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Shadow: We are Shadow Garden. We lurk in the shadows, and hunt the shadows. That is all we live for..."
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The Eminence in Shadow (Japanese 陰の実力者になりたくて! / "I Wanna be the Power in the Shadows!") is a 2018 Japanese Web Serial Novel by Aizawa Daisuke.

Just like how everyone adored heroes in their childhood, a certain young man adored those powers hidden in shadows. After hiding his strength and living the mediocre life of a mob character by day while undergoing frenzied training by night, he finally reincarnates into a different world and gains ultimate power. The young man who is only playing at being a power in the shadows, his misunderstanding subordinates, and a giant organization in the shadows that gets trampled….. This is the story of a young boy who had adored powers in shadows possibly eventually reigning over the world of shadows in another world.

The series has a manga adaptation, a light novel adaptation published by Kadokawa, and English translation of the light novel by Yen Press. A spin-off manga, "Eminence in Shadow - Shadow Side Story" has been announced.

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The Light Novel contains the following:

  • Abusive Parents: The sole outcome after a child is exposed as being infected with Demonic Possession is that her own family turn against her, killing her or selling her to the Church who will do the dirty work.
  • Accidental Truth:
    • Cid spent years and went through tens of thousands of iterations making up the most believable cover story possible for justifying his Chuunibyou dreams: that the Diabolos Cult is persecuting all descendants of the legendary heroes. Just one problem... his research into a believable excuse stumbled on evidence of an actual cult, and it's all true.
    • When his sister is kidnapped and Beta tries to figure out where she is, Cid throws a dagger at a random spot on a map and declares she's actually being held in the opposite direction Beta had thought. In truth, he had already considered her a lost cause and was just humoring Beta. Turns out that direction was actually the location of the Diabolos cult base where Claire was held captive.
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    • Pretty much any time he comes up with some random idea of whats going on, it somehow turns out to be true, or he is vague enough on said topic that it looks like he was aware of it.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Claire, when she teams up with Milia in Outlaw City .
    • A chapter focuses on Nishino Akane, a classmate from Cid's former life, Kageno Minoru.
    • Quinton and Goldoh, revealing what had happened to them after being bought at Outlaw City.
  • Amplifier Artifact:
    • The antagonist of the second arc uses one in combination with a Red Pill during his fight with Shadow, not that it does him much good in the end.
    • Two antagonists so far have mistaken Cid's incredible power to be due to an artifact since they couldn't fathom the idea of someone being that strong naturally.
  • Apocalypse How: The "Red Moon" is the event in which the Vampires became more powerful. Long ago when the "Red Moon" occurred, the vampire progenitor, the Queen of Bloods, and her followers were able to wipe out several countries. It was because of this that in the present day, many swordsmen gathered to plan in assaulting the Red Tower, where the Queen of Blood resides to ensure that it never happens again.
  • Artificial Human: Cid and Aurora discovers a dimension where there are hundreds of pods containing lifeforms looking exactly like Olivie, Freya and even Aurora herself. This further confirms that the Order of Diabolos has a hand in the demon's creation.
  • Asshole Victim: Cid spent much of his childhood killing bandits in secret. Since these criminals has done nothing but pillage homes and murder innocents, no one will miss them.
  • Badass in Distress: Most of the major arcs involved Claire, Alexia and Rose be in danger from the Order of Diabolos. It's revealed the cult wants their blood to create a new hero.
  • Battle Harem: An entire following of beautiful girls swear loyalty to Cid after he saves them from near death and offering them the chance to avenge their suffering.
  • Beautiful All Along: All of the girls of Shadow Garden are knockouts but the "Curse" turned them into these rotten lumps of flesh until Cid found a way to restore them to their true selves.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: After Miss Natsume joins into the group, it's currently her, Alexia and Rose
    • Alexia(Beauty) - She is the cool-headed and proactive girl and the princess of the Midgar Kingdom.
    • Miss Natsume(Brains) - She is the insightful and smart girl and is a famous author and is secretly the spy from Shadow Garden, Beta.
    • Rose(Brawn) - She is the brave and noble girl and the most skilled Swordswoman in all of Midgar Academy.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Shadow's entire shtick is that he comes to aid the heroes and overwhelm enemy forces with sheer power.
  • Big Good: Arugably, Cid and the Seven Shadows. They founded the organization, Shadow Garden in order to combat the Order of Diabolos and prevent the resurrection of the demon. One of their major objectives is to rescue young girls suffering from Demonic Possession and heal them.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Alexia may seem like your traditional Princess archetypes but Cid and possibly Iris, know it's all an act and that the real Alexia is rude, bad-tempered and generally, a jerk. But when the situation calls for it, Alexia truly shows she's a good person deep down, willing to put her life on the line to protect those she loves.
