A massive fight we’ve all been waiting for and many future events to look forward to for season 2!
Recap & Reaction
Opener – A Salty Wet Mid
The episode starts off with rain pouring down and Mundane Mann standing over Iris with his sword holding up to her face. Starting the episode here gives up the perspective of Iris seeing everything from her point-of-view. Mundane notices Rose in the special seating section of the stadium and rushes through the glass to recreate his moment from the previous episode. As Mundane Mann starts to change into Shadow, Iris has flashbacks of Alexia warning her how powerful he really is and the voice of Alpha telling her to “get out of their way.” Iris screams out loud that “it was you!” Then, the scene proceeds where the last episode left off, Beatrix in a heated battle with Shadow.
Starting off the episode with the sad and somber with only the sounds of the rain was a perfect transition opener to capture Iris’s pride being shattered. Building from emotionally distraught to anger when she realized that Mundane was Shadow helped set the tone for the rest of the episode.
With the introduction of King Midgar in the previous episode, we now get to see the actual leader of the kingdom act as a king, talking to his servants about current situation. They are keeping tabs on Sir Perv Asshat as he skipped the embassy to go straight back to Oriana Kingdom. It is revealed that King Geerk’s body is in their possession. King Midgar orders his man to specifically deliver it “through Marquess Grant, a leader of the anti-chancellor faction.”
With there being many kingdoms, it was to see the story expand to the higher ups like King Midgar and giving him an insightful scene. The story still feels so small while there are so many other places that the story has yet expanded to. Many parts of this episode feels like a setup for more storylines down the line and this was just one of them.
Shadow vs Beatrix &..
Beatrix and Shadow begin their battle! With a similar attack that Shadow performed on Iris with some kind of “after-image” attack, Shadow spams this move, confusing Beatrix. Beatrix explains that “just as she can’t focus on every drop of rain, she can’t tell when Shadow moves.” Out of the red, Iris shows up to join the fight. This time, she brings a “Mythril Sword” that peaks Shadow’s interest, giving him an intrigued facial expression. This “Mythril Sword” is indeed artifact.
Iris asks if what she’s doing is “underhanded.” Cid responds with “to think you’d rely on that crutch” and the battle ensues.
Iris is mad, mad. Shadow trolling Iris and Iris never admitting defeat. I believe that’s going to be the formula during this entire match..
Considering how quickly the scene showed Shadow just toying with her, the question the audience have here is what wrinkle will be presented to give us something less predictable. I guess that answer was to bring Iris and have her bring a special sword artifact. I think it was safe to assume from this point on that Iris and Beatrix was meant to show how powerful Shadow is and to put on a beautiful display of fight choreography.
Escaping the stadium, Rose ponders what her next steps are. Out of the blue, Alpha offers her “two options.”
There is no real explanation for why Rose killed her father just yet, but the teasing of Rose joining Shadow Garden is starting to come to fruition. A lot of major fights in anime episodes have great transitions between the fight and another part of the story. Having this transitional scene between Rose & Alpha and the fight between Shadow, Beatrix and Iris, helped balance the flow of the episode, keeping it fresh.
Fighting Across the Kingdom of Mids
With amazing visuals, worthy of a finale Beatrix and Iris both get their shot at Shadow. Shadow interestingly says that “this one has potential,” likely referring to Iris’s Mythril Sword.
Given the epic music and flashy moments, this might already be the runaway best fight scene of the season.
“Fight by yourself or join Shadow Garden.” Those were the choices given to Rose by Alpha. Rose asks about whether or not they would help save Oriana Kingdom, Alpha coldly states that she needs to “prove her worth and Oriana Kingdom’s worth.” Rose apologizes to her father and agrees to join Shadow Garden.
This actually made me ask myself a couple questions in regards to Alpha. Does she personally go recruit members herself or is there something more special about Rose? Either way, I think we’ve all expected Rose to find her way into Shadow Garden.
I like these types of scenes for characters that have to make hard decisions and are backed against a corner. Sometimes it’s the good, bad or neutral that comes to these characters to offer hand. It’s a quandary we can all understand and relate to for Rose’s position.
Winning is Accepting Defeat
Iris continues to not accept Shadow’s overwhelming strength, questioning who he is. Shadow gives a classic response, “I am Shadow. This name, this form—they are my truth.”
Beatrix appears and questions if they’ve “met before.” Shadow responds, “maybe.” Further explaining that he “never forgets powerful opponents,” questioning them if they are worthy of that memory.
Shadow says he’ll show them “the witch’s secret art.” Beatrix and Iris dodge as they conclude it to be “vampire magic.” Iris responds with a fiery swing of her Mythril Sword. Shadow easily avoids her attack and kicks her into the river.
Beatrix surprises Shadow a little bit by slicing off one of his slime poles in a slow motioned scene. Iris looks from below the river, dripping wet.
I would have loved if they gave Iris the “Vegeta” treatment. Her character development similarly has his flavor envy and denial of his own strength. If the writer would have gave Iris a little bit more “non-accepting, in-denial” dialogue, I would have enjoyed it even more. Still, no big complaints from me. Beatrix and Iris are still having epic moments.
