Yui HorieMegumi ToyoguchiKodai SakaiShadows House
Shadows House: season 2
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2022
Director: Kazuki Ohashi
Writer: Toshiya Ono
Original creator: so-ma-to
Actor: Akari Kito, Arata Nagai, Atsushi Tamaru, Ayane Sakura, Daisuke Kishio, Hikaru Tohno, Junya Enoki, Kenta Miyake, Kodai Sakai, Mai Nakahara, Megumi Toyoguchi, Reiji Kawashima, Rie Kugimiya, Rumi Okubo, Sakura Komago, Saori Onishi, Satoshi Hino, Shino Shimoji, Takaya Hashi, Takeo Otsuka, Wataru Hatano, Yoko Hikasa, Yui Horie, Yumi Kakazu, Yumiri Hanamori, Yu Sasahara
Keywords: Shadows House, anime, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: Episodes 14-25
Url: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=23751
Website category: Anime 2022
Review date: 8 February 2023
Shadow House
Season 1 was impressive, weird and sinister enough that I was wondering if the show could keep it up for a second season. Answer: they did. It's just as good. We're learning more and more about the world of Shadows House and about the revolting truths underneath its pleasant-ish surface. These are big secrets getting spilled. I'm still surprised that Season 1 came out and told us what a Shadow is and where it comes from, instead of trying to keep us guessing for years. Season 2 similarly contains pretty big information, including the intended fate of all Living Dolls.
Let's recap! Shadow House is a happy, old-fashioned place where Living Dolls (who believe themselves not to be human) loyally serve the Shadows (silhouette-people with soot superpowers). It's a Darwinian regime where unsatisfactory Dolls and Shadows are regularly disposed of, but no one worries about this or even seems to think it's unusual. Indeed, thought itself is discouraged. "Don't think unnecessary thoughts," is a regular refrain, reinforced by the house's delicious coffee. Drinking this keeps a Doll subservient, obedient and happy! Hurrah for the coffee! (And also for the exhausting daily routine of cleaning, cleaning, cleaning and yet more cleaning, which suspicious persons might almost think was meant to stop inattentive minds from wandering.)
Every Doll has a Shadow. Dolls must serve, love and effectively become their Shadows. You can't see a Shadow's face, so the Doll's most important role is, literally, to be that Face. The most esteemed Faces are so good at this that it's as if they've abandoned all personal identity. This is creepy as hell.
Freaky? Oh, yeah. Charming? Paradoxically, it's that too. Our young girl heroines are Kate (Shadow) and Emiliko (her Doll). Kate is clever as hell and determined to uncover the House's darkest secrets. What's more, the show allows her to do proper detective work, eliminating suspects and following through on logical deductions. As for Emiliko, she's lovable, strong, energetic and one of the nicest people you could hope to meet. Kate and Emiliko really do love each other, as indeed do all Shadow-Doll pairs. (Well, except for the ones who deny that a Doll has an identity separate from its Shadow in the first place.)
It can be light and funny. I'm watching a few dark and/or sinister shows at the moment, as it happens, and all the others are more heavy-going than this. I always enjoyed these episodes. John is Kate's most reliable ally among the other Shadows, but also a comedy nutter with an out-of-control ego. Ep.3 has a big dangerous action set-piece... and to some extent it's played for laughs.
Underneath all that, though, this show is dangerous. Kate and Emiliko have needed both luck and cleverness to make it through another twelve episodes without having been disposed of. Your reaction to some suicides is likely to be "I hope I'd have done that too in their position". It's a good season with a strong, satisfying ending... but I need Season 3. Need it, need it. If they never make another season, I'll buy the manga. Hmmmmm. Maybe I'll buy the manga anyway.
You should definitely check out an episode or two of this. Even for anime, it's a bit different.