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This article is about the enemy from Devil May Cry. You may be looking for the familiar from Devil May Cry 5.

Shadows are shapeshifting feline demons that Dante encounters in Devil May Cry. They possess an immunity to melee attacks until their body is dispelled, which allows Dante to attack their spherical core.


Shadows are ancient demons with great experience in fighting human knights with bladed weapons, but due to the sealing off of the Underworld they have had no opportunity to adapt to modern weaponry and are weak against firearms. Their form in the Human World is their own shadow bound with magical spells which protect them and allow them to change their shape at will: the default form resembles a sabertooth cat.


Shadows often come out of cutscenes already performing their Guillotine attack, but they are actually remarkably docile if not attacked: indeed, if Dante stands perfectly still they will often simply circle around the Devil Hunter as if waiting to see what he will do. When attacked, they will become extremely aggressive, chasing Dante down and attacking relentlessly.

A Shadow's presence in a room can be identified by the light ticking sound of their footsteps.


It has evil spells covering its body, thus allowing it to deflect all sword attacks. It's an evil spirit that takes form from its own shadows. But they can also take on other forms by changing the spells on its body. (Encounter enemy)
In its shadow form, all sword attacks are deflected. This is because it remembers the weapons from its fights with the ancient knights. However, firearms seem to be an exception. (Strike the Shadow with a melee attack while it is in its normal form. Devil Trigger must be off)
It releases magical powers instantaneously in order to deflect certain attacks. At the same time, the magical powers are shot toward the enemy. It is very difficult to avoid being hit with this attack. (Get hit by the Shadow's melee counter)
When you damage its surface to a certain point, it will come to a point when it can't deflect the attacks anymore, showing its true form. This is when it is most vulnerable. (Reveal a Shadow's core)
The true form is the core of its evil powers. Firearms will not work against this core. (Fire at the core with Dante's guns)
Its spinning attack is very accurate. Watch out for it when it jumps high into the air. (Have a Shadow perform its Guillotine attack)
The Shadow transforms into a narrow spear like weapon, thrusting it towards its enemy. The spear is hard enough for the player to even stand on top of it. If you succeed in standing on top of it, there is a brief moment when the Shadow cannot move. This is when you can blast all the lead you have! (Have a Shadow perform its Skewer attack)
The Shadow will go into a state of shock if you succeed in standing on top of its spear. When this happens the spells also lose their barrier effectiveness and allows the bullets to go right in. In another words, if you are able to blast enough bullets during this state of shock, you can defeat the enemy without trying to attack it's core directly. (Defeat a Shadow with critical hits)


On Normal difficulty the first Shadow is encountered in Mission 04: Black Knight, while on higher difficulties they can be encountered as early as Mission 02: Judge of Death in the long corridor. In Easy Automatic, Shadows only appear in Secret Missions, and tend to be replaced with groups of Sin Scythes elsewhere.

They have the following abilities:

  • Evade: The Shadow sinks into the ground and becomes a 2D shadow with glowing red eyes. In this form it is invulnerable. It can either initiate its Hedgehog attack or reposition itself, and can finish off the move by either forming stood on the ground or jumping: the latter allows it to immediately transition into Guillotine. If it is following Dante vertically it can seamlessly transition back into this state when it lands from a jump.
  • Back-dash: An evasive move that does not involve transforming into their 2D form.
  • Counter: If a Shadow is struck with a melee attack while fully formed, it will form a white dart-like projectile and shoot it out at Dante. This is tricky to evade due to being fired at close range.
  • Guillotine: Mid-to-long range attack. The Shadow leaps into the air and forms into a spinning shuriken-like wheel with two huge blades, crashing down to the ground after a short time and dealing heavy damage if it hits. Dodge to the sides to evade.
  • Skewer: Mid-to-long range attack. The Shadow's legs fuse into a root-like structure and its body swells, with dark energy gathering around its face as it tracks Dante's movements. After a moment, it shoots out a very long spike in a straight line: this spike can pass through walls. Evade by jumping or moving to the sides. If Dante can jump on top of the spike before it retracts, the Shadow will be vulnerable to critical hits (see below).
  • Hedgehog: While in its evade state, the Shadow causes small spikes to form under Dante's position: after a moment these will shoot upwards to several times Dante's height. This is fairly simple to avoid: just keep moving and do not have Dante double back on himself. A Shadow will also use this move to try to defend its exposed core.
  • Venus flytrap: Close range attack. The Shadow shivers and then forms into a pair of massive serrated jaws on a stalk-like body, lunging forward and snapping at Dante. Jump or dodge to the sides to avoid it.

