「安息の地」 (Ansoku no Chi)
Barely two weeks in and Eminence in Shadow is helpfully reminding me why I still like the series so much. Shallow story, cookie cutter characters, and overt humour focus maybe – but wrapped up together it makes for one tasty package. My sides would already be firmly chuckled out if not for the knowledge plenty more is set to come; after all, this is the kid who just offed the supposed final boss of the arc.
As gone into back in the first season, Eminence in Shadow’s strength is its combination of awareness and parody. At heart it knows its peddled wares are middling at best, deep down it understands the limitations of its cast. That is what makes a lot of these scenes, in a Konosuba sort of way, outright funny. Cid of course remains the focal point for the humour, with his still-present love of Mary’s foreboding introductory lines the perfect example of what this series is all about: the whole thing is corny, it can arguably be embarrassing, yet Cid keeps using them – and repeatedly to the same face at that! – because darling that’s what chuuni dreams and fantasy memes are made of. That adherence to the larp is what keeps separating Eminence in Shadow apart from the more serious isekai crowd, because the train of thought becomes not how Cid will climactically overcome the latest enemy, but how he will do it in the most stereotypical fashion without any idea his fantasies are actually reality. Whether it’s a format that will eventually wear out its welcome is beyond the point right now – for the moment it’s great and there’s still plenty of ways to make it work.
Helping in that regard is then the plot of this arc and the more “serious” details at work. Mary after all is a vampire, a former maid to the Blood Queen Elizabeth, and also now a mutual confidant – among other things – for Claire given her own fears about being affected by the hunger (though it’s a running bet if Claire’s actual illness is her sadistic brother complex): wouldn’t suspect it’ll be long before both have to deal with Cid and Shadow Garden in a more formal capacity, particularly given the latter organization’s research into vampires and what Claire is set to discover on top of the tower. Well, at least until Cid blew it up. Tack on the teased matchups with Juggernaut and Yukime alongside whatever comes out of Elizabeth’s heart and Crimson’s apparent death and you know full well Cid has plenty of opportunities to further hone his chuuni talents.
May take an episode or two, might require the likes of Beta to get increasingly imaginative in elucidating Cid’s desires, but rest assured this season is nowhere near done yet with going full atomic.