Review: Dantalian No Shoka

The Mystic Archives of Dantalian

Alex: LOOK AT THOSE SCREENSHOTS. Look at them. This anime oozes beauty by the bucket-load, with plenty of style and flair to make everyone love it. Infact, it’s one of the best fantasy spins on the detective/mystery genre that i’ve seen in my time.

Dantalian No Shoka, the third and final instalment in what people have been calling the “Gosick Trilogy”, is an anime which takes the detective/mystery formula and gives it a complete 360, turning it into a fantasy anime.

The detective, or the main character, is one Sir HughAnthony Disward, who inherits a huge mansion filled with books…and Dallian. Dallian is the library of Dantalian, containg knowledge of thousands of sealed books which give the reader power to edit the fabric of the universe. In a way, you could say that she is similar to Index, from the ToAru series of anime. And yes, she’s also slightly moe and rather cutesy. But it’s in a good way, and it’s rather refreshing in this case.

Each and every episode focuses on the two of them hunting down these fantasy books, and since they’ve adopted a case based approach to everything, some episodes are clearly much better than others. Whilst all the episodes are highly amusing and entertaining, certain examples where Gainax lets their creativity fly, as seen in the Bookworm episode.

It looks fabulous. It has brilliant, refreshing and unique direction and taste. And it focuses on a different direction every episode. The only downside is that even when it’s all over, your left with the impression that the entire thing has just been a huge teaser, saying “Buy the novels”. You have enough to get you engaged in this unique world where Phantom Books distort reality and grant the owner unique and creative powers, but you never get enough to make you feel satisfied. Sadly, until a second season gets announced (Which is unlikely..), the anime will be constantly thought of in my books as nothing but a ridiculously huge tease, which amused me, dragged me into this mystical world and then chucked me out before I was satisfied.

I’m off to hunt down the novels/manga/art of this franchise…

    

 

    

Dantalian No Shoka Episode 11

Raisel’s Library

Alex: Oooh, a backstory episode. Huey was so cool back then. x3 But yeah. Things are almost ready for the finale, so it’s time to get some extra story and information on Huey. He hasn’t really changed much, when you think of it.

I am curious as to the existence of that other girl, though…there are multiple libraries?

Dantalian No Shoka Episode 10

Phantom Score

Alex: I wish I could love this series. There’s so much to like about it. It’s smart, intellectual, witty, has amazing graphics and likeable lead characters. It just…well, especially this episode, it all feels like it’s a taste of what the series really can do and that if you’re interested in it, go buy the novels. After peeking at the preview for next episode, it looks like we’re finally getting somewhere, so I can forgive this episode for being nothing but a huge tease..for now :b

Sorry that this is really short, what with so many series finishing and needing a review, it’s hard to keep your motivation up xD

Dantalian No Shoka Episodes 8 & 9

Book of Equivalence / Book of Connection
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Book of Twilight 

Alex:In terms of a plot, episode 8 just felt really average when compared to the rest. 8 episodes in,  you’re left with a fleeting feeling that Dantalian just isn’t trying anymore. So, Episode 9 was a very very very welcome breath of fresh air.Because Gainax just let themselves go wild with it.

Trying a new animation style is always risky. But when you couple it with one of Dantalion’s best case-based episodes, it really made a musical episode. It’s a shame that this series has been so unambitious, to be honest…this episode showed that it’s got some real potential.

Dantalian No Shoka Episode 6 & 7

The Book Burner
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Parfumer

Alex:  I don’t quite understand Episode 6. So, to save myself being stupid, i’ll just skip it. The leads vanish with no reference to them, and we get a short about completely unrelated characters. I was rather relieved when they returned unharmed in Episode 7.

Episode 7. We’re at the halfway point.Just like Sacred Seven, it’s just…so hard to wrap my head around the decision to make this span 13 Episodes. It has a plot with potential to create a vast amount of interesting case-based episodes, yet it restricts itself because it doesn’t know if it’ll sell well or not..>_> It’s sad that it’s confining itself to the pit of averageness for eternity, really. Episode 7 was another interesting case based episode which just furthers my point…;~;

Dantalian no Shoka Episode 5

The Magicians Daughter

Alex: With the Black Bibloprincess taking a particular interest in a lady whom requires a Phantom Book off all her suitors, it was no surprise that there was something dark involved. However, well…this episode felt rather lackluster when compared to the other ones.

I mean, it’s interesting to speculate why Huey gets a flashback of his younger self and some strange girl in where i’m assuming to be the library, but for the second half of the episode to resort into a flashy lights show with sparkles and explosions just didn’t feel right from this show.

Dantalian No Shoka Episode 4

Book of Soul Exchange

Alex: Wow. Dantlian hits yet another high with an amazing episode. This time, it stars a writer who’s being attacked by a deranged fan who doesnt like the endings he wrote for her favorite characters, so she uses a Phantom Book to torment him into continuously writing endings until he gets it right.The irony of using one book to combat another.

The circle of endless life and death is something that should never be trifled with, and this episode shows you just how powerful that can be. Granted, it was a tad more sci-fi than usual, but it had a large GAINAX stamp on it, and that’s always a good thing. Yet, the most refreshing part of the episode was how Huey and Dalian didn’t do anything. They were merely observers to the grand scheme of things.

Originally, I hated the idea of so little episodes. But if every one is like this, then I dont think i’ll mind. As much.