One must never forget their eternal gratitude to the Shadows House.~The Lord of the Shadows House and the Shadow Family, The Grand Creator AKA, The Great Grandfather
You mustn’t think unnecessary thoughts. Living Dolls must feel nothing but loyalty toward the Shadow Family.~Mia
But Living Dolls that are not loyal and useful… will be discarded…~Mia
- The Visuals
- The Story In SHADOWS HOUSE
- The Best Things About SHADOWS HOUSE
- The Negatives In SHADOWS HOUSE
- Overall – SHADOWS HOUSE Anime Review
- My Recommendation – Who’s This Anime For?
(Scroll Up To See The Headings After Clicking)
SHADOWS HOUSE – a caliginous anime that plays on the theme of the innocence of children and contrasts it with the malfeasant nature of the residents that live in Shadows House.
This anime is very reminiscent of the game Little Nightmares – both use the pureness and wholesomeness of children, but when you start to learn about the truth of the world, you begin to understand how corrupt and sinister the world truly is.
SHADOWS HOUSE plays with this contrast throughout the entire anime, while slowly unraveling the depraved, enigmatic mystery that is SHADOWS HOUSE.
Another anime that does this is The Promised Neverland. Funnily enough, the studio behind The Promised Neverland – CloverWorks, is the same studio that’s behind SHADOWS HOUSE.
With the atrocity that CloverWorks left behind that is The Promised Neverland season 2, how did SHADOWS HOUSE turn out???
Let’s break it down.
My Impressions On Moments That Stood Out [No Spoilers]
Episode 1: This anime seems interesting. You can clearly see that they designed this anime to have a lot of mysteries, everything is unknown (to begin with) but will be uncovered down the line.
I like the setting, I mess with the art but the BIGGEST thing that’s standing out right now is the MUSIC.
From the OST to the ending theme, to the unique opening (it has no lyrics) – GOODNESS!
I also noticed that the OST is mainly violin-based rather than it being piano-based, you rarely actually see this.
Episode 8: As someone that knows how to play the piano, I really appreciate how they ended this episode with Edward’s solo performance; the song went with the reveal that was shown at the moment.
Episode 10: 8:08~ Ok… THAT was FIRE!
12:07~ I think there’s more to the drink than meets the eye.
15:56~ I called it.
11:41~ Wooow, the dolls either used to be human or are still human… I did find it weird how Emilyko started bleeding red if she’s just a doll but wow… This is messed up.
11:51~ Kate literally just said that Emilyko is human so… damn…
The way the other humans escaped their brainwashing was completely BS, they basically just needed “Talk-no-Jutsu” and they were back to normal meanwhile, Emilyko damn near drowned in water… Come on now…
In every anime season, there are popular animes that the majority watch, the trash animes that no one should watch, and then the decent animes which are unfortunately lost in the shuffle – Shadows House is one of those animes that got lost in the shuffle.
With animes such as My Hero Academia Season 5, Tokyo Revengers, To Your Eternity, 86 EIGHTY-SIX, the final season of Fruit Basket, and more… you can quickly see how the SHADOWS HOUSE anime became overshadowed.
Nevertheless, even the lesser-known animes can still be quality.
The Visuals In SHADOWS HOUSE Anime
CloverWorks – the studio that has adapted animes such as The Promised Neverland, Wonder Egg Priority, Darling in the Franxx did a good job with the visuals.
The visuals were above average but I wouldn’t say anything crazy – it’s very clean looking. There’s enough detail to make things look nice but it’s nothing mind-blowing. How they shaded areas gives the visuals this portrait-like look (which is similar to Vivy -Fluorite Eye’s Song-) but has WAAAY less detail than Vivy.
The art (on average) would be at a B2/B1 tier but at its best, peak to the A3 and even A2 tier but it didn’t happen often.
The animation is more on the average side compared to the art. This anime does have its moments where the animation reaches B2/B1 tier but the art is what shines in the visuals.
After seeing this, do NOT think that this is just some “maid” anime, there’s more to this anime than meets the eye.
This anime looks visually dark so if you’re watching the anime on a display that’s not good with shadows, you may think that this anime is too dark, but it’s really not.
The visuals are visually appealing but it’s not shocking or anything out of this world. This anime looks like if Toilet-Bound Hanako-Kun and The Promised Neverland came together.
