The Eminence in Shadow Anime Producer Had His Own Cid Phase

The Eminence in Shadow Anime Producer Had His Own Cid Phase

ANN’s coverage of Anime NYC 2023 sponsored by Yen Press and Ize Press!

©Daisuke Aizawa・KADOKAWA/Shadow Garden

Whether it’s the dark comedy or its distinct main character, Cid, something about The Eminence in Shadow resonates with many anime fans. The series is one of the highest-rated shows on HIDIVE. Anime News Network was able to sit down and talk with the series’ director, Kazuya Nakanishi, and producer, Kazufumi Kikushima, to get their insight on how they feel about the show getting such attention. It was also a great opportunity to learn a little about the attitudes behind the scenes when working on the show.

Nakanishi initially seemed rather shocked when he learned about the series’ overseas popularity. He exclaimed, “[I was] quite confused…yes, it’s a huge hit, and I’m so happy about it. But all of us are thinking ‘Why is this even happening’? The staff all have the same opinions, but we’re thrilled.”

Kikushima shared the same sentiment, “Director Nakanishi and everyone did a fantastic job creating this anime series, so I guess that’s why today we are all invited [to Anime NYC] from Japan. It’s like one of my dreams come true!”

Nakanishi noted during the interview that he’s a relatively new director, but he brought experience from his long career in animation to the table.

Despite these reactions, it’s clear these two have a reverence for the material. Nakanishi was a fan of Daisuke Aizawa‘s original light novels and had a clear image in his head when working on the series.

“While reading, I would think, ‘for this scene I can draw this way, and that scene I can draw that way.’ When I got the director offer, as I went on to do my job, I just tried to channel that imagination I had while reading the novel into my pen.”

Getting into specifics, it was interesting to hear their opinions on Cid. During the Anime NYC panel, both agreed that he is crazy and that they would rather watch him from a distance. But during the interview, Kikushima went a bit further.

“This is my personal opinion, but I don’t think Shadow is that smart, and he makes mistakes. But then the protagonist’s uniqueness makes sense in terms of creating the world of The Eminence in Shadow. His policy or philosophy comes up through his decisions, and that’s how I think it stands out.”

This understanding could be rooted in Kikushima’s personal experiences growing up, where he played a lot of video games and had what he described as an “emo moment.”

“As I was growing up, I played a lot of RPG games, including Final Fantasy, and there’s a character called Squall, and just like him, I wore very skinny leather pants, and I wore all black from head to toe. Yes, that was me,” Kikushima revealed.

Nakanishi explained that he didn’t have that kind of phase growing up, but he preferred to follow the protagonist in his head like an imaginary cameraman from different perspectives since, according to him, “it’s not my thing to be the protagonist of the story.”

But even then, Nakanishi had his quirky moments in New York, like when he showed up to the panel wearing a bag over his head for privacy only to take it off to reveal a ski mask before taking that off to reveal his face finally. While there might be some moments in the anime that cause even these two to scratch their heads like the true meaning of the iconic line “I am atomic,” their reverence and connection to the material are authentic.

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.

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