Shadow House: Season 1 Episode 1 “The Shadow and Her Doll” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Emilico and Kate playing

Shadows House begins with establishing its core relationship, featuring two strikingly different opposites.


Shadows House begins with establishing its core relationship, featuring two strikingly different opposites.


Creator Somato
Director(s) Kazuki Ōhashi
Writer(s) Toshiya Ōno
Aired (Funimation) 4/10/2021
Genre Fantasy, Horror, Young Adult, Animation, Non-English
Introduced This Episode
Kate Yū Sasahara
Emilico Akari Kitō

This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text may contain affiliate links, which, if a purchase is made, we’ll earn money or products from the company.

Plot Overview

In an unnamed world, there is a whole kingdom of people whose whole body is Black. They are known as shadow people, and rather than be ostracized, feared, and persecuted, as you’d normally see, they are nobility. In fact, those with flesh and the ability to physically express themselves are their servants. Specifically, they are called dolls, and they are treated as representatives to the shadow people when dealing with the outside world.

In the premiere, we focus on just one member of the household, Kate, and her doll, which she names Emilico. The two are complete opposites considering Emilico is happy-go-lucky, clumsy, silly, and in her own words, uncouth. Also, before meeting Kate, it seems she not only couldn’t read or write but took the idea of being a doll literally and wouldn’t eat.

Thankfully, the poised and high-born Kate does her best to bring Emilico up to snuff. However, at times Emilico makes her anxious and uncomfortable. But with Emilico’s arrival being a sign Kate has come of age, she employs all the patience and understanding she has for Emilico is hers.

Review

Highlights

Opposites Attract

Emilico (Yū Sasahara) smiling
Emilico (Yū Sasahara) smiling

Watching Kate interact with Emilico is a comical dynamic. While not an utter stick in the mud, Kate definitely shows herself to be well trained in what is expected from a girl born into high society. Then with Emilico? Well, when introduced to us, she crawls out of a box, and we’re led to believe she was created. Though, all things considered, her being sold by her parents, kidnapped, or an orphan could also apply.

Either way, the beauty of these two is as much as Emilico is struggling with fulfilling her duties, Kate is patient and loving, in her own way, when it comes to Emilico. Which makes their relationship being the first and only one focused on in the opener a smart move. Even though, going by the intro, it seems, within the shadow family, there could be more sinister and interesting members of Kate’s family. Perhaps some who would help us understand how this show is part of the horror genre?

So Many Questions

Kate (Akari Kitō) watching Emilico
Kate (Akari Kitō) watching Emilico

The Shadow family are a perplexing bunch. Whether it is the fact that negative emotions cause them to emit soot, why they are all Black, with their skin absorbing any color, or how this whole doll thing came into place? There are so many questions of which we don’t get answers either due to Kate not knowing or being uncomfortable with the answers.

Initial Impression

With the premiere just laying the foundation of one of the more likable relationships in Shadow House, it is too soon to tell where this may go, either in a positive or negative way. Yet, with Kate being secretive and then Emilico meeting another doll who gave her an epic stank eye, whether it is interpersonal drama or something far more frightful, there might be something here.


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