    • Her would-be suitor, Zenon is worse than her. He plays as the perfect gentleman in order to hide the fact that he's a cruel and arrogant agent of the the cult and wants to kidnap the princess to achieve wealth and fame.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Most of the times, the villains suffer their defeats after picking a fight against Cid/Shadow. One example is when a minion of the vampires wisely backs away from confronting two of the Monarchs of Outlaw City but when he sets his sights upon Shadow, he immediately attacks him; thinking he was weak; not knowing that Shadow is the bigger threat compared to the former two and the minion pays the price.
  • Cassandra Truth: Due to how well Cid hid his true personality and abilities, so many people believe that he is relatively harmless.
    • After seeing Jimina(Cid in disguise) blowing away most of the competition, Annerose thinks he is a powerful warrior. Unfortunately, everyone she talks to refuse to believe this. This behavior is quite understandable due to the number of ridiculous ways Jimina succeeds such as cracking his neck to avoid a slash and merely sneezing to defeat a powerful attack.
  • Chuunibyou: Ironically this is what Cid thinks he is. He came up with the Diabolos Cult and the Shadow Garden out of nowhere, but everything he claimed turned out to be true. Still to this day he believes that his friends are playing a game and the people they go after are ordinary bandits, unaware that he is leading one side in a Secret War, created a N.G.O. Superpower, with an Amazon Brigade that have Undying Loyalty towards him. Along with said women believing he is The Chessmaster.
  • Civil War: After the king was killed by Rose, the Oriana kingdom is divided into factions. The Royalists who stand by the Oriana Royal Family and the Doem faction who pushes for Doem to take the throne.
  • Corporate Warfare: Happens in the Yukime and Gettan Arc.
  • Cosmopolitan Council: The Knights of Rounds are 12 extremely powerful knights and the true leaders behind the Order of Diabolos.
  • Counterfeit Cash: Cid and Yukime's plan to undermine both Mitsugoshi Co and the Great Commerce Alliance.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Out of the battles Shadow has fought in, his battle against both Iris Midgar and Beatrix displays how much of a badass he is. And the whole world now knows it.
  • Dying Curse: After being killed by the legendary heroes, Diabolos placed a curse on them so that they and their descendants would suffer painful deaths.
  • Fake Relationship: Alexia blackmails Cid into it so that Zenon would stop making advances towards her.
  • Flipping the Bird: After Alexia starts to feel attached to Cid, she asks him to continue the Fake Relationship they had with each other a little longer. Cid, having gone through a lot of trouble thanks to her, naturally ends the relationship but does it by flipping her. Alexia didn't take it too kindly.
  • Forced into Evil: Viscount Olba and his daughter, Emilia went through this after the Diabolos Cult kidnapped the latter to make her father become their pawn. Emilia was then used to become their weapon in two separate occasions until freed by Shadow Garden.
  • Get into Jail Free: The first chapter of the Oriana Civil War Arc has Cid allowing himself to get captured by the guards.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Cid and his Shadow Garden were deemed suspicious by the Midgar Kingdom following Alexia's kidnapping. This gets worse when the Diabolos Cult manages to frame them for the attack on the academy.
  • Hostage Situation: Terrorists, impersonating as Shadow Garden members, attacked Midgar Academy and held the teachers and students hostage. This is a scheme by the Order of Diabolos to frame them for the crime and made them enemy to Midgar Kingdom.
  • Hot Witch: The Witch of Calamity, Aurora is a peerless beauty with long, black hair and vivid violet eyes. Her alternate identity is Diabolos.
  • Humiliation Conga: Two examples.
    • Both Goldoh and Quinton lost against Jimina/Shadow. Later, they foolishly challenged the denizens of Red Tower which results in their defeats and enslavements. The next day after that, they got sold.
    • Iris gets a taste on what a real defeat is like. After confronting Jimina, she gets defeated in one stroke. She later tries again but this time, allying with Beatrix but once again, Jimina/Shadow came out on top. After that incident, her reputation was soured, losing the respect of the citizens of Midgar and the Royal Bushin Style has lost considerable amount of their credibility.
  • Identical Descendant: It's revealed that Alpha is exactly the mirror image of her ancestor, Olivie. This also applies to Alpha's alleged aunt, Beatrix.
