TL;DR: Anime Geek predicts that the wait for The Eminence in Shadow Season 3 release date will be lengthy given that production has not yet been announced. Plus, a The Eminence in Shadow movie might adapt the next story arc. Read more below for a much deeper dive!
The much-anticipated The Eminence in Shadow Season 3 is still hiding in the shadows, as the production announcement is pending.
But based on the way the 2nd season is predicted to finish with a cliffhanger ending, it’s possible that a The Eminence in Shadow movie will adapt the next story arc from the second half of light novel Volume 4.
*Warning: The following paragraph contains potential (movie) spoilers!*
In the anime sequel, anime fans find out what happens to Cid Kagenou/Lord Shadow and Beta after they enter the dark portal. While fans would love to see the Return to Earth story arc on the big screens, the only negative is that the wait for the Kage no Jitsuryokusha ni Naritakute! Season 3 release date will be longer.
This article provides everything that is known about The Eminence in Shadow Season 3 (Kage no Jitsuryokusha ni Naritakute! Season 3) and all related news. As such, this article will be updated over time with news, rumors, and analysis. Meanwhile, let’s delve down into what is known for certain.
Is a 2025 The Eminence in Shadow Season 3 release date possible?
As of the last update, Studio Nexus, publisher Kadokawa, producer Aiming, or any company related to the production of the anime series has officially confirmed the The Eminence in Shadow Season 3 release date. Nor has the production of Kage no Jitsuryokusha ni Naritakute! Season 3 been announced.
Once the news is officially confirmed, this article will be updated with the relevant information.
It’s possible that the announcement could be made sometime in December 2023, considering the anime’s popularity and the source material availability, but a The Eminence in Shadow movie is also possible.
In the meantime, it’s possible to speculate about when, or if, The Eminence in Shadow Season 3 release date will occur.
The Eminence in Shadow is one of the most successful modern isekai franchises, but it didn’t start out that way. At first, The Eminence in Shadow review scores were only slightly above average for an isekai anime for the first several episodes, which is surprising considering that this is isekai done right!
Critics of the anime point out that it overly relies on tropes. But that’s the whole point since it’s how the story creates the source of humor by subverting these tropes based on the genre’s bad writing. As part of his bucket list, Cid literally lives his entire life in order to roleplay his favorite tropes of the stereotypical mob side character, but when he transforms into Shadow it’s all about taking actions he believes would be the coolest.
There are also those who recognize that the story is attempting to deconstruct the ridiculous power fantasies of the isekai genre. But they decry how the story mashes together school rom-com elements with an edgelord vibe that takes itself seriously.
As such, the anime certainly suffers from tonal whiplash since it’s a bizarre juxtaposition of high school comedy, cutting character drama, and bloody action that’s just about as gory as Berserk or BASTARD!!! Since Cid is a walking chuuni character it’s hard to tell if audiences are supposed to laugh or be in awe of his “coolness” when he begins to take things seriously as Lord Shadow.
Those who lean toward finding these scenes awkwardly laughable in a cringe-worthy sense probably explain many of the negative reviews. There’s also the fact that fans of the manga and light novel series had differing expectations of how the anime would adapt this major aspect of the series, so some may have been disappointed and rated the first season lower.
But over time the review scores for the first season began to rise as word-of-mouth advertising worked its magic. The directorial execution, the dramatic timing, the dark undertone in contrast to the comedic beats… everything comes together in a package that undeniably stands apart from the pack. It’s like a self-aware combination of KonoSuba and Overlord with chuuni thrown into the mix.
It also helped that the anime script expanded on the source material in ways that enhanced the appeal of the animated version. Typically, light novel readers are groaning about how badly a story is condensed, but in this case there’s only a handful of complaints concerning their favorite missing one-liners or some such.
The question at hand is whether the anime production committee will have The Eminence in Shadow renewed for multiple seasons like Overlord. Similar to how the initial reviews were middling, when the first season began airing at first it failed to give a major boost to book sales since neither the light novels nor the manga reached the Top 20 Oricon chart for October 2022.
