The Big Picture

  • The Eminence in Shadow Season 2 continues to captivate fans with Cid’s hilarious and cringe-inducing antics as he strives to become the ultimate shadow broker.
  • Despite Cid’s overwhelming power, he remains a dense fool who is oblivious to the real dangers unfolding around him, adding a comedic element to the series.
  • The show breaks away from the generic isekai formula by showcasing Cid’s eccentric personality and his motivation to play out fantastical scenarios, making him a flawed but fascinating protagonist.


The season of “peak anime” has returned with the recent premiere of The Eminence in Shadow Season 2. The first season of the show was a breakout success, quickly rising through the ranks as a fan-favorite series. The wacky antics of Cid Kagenou (Seiichiro Yamashita) in his quest to become the ultimate power broker in the shadows, or as he likes to call it, an “Eminence in Shadows,” captured the imagination of anime fans across the globe. That fanbase has only continued to build with Season 2. With the conclusion of the first season, fans have been introduced to a fantasy isekai world of magic, where the story’s dense protagonist, Cid, is determined not to become the ultimate hero, not the greatest villain, but the character who interferes with the story, displaying his power from the shadows. Entering Season 2, creator Daisuke Ozawa and Studio Nexus expand the fantasy world, the progenitor vampires, the Lawless City, and its gangster-controlled districts. Cid’s elder sister, Claire, receives an expanded role in the opening story arc. However, what’s been most prevalent in Season 2 is Ozawa’s adeptness in showcasing more of Cid’s ridiculous antics as he descends further into his personal fantasy world. In Cid’s quest to become the ultimate shadow broker, he displays further cringe-inducting edgelord tendencies. It is those cringe antics that make The Eminence in Shadow infinitely watchable and side-splittingly hilarious. This is all about how The Eminence in Shadow Season 2 makes cringe into the new cool.

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Image via Nexus

The Eminence In Shadow

Cid Kagenou creates an elaborate plot to fight the Cult of Diabolos and builds his organization, the Shadow Garden.

Release Date
October 5, 2022

Main Genre
Anime

Seasons
2

Studio
Nexus

Season 2 of ‘The Eminence in Shadow’ Shows Off Cid’s Dorky Charm and Foolishness

Season 2 kicks off with a three-part storyline as Cid’s sister, Claire (Rina Hidaka), fresh off a default win at the prestigious Bunshin Festival, literally drags her younger brother to the Lawless City to investigate the rising vampiric activity. It’s not long before the city becomes ground zero a zombie ghoul outbreak caused by the celestial phenomenon known as the Red Moon. For Cid, that means Christmas came early, and he’s in utter heaven to make the city his new playground. When Cid first encounters some ghouls, he’s rescued by the ancient vampire hunter, Mary (Ai Kakuma), who warns Cid by reciting some cool, gravely serious lines, “Run if you value your life. The frenzy has begun. The moon is red. We’re out of time.” Of course, this means it’s time for Cid to break out his Shadow persona, and he proceeds to jet around the city, killing ghouls and saving bystanders, stealing the same lines Mary recited to him earlier. Cid plagiarizing Mary’s lines is so silly, but it’s part of Cid’s dorky charm. If he sees something he thinks looks cool, he will immediately start imitating it. Even his catchphrase, “I need more power,” is something he ripped off from Vergil of the Devil May Cry series.

The key to The Eminence in Shadow is despite all of Cid’s overwhelming power and innate brilliance, he’s a dense fool. He doesn’t realize that the Red Moon is a once-in-a-millennium celestial event, causing the zombie ghoul outbreak. The city’s faction of progenitor vampires, led by Crimson (Tomokazu Sugita), attempts to resurrect the vampire known as Elizabeth (Saori Hayama), aka The Blood Queen. However, while all the chaos reigns supreme, Cid is merely using the opportunity to workshop his Shadow character routine, along with stealing whatever cash he can find, not realizing that a world-ending threat is building at the heart of the city. The key to the series’ comedy is that Cid is so dense that he does not understand the danger that is unfolding around him. The stakes of the narrative are real. Usually, other characters have to deal with the villains until Cid arrives, dispatching them quickly, similar to Saitama in One-Punch Man. There is a clear reliance on tongue-in-cheek humor where Cid’s antics are concerned. Ozawa and the animators of Studio Nexus are aware of how goofy, over-the-top, and ridiculous Cid is as a character, and they embrace it. Despite being reincarnated in a world of fantasy, Cid is still a “chuunibyou” teen stuck in his own delusional fantasy world, and he’s all about playing the most stylish, goofy, edgy shadow broker that he can while enjoying life to the fullest.