SHADOWS HOUSE anime has the color and style of Toilet-Bound Hanako-Kun but character designs look very reminiscent of The Promise Neverland.
The Story In SHADOWS HOUSE
Far, deep within a dark, baleful mountain, past the dense, thick smog, lies an ominous manor that holds the name – Shadows House. Shadows House is governed by lords called Shadows; inky-black, shadow-like humanoid beings that masquerade as noblemen.
These beings emit a large amount of soot so they manufactured dolls and assigned them the responsibility of tidying up the soot. These dolls are called Living Dolls.
The anime starts with a young girl, waking up in a coffin, not fully understanding what her situation is. She discovers that she’s in a small, dark, shed of a room and navigates her way out.
As the story progresses, she meets a Shadow, she meets other individuals, and the story and world begin to expand.
This is a mystery anime, and they purposely tell the story from the perspective of the main character and to begin with… She knew absolutely nothing… and so at the beginning, you (the viewer) also don’t know anything.
The main character, with her overly optimistic demeanor, leads you into thinking that this is an innocent anime but there’s one thing that always keeps you on your toes…
The Best Things About SHADOWS HOUSE
The OST (original soundtrack) is foreboding for the majority of the time, it keeps you on your toes. A wholesome moment could be occurring on screen but the music insidiously insinuates that the situation is more wicked and flagitious in nature.
You can tell that they TRULY took CARE of the OST. From what instruments were purposely chosen, to how they were played, the OST truly sets the tone of the whole anime.
The OST isn’t one of those hype OSTs where you’ll hear in animes such as Attack on Titan or Seraph of the End. It’s very classical based, meaning, the OST mainly comprises of instruments that you’d hear in an orchestra.
Rozen Maiden is another anime that has this gothic-sounding OST.
The main instrument that was played was mainly a violin (which is rare). This gives the viewer the vibe of this gothic, Victorian London-type setting without having seen anything yet, then you add in the art style… the music fits in EXTREMELY well to what was going on, on-screen.
The Themes And Imagery
I’ve already touched on how they’ve played with the contrast between pure and corruption, it was really well done. You then add in the music, this anime becomes eerily unsettling.
Seeing a positive, supportive, older-sister type (almost motherly even) character that looks after everyone go from this-
Man… This was just one of several scenes that were chilling…
You see signs of cruelty, a hierarchy system, slavery, and immoral acts that no person should have to go through BUT… they only give VERY, very “subtle” hints.
The Characters And Character Development
If the writing and the music are joint first place for me when talking about the best things about the anime, the visuals and the character development would be joint second place.
The character development was surprisingly REALLY good in this anime, it genuinely rivals animes that are truly phenomenal.
I guess, that in itself speaks to the quality of the writing of this anime.
As for the characters, I won’t be delving into the characters as much, as a lot of the mystery in SHADOWS HOUSE has to do with the characters themselves. Who are the bad people? Are there any good people? Who are the ones being forced to act against their will???
What I will say though is that the characters in this anime were just ok. There wasn’t anyone that excelled in anything in a particular way but because of the great character development; I liked them more at the end of the anime compared to when they were first introduced (both the good & bad people).
The Negatives In SHADOWS HOUSE
So… the negatives… what is the bad things about this anime???
This is one of those animes that’s generally solid across the board, the pacing was good, the music was great, the writing was there and yet, if you’ve already checked out the score that I gave, I didn’t give SHADOWS HOUSE a masterpiece rating (90+) or even a top tier score… what gives???
Though this anime doesn’t have anything inherently “wrong” or bad, the good things that are in this anime could all be improved.
What Could Be Improved?
Earlier, I compared the theme of this anime to Little Nightmares however, this anime isn’t AS dark as Little Nightmares. I thought the balance of wholesomeness and wickedness was cool but it’s not at the same level as to how Little Nightmares does it.
To compare it to another anime, Made In Abyss does something similar; a lot of people are consistently being fooled by Made In Abyss. People view the cover and think that Made In Abyss is meant for kids but if you’ve actually seen Made In Abyss… you’d know that no kid should be watching that anime, because of how graphic it is, and that’s what this anime lacks.
SHADOWS HOUSE plays it too safe (in my opinion) for it to compete with the exceptional animes.