However, that situation changed quickly. The circulation of The Eminence in Shadow series (including the manga) reached 3.5 million in December 2022, 4 million copies in February 2023, and 5 million copies in September 2023. That means that by time the first season finished the circulation doubled since in October 2022, when the first season premiered, the series only had 2 million copies in circulation. In December 2022, Volume 5 even ranked as the #1 Best Seller on Amazon Japan.
As for streaming performance, HIDIVE provides something similar to Crunchyroll’s popular anime list to judge the popularity of the anime’s first season. The first two seasons were often Top 5 in the Trending Now section and #1 in the Most Popular section.
HIDIVE had a very strong set of anime exclusives in recent years, but it’s a fact that being available to watch on only one smaller streaming platform limits an anime’s exposure in comparison to Crunchyroll, Netflix, or Hulu. Big titles like Made In Abyss, Call of the Night, and DanMachi: Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? might have contributed to HIDIVE’s subscriber growth, but that still didn’t stop the Sentai Filmworks/HIDIVE Owner AMC Networks’ CEO from stepping down in November 2022 amidst a layoffs announcement.
Regardless, the review scores for the 2nd season were even higher than the first as the series gained new fans. Since the overall reaction has been positive, the producers know they have a hit on their hands. With this rising popularity, it’s even possible the producers’ intention is to adapt multiple books with multiple seasons.
After all, early on the first season featured story events that do not become important until later story arcs. Episode 20 even featured an anime-original cameo of Sherry Barnett, a character that hasn’t even returned to enact her revenge in the light novels yet!
In any case, the elephant in the room is the source material, or lack thereof, since the light novel Volume 6 only just came out in October 2023. What’s more, the author is known for going on long hiatus in between releasing new books. As such, the creator has averaged one new light novel per year.
At the same time, the first two seasons didn’t rush through the book series by adapting every available volume despite the relatively limited number. In retrospect, it also seems obvious that the producer planned out the production of a second season in advance. Even the first episode foreshadowed story events and characters that didn’t become important until the 2nd season. So it’s possible that the inclusion of Sherry may indicate that the producers are planning for the long term.
But how will the next several story arcs be adapted? Given that the second season adapted roughly half of Volume 4 of the light novel series, it leaves room for the remaining story arc to be adapted in a movie format. It only makes sense because the story arc is mostly self-contained and it features the return of popular character Nishino Akane (Cid x Akane shipping is definitely a factor based on character popularity polls).
From the perspective of the producers releasing a film is also a delaying tactic since the anime is slowly catching up on the source material. Focusing on a movie for one year would give the author time to release The Eminence in Shadow Volume 8.
Assuming the story is continued with a movie adaptation, the Kage no Jitsuryokusha ni Naritakute! Season 3 release date will be pushed back by necessity. Thus, predicting the timeline for The Eminence in Shadow S3 is challenging, but considering the typical production cycles and the current state of the anime industry, a movie in Summer or Fall 2024 seems plausible.
If that happens, then Anime Geek predicts that the The Eminence in Shadow Season 3 release date will be in 2025 at the earliest.
The Eminence in Shadow Season 3 English dub release date
The Eminence in Shadow was licensed by a variety of companies in 2022. HIDIVE had exclusive streaming rights in many territories, but Disney+ was also streaming the episodes in certain countries. Meanwhile, Crunchyroll Games released The Eminence in Shadow: Master of Garden RPG game on Android and iPhone (it’s also coming to PC).
The English dub for the second season of The Eminence in Shadow featured a talented cast.
