Let’s be brutally honest here. Most of us don’t watch isekai for their stories. 9 times out of 10, an isekai works like this: the main character—male or female—dies doing something honorable or idiotic, ends up being reborn/summoned into another world with magic, gains magical powers which lead them to become overpowered and they end up living a significantly better life than their previous one. Most of the time, this is the main setup for an isekai with a few exceptions here and there like Re:Zero.
However, we don’t end up watching an isekai because of the plot but because of the MC who can either make the series relatable, engaging and/or just downright different. Enter Cid Kagenou, a young man once from Japan, who ends up dying trying to be some powerful warrior who runs a secret organization from the shadows. When he does die and is reincarnated, he winds up under the role of Cid, who just so happens to be from a world of magic, gains a giant organization from his fairy tale story, and now, is probably one of the most OP warriors around. Cid sounds generic on paper but if you’re watching The Eminence in Shadow like we are, here at Honey’s Anime, then you’ll realize this man…is truly built differently.
He’s Cool, Edgy, and Plain Uncaring
Don’t feel bad if you were fooled by Cid’s personality, originally, when he was once Minoru who seemed like a vigilante more than a wannabe secret organization leader. Cid seems like he cares for people—as he saves his various “organization” girls—and even takes down an enemy in a similar fashion as them. The image Cid plays is a cool OP hero but as we learn later in The Eminence in Shadow, this man isn’t about righteousness or heroism, Cid is about becoming the strongest and taking down those he feels go against his own principles. In many ways, Cid is so different from the likes of Naofumi from The Rising of the Shield Hero or Subaru from Re:Zero. Cid is more like Hajime from Arifureta, he’s got his own principles and that is how he lives. It can be so awesome to see this in a character but you can’t deny that that makes him kind of cold when it comes to saving others or even when he explains why he wishes to grow in strength.
Makes His Story from Scratch
We all have friends who are vivid storytellers, they will lie about something but make the lie so perfect and grandiose, that you’ll fall for it most of the time. It’s common for those with few stories to share to make a simple tale into an epic. Cid, though… This man is a literal walking lie and yet, we can’t outright say he is a liar because he’s made his lies become a reality! Cid might have lied about being weak and losing to his superior sister or his “fake girlfriend”, but he also lied about a secret organization—in this case, Cult of Diablos—and yet it wasn’t a lie, they really do exist and plan to overthrow society! Our MC Cid made his lies/dreams into reality, and that is so incredible if you really think about it. We all have dreams or self-described lies that help us cope with the world and try to dream bigger than we can, and Cid is guilty of this, too. Yet, Cid didn’t give up on his dreams. He pulled a Shia LeBeouf, “just do it,” and made his entire chuunibyou fantasy into reality!
OverPowered but Doesn’t Flaunt it
Come on now… Most isekai protagonists aren’t shy about saying how OP they are. Lugh from The World’s Finest Assassin Gets Reincarnated in Another World As An Aristocrat and Tanya Von Degurechaff from Saga of Tanya the Evil, basically won’t stop proving how superior their abilities are! Lugh at least has a tinge of realization that he could possibly lose a fight—like when he goes against a dude he has to trick to beat in one hit—but most of the time, Lugh and Tanya are all about strutting their abilities, and making us go “WE GET IT!!!” Cid… This man goes around school losing in fights—sometimes comically like the sword tournament where he bleeds out an unhealthy amount—and just downplays his abilities. Cid is well aware he can’t be beaten easily and is very arrogant about his talent but he doesn’t flaunt them until the battle starts and even then, there are a few times he’s been surprised at what he can do. We love Cid’s attitude as he knows he’s powerful and proves it in combat by not winning every ten seconds to random people or the viewer.
Cid is a Troubled Soul Though
Now you may think we adore Cid and are wishing we’d be like him when we grow up here at the hive but, Cid is also a person we think is close to being a sociopath. When he’s the leader of Shadow Garden and going by the moniker Shadow—so original, right—Cid can be quite disturbing. There are no heroic actions going into this man’s mind but just a yearning to fuel his own desire to be a leader of an underground organization, become the most powerful and control things from the shadows. We can’t deny this makes us question how far Cid is willing to go for his aspirations as there are plenty of times he’s shown an almost alarming amount of heartlessness. In episode 9—which we mention a lot in this article but have done our absolute best to avoid spoilers, Cid actually makes a remark that he hopes his enemy's story doesn’t go too long as he clearly is bored and just wants to fight. This man literally murdered a woman for his own gain and yet, helped take care of someone like a surrogate father…there’s some depth here to be heard and Cid shrugs it off as an annoyance. Cid isn’t an anti-hero or even a vigilante. As we noted above, he fights because he wants to and whatever challenge comes in front of him he takes it if he feels it will push him to become stronger and closer to his visions. We are pretty sure medical books have been made about people like Cid…
The Eminence in Shadow has a story that is almost laughably generic but thanks to the MC, you can’t deny it is an incredible isekai! Cid Kagenou is straight up one of the most intriguing isekai protagonists and we can only wonder how he will continue to grow in future episodes of the series! But is he someone we should root for or worry about as a bad role model… We honestly don’t know.
What do you think about The Eminence in Shadow and Cid? Comment below to let us know as we would love to hear from you all! Be sure to keep stuck to our not-so-hidden hive here at Honey’s Anime for even more character articles and anime reviews!