Fighting Evil in the Moonlight. The Eminence in Shadow Episode 17 [Review]

The return of Claire Kagenou and Rose Oriana becomes reborn.

Recap & Reaction


In his dream, Cid ponders what he’ll say during his fights and gets caught up on a weight reference, in regards to how much power he’s actually shown in a fight.

Eh, another power level joke.

Cid wakes up and Skel comes knocking on his door once again. He brings news that there is a reward for capturing Rose Oriana, but Cid wasn’t having any of it, saying to himself that he’s pretty much for her running away.

Dare I say, she’s “eminently shadowy?”

As Skel continues to try to convince Cid, nothing was more convincing than seeing the arrival of a very important and likely abusive family member of Cid, Claire Kagenou. Cid pulls Skel and jumps out the window as Claire shows up to the door to try to greet Cid.

In this opening scene, it kind of wraps up the joke of the previous two episodes with the “power levels” trope and Skel’s terrible gambling addiction. What’s supremely great is that they are reintroducing a character that was long forgotten as the story has been building up all of these other characters. Bringing back Claire, puts Cid in a different kind of bind that we’ve been missing as an audience. Also, we get the opportunity to see how her character grows from here.

For the past 3 episodes, it’s pretty clear there is a major plot point coming with Rose. So, adding something fresh for the audience to ponder about in the beginning doesn’t make it feel like it’s been dragging on for so long.

“Moonlight Sonata”

Cid and Skel go out in the town square to ponder over their next steps to save Rose. Cid walks through town and all of the sudden hears “Moonlight Sonata” being played in the background. Reminiscent of episode one of the piano playing, Cid reminds the audience about how he learned to play piano and how he ended up enjoying playing it—including how it plays perfectly into his “Eminence in Shadow” path.

Hearing “Moonlight Sonata” being played through a building window, Cid walks in and finds out that the person playing it is none other than Epsilon, “The Precise.” Thinking that this could have been another reincarnated person, it’s clear that anything related to his real world is really just him and what he taught to Shadow Garden.

Epsilon’s character development has been similar to Beta’s, except Beta’s role is still quite a bit bigger in terms of her relationship with other main supporting characters like Rose and Alexia. So, she’s really being developed more like Gamma, giving her a specific trade and how she can operate in the real world.

Epsilon in a New Light

Cid and Epsilon sit down and catch up. Here, we learn that Epsilon is a pianist and a composer. Like Beta with being a novelist, she’s able to build a name for herself in society, especially in Oriana Kingdom known for their arts and culture.

Cid feels a sense of guilt and disappointment that all of these great works from his world are being “plagiarized.” After bringing up where Rose was, Epsilon mentions that she was in the “tunnels underground the Royal Capital .” Epsilon offering to aid Cid more, Cid refuses since he’s had enough information. Cid compliments Epsilon’s “pretty figure” and exits their meeting. Since Epsilon enjoyed playing the piano to Cid’s pleasure, he thought he’d compliment Epsilon in returns.

This scene just gives the audience an interaction we haven’t seen before with a one on one between Cid and Epsilon. Other than that, it was just a means for the story to advance by having Cid gain intel on Rose.

Then, Cid walks through a hallway and notices a big piano in the middle of the room. He paused for a moment to look, paneling back and forth between Cid and the piano; this is of course signaling Cid’s “bright idea” for the use of the piano for a particular scene.

Alexia and Natsume Go into the Royal Tunnels

Alexia takes Natsume to go into the “Royal Capital’s underground tunnels,” in search of Rose. In order to link the Church of Divine Teachings to the Cult of Diablos, they must find absolute indisputable evidence that links them. At this point, it’s clear to them that Sir Perv Asshat is a major player in this fiasco.

The scene just reiterates all the issues they are facing with the plot and even rehashing the Beta’s over-the-top acting.

This episode best represents why jokes must stay as a relief because doing the same kind of humor over and over again, loses its effect like with the Alexia and Beta banter.

