Dantalian no Shoka Episode 2
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.
Series Premise: Dantalian no Shoka, or “The Mystic Archives of Dantalian”, is a weekly televised anime series started in July 2011, based on a light novel series of the same name. Huey has inherited his grandfather’s estate, along with the cryptic library and a young girl called “Dalian” that comes along with it. With her help, Huey investigates people who have come into possession of “Phantom Books” and the dire consequences that result.
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Episode Summary: Huey continues the job of his deceased grandfather as an appraiser of rare books, traveling to the remote country estate of Lady Estella Lilbarn. While checking out the massive library, Huey and Dalian learn from her cousin that Estella has been connected to a long line of mysterious murders, and Huey immediately suspects she is cursed by a Phantom Book. When Estella’s cousin is murdered by a giant golem that night, she seems strangely unfazed. Using his skills as the Keykeeper, Huey unlocks the mystical library and dispatches the golem and putting an end to the curse, and unfortunately Estella as well.
My Impressions: I know that last time I said that comparisons to the anime series Gosick were superficial at best. However, I think Dantalian no Shoka may be more along the lines of what I had hoped and expected Gosick to be like in the first place. The fact that the two series are quite different only emphasizes that gap between expectation and reality.
To be honest, there’s not a whole lot of new ground covered in the second episode that was already tentatively established the first time around. (In fact, even the transformation/unlocking Dalian sequence was copy-and-paste from the first episode.) I guess if anything, this was more to firmly establish the relationship between the two characters of Huey and Dalian, and flesh them out a little bit more.
One of the things I like about the two main characters (and so far, that’s all there is) is that they are intelligent and competent. It is sad to say that is a bit of a breath of fresh air, given an anime landscape littered with weak-willed, self-doubting male leads and alternately moe-moe fragile/acid-tongued tsundere female leads. Huey is not one to shy away from danger, a war veteran who jumps into action but also is able to use his head. His unlikely compatriot may be an inhuman gothic-loli wannabe, but she is also sacrastically smart and the two of them seem to make an interesting mismatched pair.
But as mentioned earlier, it’s just to two of them in a big, empty mansion. I think we have a decent handle on their personalities, so hopefully it’s about time to start rolling out an honest-to-god story to go along with it. We’ve seen Chapter One, and then Chapter One on repeat. Time for Chapter Two, please.
Oh yeah, there’s also the otherworldly girl with Little Huey at the beginning of the episode as well, trapped in the Mystic Library, I would guess? Not sure how she also ties into everything, hope they get around to explaining that a bit more than just showing her in short, dreamlike sequences.
- Previous reviews:
- Episode 1 (October 1)
- Info resources:
- If you like this, you might also like: Rozen Maiden or Gosick.
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “Bleh. The first half was basically just a giant expositional dump on the magic books and evil curses and yaaaaaaawn. Books evil. Cursed. Got it. Japan really needs to get its collective head out of its exposition hole and remember that even the best setting is ruined by crappy presentation and poor characters, and vice-versa, the most cliched story can shine just from just a vibrant cast.” – Tenka Seiha
- “This is all turning out very interestingly. I’ve heard many people relate this show to GoSick, but unfortunately I have missed out on all that eastern europe mystery solving whatever. Sounds awfully similar to Dantalian, though. And this form of “monster of the week” setup isn’t bad, because all we’re here for is to watch Huey be a badass and and maybe some Dalina moe moe kyun shots, too, right?” – The Kotatsu
- “Although I could easily see me disliking the pacing, I find this show fascinating in so many ways. I absolutely adore the music and the elegant gothic nature of the show from soup to nuts. I love the musty books and I do enjoy how they’re focusing on the two main characters and hope they continue with that.” – Moe Monster
- “Hooray for yanderes! I could totally see who the killer was from a mile away, but it didn’t make this episode any less entertaining. I’m wondering about future episodes though. Is this series going to continue blaming magical books for all of their problems? That might get annoying.” – Metanorn
- “What I’m finding particularly refreshing in this series is how the two main characters aren’t complete idiots. Rather, they form a rather fitting duo, and as partners work together really well. Huey’s competence, coupled with Dalian’s somewhat childish yet insightful persona, prove to create some very interesting chemistry between the two. I guess you could say that they feel like genuine partners, and together are rather well suited to tackling the supernatural phenomena they encounter.” – Emory Anime Club
- “This is good, no question, but still a closed book (sorry) for me. I want to know more about these characters and – quite the opposite of what happens in most series – I want to see more of their flaws. I want to see them at their weakest and most vulnerable, as that will make them more sympathetic.” – Random Curiosity
ROUND TWO RESULTS FOR SUMMER 2011 SHOWS:
Thumbs-up for Round Two: Mawaru Penguin Drum, Kamisama Dolls, No. 6, Dantalian no Shoka
Thumbs-down for Round Two: Blood-C
Coming up next: Uta no Prince-sama Maji Love 1000%, Ikoku Meiro no Croisee, Nekogami Yaoyorozu, Kamisama no Memochou, Nurarihyon no Mago Second Season, Natsume Yuujinchou-san, Usagi Drop