「龍の涙」 (Ryuu no Namida)
“The Dragon’s Tears”
Much like Helck embraced the good old interlude before the main festivities this week so to has Eminence in Shadow gone the route of preparation. Or as is known in comedic parlance, the obligatory hot springs episode. Sure, there’s room for complaints about filler and all that (something something quarter of the season left to go), but no denying filler like this easily fills the void.
As brought up before the main strength – and the main thing I enjoy – with Eminence in Shadow is how serious misunderstandings and deliberate ambiguity quickly turn into gut busting moments. If last week was Yukime and Alpha talking themselves into success this one was all about Shadow Garden in general taking an otherwise innocuous event (comedic relief finding the hidden treasure) and turning it into a quest extraordinaire. Cid guaranteed simply forgot about the hot springs tickets because lack of immediate payoff (he is off on another adventure after all), but because Jaga and Hyoro approach the wrong (right?) girl it drags in Shadow Garden who naturally start reading far too much into the situation.
Outside of the comedy the main win, however, is the outcome of the shenanigans; Eminence in Shadow succeeds in part because episodes like this have their premises yield appreciable development on the part of the characters involved – i.e. Shadow Garden makes more money for Cid to drool over, the comedic relief gets a chance to shine, and certain secondary cast are featured in the spotlight. It ultimately keeps things interesting, which ensures that the overall show doesn’t grow boring – a risk that very much exists the longer Eminence in Shadow carries on.
Speaking of characters though we certainly got that and then some this time around. Besides Cid’s mob buddies proving why they’re left to their own devices, this episode helped give a few more Shadow Garden girls a chance to flex, particularly Eta who’s been a perpetual wallflower to date and Zeta who helpfully reinforces why Delta is a good girl. Can also wrap up Gamma doing Gamma things and Nu making her debut in the best way possible, but honestly it’s swimsuits and magical girl transformations winning the day because yeah, the pictures speak for themselves. Plot is plot after all, no matter the variation.
As for what form of plot the next arc takes, we’ll just have to wait and see.