I wonder if I can get a different gif of Maryrose dancing every week this season. I doubt it. AniList doesn’t even have her s a supporting character so I figure she’s probably not going to show up all that much. It’s a fun theme for now. I’ll keep it going for as long as I can.

Maybe I’ll cheat and grab unused dances from these early episodes. I wonder if the Shadows family throws big balls. That would be a very useful scene for me!

Last week I wondered if the ED we got was in fact going to be the OP for the rest of the season. It isn’t. We got our first look at the actual OP this week. I like it! A lot in fact. I love Shadows House’s choice of music. It’s always unusual with classical elements and very thetrical. I like the ED quite a bit as well. I think I liked both just a bit more in the first season but I’m not complaining at all. These are great!

It seems that Shadows House has moved from a moody atmospheric mystery to a tense more action-driven still mystery. I can’t say which I enjoy more. I do appreciate the change of pace though, it keeps things fresh. Another thing I am appreciating this season is the nice clear and simple goal the narrative has set up for us.

Shadows House is mostly made up of riddles and unanswered questions. It’s a very odd world that’s not obvious to properly get your mind around. So balancing that with a simple call to action helps the narrative not get to bogged down or full of itself. Shadows House is drugging the humans in order to control them. So Kate and Emilico need to figure out a way to save their friends from that situation without getting caught themselves. Easy to understand, clear and relatable motivations and high stakes. Great setup!

But there’s more going on of course. There’s always more going on in Shadows House. You know one thing I just realized. I don’t know why they are collecting soot. I understand that the shadows can use it up to a certain point but they can only use their own, right? I think I dimly remember that the mind control coffee also uses it. But in general, I’m not sure why soot is important. I think that’s a big piece of the puzzle.

There were a few great moments this week. I loved the scene with Benjamin (the big guy who is often with Barbie) lashes out in anger and pins Maryrose to the wall. Their living dolls have to reenact the scene perfectly but you can see that they don’t have any of the passion that drives the actions so it looks completely off. I thought it was a great illustration of just how odd the premise is.

I also thought Kate’s secret letter to John was quite clever. But not as clever as Emilico putting on a little impromptu show to hide Shaun from the room allowing him to spit out his coffee. Who’s head is full of sunshine now? That was a brilliant move and one she came up with on the spot. She might not be brainwashed anymore but are we sure she hasn’t been switched?

I enjoyed the older kids being introduced. Oliver seems like a lot of fun but I also have a feeling he’s going to be a lot of trouble. And finally the mysterious Christopher. We don’t talk about Christopher! We know that dolls break and shadows dissipate. They are not eternal and it’s not that unusual for a member of the Shadows family to disappear. So why is everyone so on edge about this Christopher fellow?

As always, Shadows House does a great job balancing baffling questions with just enough clear-cut answers and action to avoid becoming frustrating and keep me on the hook. I wish I watched this one with a friend or two so that we could throw crazy speculations about what’s going on around!

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18 thoughts

  1. I spent the episode wondering if we’d heard about Christopher before. It would make sense for him to be introduced at that stage, so I tend towards no, but a casual mention is the sort of thing I’d be forgetting, so…

    Barbara (? I mean the face, not the shadow) turns out to be a *very* interesting character. Looking forward to her further development.

      1. Would make sense. It’d be a bit weird to have the shadow have the shortened name. (Not impossible, though, given their dynamic.) I’m horrible at remembering names.

  2. “But I don’t think Holy Grandpa’s soot powers were discussed so far. Are you a manga reader?”

    Not to mention Episode 10, where Shadows of the Third Floor disscuss from what coffee is made of (Grandfather’s soot) and how it effects Dolls and Shadows.

  3. “But I don’t think Holy Grandpa’s soot powers were discussed so far. Are you a manga reader?”

    I read the manga, yes, but in 11th Episode Dorothy mentioned it while talking about soot coal – that while it’s effect not as strong as Grandfather’s, it works at villagers well enough, making them easy to manipulate.