Rose Blooms w/ Moonlight

How Rose Got Setup

It’s dark and gloomy in the middle of an underground tunnel. Rose lays down almost completely consumed by the Demon Possession with her dripping bloody sword. She recollects what happened when she went to go meet her father, King Oriana. She completely regrets her actions as she could have handled the situation differently.

The scene with her laying down, almost possessed with blood all over her sword is quite the badass look.

Rose stands in the middle of a royal room as she awaits her father. Very quickly, she notices that her father has been compromised. Then, the scene pans to Sir Perv Asshat and everyone else around the room. Clearly, everyone was in on it, leaving her to be the odd one out. Feeling the sense of danger and shock, she reacts by attacking Perv Asshat, giving him a small cut. By the use of her unnecessary violence, she was automatically deemed to be “going mad” and was ordered to be captured. Seeing the severity of her situation, she runs off.

As Rose runs away into the underground tunnels, Sir Perv Asshat gives her an ultimatum of “she must come back” or he’ll “make the king kill one of the other guests of honor.” From then on, it’s assumed that she’s been being chased by cult members ever since.

Here it is! The reveal of what actually happened and it is as straight forward as you can think. There wasn’t anything particularly that interesting or new that happened in this little runaway scene from Rose, besides the fact that we can confirm what actually happened. Honestly, Rose’s character is like what a ditzy airheaded blonde would be like if she was a swordsman.

These scenes here sets up the low of Rose and how she completely regrets what happened; even considering turning herself in. Here, she feels deflated by what happened and that is what sets up the next scene with Shadow making his entrance.

The Light in Rose & Cid’s Relationship

Rose brings up the sandwich that Cid gave to her the last time they saw each other, taking the audience back to what Cid’s response was to her question of “would you keep believing in me, come what may?” Cid answers, “yes.”

The contrasting effect of the underlying humor while portraying these scenes like it is something to be taken in as something seriously is one of the best qualities about the anime. Many of The Eminence in Shadow characters have these two kind of traits that makes it always have double meaning between the actual serious tropes versus the humor that’s poking fun at it. Rose plays into the main character’s love interest trope by saving a wrapper from Cid, giving herself comfort and belief. In reality, Cid probably had no idea what Rose was talking about at the time.

The Light Brings Wisdom

After playing “Moonlight Sonata,” Shadow stops and walks up to Rose to ask, “What you do hope to accomplish?” Rose regains her clarity and purpose as she spews out that she wants to continue to “fight and protect.”

There’s not much more of an obvious metaphor for giving wisdom than this scene between Shadow and Rose. Shadow essentially asks her if she has resolve in what she wants to do in her life, providing clarity for her path to continue fighting. Then, he literally gives her power.

Just think about how amazing this scene is. Cid is playing his role so well that it portrays exactly as intended. The creators made this scene so amazing and deserving of the next arc for Rose’s character. The entry of Rose seeing Shadow play “Moonlight Sonata,” followed by Shadow asking Rose if she truly intends to fight on is a very “coming of age” moment.

After Shadow saves Rose from the Demon Possession and grants her power, he leaves. Magically, a bunch of cult members arrive right after to attack Rose. If Rose is anywhere close to the powers that any Shadow Garden member possess, she’s probably even stronger than Iris after this power boost. In one fell bloody swoop, Rose gashes the large team of cult members to their bloody demise.

How fitting is it that only Shadow Garden members and now Rose have all the best bad ass fight scenes? Even though it’s the joke that Shadow is just pretending, but he really is “the moonlight in the darkness” as Rose puts it. Rose is now a character that we can see pre and post Demon Possession that is actually becoming a Shadow Garden member. Sure, we’ve seen the Shadow Garden inception, but there was a huge timeskip of Cid actually recruiting and training new members that haven’t been shown in the anime just yet.

Team Useless Infight

Alexia and Beta finally make their way to Rose. Alexia vehemently asks, “what is going on with Rose?” Rose with 100% clarity, says that she’s “obtained power” and “doesn’t want to get Alexia involved.” Again, Alexia brings up the fact that all three of them made a pact together to uphold peace. Totally fed up with constantly being cast aside because of people underestimating her strength, she starts a fight with Rose.

