Shadows House is a creepy fantasy anime from Studio CloverWorks, ideal if you like gothic aesthetics. With Shadows House Season 2 coming out soon, you might want to refresh your memory on key worldbuilding aspects. For instance, what are the shadows of Shadows House?
About Shadows House
Based on an ongoing manga by the duo Somato, Shadows House follows Emilyko, a young girl with no memories of her life before the titular house.
No Emilyko is a "living doll", serving her mistress, Kate, a featureless shadow whose shape and stature are exactly like Emilyko's own.
Working along with other "living dolls," Emilyko and her friends spend their days cleaning up the ashes that the masters of the house endlessly emanate.
As Emilyko and Kate grow closer, they realize they're different from the other pairs of living dolls and shadow masters, which threatens their standing in the complicated Shadow society.
Still, tirelessly curious and investigative, the two girls resolve to uncover the sinister mysteries of their house and perhaps their key to freedom.
What Are The Shadows in Shadows House?
Later episodes and manga chapters reveal that the Shadows are in fact Morphs - parasitic fairy-like creatures with a knack for mimicry - who learn from the person they are exposed to the most.
Initially, it appears that Shadows are simply creatures with special powers, who lack defined features but don't otherwise differ much from humans. The truth, however, proves more sinister.
Watching the anime for the first time, we had assumed that living dolls are chosen or made to have a body similar to their masters' and possibly instructed to wear similarly shaped clothes and adopt the same hairstyles.
It turns out that the opposite is true. The Shadows begin as small, formless creatures with no language, but they learn fast through mimicry.
When they are still Morphs, each Shadow is assigned to a young living doll - in truth human children who have had their memories erased.
Through interaction with their human, the Shadows come to adopt the same shape this human has.
Ideally, the higher-ups want the Shadow to also develop the same personality as their Living Doll, as the ultimate goal is for them to merge, with the Shadow taking over the human's body and evicting the human's consciousness from it, essentially killing them.
Once they are deemed ready, Shadow Master and Living Doll have their debut, after which they are allowed to mingle with others in the house, as long as they prove adequately compatible.
For a time, they remain in the children's building participating in social occasions and hobbies, until they are invited to the adults' building, where they're supposed to merge or die trying.
The manga reveals that adult Shadows who have successfully merged and then further proved themselves are allowed to leave the house, though their business in the outside world is not yet clear.
Perhaps the second season of the mystery anime will provide some further insights on that.