First Impression: SHADOWS HOUSE

In a giant mansion up in the mountains, a girl and four other children meet up with the residents of the building. These enigmatic, shadow-like nobles offer them a drink, which then leads to the children swearing allegiance as “living dolls” to the house. We then follow the girl, who will later be called Emilico, as she tends to and cleans after Kate, the shadow noble who she was assigned to. With Emilico being kinda clumsy and Kate being somewhat reserved despite her negative emotions literally emanating out her body as soot, their interactions are a bit awkward at first. However, they manage to establish a camaraderie with each other in the end. After some time, while cleaning the window, she catches another shadow-doll pair walking outside in the hallway, with the living doll giving her a dirty look…

I’ve already been following the Shadows House manga for a while now, so this was another thing I had been looking forward to since last year. I will focus my thoughts first on the anime by itself, before I put my perspective as a manga reader. So far, the animation has been really good, and it sets the whole Gothic vibe of the show. The music has especially been in good in emphasizing this aesthetic, with “a hollow shadow” employing an uncommon case of an instrumental anime OP, and ReoNa’s “Nai Nai” being a good modern take on it.

You might notice a lot of similarities to The Promised Neverland with this anime, from the Western-like setting, to the dark mystery of the story, to having female main characters in the series. For me, personally, I actually got into the manga after Kaiu Shirai recommended it early last year, and it does somewhat fill the void that TPN left after its ending. However, another similarity that SH has with it is that they’re both animated by CloverWorks, and ever since what happened to TPN Season 2, I have been very worried that a similar fate would occur with SH, especially in regards to the pacing of the plot. Episode 1 went over the first six chapters of the manga, and while they were more Slice-of-Life and focused on Emilico and Kate, it felt like there were certain parts that went too slow and very fast at the same time. Another interesting thing was that certain scenes, such as Emilico being given her name and her being brought into the Shadows House with the other children at the start of the episode, are either plot points that still haven’t been outright touched upon until now, or just things not shown at all in the manga. Unless it was a case where it was mentioned in a volume extra or if the mangaka Somato did give clear instruction with the anime, I’m more concerned on whether these will be contradicted by the manga itself in later chapters. Overall, I like what I’ve seen so far, but I’m still very cautious on how it will end (hopefully, based on how much I think they would adapt from the hints in the OP and ED, the same way TPN S1 did).

SHADOWS HOUSE is streaming at Funimation and AnimeLab.

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