As Shadow and Beatrix’s sword fight continue behind Annerose in the middle of town, Shadow does the after-image technique again and Beatrix reveals that “she’s used to it.” Shadow explains that her fighting abilities are almost on par with “them,” except her “magical capabilities.” Right when he says that, Iris comes bursting in.
One little critique about Beatris’s character is that she’s a little too boring. No fighting moves or significant fight expressions. She’s pretty stoic.
Iris comes up with a plan to “immobilize” Shadow, willingly giving up her life as she wants Beatrix to be the one to “cut him down.” Given the animation change when something significant goes down, Iris goes after Shadow head on. In an attempt to catch him off guard, she throws up her sword to try to grab him, but Shadow avoids her attempt and immobilizes her with a knee to the chest.
It would have been nice if Shadow played pretend at least once by getting his ass handed to him kind like against Olivier. However, just ragdolling Beatrix and Iris still suffice as grand entertainment since we never get these kinds of fights ever in this anime.
Beatrix is charging up an attack in the background and she makes her attempt to strike Shadow down, but to no avail. Shadow easily dodges her and throws her to the ground on top of Iris. In an incredible display of strength, he stomps on top of their bodies, creating a bigger crater below them.
These are the kind of scenes where the two main characters actually show us that they have some trick up their sleeve, except Shadow is too beastly. This is the kind of scene or just episode in general where I would have loved Ufotable style animation. I know I’m getting greedy, but it passes as worthy entertainment.
Iris gets up, battered and yelling out cliches like “you’d think I would allow you to leave after all you’ve done?” Espousing further cliches like “all of Midgar is mobilized and will be coming after you.” Shadow bursts out laughing for an incredibly awkward amount of time. Absolutely flabbergasted by Iris saying “run,” he gets up to engulf a gigantic force field that almost encases all of Midgar. In a cliffhanger to the scene, Shadow grandly says, “playtime is over.”
What’s nice about this scene is the attempt to make us believe that Shadow is about to take out a whole city. Lately, the story has been toying with the idea that Shadow might actually go a bit too far in his sheer display of strength. However, he’s still shown to have a reasonable moral ethic code.
Shadow laughing, made me laugh pretty hard too because we know it’s Cid pretending.I love that element to the character.
Practice Makes Perfect
After one of the most long and grueling fights in the anime, it shifts to Alexia training. Struggling through her own powerlessness, she proceeds in her resolve to still become stronger.
Given the circumstances that Alexia is in, when Cid is Shadow, it renders a character like Alexia obsolete. This is a reminder like the previous episode with Iris, when Mundane utterly dismantled her—most of us can’t really make a difference on a grand scale. In this case for Alexia, she lacks the talent that Iris possesses, but she can still improve who she is.
Alexia might still be my favorite character. She’s the most relatable out of all the characters in this anime.
In a way, this could be mimicking Iris’s own struggles. Having scenes of Shadow just absolutely wreaking havoc over Beatrix and Iris, along with this force field; makes you think of the possible delusions these characters might have in regards to their own strength. When do you stop thinking you can be stronger? When is it time to accept that you won’t be what you think you’ll be?
The writer uses a similar scene with Rose and Iris in the previous episodes as character development. It’s a helpful scene to portray their own isolated issues, given that they are training. It’s kind of like those transitional camp scenes where characters bond and develop, before an important plot event.
Shadow is Above All
In Shadow’s grand display of power, Shadow powers up his most iconic attack, “I am Atomic.” Looking like an almighty villain getting ready to blow up all of Midgar, the scene does a complete 180 and Shadow disappears within a blinding light. In the background, Cid speaks, “this time it really is just for show.”
Seeing that Shadow left, Beatrix puts away her sword and Iris drops to her knees. Given how Shadow defeated her in devastating fashion, she starts weeping out loud.
Sadly, Iris can’t accept that she’s just plain mid.
Obsessed Sherry Barnett
Wondering where Sherry Barnett went? This scene shows her reading the newspaper of “Beatrix and Iris repelling the demon, Shadow.” In a demented laugh, she chuckles and says, ” I swear,” leaving the rest up for interpretation.
She’s totally plotting Shadow’s end.
Sherry has always brought a funny dynamic to Cid as a character. It will be very interesting to see how this Sherry, Cid and Shadow dynamic will play out. Having Sherry turn into an antagonist out for revenge is definitely an intriguing prospect for a future arc.
An Antagonist Lives On!
Sir Perv Asshat is seen in a room on one knee, speaking into a mirror. Another redhead man with a heavy armor speaks to him. It seems like this armored man is the true mastermind behind all of Perv’s actions. Given the lost of Oriana Kingdom’s King, he is certain that Rose will come back to try to rectify the hysteria the kingdom will be in.
We have yet to have an explanation for whatever key the cult is looking for that Rose has in her possession.
Beatrix and Iris Part Ways
Iris part ways at the train station with Beatrix telling Iris “not to obsess over” what happened. Beatrix sits on the train kind of deflated that she never found the elf that looked like her. Like Rose’s keepsake sandwich wrapper of Cid, Beatrix pulls out an origami of Cid’s wrapper, mentioning “that there were nice things too” to come from her time in Midgar.