  • Jobber: Anticipating that he'll one day participate in a massive tournament, Cid has prepared 48 different moves in.....losing. He calls it Mob-Fu. When the time did came however, Cid was so into his first success that he cycles through the other 14 moves, completely defeating the purpose of becoming a mob character and he had to be dragged out of the bout because everyone became worried that he might die from his wounds. Not only that, he unintentionally attracts the attention of Sherry Barnett and Princess Rose Oriana.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: At the Corporate Warfare arc, Alpha battles a mysterious assailant named, John Smith ( Cid in disguise)
  • Look Both Ways: Cid has spent the night in a forest banging his head against a great tree while stripped of all clothing. By the time he saw the lights of a nearby truck, Cid is suffering from a massive head concussion and a possible case of hypothermia; making him hallucinate that the lights are the magic he long sought. He runs towards the source before being run over seconds later.
  • Love Confession: Played for Laughs. One of Cid's plans to achieve his dreams in becoming 'The Eminence in Shadows' is to confess to a beautiful girl and get dumped. Unfortunately, Alexia intentionally accepts Cid's confession much to the latter's confusion and dismay.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Everyone realize that Shadow can kill them all any time if he wants to. He unleashes his Battle Aura that is so strong that it causes weather manipulation.
  • Mega-Corp: Mitsugoshi Co is a trading company, well famed for its top-of-the-line consumer goods and innovative ventures. It's secretly run by Shadow Garden who were inspired by the knowledge given to them by Shadow. They use the company to not only amass vast wealth and power but also a front for their war against the Diabolos Cult.
  • Mistaken for Romance: Rose and Sherry goes through this; both believing that Cid has feelings for them.
    • Yukime thinks John Smith/ Shadow has fallen for her when he saves her from Gettan.
  • Mook Horror Show: Shadow Garden, specifically Shadow and Delta does this a lot to their enemies.
  • Morph Weapon: The Slime suits Cid invented and which all of Shadow Garden use are this. While slimes are normally very fragile, they are also excellent conductors of mana — a user with excellent control over their mana can channel their mana through the slime suit and create just about anything from swords to armor to fake breasts to wings. It does take a lot of control to pull this off since the mana pathways of slimes and humans are radically different.
  • Nuke 'em: One of Shadow's main goals is to find a solution to avoid this. His answer is to become a nuke, ultimately resulting in the birth of his Finishing Move, "I Am Atomic".
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Zig-Zagged with Cid. He does hide his true nature as a skilled fighter but most of his actions that help further the Shadow Garden's goals is just pure luck on his part.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Anytime Cid talks with the members of the Shadow's Garden. He fully believes that they are playing a game and due to him saving their lives they are playing into it to make him happy. The girls on the other hand know full well that the Diabolos Cult is real and are taking the Shadow's Garden Organization extremely seriously, believing everything he says is to further the Organization.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Vampires can grow more powerful if under a Red Moon and can actually revert back into human if they stave off blood for a long period of time. Vampire Lords aren't able to do that and if he or she swore not to drink blood, the Red Moon intensifies their pain and hunger.
  • Power Degeneration: The "Curse" is actually this — people with high mana are at risk of losing control of it, which mutates them. Cid figured out how to reverse the transformation by experimenting on the mutated Alpha, which not only restored Alpha but also granted her control over her increased mana. During the experiments, Cid also figured out how to replicate the effects in himself, increasing his own power in the process. Every member of Shadow Garden is a girl who succumbed to the "curse" and were subsequently healed.
  • Power Limiter: The Order of Diabolos uses several artifacts and devices to deprive their opponents of their power. However, one can bypass this and retain almost all of their magic if he or she can turn it so dense that it's impossible for it to be taken.
  • Psycho Serum: The Red Pills the Diabolos Cult engineered from Diabolos' blood increase mana power but come with the risk of destroying one's body and mind if they aren't already strong. They seem to be an inferior version of Cid and the rest of Shadow Garden's natural power.
  • Quality over Quantity: The series makes it clear that it's important on how magic is used rather than how much magic used. It's because of this idea that Cid and Shadow Garden are always clearly superior over the Order of Diabolos.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • It doesn't matter if you're a master of martial arts or have become a hulking giant, you are still human; thus you are vulnerable and can be killed. Although Cid acknowledges this, he only focuses on death by conventional weaponry like the Taepodong. He seemingly didn't take into account other factors like blunt force head trauma and the dangers of motor vehicles, two of which were responsible for his death.
    • While making your room look pretty is nice and all but the costs in doing so is high. Cid pretty much used up all his wealth he collected over the years to make it happen. Now, he's forced to scrap by any coins that he finds on the ground or borrow it.
