“The Shadows, characterized by their pitch-black appearance and tendency to emit soot when agitated, are a family of nobles who reside in a colossal manor deep within the mountains far from other humans. When a Shadow child is nearly of-age, they are assigned a Living Doll who acts not only as their attendant but also as their second half—the faces they could have had if not for their complexion.
Emilico is a cheerful, newly created Doll who serves a rather soft-spoken master named Kate. Despite their difference in personalities, Emilico does what she can to carry out the needs of her master. As she learns more about her role and duty, Emilico begins to meet her fellow Dolls and their respective masters and comes to know more about the purpose of her existence.
“Do not fret over trivial matters,” says one of the rules to which all Dolls must abide. But how could the ever-curious Emilico do so in the face of the deep secrets that the Shadows House holds?” – MAL Synopsis
So continuing my tread through watching the anime on my spring list I finally come around to what I believe was #2 on that list. That trailer sold me. I was fairly hyped to see this & I’m glad to report that it really didn’t disappoint at all.
I love unique concepts. I’m sure you can find something similar to this somewhere out there, nothing is ever 100% unique. But I’ve never watched something with a concept like this. The whole shadow and human doll aspect are so unique. Even within that, there’s a whole power system with the shadows that’s cool as well. This whole show truly felt like an old-school Disney movie. From the animation to the unique concept, the music, everything felt like I was watching classic Disney and that’s a big plus.
This world is great. I love how it progressively opens up more and more as the season progressed. The first episode only taking place in our main character’s bedroom then it opens up and we meet more of the cast and more shadows. Until we eventually get the whole picture of the world in later episodes. This world-building and storytelling was the highlight to me. While the show does open up its world more as it goes on, the vast majority of each episode’s run time is spent on intimate connections between characters. The first few episodes did a great job striking my overall intersection and also connecting me to the two main characters while also introducing some new ones and foreshadowing. As the show progresses, there’s this whole sort of mythology behind the shadows that get drip-fed here and there that I hope gets expanded on in the future. Overall the world-building is really good here and I enjoyed the story a lot.
There’s a lot of characters here. I’ll just say I really enjoyed them all. Like legitimately all of them. The Shadow master has this eerie mysterious vibe to him. The other kids are great and have pretty strong characters of their own. The main villain this season was super interesting and I can’t wait to see more of him. But I wanna focus on the two main characters.
Emilico and Kate are great. The main duo that’s focused on this season, Kate isn’t anything crazy character-wise. I still enjoyed her but she was nothing special. Emilico on the other hand is a student of what I like to call The Tohru Honda School. Just meaning she’s so genuinely nice and full of light. Genuine being the keyword there cause a lot of times characters like that can come off forced and unnatural but not here. It’s lovely and refreshing to see and learn the world through her naïve eyes. Not only that but she’s also pretty perceptive and shockingly resourceful. Her problem-solving skills are crazy. Just overall a strong main character.
The animation was really good and I loved the art style. I have to give praise where it’s due when a show can make pitch-black shadow characters expressive and emotive. Which is also helped by the voice acting. I watched the dub and I have no complaints. It was pretty good overall. My only complaint would be the singing sections (which aren’t prevalent) which weren’t horrible. But they weren’t good either.
The soundtrack is to die for. From the amazing orchestral opening. From the classic Disney-like orchestral music during the show to the fire pop song that is the ending. The soundtrack is amazing and the visuals that accompany the opening and ending are great as well.
This is easily my shortest review and that’s for a reason. This concept is unique and is executed well enough that I think as a whole it’s worth a watch for everyone at least once. It’s short enough, only totaling 12 episodes this season, and it’s enough to justify that sort of recommendation. I didn’t want to spoil or overtalk about this anime because I really enjoyed the way the world opened up. I think that’s an experience in itself while also learning about the mythology and powers of the Shadows. In terms of anime that have come out this year that I’ve watched so far this is one of the better ones. I’m ecstatic season two was announced. There’s a lot of room for this show to grow on what’s already really good.
Shadows House – 8/10
Notes – I’ve been watching Odd Taxi and man has it been an interesting experience. I can’t wait to review this. Also been doing a lot of story writing. I think I’m gonna start linking my Wattpad down below.