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Shadows House Vol. #01 Manga Review

3 min read

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Somato
Translation/Adaptation: Taylor Engel

What They Say
In the depths of a murky mansion lives a group of enigmatic nobles known as…the Shadow family. With no visible features to speak of, these mysterious aristocrats employ living dolls to act as their “faces.” Kate and Emilico are one such pair of mistress and servant, dwelling in their little world and learning from each other bit by bit with every new day. But in a house of locked doors, living according to rules from no apparent source—how long can their blissfully peaceful existence truly last…?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The world consists of Shadows and Dolls. One is the Master and the other is the slave. Curiously, the master is the shadow without a face and the slave has a face but is meant to serve. This book makes a curious choice to cut down on the meaning behind these labels regarding Kate and Emilico. They are still master and servant but their relationship can’t be just labeled by these two words. The relationship between these two is between people who are bound to have everlasting friendships. These Shadows don’t have faces and manipulate soot. Somato uses these aspects greatly to demonstrate how their relationship is blooming. It’s thinking outside of the box to show how much expressions can vary from different persons.

The cage by which we are born is always so big but ends up quite small in reality. The outside world that we clamor for is just another part of the inside and can only be grasped for a matter of seconds. Emilico has spent most of her life as a doll and has little experience with the world beyond. Even when she gets a chance to explore the world beyond, it turns out to be more of the same. It provides a nice contrast as she says that not all shadows and dolls have the same experience. It could be a moment to break or make her anew. It doesn’t push her to new heights but it challenges her view of the world.

Shadow House doesn’t make a strong great first impression. But I get a sense that it will develop further down the road. It lays out a mystery of the Shadow and then leaves it up to your imagination of the future. The mystery doesn’t completely draw you in but there is some allure to it waiting to be unveiled. Some of the questions it poses are easily answerable and make for a greater mystery. You want to know why this master/servant procedure exists and how it can to be.

In Summary:
There is more to meet the eye with Shadow House but it may take some time before it comes to the surface. It’s trying to pick up an identity and may take some time before it gets there. It needs to spin the threads of the mystery at a much faster pace. It lets itself get dictated into a small world where it seems there is so much to explore. The relationship between Kate and Emilico is explored brilliantly and is explored by great artistic expression due to the nature of the Shadows.

Content Grade: B-
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: July 12th, 2022
MSRP: $ 13.00 US / $17.00 CAN

This review was done with a review copy provided by the publisher. We are grateful for their continued support.