English: The Mystic Archives of Dantalian
Synonyms: Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian, Dantalian's Bookshelf
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 16, 2011 to Oct 1, 2011
25 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.371 (scored by 23186 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisHugh Anthony Disward inherits an old mansion and a personal library from his grandfather. In the basement of the mansion, he meets a mysterious girl, Dalian. She is a Dantalian and a gateway to "Dantalian's bookshelf", which stores the prohibited books of the demons.
"Gensho (Illusory Books)", the prohibited books, endanger the balance of the world, but people are fascinated by the taboo. Hugh and Dalian solve the cases involving Gensho with their ability to access the Dantalian bookshelf.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Dantalian no Shoka
Side story: Dantalian no Shoka: Ibarahime
Characters & Voice Actors
It's not very often that you just happen to stumble upon such a great series by accident; but every once in a while you stumble across a forgotten gem like Dantalian no Shoka.
I'll start this review off with the thing that really makes this series stand out: the characters. The main cast consists of Hugh (Huey) Anthony Disward and Dalian, along with a few reoccurring characters. Hugh is a retired World War I pilot and Dalian is what's known as a Dantalian, a being whose body acts as a gateway to a mystical archive of forbidden books. Dalian is a special kind of tsundere that doesn't fall into the stereotypes reinforced into the genre by the likes of Taiga (Toradora) or Louise (Familiar of Zero) as many tsundere often do. Her personality, along with the incredible work of her voice actress, makes her one of the most unforgettable characters in anime. Huey is an all around great main character. He isn't the clueless male lead that goes around doing trivial things that most main characters have become; he has depth and a believable background that helps to shape his personality. And the fact that he can put up with half of Dalian's requests makes him a better man than me.
Next is the art style. This anime is just beautiful, there's not other way to describe it. Studio GAINAX is known for their great art team, and they really put their heart and soul into making this anime look as good as it does. Backgrounds are intricately detailed, lighting effects are consistent, movement is fluid, and the way everything is colored gives the anime a lively feel.
The soundtrack for the anime is outstanding. The opening and ending tracks are enjoyable to listen to and the BGM throughout the series really gives it that old English feeling.
And now we've come to talking about the story. The story is a double edged sword because while the setting is great, the way the story unfolds gets very repetitive after just 3 episodes. It's still enjoyable to watch, but the lack of diversity is very noticeable and you end up being able to pretty much write the episode yourself in your mind.
All in all, it's a great series to watch and at just 12 episodes and an OVA, it won't put a huge wall up on your backlog if you decide to watch it in place of other shows on your list. read more
These days we take the written word for granted, but for the majority of human history this has not been the case. Over the millennia, those with the ability to communicate using these strange markings have been viewed with awe and suspicion in almost equal measure, and many believed that anything written was magical in some way. It's only logical then, that people would begin to think that certain works were holy writ handed down by a deity, held the secrets to immense power, or contained forbidden knowledge that would bring misfortune and death upon anyone who read them.
Eventually certain books were, for one reason or another, deemed too dangerous for the general public ...
Originally a light novel series by Mikumo Gakuto, Dantalian no Shoka (The Mystic Archives of Dantalian), takes place in England after World War 1. Hugh Anthony Disward (or Huey to his friends), returns to his ancestral home six months after receiving a letter informing him that his grandfather, Earl Wesley Disward, had been murdered by a burglar. According to the will, Huey can inherit the title, the estate, and everything contained within the mansion, but in return he must take over responsibility for the Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian, and look after Dalian as well.
Magical books have long been a staple of the fantasy genre, but unlike the majority of tales dealing with them, the main focus of Dantalian no Shoka is to seal away those works that were never meant to exist, or have fallen into the wrong hands. It's a reasonably simple idea that can work very well with an episodic plot (Mushishi, Natsume Yuujinchou and Mokke use a similar method), but sadly that isn't the case here. The straightforward premise doesn't seem to have been enough for the writers, who have very clearly tried to cram as much as possible into twelve episodes. The story can often get sidetracked or bogged down in semantics, and there is a tendency towards over-explanation and melodrama. In addition to this, there are several characters who appear to have been included just to show how "good" Huey and Dalian are, and because of these issues it can often seem as though the narrative has been cobbled together with hobnails and glue.