We’ve learned quite a few things about Beatrix’s character. The one thing that went unanswered is that she is still looking for Alpha, which we would have to think will come up again in future arcs. What does the significance of this outcome mean for Beatrix, Alpha and Shadow Garden?
While the Knight Order is out distracted by this demon, Shadow, this ideally takes away their focus on Oriana Kingdom’s internal struggles. This allows Shadow Garden to continue their operations in Oriana Kingdom with as least impedance as possible.
Cid and Po stand on the train, getting ready for the start of the new school year. It turns out that Skel is stuck fishing on a boat somewhere, likely a result from his gambling failures. Po tells Cid all about this “Shadow Demon.” Cid gets slightly disappointed since Shadow should be more shadowy and not out in the open.
By the way, it turns out that Claire won the Bushin Festival.
I’m sure the writers had to shove in a lot in one episode, but it should be obvious to Cid that he wasn’t exactly lowkey. I would love to see an arc where someone starts to expose his true identity. Other than that, there are some nice scenes here that help wrap up and setup for future happenings.
Rose’s True Training Begins
Alpha takes Rose to their true Shadow Garden base operations, “the ancient capital Alexandria.” Apparently, “he” defeated a giant dragon that ruled an area beyond a “monster infested region.” In the dragon’s defeat, this dragon “dubbed him ruler of this realm, and bathed him in dragon’s breath.”
Alpha takes Rose to meet Lambda, whom will be training Rose. Lambda gives her the number “666.” Her name will now be “Number 666.” Lambda cuts away all of her clothing and tells her that she will “throw away everything.” Floating in the middle of her clothing debris is Cid’s sandwich wrapper. She reaches out for it, but Lambda slices it up. Once again, Lambda tells her to “throw away everything.”
Rose cries and reaches out in loving remembrance for Cid. The episode ends with “Moonlight Sonata” being played by Shadow in the background. Shadow tells the audience that he’s “done everything that he’s wanted to.” He’s “lurked in the darkness, merely doing what must be done. The hour of awakening is at hand. There is little time remaining.”
Moonlight Sonata is such an incredible song and fitting for Rose’s character development. It really does sound like a song that connects to the “rebirthing” of Rose as a character. Through Rose’s experience, we get to see the recruitment of a potential Shadow Garden member from the beginning of their Demon Possession to the process of being a fully fledged member. Getting to see the inner workings of Shadow Garden would be a complete treat.
With a perfect ending, Shadow leaves us with “I think I’m gonna do it like that next time,” reminding the audience of the show’s incredible humor.
An incredible season capped off by a worthy drawn out fight. There were two characters I wanted to see grow massively this previous arc and they were Rose and Iris. Seeing as they have been taking on a larger role in the story, this arc legitimately built great character moments during crucial parts of the entire story. Not only that, we got to see Cid as “Mundane Mann” and this episode as Shadow being more “challenged” than he ever has been this season. For the first time, we got to see an antagonist with actual wit and bravado in Sir Perv Asshat survive longer than one arc.
All my wishes for this arc came true. I have praised the anime so much in how they’ve used Alexia and now all I can think about is where the story will take Iris & Rose. That’s incredible writing; creating characters with meaning and purpose. The other gripe I had was being able to see at least one traditional anime fight. All the of the previous matches that involved Shadow had some fun moments, but sometimes throwing in a typical “shonen-like” fight is a payoff we all want to see anyways. Another satirical comedy like One Punch Man completely understands that and we all get rewarded with the season finale here.
Overall, the animation quality of the episode and the various interesting directions that literally all of the characters have setup makes me yearn for more. It completely feels like a giant roster of heavily developed characters with an endless amount of stories that the writer can tell. New land, new motivations and new plots—the season leaves off on an incredible high with tons of potential.
This is by far my favorite anime to watch for the past handful of months. Lets rile up some fan bases by saying that I like The Eminence in Shadow anime more than the Chainsaw Man anime. That’s how much I like this anime because Chainsaw Man is good and has a bigger cult following The blend of comedic satire mixed with a real story is completely unique and special to this anime, including a broader appeal.
This is an easy anime to recommend to anyone with a guaranteed good ending to the season!
This will be last anime review blog for quite some time! Until next time folks!
What’s interesting is how both the Sun and Moon play a part in Iris and Rose’s characters
The Sun is meant to be enlightenment, that Iris should understand now that she is not the most powerful in the world. Unfortunately, her collapse, having her face down on the floor shows her refusal to accept her newfound status.
The Moon represents isolation and love. On one hand, having the burger wrapper fly to the moon is to represent that Rose is completely alone now. On the other hand, given that the moon is Shadow’s motif, it can mean that Shadow/Cid will always be watching her meaning unbeknownst to her, Rose is far closer to her love than she realized.
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Nice insight! I love the Rose and Cid/Shadow dynamic in the story. I like to think of that last scene like a “rebirth” process for Rose. The story does a good job making Cid so close, but feel so far for Rose lol
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