maybe just a little bit more action. Given how this fight went like how the fight with Shadow versus Aurora went, this is likely another crescendo starting moment for more epic fights down the line.

Goldy is such a perfect parody 😂

Once again, Annerose explains to Quinton what went down with the sneeze and Quinton doesn’t take it seriously at all. He walks away in bewilderment, mentioning that he would expose Mundane. Annerose, flabbergasted at what happened starts to humorously mimic what Mundane did by cracking her neck and sneezing. Looking at how ridiculous she looks, she embarrassingly leaves the stadium.

Sometimes the best kind of humor is taking something kind of ridiculous and stretching it to the nth degree. That is what we have here in Annerose’s character. The ridiculous nature of mimicking Mundane like it is something to be taking in seriously is just as delusional as Cid was when he was Minoru, living out his heroic fantasies. Still, there is some semblance of relatable truth to what Annerose is doing, thinking we are onto something when we are not. In reality, it just ends up being cringe.

These are the kind of jokes that epitomizes what The Eminence in Shadow does for comical satire. Up to this point, this has pretty much been in line with the style of presentation the creators have been doing for humor. Without actually reading the manga, I probably would have found these kind of moments even more hilarious, but the anime still made me smile. My whole preference for these kinds of scenes would be to create it more like an emphatic punchline, but I still found what they did as pretty funny.

Iris Sniffing Something Weird w/ Sir Perv Asshat

For the first time, we get to see Perv Asshat in the flesh with the Oriana King. As it turns out, Perv doesn’t look injured in any way and may not be injured at all. Speaking part of his name into the light, Mr. Asshat condescendingly speaks to Iris about what happened, mentioning the Alexia kidnapping fiasco. Sitting in a hypnotic state, the king mindlessly says in multiple instances, “do as Perv Asshat says.”

This scene was relatively short, but gave tons of insight into what’s actually happening with Rose and the plot that is brewing behind the scenes. Perv Asshat is clearly the main or one of the main antagonists. Rose’s Oriana Kingdom have been compromised in someway for some time, since she was promised to marry Perv Asshat. In no way does this paint the complete picture, but it does tell us the “who.”

I kind of like the fact that Iris is always in a position where she can’t really do anything. At some point, Iris will have her moment? In a way, she’s kind of stuck in her role like Skel and Po is. After Rose, you have to think Iris is the next in line to grow as a character. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking?

Mundane Keeps Sneezing

Slipping away from another testy plot point, the scene shifts to a familiar looking gentleman with his head covered in the ground, head standing. In a snoozer of a fight that didn’t even make it onto the screen, Mundane sneezes himself to victory against none other than the balded ruffian, Quinton.

The audience is absolutely confused by Mundane’s victories, while Skel is profusely sweating over all of his gambling losses, sending messages to Po about “giving him more funds.”

Mundane Mann starts walking into the tunnels of the auditorium and runs into Annerose. In another dig at anime tropes of characters revealing that they “know something” and warning the characters that “this won’t work on me” scene, this sparks a super ecstatic Cid to pull off another scene that makes fun of exactly that. Mundane Mann drops pieces of his armor on the ground that ends up cratering parts of the ground like he’s Piccolo. Annerose instantly reveals to Mundane that “that doesn’t mean you’ve won,” as she reveals Mundane’s super secret technique and cracks her neck. Mundane says, “okay” and starts slowly walking away in Psyduck-like confusion.

I couldn’t help but laugh my ass off to Planet Namek as Cid was overly ecstatic about making this a moment of something super revealing to Annerose. Once Mundane Mann started taking his weighted armor off, I couldn’t help but think that this show has been referencing Dragon Ball Z this entire time.

Rose’s Violence Against Asshats

For the 3rd time, we get teased with another Rose Oriana cliffhanger. As it turns out, Rose is being chased by a bunch of swordsmen, but who they work for isn’t quite so clear. One of the soldiers that ended up attacking her, gets slashed by her with her saying that she purposefully “avoided his vitals” and that he should “seek help.” Then, she turns around and runs away again.

Last Thoughts

What This Episode Reveals

This episode really was just a continuance from the previous episode that built upon certain anime trope crescendo moments. Also, it advanced parts of the most important plot elements surrounding the fleeing of Rose from the “Asshat incident.” A few important revelations that came up were that Shadow Garden has been following Rose. Asshat is clearly one of the main antagonists as it looks like the Oriana King is under some kind of spell. There is “someone” trying to kill or capture Rose, likely being Cult of Diablos related. Also, they teased this whole Beatrix character that likely has some kind of ties to Alpha. These were all fascinating aspects of the plot that has been slowly being fed to the viewer underneath Mundane Mann’s arc.

A More Balanced Episode

Overall, this episode had a little bit more balance because of how the episode started with Alexia & Natsume discussing the “Rose situation.” The plot revealing nature of the Asshat scene with Iris explained a lot. How the episode ended once again with Rose running away in the sewers is one cliffhanger I still want answers to. These are all very compelling components of the story because characters that are not all powerful are in unsavory situations.

The Right Balance

With 16 episodes under the belt, it’s a big enough sample size to understand the formula that this story and anime is going for. Peak satirical shonen, One Punch Man, is a great example of what exactly you should do with humorous all-powerful protagonists. Use the main character for all the best comedic moments and show incredible fight scenes. All the while, focus the majority of the story on the other characters. These are the characters that are naturally weaker, have relatable qualities and have realistic character dilemmas that the audience can easily understand. All of these elements work perfectly in unison. With the right balance, The Eminence in Shadow peak is in similar stature to One Punch Man. I would say that this episode is close to that framing.

What Issues The Eminence in Shadow Runs Into

This is where some of the episodes that focus a little bit too much on Cid can actually be not that interesting. There needs to be a struggle. There needs to be something to try to overcome with certain challenges that characters must face. It’s even better when these characters are faced with something unexpected that they must overcome.

All in all, this episode was quite a bit better than the previous episode. This episode built upon making fun of all of the previous episode’s parodies of anime tropes. Goldy Gilded, Annerose and Quinton all had their hilarious moments with Mundane Mann—with the scene between Mundane Mann and Annerose in the tunnel being the best. Unlike the previous episode, there were a ton of more scenes that provided insight into the plot with Rose and even teased something new to add to the story with Beatrix. Is she somehow going to be related to the Rose Oriana situation or is she there for a different kind of setup? These are the kinds of questions that naturally gets elicited, which continues to make this anime fresh and exciting. While I didn’t experience the depths of the far ends of different kinds of emotions, there were very funny moments and tense inducing scenes. For that experience, I can still say that this was a very good episode. This anime continues to stay near the top of anime recommendations for 2022 and 2023!


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