Now it may seem as though there's little of interest to be found in the story, but that's not actually the case. When the plot sticks to the point there's a surprisingly nice balance between the mystery and supernatural aspects, and there's a good deal of imagination in the way certain phantom books are used or affect people. The series also ventures into darker territory that suits the main theme of the show very well, but these occasions tend to be spoiled by some truly inane humour.
That said, while there are some major issues with the storyline, Gainax have done a decent job with the visuals. There are several different art styles on display that reflect the nature of certain episodes, especially in aspects like design and colouring. There are also some rather nice effects that work well with the detailed backgrounds to create some very atmospheric settings and scenery.
There are some issues that need to be raised though.
For some reason the animation tends to be rather simplistic, and while this seems to fit with one episode in particular, it does become a problem during action sequences. In addition to this, there's a certain "stiffness" to the character movements that may be an intentional dig at British reserve, but it's more likely due to carelessness or time/cost constraints. The character designs are unoriginal and uninspired, and while the clothing is somewhat reflective of the period, viewers will be forgiven for thinking that Dantalian no Shoka is nothing more than a copycat of Gosick.
The opening sequence is a decent montage that features the more prominent characters, some rather pleasant imagery, and a little action, all to the tune of "Cras Numquam Scire" (Tomorrow is Never to Know), by Yucca (featuring Ono Daisuke), a hauntingly choral track that is slightly reminiscent of "Lilium" - the opening song from Elfen Lied. The ending sequence is a short film about a little girl in a horned mask and white dress, walking barefoot through the forest while dragging a large trunk, and alongside the music box stylings of maRIONnetTe and their song "Yes, prisoner", the overall effect is decidedly ... unnerving.
Dantalian no Shoka is generally well served in the audio department, and there's a nice variety of classically themed tracks available, although it should be pointed out that the majority of the series is actually devoid of musical accompaniment. The effects are well choreographed, but rarely overbearing, and it seems that a conscious effort has been made to emphasize the quality of the script and the acting.
For the most part the dialogue is pretty decent, although there is a degree of immaturity about certain conversations, and the explanations can sometimes sound pompous and overbearing. Then again, the latter may be nothing more than a reflection of each role, especially as the actors deliver some good performance throughout the series.
There's something puzzling about the characters as there's very little in the way of actual development, but there's also not much definition given to them either. Aside from being unable to write off the supernatural as mere superstition, Huey doesn't actually grow in any way, and Dalian remains the stereotypical tsundere loli for much of the series. There's also very little attention given to the supporting roles, in particular to the people using or afflicted by the phantom books, and one has to wonder if this was due to the attempt to cram so many different elements into the plot.
There's also the issue of Dalian's connection to the pink haired girl living in the "gourd", but that raises a lot of other questions, especially about Raziel and Flamberge, so if you really want to know, just ask (or Google it).
Aside from the similarity in the character design and the fact both shows try to wade through various mysteries, Dantalian no Shoka has surprisingly little in common with Gosick, but that's both a good and bad thing. The general lack of detail about the characters means that there's very little justification for their actions, and aside from Huey, the lack of any real back story means that many of the roles lack the necessary depth needed to take the story seriously. There's also a surpisingly pro-censorship message built into the narrative, and this isn't helped by the fact that the male lead is a lord, while Hal Kamhout, the Libricide officer, looks like a priest.
The biggest problem with the series is that it tries to do far more than it should, and because of that viewer's may be left with a feeling of incompleteness come the end of the anime. While the story is interesting up to a point, the morass of people and events mean that there are no outstanding moments, and nothing to really capture the heart. There is entertainment to be had from Dantalian no Shoka, especially for those who like shows laden with symbolism, but this is nothing more than a veneer of "intelligence" that overlays the shallowness of the series as a whole.
It's a shame that more effort wasn't put into making this anime work as the concept is actually pretty good. The basic premise is sound, and if Gainax, the writers, and director Uemura Yutaka had taken the show more seriously, then Dantalian no Shoka could have been something truly interesting and entertaining.