    • Handling a Praetorian Guard is a lot harder than it seems. Not only you need money to keep the team afloat but there's also the problem with personnel. Hardly, anyone can keep up or can be at the same level as Iris Midgar and there's also the fact that has to be taken into account that anyone you try to recruit might be a spy working for the enemy.
    • While Cid is a badass, even he can be slowed down if he carries anything heavy like treasures.
    • It shown how a person with Chuunibyou is, in real world especially if taken to the extreme, an insane delusional person, and without help Cid is unlikely to be cured from it. It could be considered a miracle that Cid is as functional as he is.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Shadow tears down Zenon's idea of power before showing the vile man what real power is like.
    Shadow: How terrible. Don’t pretend to be the strongest with that mere level of strength. It is an affront to the truly strong. There is no path towards that title that involves reliance on borrowed power. What true strength really is……burn it into your eyes.
  • Religion of Evil: The Diabolos Cult wants to resurrect the demon, Diabolos in order to gain immortality.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Shadow's Garden main goal is defeating the Diabolos Cult to avenge their suffering and save the world.
  • Romantic Comedy: Cid obviously has a distaste towards that genre. Ironically, he is doing this without even knowing it with the evidence being his Unwanted Harem comprised of his Amazon Brigade, two Princesses, Shy Pink-Haired Girl, Hot Witch, Hooker with a Heart of Gold and the classmate from his previous life.
  • Secret War: Between Shadow Garden and the Diabolos Cult.
  • The Social Darwinist: The Beastkin species holds this mentality. They value strength and power, with hunting prowess being the most sought out. Any member among the tribe that shows signs of weakness will be executed immediately. Certain tribes like Yukime's are the exception to the rule.
  • Start X to Stop X: Shadow Garden plan is to hide in the shadows and tear apart the Diabolos Cult who uses the same method to achieve their own goal.
  • Sustained Misunderstanding: The premise of the series. The rest of Shadow Garden thinks that Cid is their all knowing and all powerful leader who has everything in the palm of his hand. Cid thinks he's just engaging in his chuuni fantasies and the rest of Shadow Garden are just his former playmates humoring him.
  • Teach Her Anger: Cid convinces Alpha to join in his cause by informing her that Diabolos and the cult were responsible for her mutation and the persecution she and others like her went through. After the lie is confirmed to be real, this cements Alpha's Undying Loyalty towards Cid/Shadow and hatred towards the Order of Diabolos.
  • Tournament Arc: Cid participates in the Festival of the God of War to play out the cliche, Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass.
  • Vice City: Outlaw City is regarded as one of the most dangerous cities to be in. There is never a crime nor at least shady activity this place hasn't done, openly supporting prostitution and slavery. They are ran by three leaders who are basically crime lords. One of them is a powerful Vampire who can bring about the end of the world.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Most of the Diabolos Cult goes through this after encountering Shadow.
    • After being thrown around like a rag doll and taunted by Shadow, Zenon enters into a wild rage. He then completely sweats in terror before Shadow vaporizes him with his Finishing Move.
    • Doem completely loses it after Rose ruins his master plan. He then goes into a Villainous BSoD after witnessing Shadow's true might.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Rose Oriana has become a fugitive and hunted by her own kingdom for murdering her mind controlled father. Alpha meets up with her and invites her to join Shadow Garden.
    • Cid captures Doem off-screen and performs Cold-Blooded Torture (or in his case, For Science!) on him thus setting up for the final battle to save the Oriana Kingdom.
  • Wham Line:
    • "How did you know of the Diabolos Cult?" Thus making everything Cid has made up to sound cool turns out to actually be true.
    • The Witch of Calamity, Aurora also goes by the name Diabolos.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: Cid and his two friends try to use their chocolates to get dates:
    • One friend tries to get the attention of a classmate who is always by herself, only to find out it's because she has a jealous fiance when he tries to give her chocolates.
    • His second friend did everything he could to find out everything about his crush from her likes and dislikes to her three sizes, unaware she noticed he was doing this and calls him a stalker.
    • Cid, who couldn't care less and wasn't interesting in the chocolates, just hands his off to Sherry, the first girl he sees. She develops a crush on him.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: A version of it. In this world Chocolate is a very new and popular item (as Cid was the one who gave Gamma the knowledge of how to make it). To Cid, it's just a common treat, so he gave it away as he just didn't want it at the time. Sherry, the girl he gave it to, after finding out how difficult it would normally be to get chocolate, believes he just gave her a very expensive gift and was confessing his feelings to her.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: When Cid arrives at the capital of the Oriana Kingdom, he learns that it's overrun with Zombies; a ploy made by the Order of Diabolos.

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