  4. You know, that’s one thing I liked about the first season. Coming here to throw stuff at the wall & see what sticks. I’ll try to do that this season, too.

    No, you were right about last episode’s ending song, Irina — it is this season’s OP. The song actually reflects the story, like last season’s ED. It’s sung from the perspective of a depressed “marionette”, who drinks some coffee to forget her sorrows. Yes, the singer actually says it, “how about some coffee”. A couple lines later, this sad drama fest turns into happy party music with electro-synth music blaring. The marionette chants the family mantra — “don’t fret over trivial things” — while the choir repeats “shadow” in the background!

    Anyway, like the Vanitas showrunners, these folks have a knack for choosing good songs. My favorite is the ED from season 1. It’s written from the perspective of a “doll”, wondering who she really is. Its constant use of assonance reflects the doll’s frantic search for her identity. What’s funny is that the repeated sound is “ai”, or “I”. Probably a coincidence.

    Coming back to the plot… If I’m Kate, one of my key priorities would be figuring out how to take out Barbara. Or better yet, how to turn her over to my side. Controlling 60% of the house’s soot production would give you immense leverage…

    1. I think neutralizing the effects of the coffee would be my gambit. Finding out where they keep it and tampering with it maybe…

      You and Dawnstorm definitely made season 1 way more fun for me

      1. Hey, I feel the same. Really, I should thank you for the posts, they’re always great fun to go through. And I really love the exchange of ideas between this little community you’ve gathered. As much as the posts themselves!

        Speaking of, let me just congratulate you on exceeding 3,000 followers. I don’t know how much it means to you. And it may seem like a super small slice of this world wide web. But it’s still an impressive achievement! Anyhow, thanks for being you.

        1. Thank You! I’m actually super proud, for decades I couldn’t convince a single person to listen to me go on about anime let alone do so willingly.

  5. “You know one thing I just realized. I don’t know why they are collecting soot. I understand that the shadows can use it up to a certain point but they can only use their own, right? I think I dimly remember that the mind control coffee also uses it. But in general, I’m not sure why soot is important. I think that’s a big piece of the puzzle.”

    Susanna actually explained the reason behind soot collection in the previous Episode – soot is treated and then turned in the soot coal (you can see the process in the 1st and 13th Episode of the first season). It is valued as energy source for Shadows House, but it is also used as a “gift” for the people of the nearby village as this soot coal also has brainwashing properties (albeit not on par with Lord Grandfather’s soot), and by using it people become more susceptible and think that to give their children to the mansion is an excellent idea (as was explained when Ryan and Dorothy in 11th Episode went to the village for the new group of children).

    1. Did Susanna really explain that? Not sure how I missed it. Anyhow, thanks. And yes, I do remember the huge furnace from season 1. Energy, then.

      But I don’t think Holy Grandpa’s soot powers were discussed so far. Are you a manga reader?

  6. “I understand that the shadows can use it up to a certain point but they can only use their own, right? I think I dimly remember that the mind control coffee also uses it. But in general, I’m not sure why soot is important. I think that’s a big piece of the puzzle.”

    Susanna actually explained the reason behind soot collection in the previous Episode – soot is treated and then turned in the soot coal (you can see the process in the 1st and 13th Episode of the first season). It is valued as energy source for Shadows House, but it is also used as a “gift” for the people of the nearby village as this soot coal also has brainwashing properties (albeit not on par with Lord Grandfather’s soot), and by using it people become more susceptible and think that to give their children to the mansion is an excellent idea (as was explained when Ryan and Dorothy in 11th Episode went to the village for the new group of children).

    1. I knew the brainwashing part but I somehow missed the fact that it’s coal. Thanks that really brings things together

  7. I really like how the shift in style/genre was handled because it does feel like the natural sort of escalation that the show would take you on. Kate and others know more about Shadows House now, so changing how it operates feels like a good sort of chess game. The odds are so stacked that its just a fascinating watch to see if Kate and Emilico can pull off their plan.

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