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The Eminence in Shadow Episode 1 Review – Best In Show

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The Eminence in Shadow Episode 1 – Quick Summary

In The Eminence in Shadow Episode 1, “The Hated Classmate,” Akane Nishino tried to put on a good face at school. But the effects of a traumatic incident in her past stalked her. It didn’t help that one student, Minoru Kagenou, seemed to barely acknowledge her. What did he do? He could not remember her name, no matter how many times she reminded him. Plus, he always seemed to look past her! Then something happened that changed her view of him forever. What happened to her? What role did he play? And why did the ED play at about the 17:00 mark?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Favorite Quote from The Eminence in Shadow Episode 1

The Eminence in Shadow Episode 1: Cid Kagenou was a realistic sort.

See that little dot just under the warhead? That’s Cid’s head. Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

I appreciate realistic characters in anime. Yes, I put the words “realistic,” “character,” and “anime” together in a sentence. Unironically, even! I got a strong indication that Minoru “Cid” Kagenou just might be such a character.

Which is strange if you think about it…

Sure, I love characters like Anos Voldigoad. They’re particularly effective in shows with a strong sarcastic or parody elements. But there are times I crave a character that has limitations that just are not that easy to overcome. I really want to see a character admit that  just being more plucky or indulging in another training montage won’t be enough.

I got that in this episode.

After the fake ED that played around the 17:00 mark, we saw what looked like Cid’s transition from one life to another. Reflecting on how hard he had trained, he realized it would never be enough. Even if he could take on a squad of military-trained men, a serious enemy could just drop a nuclear bomb on his head.

Cid’s reaction? He thought (19:50), “But if a nuclear bomb hits, all I can do is evaporate.”

I applaud Cid for recognizing that humans have hard limits. Even if it looks like his reincarnated self might overcome them!

Best in Show Moment for The Eminence in Shadow Episode 1

The Eminence in Shadow Episode 1: Minoru remembered Akane's name!

He even smiled as he said good morning – and got her name right. Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

Setup: Misdirection Can Be Fun

What a cool head-fake! Seeing Minoru “Cid” Kagenou pursuing his goals prior to reincarnating in another word felt like a good way to let us get to know the character. By the time he died (which, I admit, came as a bit of a surprise), I respected him for his resolve and willingness to put in the hard work. Before the fake ED started, I felt convinced that the Cid was going to somehow bring that reality into being within the “real world.”

Nope! He died. Then reincarnated.

And the brief glimpse we got into that new world? The shot of the elf-girl snacking while everyone else prepared for an assault (21:00) won me over. That’s not exactly right – Snacking Elf Girl merely continued the wave of “okay, that’s cool” glimpses we got of the women who apparently support Cid in that world. Or maybe he supports them. It’s hard to say at this point.

The Eminence in Shadow Episode 1: Snacking Elf Girl is cool

Yeah, I think I’ll review this show. Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

I’m impressed. When it comes to animal girls, I have exacting standards. So far, these characters have met or exceeded every one of them! I feel like I should develop a Crow’s World of Anime Seal of Approval or something.

I’m still puzzling over how a single shot of Snacking Elf Girl made such a lasting impression!

Anyway. My favorite moment. The first two-thirds of the episode managed to snag my interest. We had some dramatic elements with Akane’s back story. We had a bit of a mystery about why Minoru stared past her and just could not remember her name.

“I’m pretty good at remembering the names of all the important characters,” he said at one point (03:01). Since he had just mentioned NPCs, I guessed he was a serious gamer. But that was just another head-fake. And it set up my favorite moment.

Delivery: A Tidy Narrative Package

Evil folks kidnapped Akane and intended to hold her for ransom. Apparently, her father was a big executive with deep pockets. Long story short, Minoru saw the abduction and tracked the abductors to a warehouse. There, he scouted the situation, put on a ski mask, armed up with two crow-bars, and dropped in through the skylight. It was an impressive entrance.

Until he said, “I’m just a Stylish Ruffian Slayer.”


But the ensuing fight looked solid. Minoru kept up a running dialogue that kept me entertained. Eventually he put the bad guy down (with three too many crowbar strikes – and I know crowbars!) and rescued Akane. But she didn’t learn who he was.

The Eminence in Shadow Episode 1: Minoru's fight scene looked great

The fight appeared well-choreographed. Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

Flash forward to the next day at school. Akane came up to Minoru and said good morning. She had every expectation that he would get her name wrong again.

Instead, he looked straight at her, smiled, and said (16:12), “Good morning, Nishino-san.”

It was a tightly wrapped narrative package. It showed justified character development. Also, it set up the shock of Minoru dying (16:50). It felt so complete that I decided that yes, I would review this series.

And then I saw Snacking Elf Girl and a large number of profoundly attractive animal girls (or is the acceptable phrase “remarkable character models?”). That sealed the deal.

What did you think of Cid’s soliloquy after the fake ED? What were your favorite moments in the episode? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “The Eminence in Shadow Episode 1 Review – Best In Show

  1. To be honest, I didn’t like much about this. I didn’t really hate anything about this, either, but this is a loaded season, and if there’s any show that I haven’t dropped yet that’s on the precipise, it’s probably this. The entire vibe here was one of “edgy, serious business”. Combine that general vibe with a rather brutal fight scene, and I’m mildly put off. When you wrote that you appreciate realistic characters in anime, my first impulse was to say “Pity you won’t find them here.” That might be unfair, but what I saw were just your avarage typical blasé characters. They’re not the ganbatte-shounen, type – but, well, you tend to find this characters in shows I tend not to like much, if they take themselves too seriously. And that’s the vibe I got from the show until Truck-kun sent him over… and then I got completely different vibes, way more comedic. Right now I’m just confused and sort of curious what they’ll do with it. So at least one more episode. I doubt I’d have watched episode 2, if it weren’t for that ending. I’m not optimistic, mind you, just curious.

  2. Yes! I watched this last night and I was surprised at how good it was. This is the most original first episode of an isekai I’ve seen in a long time. I love how they fleshed out his character in the real world before sending him to the next one. In some of the more recent isekai, who the main character was before they came to the fantasy world is either glossed over or not mentioned at all. This was a very nice change. I think this is going to be a good series!

    1. That’s my hope, too!

      And I’m still wondering why Snacking Elf Girl made such a huge impression! Maybe it was the sheer spontaneity of the act?

Please let me know what you think!

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