There were slightly too many light-hearted scenes for my personal taste; it wasn’t bad at all to have all of them but I’d like this anime EVEN MORE if there were more dark and sinister moments like how you’d see it in Made in Abyss (well, maybe not to that degree lol).
They should create an even bigger contrast between the themes that they were playing with and actually show a lot of shocking, thought-provoking, unvirtuous and iniquitous acts, that would elevate this anime to the next level.
Aside from that, all of the basics could be improved; the visuals were good but to compete with the top-tier animes, the animation could be improved. The characters were cool but having more unique characters would make it even more interesting.
Overall – SHADOWS HOUSE Anime Review
Overall, I liked this anime. I really like how they wrote the mystery. You start off knowing absolutely nothing and they answer a lot of questions throughout the anime. This anime ultimately ends on a reveal which expands into the world.
Again, the writing is good; I picked up on how all of the Shadows would refer to themselves in 3rd person (they never outwardly state that, that was a thing). I can see how that small fact could play a major role down the line.
The second season of SHADOWS HOUSE was announced two days ago (11/09/2021) so I’m keen to see how the characters will interact with “those” shadows.
Speaking of the characters, I actually ended up liking them by the end of the anime but I can’t claim any character to be my favourite – they all were just cool, not great.
The pacing, visuals and characters were good and the music was great. The Japanese voice acting was solid (which is pretty common nowadays), just not exceptional.
That’s basically the best way to summarise this anime. This is a solid anime with no real flaws but at the same time… SHADOWS HOUSE doesn’t excel in any category which only allows it to reach but so far.
It’s still a fun experience and I’ll definitely be checking out season 2.
My Recommendations – Who’s This Anime For?
For those that are complete beginners to the world of anime, I’d recommend you start out with other animes before watching SHADOWS HOUSE. There are better animes out there that will do a better job in showing you why anime is so amazing.
For those that ARE anime fans but have never watched a mystery anime before, this IS a really good starting point. This isn’t the traditional detective-type mystery anime that you may be used to and this anime could lead you into other more serious mystery/adventure-type animes such as Made In Abyss, Ghost Hound and From The New World (I recommend all of those great animes by the way).
For the more experienced anime watcher, people that have seen 200+ animes, I feel like this would be an anime people will enjoy or they straight up won’t (there won’t be any in-between). This is a cool anime but if you’re expecting this to be a Death Note tier mystery anime… you’ll be disappointed.
Lastly, for the veteran anime watchers, I honestly believe most of you would thoroughly enjoy this anime. Being veterans, you’ve seen a whole wide range of different types of animes from the exceptional to the absolutely garbage animes, you’d be able to see the nuance and quality of how it was written and executed (whether you end up liking the anime or not).
“Ok… I’m sort of interested in this anime, where can I watch it???”
Well… the Blu-ray and DVD of SHADOWS HOUSE will be released in 6 volumes (meaning, you have to buy 6 Blu-rays or 6 DVDs to be able to watch all 13 episodes)… This is because each Blu-ray comes with 2 episodes (though, the 6th volume contains episodes 11, 12, and 13).
The Limited Edition Blu-ray volumes 1-5 are priced at $70.51, while the Limited Edition DVD volumes will cost $60.18. Blu-ray volume 6 is priced at $ 80.24 (it contains 3 episodes).
As of the 13th of September, volumes 1-3 are already out. Volume 4 will come out on the 29th of September, volume 5 will be out on the 27th of October and the final volume 6 will release on the 24th of November (all in 2021).
If the STEEP, steep price of $432.79 for all of the episodes in Blu-ray doesn’t tickle your fancy, SHADOWS HOUSE is now available at Funimation.
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Thank you for your time.
- Good Visuals
- SHADOWS HOUSE is written really well, they did a fantastic job in delivering a compelling mystery.
- SHADOWS HOUSE has GREAT orchestral music that complements the visuals extremely well.
- The pacing was mostly solid; it did slightly drag a little 3 quarters into the anime but it quickly picked itself right back up.
- SHADOWS HOUSE plays it a little too safe for my personal taste but is still enjoyable.
- I wish they showed more darker and shocking scenes. SHADOWS HOUSE had a couple scenes but I wanted to see more.