After the fight ends and Rose mentions how much stronger Alexia has gotten, she leaves an unconscious Alexia with Natsume. Before Rose leaves, Natsume tells Rose “how it wasn’t such a bad idea to build an alliance” and how “they’ll meet again.” These words allude to one thing and that is Rose’s path to becoming apart of Shadow Garden.

Giving us the “coming of age” type of scene with Shadow followed by some cool animated action was unexpectedly exciting and fitting for Rose. It just shows us how much Rose has advanced as a character. This is a character that is about to embark on a journey to be an outcasted princess, likely because she’s about to take down all the people that brainwashed her father, King Oriana. She’s the first character to experience this type of epic growth as a character, which makes it feel all the more amazing for what is about to come.

In the end, I found the whole alliance deal a complete miscalculation by Alexia. Her level of trust and “out of the know” was too great. As a character, her heart is in the right place, but it’s hard to see where her character fits into the story from now on. I guess there’s still the Natsume and Alexia friendship? One other significant part about this scene is that Alexia is a bit stronger compared to her last fights as noted by Rose. Will that be of some significance or will she just stay “mid?”

The episode ends with Cid happily walking home after being happy with how the piano scene went with Rose. All of the sudden, it’s almost like Cid completely forgot, Claire is standing in front of the door with Cid surprised. Claire stands smiling, assummingly underneath that facade brimming with flames of anger. After an awkward few seconds, Cid smiles and waves back, likely understanding that he’s about to gain another precious memory of his older sister giving him “the business.”

The Importance of Claire Kagenou

Ever sense Claire got kidnapped, I always thought her character had potential beyond being Cid’s sibling. When she explained to Viscount Grease about “learning everything from training with Cid,” that all manifested once again in this episode with Shadow saving Rose Oriana from the Demon Possession.

Cid’s role in this anime is best as the provider of wisdom to all of the other characters that need the growth like Alexia, Claire and now Rose. All the other fun elements like Mundane Mann is a fun contrast in small spurts. When Cid is actually playing as Shadow and going for the “Eminence in Shadow,” this is peak Cid as a character, as he literally gives power and knowledge to the other characters.

Having Claire come back at this point in the story is perfect because of how many characters grew during that time period. Now, it feels refreshing to bring back Claire into the fold for whatever reason. One thing you can’t have in a good story is too much predictability. In the previous episode, bringing Beatrix in the mix and this episode bringing Claire back, opens up more unpredictability, Let’s be real, Rose’s path has been clear and predicable, so in order to stay fresh, you have to introduce new elements into the story to open up more possibilities.

Last Thoughts

All in all, the first half of the episode felt formulaic with many “rehashing” kind of scenes. It felt like the creators wrapped up some ongoing jokes with the power levels and gambling deal. Also, the Epsilon scene was very close to the Beta scene where Cid found out she was Natsume for the first time. Add in the Natsume and Alexia underground conversation and you have a bunch of pockets within the first half of the episode where it felt “rehashed.” That’s where bringing back Claire was important at the very beginning of the episode.

The second half of the episode was amazing because it started by providing confirmation as to what happened to Rose. Afterwards, Rose bloomed. From the sad, sorrow and the disappointment of the predicament that she put herself in, to the “Moonlight Sonata” song transitioning to Rose “being born anew.” All of that was a big payoff from the previous few episodes. The fight between Alexia and Rose was just the cherry on top. What’s even more exciting is that she still needs to “prove herself” to Shadow and that likely means she’s about to take down Sir Perv Asshat.

Regardless of the slower first half of the episode setup, sometimes the payoff can be worth the wait. Here, we can say that Rose Oriana has risen to the top ranks of very good characters in this anime, as she provides more depth than being just comedic relief. With only a few episodes left, this episode gotten me hyped once again as this arc’s climax should be coming very soon.


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