Portraying Shadow for Cid Is a Performance in ‘The Eminence in Shadow’

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Image via Nexus

The arrival of The Blood Queen Elizabeth in the third episode of Season 2 is another expression of the show’s dichotomy between cringe comedy and serious stakes. Cid’s sister, Claire, is seriously wounded, and Cid’s allies in Shadow Garden are forced to battle Elizabeth. While the battle itself is fairly serious, where the lives of a whole city are at stake, things take a turn for hilarity once Cid arrives. Cid was late to the fight because he was raiding the vampire tower’s treasury to steal some gold since he needs money to fund his Shadow activities. Other characters witnessing the battle, such as the underworld head Yukime (Shizuka Ito), remark on how the battle is over-the-top and ostentatious. When in battle, Cid’s expression is all about making things look dark, edgy, and cool. For him, portraying Shadow is a performance.

The problem during the battle begins when Elizabeth starts using her powers, which start damaging all the gold coins Cid had hidden in his slime suit. As Cid tries to protect his treasure, he inadvertently uses his powers to protect the surrounding bystanders, who are none the wiser. Cid’s Shadow Garden subject, Beta (Inori Minase), who is on the scene, believes Cid is giving his all to protect his allies when in actuality Cid is merely trying to keep Elizabeth from destroying all his gold coins. The disconnect between Cid and his supporting cast is absolutely ridiculous slapstick, but it’s all part of the fun.

After the battle ends, Claire is fully healed and recovered from her grievous wounds. However, she’s been bequeathed a new power from the spirit of Aurora, the Witch of Calamity, complete with a special marking on her hand. Of course, Cid’s dense idiocy kicks in again, not realizing that his sister converged with Aurora. He concludes that Claire is now on her own personal “chuunibyou” journey of adolescence. But of course, Cid will continue to support his sister, as he expresses, “All children have walked this path at some point, and brushing off a child’s concerns is what drives them to delinquency.” In anime or manga, when teens have a chuunibyou-type personality, they suffer from extreme delusions of grandeur and act out elaborate fantasies. They wear bandages on their arms to contain a secret “hidden power,” or they talk about unlocking powers using magic circles and alchemical formulas. Of course, Cid is well-versed in such delusions, so he misunderstands his sister’s predicament as what he has experienced himself. Cid’s wildly ridiculous misunderstandings add another humorous layer to the show’s quality.

During the final battle, Cid unleashed the newest iteration of his most powerful attack, “I am Atomic,” except this version was a healing spell. It restores everyone in the city back to full health, returns the ghouls back to human form, and cures Elizabeth of her maddening vampiric third for blood. The whole “I am Atomic” thing has been a rallying cry of sorts for the show, inspiring legions of fans and reaction videos. “I am Atomic” epitomizes Cid’s cringe-inducing fantastical delusions, but the show executes the move with such aplomb, that it’s awesome, hilarious, and ridiculous, all at the same time. Cid later reveals that his decision to save the Lawless City was not one of philanthropic benevolence. As he points out at the end of the episode, “If I’m ever in financial straits, I can just go back…because the Lawless City is my piggy bank.” Cid didn’t save the city out of a sense of altruism. He only saved the city only so he could return to exploit it for more cash later on.

‘The Eminence in Shadow’ Is Not a Generic Isekai Series

Season 2 of The Eminence in Shadow exemplifies how, besides embracing the “cringe” and making that a source of the show’s comedy, Ozawa and the anime staff have crafted an elevated form of the isekai genre. The Eminence in Shadow, thanks to Cid’s goofy, eccentric personality breaks from the norm of the typical isekai, which usually entails an average character who gets transported to a fantasy world and becomes incredibly powerful. Usually, isekai stories act as power fantasy trips. The protagonist gains tons of power, wealth, allies, friends, and even a group of potential girlfriends.

Cid has extreme power levels, and while he does attract a large group of female suitors, he is not motivated by such things. He is only motivated to become the coolest Eminence in Shadow in the world and play out the fantastical scenarios that he’s imagined since childhood. Cid’s pragmatic worldview mixed with his genuine disconnect with the events happening around him creates a great source of comedy, and that has only continued to build throughout the second season.

Cid is the protagonist of the series, but he’s not the squeaky-clean, noble, altruistic, goody-two-shoes type found in typical isekai stories. He’s not only dense, he’s an absolute lunatic who only sometimes helps people, usually by coincidence, or if it fits in with the intent of his Shadow persona. Cid is a very flawed character, but those character defects only make him more interesting and entertaining. If Cid were more noble and benevolent, The Eminence in Shadow would not be the comedic trip that it is. Things are now taking another turn, as Cid introduces his latest persona, the rogue secret agent John Smith, complete with a nifty domino mask. He looks to be the very epitome of masked anime characters, and it’s absurdly cliché. Hopefully, Cid’s wondrous delusions continue for more fun throughout the rest of the season.

The Eminence in Shadow Season 2 is streaming on Hulu in the U.S.

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