And for those of you wondering how an entire library can fit inside a person, here's an explanation from Sir Terry Pratchett's "Discworld Companion":
"Even big collections of ordinary books distort space and time, as can readily be proved by anyone who has been around a really old-fashioned second-hand bookshop, one of those that has more staircases than storeys and those rows of shelves that end in little doors that are surely too small for a full sized human to enter.
The relevant equation is Knowledge = Power = Energy = Matter = Mass; a good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read. Mass distorts space into polyfractal L-space, in which Everywhere is also Everywhere Else.
All libraries are connected in L-space by the bookwormholes created by the strong space-time distortions found in any large collection of books." read more
Both of these Anime have a dark, gothic feel to their art style and they are about the macbre death. They also touch on the supernatural, one about how supernaturalism isn't real, and the other based on the what if it was real.
Both anime feel the same, they both have a great artwork and storyline, the characters are very similliar too, both anime occurs in the victorian era, Both have something realated to books too.
They are both set in a historical era with the them full of mystery and a bit gothic. Dalian pretty much reminds me of Victorique, who uses a sense of authority to hide her actual feelings. Both of them also deal with mysteries paired with historical events. Overall, both of them are mind boggling and worth the time.
Both stories contain a mysterious little girl that is in a place filled with books and is found by the male protagonist who saves the girl countless times in their mysteries or adventures. The two bicker at some things, but they truly get along in some points, and there may be a future love interests in some parts of the episodes. Also both girls contain a supernatural power that either saves or solves real problems, and the truth of that power may be revealed in future episodes.
Small, smart girl solving mysteries with a kind man. There're lots of books and supernatural cases. The same times, in early 1900's , in a european country. They've got the same gothic atmosphere as well.
Cute little bossy smart loli girl wraped up in mysteries alongside a level headed, not-too-clued-up male (typcal tsundere victum) who has just stumbled into the situation and attained the status sidekick.
A period setting and wealth is very visiable in both.
Dantalian no Shoka is an obvious and blatant rip-off of Gosick. I'm sure that if you loved Gosick, you'd like Dantalian. Everything is the same, except for the fact that Dantalian has supernatural elements.
Anyone who had watch any of these shows will instantly see the similarities.
We have a small main heroine who was discovered by the main lead guy. Both heroines are bossy yet kind. They both keep insulting and hitting their companion. They also are very smart.
Both shows are about solving mysteries.
They are set in the same time period and have a similar setting. The main characters also resemble each other (Dalian → Victorique, Huey → Kujo).
They're both shows that feature frilly dresses, early 1900's Europe, and are done by unfitting studios.
Both have child-like girl and very smart, power and a male companion.
Contains gothic elements and both uses books and the individual's knowledge as a tool to solve mysteries.
They both have Lolis and mystery solving. It's like scoobydoo but for pedobear. The only differences is the loli in Dantalala is Miyuki Swashbucket and the characters hairs switch.. (you know like the guy has black hair and girl has blonde hair but in this one it's like backwards..)
Both are set in a WW1/post war era. A foreign boy meets an odd, small and fragile girl who has some sort of 'power'. The characters show a very distinct similarity, just that their hair color is inverse (Hugh→Kujo; Dalian→Victorique). Both pairs team up solving mysteries.
Both series are acclimated in Europe, both are mystics and have got a cute protagonist.
Both anime have female characters that have access to a knowledge through libraries and books.
-Main characters are very similar (short, smart girls and both like to eat)
-Books & Libraries
Both are focused around library and books. Main characters are man and tsundere little girl solving mysteries and the man has a cheerful female friend who tsundere little girl doesn't like. Seriously if I were the writer of Gosick I would sue Dantalian no Shoka for plagiatarism. Sure there are some differences(Dantalian has more action and less mystery solving), but in the end these two animes are so much alike its annoying and awesome at the same time.
Both have similar lead female characters who are intelligent, and enjoy sweets. Both revolve around mystery.
- both have gothic lolita as heroine
- the action take places in the past
- both are about mysteries
The secondary-main characters in both anime are a feamle version of Sherlock Holmes.