- Adam Gibbs as Cid Kagenou/Shadow and John Smith
- Annie Wild as Beta
- Brianna Roberts as Elisabeth
- Cat Thomas as Nu
- Christie Guidry as 665
- Christina Kelly as Alpha
- Courtney Lomelo as Yukime
- Dickie Sanders as Crimson
- Dominique Meyer as 664 and Zeta
- Donna Bella Litton as Rosa Oriana/666
- Elissa Cuellar as Gamma
- Ellen Evans as Epsilon
- Genevieve Simmons as Eta
- Greg Ayres as Po
- Kalin Coates as Chi
- Katelyn Barr as Mary
- Liz Arends as Lambda
- Luci Christian as Clare Kagenou
- Luis Galindo as Juggernaut
- Mark X Laskowski as Garter Kikuchi
- Nathan Wilson as Skel
- Raven Troup as Delta
- Skyler Sinclair as Omega
- Allison Sumrall as Natsu
- Andrew Love as Quinton
- Blake Weir as Marco
- Chris Hutchison as Watchdog
- Emi Lo as Marie
- Ian Sinclair as Gettan
- Justin Doran as Goldy Gilded
- Kara Greenberg as Reina
- Kira Vincent-Davis as Kana
- Olivia Swasey as Alexis Midgar
- Patricia Duran as Iris Midgar
- Shannon Emerick as Claudia
- Shelley Calene-Black as Aurora
The Eminence in Shadow Season 3 English dub release date has not been announced yet.
Dubbed episodes came out months after the series premiere in Japan. Assuming that HIDIVE will be streaming the 3rd season, it’s likely that The Eminence in Shadow dub will similarly come out weeks or months later.
The Eminence in Shadow light novel, manga compared to the anime
The story for the anime TV show is based on the Kage no Jitsuryokusha ni Naritakute! light novel series by author Daisuke Aizawa and illustrator Touzai.
The title literally translates into English as “I Wanted to be a Powerhouse [or Powerful Person] in the Shadows!” Many English-speaking fans refer to The Eminence in Shadow anime as the Shadow Garden anime.
Published by Enterbrain since November 2018, the book series was up to The Eminence in Shadow Volume 6 as of October 30, 2023. Historically, a new light novel book has been published only once a year on average (2 books were released in 2019 whereas the author published zero books in 2020).
Assuming the author maintains a similar schedule, that means The Eminence in Shadow Volume 7 release date should be in the 2nd half of 2024. Then Volume 8 will come out in 2025, and so on.
Like many isekai books, the story first was self-published as The Eminence in Shadow web novel on the Let’s Become a Novelist (Shousetsuka ni Narou) website. Started in May 2018, the web novel’s ending hasn’t been finished yet despite numbering 8 volumes with over 200 chapters by Fall 2023. The web novel was put on indefinite hiatus by the creator back in September 2019, but in November 2022 a small handful of new chapters were released.
The light novel series expanded on the premise of the web novel by rewriting certain story arcs and introducing new content. But the biggest difference is that the light novel series began branching in a different direction from the middle of the web novel’s story, which is probably why the author hasn’t put much effort into continuing the web novel in recent years.
Starting in December 2018, the original creator teamed up with artist Anri Sakano to serialize The Eminence in Shadow manga in Kadokawa Shoten’s Comp Ace magazine. As of October 26, 2023, the manga adaptation was up to Volume 12.
In June 2020, Aizawa teamed up with illustrator Seta U to create the spin-off series The Eminence in Shadow: Shadow Side Story manga. As of October 26, 2023, the Shadow Garden Side Story manga ended with Volume 6.
North American publisher Yen Press is handling The Eminence in Shadow English translation for the light novels and the main manga series, but not the manga spin-off. By June 7, 2022, the print light novel books were up to Volume 4 in English, whereas the main English manga was up to Volume 9 as of March 19, 2024.
Fans of The Eminence in Shadow book may debate whether the anime pulled off establishing the series’ main selling point of a delusional madman pretending to be a secret mastermind who’s pretending to be a completely ordinary mob character. But fans do accept that the anime adaptation adequately adapts the narrative of the light novels.
The anime has been one of those rare adaptations that do not rush through the source material while remaining true to the heart of the story. In fact, it’s comparable to the 86 anime, Rust Eater Bisco, or The World’s Finest Assassin Gets Reincarnated in Another World as an Aristocrat anime since almost the entire first cour adapted only 1 book.
