Shadows House Episode 11 finally reveals what the Noble Shadows really are and why they need human “faces.”

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 11 of House of Shadows, “The Dark Drink”, now broadcast on Funimation.

House of Shadows spent its first ten episodes circling the mystery surrounding the Noble family: the nature of the Shadows and the origin of the Living Dolls. In episode 11, “The Dark Drink”, the truth about the symbiotic nature of Shadows and Faces is finally revealed.

The Noble family is a very special type of transformation, a fairy-like creature with imitation abilities, that has evolved over a couple of generations and has managed to brainwash everyone who lives in the area surrounding their sprawling mansion.

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Episode 11 begins with Dorothy and Ryan, the aristocratic shadows of the third floor of the adult building, traveling in a luxurious train, the same one that appears in House of ShadowsClosing credits. It’s his turn to visit a nearby town, and Ryan, a generally aggressive nobleman, isn’t too happy to mix with “human peasants.” Dorothy, however, enjoys the attention and respect that these brainwashed humans give them, who live in a constant state of trust and gratitude towards the Nobles due to the sooty smoke of the train and Noble House.

The elder welcomes Dorothy and Ryan as royalty and takes them to the “offering room,” where all the village children have gathered. Ryan isn’t fully involved with the boys, but Dorothy is delighted, with a sweet word for everyone and a desire to “bring more girls this time.” After chatting with the children, Dorothy and Ryan decide on a boy and two girls, announce that they have been chosen to live at Noble House, in the lap of luxury, and offer them a bitter drink that knocks them unconscious. The eldest rejoices: his daughter was among the chosen ones. He will never see her again.

The living dolls in House of Shadows They are not dolls at all, but real children who have lost all memories of their families. Dorothy and Ryan carefully lead them into a dark room in the Noble House, placing them on a stone slab. While the children sleep, undeveloped morphs will observe them, until each one becomes attached to a specific child and begins to mimic their appearance. This is how the basic form of the Shadow Nobles is created: an unevolved morph that tries to look like a sleeping child. At that time, the new Shadow will be taken to his luxurious room and the human child to the servants’ quarters. They will be encouraged to interact as much as possible to develop a bond.

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A strong bond is essential to form the personality of the developing Shadow Morph, which will be a reflection or complement of the child. Most Morphs have great affection for their Faces. Despite the artificial class difference imposed on them and the strict rules that oppress human children, the feeling is often mutual. The Senior Nobles foster this relationship as it is essential to unlocking the next stage and Noble House’s best kept secret: Fusion.

Once the Face and the Morph have reached perfect synchronicity, the Nobles wait for them to merge. This is a very dangerous ceremony in which the transformation will take over the human body, effectively killing the person it was before, but achieving a permanent and formidable channel for its sooty powers and a way to seamlessly interact with the human world. That is if fusion doesn’t kill humans and morphs alike.

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A weakened child can cause the morph to die. Likewise, a faltering transformation will not be ruthless or strong enough to destroy a human. Lack of love and compatibility is bad for fusion too, but too much affection and true friendship will get in the way, as morphs won’t want to kill their best friend. This is why Edward kept detailed reports on each of the children and explains why he was so pessimistic about Shirley from the beginning – he was trying to predict if they were compatible to merge. It’s also the reason Ryan lost it when he realized that Edward’s debut had the unintended consequence of fostering affection and respect between Shadows and Faces. If the Shadows felt that the Children were their equals, they would never want to merge.

Interestingly, the morphs don’t seem to retain any memory of their pre-Noble stage, which could be because they didn’t have human thought patterns before they began to mimic children. Morphs do not appear to be evil in themselves, no more than a chameleon, but the system these Nobles have created to perpetuate their existence in House of Shadows it’s absolutely horrifying to everyone involved, getting creepier with every complacent smile and praise for the generosity of the Noble family.

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