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
Producers: Gainax, TV Tokyo, Kadokawa Shoten, Kadokawa Pictures Japan, The Klock Worx, NTT Docomo, Dwango
Duration: 25 min. per episode
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or olderL represents licensing company
Score: 7.371 (scored by 18846 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
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Nov 18, 2011
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
Jul 16, 2011
I personally had this anime recommended to me by a friend, saying I might like it. (He had read the novels I believe.) So I came into this show knowing nothing at all since I had decided not to try to get any background on it to be unbiased about it.
I was reasonably surprised by how good I actually found it to be.
Personally I normally don't like dark atmosphere anime, yet this one does it in a way that I wanted to keep watching since it kept pulling me in to want to know more about the story and these Phantom Books.
Ok, after episode two I find myself mildly lost. At first I thought that the Phantom Books were going to be a tool of destruction in the hands of people who could not control them. But if I understood correctly Huey used two in the episode as weapons. Guess they can be used as tools in the right hands.
With that said, the story feels a little rushed since there isn't continuity between the two episodes, so it looks like theres an overall theme, but different scenarios that don't continue on. Hopefully this doesn't persist and they take sometime to explain some more concepts or the anime is going to suffer with confusing concepts and butchered story telling.
Well, they never slowed down one bit the entire anime, they just kept on chugging by without taking the time to explain concepts. They decided to go on an episodic route, which I had hoped they wouldn't, since a good linear story would probably have made more sense for this series. But I still liked each episode for what it put out, each being interesting and unique in its own way. The finale was especially well done, making up for some of the confusion along the way.
Very neat realistic backgrounds. Pretty well designed cars and items from the time period the anime is set in. The backgrounds never cease to amaze me in this anime, they are extrordinarly well done, it looks very realistic for an anime that's for sure. The character designs go well with the backgrounds and settings. Huey has a nice design, and so does Dalian. Not much else to say about it.
The background music so far is very appropriate to the scenes it is used in. It doesn't seem out of place and just fits with the anime in general. With episode two I saw the opening, they did use it in episode one, but without the opening sequence. I think the opening is very appropriate for the anime, it goes with its theme of being a dark mysterious anime, which the opening reflects with its mellow somber tune. I stand by my perspective of episode one; the ending... IS strange, the music was creepy and the video is just really really creepy, I didn't particularly like it one bit. So for me the opening and background music is appealing, very appealing.
Huey's character seems likeable to me. Seems like the kind of person that has an interesting past to say the least. Also seems to be well rounded, such as his knowledge with books and firearms, and piloting experience as well. Dalian, was enigmatic to say the least. She seems to be the kind of character you will learn more about slowly as the plot progress, but from what I've seen so far she is somewhat reserved and was brought up in a somewhat pampered state. I mainly say this because of the manner she bosses Huey around and her posture she witholds the air of someone that had been pampered or sheltered.
I oddly enjoyed the first episode much to my surprise. At first I had thought that I might be a bit bored since this isn't typically a type of anime I would try. But I said what the heck and watched the first episode. This was a decision I do not regret since I am already hooked on the story, and want to know more about it. And I honestly enjoyed the comedy between Huey and Dalian in each episode since it is played out nicely and just works into character development well.
Overall, I am mighty pleased that I picked up this show since it looks quite promising, I'm hoping that it doesn't disappoint me somewhere along the way. If the story picks up and pieces together some loose plot holes I still think this anime will be a fantastic watch. Sadly it didn't fill up every plot hole along the way, with certain things remaining murky. This seemed like the kind of anime that needed another 12 episodes to round itself off into what it could be. Hopefully a season 2 comes out to explain the loose ends, and instead of being episode by episode they chain it together into something that flows better. read more
Dec 24, 2011
The story format is episodic. This means that while there is a lot of diversity in tone and feeling, inevitably episodes will be hit or miss depending on their chosen subject. Some episodes really caught my interest while in others I was constantly hitting the pause button so I could go do some important stuff like watch cat videos on my Internetz.
Everything in this show has to do with books. Magical books that have some weird superpowers. This is a nice concept and I would have been very pleased to see it delivered with more gothic subtlety and psychological horror stuff. Instead, most of the time the writers are pulling shit out of their asses that looks like it was googled on the spot and then put in the blender. I have to give them credit, though, for presenting this random hodgepodge of ideas and names as though it was actually true.
I guess the worst thing about this show is that it is so ridiculously over the top and crams so much corny stuff when a more subtle approach would have worked wonders for it.
Dalian: is a tsundere loligoth who loves reading and being snotty to others. She also has a magical lock on her chest, which makes for a pedo-creepy, sexual sequence that I guess the creators thought looked really cool but is actually pretty dumb. Anyway, Dalian is the keeper (one of the keepers? I don't know, I'm confused) of a mystical library of magic books. I must say, the most that can be said for her is that she is not as annoying as she first appears to be. But she is pretty annoying. Weak, too. She can neither fight nor cast any spells. To reduce the annoyance factor I suggest putting the magical lock on her mouth. Nothing interesting comes out of it anyway.
Huey McDuck: (demons in hell, who had the brilliant idea of naming this guy? I’ll just call him McDuck) is the generic male lead who does all the legwork. Aside from getting beaten up, shot at and drinking tea—which are all activities I enjoy watching characters do—there is nothing interesting about him. He is such a basic, unshaped mould of a character that he feels as bland as raw flour.
