Inori MinaseSuzuko MimoriSho HayamiFairouz Ai
The Eminence in Shadow: Season 1
Also known as: Kage no Jitsuryokusha ni Naritakute!
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2022
Director: Kazuya Nakanishi
Writer: Kanichi Kato
Actor: Asami Seto, Ayaka Asai, Fairouz Ai, Haruka Shiraishi, Hisako Kanemoto, Inori Minase, Kana Hanazawa, Maaya Uchida, Reina Kondo, Rina Hidaka, Seiichiro Yamashita, Shin Matsushige, Sho Hayami, Suzuko Mimori, Yoko Hikasa, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka
Keywords: anime, fantasy, harem
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 20 episodes
Website category: Anime 2022
Review date: 31 May 2024
Kage no Jitsuryokusha ni Naritakute
It was okay for a while, but halfway through I gave up on it. I didn't stop watching, but I stopped caring and I disliked the protagonist. I won't watch Season 2 (or indeed the sequel movie that's been announced)... but I'd have probably preferred the manga to this anime.
It's yet another power fantasy isekai with a stupidly overpowered protagonist. Sid is the strongest person in existence and there's no tension in his fights because it's impossible for him to lose. That's a familiar formula, but what makes this show different is Sid himself. Is he insane? That might depend on your definition, but he's definitely not right in the head. He jumped in front of a truck and killed himself because he wanted to become stronger than a nuclear bomb. (His plan was to get reincarnated in another plane of reality. His plan worked.) He's a massive chuunibyou. He cares about nothing except looking like boring and pathetic in public while secretly being Lord Shadow, the world's strongest superhero and mastermind. He loves humiliating himself for the sake of his public image as a background character.
Other people aren't part of his equation. He keeps defeating baddies, but probably just as an excuse for him to go apeshit and murder everyone in sight. He pulls bullshit out of his arse, then doesn't believe his own fake predictions when they coincidentally turn out to be real. We shouldn't be taking this seriously, of course. One of his aristocratic enemies is called Super-Masochist Arse-Hat. No, I'm not exaggerating. The guy's parents chose that name.
The results are ridiculous, yet oddly po-faced. Apparently, the manga is more comedic and makes Sid hammier, crazier and more ultra-violent, whereas the anime wants to be darker and edgier (i.e. actually being what Sid thinks he is). The Sid I saw is a cold bastard with little emotion and no empathy, not even caring enough to push away girls who are romantically interested in him.
...and there we have it. That's why I disliked the show. I can watch silly power fantasies. I'm amused by the idea of an insane chuunibyou protagonist and I wish they'd gone more like the manga. What I disliked was Sid's treatment of girls. Time after time, someone starts falling for him and he just ignores this. He never says, "I'm not interested in you/girls/people/etc." He doesn't dissuade her. He just treats her as an object, using or discarding her according to convenience. Eurgh. He's a dick. Yes, that fits his characterisation, but it made me dislike him. Despite everything, though, he still acquires a harem of women who are fixated on him. The most notable are Shadow Garden, his secret society of big boobs who live to serve him and can spring into action at any time to eliminate his enemies.
Alexia I didn't mind. She knows their relationship is a pretence. She sees through his fake love declaration immediately and only said "yes" for selfish reasons. Sherry and the chocolates weren't fun to watch, though, and thereafter it only got worse. He doesn't correct Rose Oriana's misunderstanding. Then, the Shadow Garden secret agents started bickering about boob size and discussing racy underwear.
Sid has two best friends, Skel and Po, chosen because they're losers who unwittingly support his facade of being a background character. He doesn't care about them as people. He ignores their actions and desires and would cheerfully drain their bank accounts for his own benefit.
Occasionally, the show's funny. "Stylish bandit slayer" in ep.19 made me laugh, for instance. Sid himself is psychotically humourless, though, and the show was liable to feel similarly po-faced to me, even though it isn't. You could call it a parody of isekai power fantasies, but it never deconstructs or subverts anything. It's just dialling the genre up to eleven, openly embracing its cliches and putting its own implausibility on a pedestal with ribbons. If you find Sid amusing, you'll probably love this series. Personally, though, I wonder if the show's targeting viewers who want to watch unironically and regard Sid as COOL AND AWESOME!!!. It's not for me, but the show was successful and will continue.
Its protagonist-worship is kind of painful, e.g. "How could anyone have this much power???" Personally, though, I'd have probably been okay had the show dropped its harem angle.