The conventional method of defeating a Shadow is to deal damage to it with firearms to disrupt its physical form and expose the Shadow's glowing core. Ebony & Ivory or the Shotgun are good choices, as the Shadow's evasiveness means that shots from the Grenadegun will usually miss. Nightmare-β is also very effective against Shadows in repeat playthroughs, particularly in confined spaces or when facing multiple Shadows at once. Notably, while a Shadow is in its normal form, the Stylish Rank system is altered slightly: Shadows are always treated as if they are being juggled while in this state, presumably to allow Style to be built when normal combo variations are not possible. The only other enemy this occurs with is Griffon.

Once the core is exposed, the Shadow switches to only being vulnerable to melee attacks. When Dante moves close to it, it will create Hedgehog spikes under his feet to try to drive him away, creating one for each time it is hit. The best way to deal with this is to repeatedly use Alastor's Stinger or Ifrit's Kick 13: both of these attacks will push the core backwards and mean the spikes always miss.

Their Skewer attack presents another way of defeating them, using critical hits: timing a jump so that Dante lands on the spear while it is extended will briefly stun the Shadow and allow Dante's gunfire to deal direct damage to the core. On Hard and below, hammering the Shadow with shots from Ebony & Ivory can remove all of the core's health in one go.

When their core's health is fully depleted, the core will deflect all further melee attacks as if they had been blocked, making Dante recoil. When the Shadow re-forms from either its core state or its Skewer form, its body will have turned red and a heartbeat sound will start playing. The Shadow will now die after a short time, exploding with a small AoE damage radius. However, until that time, the Shadow is invincible and will attack much more frequently than usual, often performing attacks back-to-back, and is particularly partial to using the Venus flytrap attack over and over. If it catches Dante with this attack, it will slam him repeatedly against the ground and then hold him in its jaws as it explodes, dealing tremendous damage. There is no escaping this attack once it has connected, so get as far from the Shadow as possible and keep jumping and using wall-jumps or Air Hike to stay off the ground. If Dante can get far enough from the Shadow it will sometimes reset to its docile state and simply stand around until it explodes.

When fighting multiple Shadows, something which becomes far more common on higher difficulties, it is best to try to isolate one of them and defeat it quickly: not attacking and trying to stay at medium range can be a good way to goad a Shadow into using its Skewer attack, allowing for a quick critical hit kill. Shadows always drop Green Orbs when defeated, so knocking them out one at a time is the best way to keep Dante in the fight. Air Raid can be useful for attacking multiple Shadows, though it is important to keep on the move as Guillotine and Skewer can target Dante in the air, and if he is low enough he is also vulnerable to Hedgehog. As noted above, Nightmare-β is also very useful for attacking multiple Shadows at once.

In Dante Must Die mode, Shadows are the only enemies that alter their behavior while in their Devil Trigger state. In this state, rather than only firing their counter projectiles when struck with a melee weapon, they will fire them as a proximity attack whenever Dante is in range. It is generally agreed that it is impossible to kill a Shadow with a single round of critical hits in DMD mode.

A Shadow normally drops about 50 Red Orbs, which increases to 290 if it is killed with critical damage to its core while standing on the spear. The amount of Red Orbs awarded is increased by 10 for each time Dante stands on the Shadow's spear, with no apparent upper limit: according to Joch1 of former Devil May Cry fansite, with extreme persistence it is possible to get over 1,000 Red Orbs from a single Shadow in this manner.

Other Appearances[]

Devil May Cry 2 novel[]

A shadow demon appears as a leader of the demon rebellion against Mundus, taking the place of Nelo Angelo, who perished in the war. Though initially human, he can take on the form of a Shadow while in his Devil Trigger state. His clothing is similar to Dante's, but black in color.

Devil May Cry 5[]

Main article: Shadow (Familiar)

V's familiars include Shadow, who serves as his melee weapon. This Shadow is a physical manifestation of Vergil's memories of his time as Nelo Angelo, and has many of the same abilities.



In The Divine Comedy, one of the beasts Dante Alighieri encounters in the Dark Forest is a leopard who bars Dante's path towards salvation.


DMC1 Shadow special kill animation

The special death animation.

  • If a Shadow catches Dante in its Venus flytrap attack while he is at critical health, it will become a special death animation. The Shadow will perform its death-grab and explode even if it was not in its "dying" state: Dante disappears when the Shadow explodes, and shortly afterwards Alastor will fall from the sky and embed itself on the ground.
  • The sound used for the Shadow's footsteps was taken directly from the Licker from Resident Evil 2 (1998).
  • During the time Devil May Cry was still Resident Evil 4, the Shadow was originally designed as a mutant cat called Witch (ウイッチ, Witch?).[1]
  • The Blitz in Devil May Cry 4 is similar to the Shadow since the player needs to shoot it with firearms to make it vulnerable and if the enemy reverts to its invulnerable form with a different color, it will try to grab the character and explode.

See also[]