The comparison is apt since those other anime series also introduced many anime original scenes that enhanced the story. Even worldbuilding was enhanced in The Eminence in Shadow Season 1 since the books didn’t have guns and steam-powered technology.
Some characters were also introduced way earlier. For example, Zeta and Eta debuted in light novel Volume 5, which should be the initial focus of The Eminence in Shadow Season 3.
(For a more detailed analysis of the first season see the previous Anime Geek article on this topic.)
The 2nd season was a single cour and had 12 episodes in total. The adaptation pacing was faster than the first season since light novel Volume 3 was adapted in only 7 episodes whereas the first season adapted 2 books with 20 episodes.
Overall, the anime provided some improvements despite deviating from the source material.
- Opening Scene Expansion: The anime elaborated on the light novel’s opening scene, showcasing the garden’s self-sufficiency and the Numbers’ prowess more extensively.
- Yukime and Shadow’s First Meeting: This scene was significantly altered in the anime. Key elements like Yukime’s attempts to get closer to Shadow, the gift of John Smith’s suit, and the revelation of Mitsugoshi and the Merchant Union’s bills, which led to the counterfeiting plan, were omitted. Rewriting these plot elements helped quickly set up the story arc so that it could be finished within episodes.
- Transportation Change: Instead of a train as in the anime, the light novel used a carriage. The anime’s choice contributed to dynamic set pieces and moments.
- Characterization of John Smith: The anime portrays John Smith differently, emphasizing his analytical skills, eccentricity, and efficiency more than the light novel, where he is depicted as efficiently job-focused.
- Mitsugoshi Raid Scene: The anime added humor to this scene, focusing more on Gamma’s clumsiness and giving more spotlight to Chi and Omega, whereas the light novel featured Nu handling the intruders in a more intimidating manner.
- Delta’s Fight: This was an anime-original addition, with Delta’s character and her interaction with Cid being more in line with her anime persona.
- Alpha Fight: The anime version was controversial on Reddit due to its less emotional and dramatic portrayal compared to the light novel and manga. Key dialogues and moments were omitted, leading to mixed reactions.
- Depiction of Alpha’s Depression: The anime followed the source material closely here, with a sweetened presentation due to the music and the addition of Eta.
- Final Fight Adjustments: The anime skipped Yukime and Gettan’s fight, altering some emotional aspects. The fight between John Smith and Gettan was enhanced in the anime, focusing on John’s efficiency and raw power.
- Yuki, John, and Alpha Scene: The anime added depth to the relationships and interactions between these characters, with certain dialogues and details differing from the light novel and manga.
The Eminence in Shadow Season 2 Episode 8 was an anime-original bikini swimsuit episode, which meant that the Oriana Kingdom story arc from light novel Volume 4 was adapted by 4 episodes.
All in all, Anime Geek predicts that the 2nd season’s finale, The Eminence in Shadow Season 2 Episode 12, will find an ending corresponding to light novel Volume 4: Chapter 3.
The book has 8 chapters including the prologue and epilogue so the adaptation pacing should be perfect for making a The Eminence in Shadow movie that’s around 1 hour and 15 minutes.
It’s a good stopping point since it includes the Shadow Garden Numbers fighting the Cult and Lord Shadow facing off against the literal hell bat. Ending with Cid and Beta stuck in post-apocalyptic Japan is a great way to tease a movie (it’ll also make fans run to go buy the light novels).
The only negative is that the first season’s elaborate setup involving Akane Nishino is still left unresolved by the TV series itself. The film might have to do an original refresher plot point to remind anime-only fans about this character since it’s been literal years since she’s graced our screens.
(And let’s not forget that the revenge plot of Sherry is still lingering!)
Assuming that the movie finishes adapting Volume 4, the good news is that there is plenty of source material available now for making The Eminence in Shadow Season 3 since Volumes 5 and 6 are more than enough.
Better yet, English-only light novel readers who wish to read ahead of the anime can jump straight to light novel Volume 5. Manga readers can jump to Chapter 55.