2. Tsundere relations with main charas.
3. Captivating and intriguing.
What's not to love?
Similar Story - Cute girl solving cases with cool guy, Similar Character - Dalian & Victorique, Disward & Kujou
Both how have so many similarity so if you like one then i'm 99% sure that you like the other
Something to do with books,
A cute short girl who is very smart,
both are a mystery, drama , gothic lolita type genres
both have a male protagonist who is accompanied by a small girl with a whole 'knowledge' of books
both the male and female are smart and bicker and fight alot, and end up saving one another
both are centered around the same century period which have the same atmospheric setting
both protagonists love to solve mysteries involving supernatural events or wealthy cases etc
they are pretty much similar, except dante is more supernatural, but if you watch one, you would most likely like the other
- Dark Gothic Theme
- Dark Lolita Protagonist
- Case Solving
Gosick is as starters more a detective anime where Dantalian No Shoka more goes to the supernatural problem solving. Both have a great Dark/Gothic atmosphere in them and each have their great individual character development!
With a great pace and nice story development both are a great watch!
If Gosick is about a beautiful young girl with looks akin to a doll and is a key element in its story, then the exact same thing applies in Dantalian no Shoka. The similarities aren't just in the main heroines themselves, but the overall feel and style of the animes. Though the plot may be different, but themes of fantasy, the era that the characters reside in and all the way through to the music, all of these elements give viewers that nostalgic Victorian era humans of today sometimes romanticize and long for.
-both have detective mysteries that i waiting to be solved
-both have been blessed to have the knowledge to solve the puzzles
-the heroin are what u call loli with a touch of tsundere attitude
Well, starting that both are historical animes. Second, the way the two girls act is like tsurunde, and they are always making orders to the guys.
Both protagonist solve crimes and have a guy who helps them. Whom they fall in love with. Gosick is an amazing anime. The girl protagonist who is smart but at times very childsish falls in love with a guy at her school who became her friend and help her solve crimes.
Gosick and Dantalian no Shoka are two excellent anime with both male and female protagonists. Funnily enough, both of these series, I always look back and think of them as a sort of mirror of each other. But, honestly, both are slightly predictable in storyline, but the concept is good enough to keep you glued to the screen.
Settings are beautifully drawn for both. The art is gorgeous and I like the consistent theme of gothic elizebethan clothing.
Both have magic components to the plot and have relatively okay-ish endings.
Both have a distinct air of mystery about them with a bossy, gothic-lolita type main character. Also, they are both set in similar eras and have very gothic looks.
starting from the characters ....both of them found a girl somewhere (a place full of books i guess? :D) and both of the themes are very gothic same with the atmosphere kinda gloomy and dark but dantalian is more fictional than gosick.
-Both involves male and female protagonist working together to solve problems
Gosick: solve mysteries
Dantalian no Shoka: solve cases involving Gensho
-Both female protagonist are little girls
-and like sweet stuff
Huey from Dantalian reminds me of a much older Oz Vessalius, while Dalian definitely reminds me of Alice. Both take place in a European setting, both are fantasy shows.
Gothic in feeling, it is about two girls who contain a secret and an ability that can be unlocked, an ability that has a dark side.
Fantasy elements, historical European type settings, pretty dresses. : ) The airs these shows give off are really quite similar.
Contains gothic elements and both uses unlocking mechanisms to release a partner's power.
They both have a main girl that fallows the guy and they have an ability they can unlock and the art is kinda similar
It's no surprise that any viewer who has seen both series may come to see some similarities between the two especially in terms of the European settings, the similar personalities of the main female protagonists, and the fantasy themes.
The female protagonist in both series are indeed bossy and has an unique relationship with the main male protagonist. Yet, they care about each other and works flawlessly when situation crisis calls.
Both series' soundtracks also has similar rhythm and are generally a classic for those into fantasy/mystery with supernatural elements.
Opening Theme"Cras numquam scire" by Yucca feat. Daisuke Ono (eps 1-11)
Ending Theme#1: "yes, prisoner" by maRIONnetTe (ep 1-11)
#2: "Cras numquam scire" by Yucca feat. Daisuke Ono (ep 12)
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