The Eminence in Shadow Season 3 Cast
The Eminence in Shadow Season 3 cast hasn’t been announced yet.
Here is the original Japanese dub cast:
- Seichiro Yamashita as Cid Kageno/Shadow
- Kana Hanazawa as Alexia Midgar
- Yoko Hikasa as Iris Midgar
- Asami Seto as Alpha
- Inori Minase as Beta
- Fairouz Ai as Delta
- Hisako Kanemoto as Epsilon
- Reina Kondo as Eta
- Suzuko Mimori as Gamma
- Ayaka Asai as Zeta
Additional cast for the 2nd season included Mary (CV: Ai Kakuma), Yukime (CV: Shizuka Ito), Juggernaut (CV: Tsuyoshi Koyama), and Crimson (CV: Tomokazu Sugita).
The Eminence in Shadow Season 3 Studio and Staff
The main staff and studio that is making The Eminence in Shadow Season 3 haven’t been announced yet. In the best-case scenario, the staff from the previous seasons is likely to return, ensuring continuity in the quality and style of the anime.
The first two seasons were produced by the Japanese animation Studio Nexus, which is best known for making the Granbelm anime and Darwin’s Game anime.
The anime project was helmed by director Kazuya Nakanishi. Although he’s been an animation director in the past, The Eminence in Shadow Season 1 and 2 was his lead directorial debut. In recent years he’s worked exclusively for Studio Nexus and was a character designer on the Darwin’s Game project and chief animation director for Granbelm.
Writer Kanichi Katou (Teasing Master Takagi-san, Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun) wrote the series composition. Artist Makoto Iino (Demon Lord, Retry) was the character designer. Composer Kenichiro Suehiro (Golden Kamuy, Shadows House, Re:ZERO, Darwin’s Game, Fire Force) wrote the music.
Producers included Aya Iizuka, Kazufumi Kikushima, Hajime Maruyama, Takeo Mizuguchi, Hiroshi Nakamura, and Hiroto Utsunomiya
The Eminence in Shadow Season 3 OP and ED Music
The Eminence in Shadow Season 3 OP (opening) and ED (ending) theme song music hasn’t been announced yet. The previous seasons featured memorable and impactful music, contributing greatly to the anime’s atmosphere.
The Eminence in Shadow Season 2 OP (opening) “grayscale dominator” was performed by OxT.
There is also a music video:
The ED (ending) theme song music is “Polaris in the Night” by the voice actresses Ikumi Hasegawa, Maaya Uchida, Mayu Minami and Ryoko Maekawa.
There is also a version that’s performed by Ikumi Hasegawa, the voice actress for Lambda.
For the first season, The Eminence in Shadow OP “Highest” was performed by OxT, while the ED “Darling in the Night” was performed by the Seven Shades, the Japanese voice actresses who played as Alpha, Beta, Delta, Epsilon, Eta, Gamma, and Zeta (Asami Seto, Inori Minase, Suzuko Mimori, Ai Fairouz, Hisako Kanemoto, Ayaka Asai, Reina Kondou).
The Eminence in Shadow Season 3 TV spoilers (plot summary/synopsis)
A looming darkness suddenly hangs over the supposedly peaceful Midgar Academy. Students go missing one after another in a series of mysterious and ominous events at the Academy! And even Cid’s sister, Claire, disappears…
Zeta, one of the Seven Shadows, sets out to investigate. Meanwhile, Cid and Alexia go to Claire’s room to investigate and find ancient letters, ancient characters, a cool-looking magic circle, spells that seem meaningful but are utterly meaningless.
The moment Cid sees it he recognizes the middle school syndrome: “This is… a chuuni dark history notebook…!”
And that’s when a school murder mystery begins. But even when this case is closed the world is hardly at peace since there’s unexpected school terrorism… again!
Unfortunately, anime fans will have to wait until the The Eminence in Shadow Season 3 release date to watch what happens next. Stay tuned!