Random episodic characters: to make up for the lameness of the main pair there are a bunch of interesting side characters making random appearances. I just realised that the episodes I liked the most focused on these other characters, like the guy burning the books and his sidekick in a straightjacket. Or the perky cosplaying heiress. Once again we have a show where the side characters are much more interesting than the leads. I suspect this is some kind of trolling trend in Japan. Along with frozen highschoolgirl panties or whatever.
This has the sort of glossy animation that's become popular recently. To save money, the studio used filtered photographs for backgrounds. It has a slightly jarring feel to it but nothing as eye-gouging as badly done CG.
The thing that bugged me most about the animation was the style used at “magic” moments. Often, the visuals are totally inappropriate to the mood and setting. Enough with the stupid energy bolts and Technicolor seizure graphics! This ain't Power Rangers, dammit! Instead of going for dark, gothic and discreet they ruin the atmosphere and buildup with that wacky stuff. Hey, should I be expecting Ichigo to pop up with his new Bankai?
The soundtrack is quite competently put together. It has a sort of melancholy choir vibe going for it and a kind of music box tune. The people working on this knew where to put it to good use, that's for sure.
OP: a quite pretty and atmospheric ballad that ties in nicely with the graphics. In fact, it makes you believe you're about to watch a much better show. Ha! Joke’s on you!
ED: some weird live-action sequence. I don't really like live-action in my anime so I never bothered to watch it to the end. I doubt it was something stellar though.
It was a semi-chore to sit through this easily forgettable show. The best time to view it is when you're home and you are so bored out of your skull you have nothing better to do. Maybe some lazy Sunday afternoon. Not even loligoth fetishists would vote for this.
Oct 31, 2011
Spice and Wolf fans (and not for the furry aspect of the show), will enjoy Dantalian no Shoka for the chemistry between the two lead characters. As a shift from the romance genre, Dantalian no Shoka steers clear of any suggested innuendos of perversion, or romantic love. That's not to say however, the character have no love for each other; in fact, not only do the characters share a strong bond, they also value others as human beings. Even for villains who are destroyed, Dalian and Hugh neither cheers nor turn a cold shoulder. Instead, an episode would takes a moment to reflect upon the moral dilemma caused by the Phantom Books and usually closes leaving somewhat of a melancholic atmosphere.
While the chemistry of Hugh and Dalian does developed, expecting any slice-of-life action through the series may be a tad misleading as the characters themselves remain relatively unchanged from start to finish. The audience does however grow to love Dalian and Hugh in the process as they open up more to each other. Through the introduction of Hugh's friends and events of the Phantom Books, we learn that Dalian is less cold than her appearance and title, the Black Bibliopricess, may suggest. With the heart for those who have been misfortunated by the effects of the Phantom Books, and a soul of a child for sweets and pastry, Dalian becomes less monotonous as a character as the audience witness the multiple sides of her personality. For Hugh, rather then personality display, we learn about him through his past events as a soldier. Namely, his persistence to help and fight for his friends.
But the charm of merely two characters doesn't quite bring a show up to "recommendable". Particularly for an episodic series as many fall into that pitfall of each episode simple being a rehash of each other. Isn't that right, Hell Girl? For Dantalian no Shoka, the core formula for an episode remains unchanged: Something is amiss. A Phantom Book antagonist is suspected to be behind the corruption. Stop said antagonist. Go home. Drink tea. Enjoy some mild sauce tsundere. However, the Phantom Books themselves acts as a convenient plot device for altering this generic formula. Due to the various nature and power of each book, they cause one to question the value of life, the morals of deceit and white lies, and the limits of justice. Although such questions were subtle, an each episode leaves the viewer with some food for thought.
As enjoyable as Dantalian no Shoka may be, it's difficult to place any title equal to "spectacular" for the show. For the show itself did not lack any particular elements, it also was not outstanding in any particular elements. It's comedy and dialogue were kept at a minimal, for it was not a comedic based series. It's drama was not striking and sudden, for it was not a drama. It's mystery served just enough to create its enigmatic and dark atmosphere, for it was not Death Note. Conclusively, it was only a very enjoyable, charming, paced, and amusing series. read more
Nov 6, 2011
I came into The Mystic Archives of Dantalian/Dantalian no Shoka (Hereafter known simply as Dantalian) with no expectations. The very first thing I noticed about the show was the art. It was simply put gorgeous. My eyes were fully engrossed with the shows beautiful use of color and artistry. To be completely honest with you my readers, this anime is worth a try for the art alone. If that were all I would say this was simply another run of the mill anime and that's all, but not only that, but the music is simply fabulous. Orchestral pieces throughout the entire series fit the dark and enigmatic presence of the series as a whole. Making this a treat for both the eyes and the ears, where could this series go wrong?
I ask you to take the following with a grain of salt.
The story starts with Hughey Anthony Disward arriving at a mansion, inherittance letter in hand to take over his recently deceased grandfather's estate. With strict instructions to take care of the estate of the deceased bibliomaniac and his unfathomable collection of books, and to care for a being referred to in the letter only as Dalian. Assuming that Dalian is a pet of some sort, Hughey is surprised to find not an animal of some sort but a young girl.
As the story progresses you find that his grandfather was in a sense gatekeeper of a mystic and legendary library housing books tht no human should ever know the contents of, granting to some great power, but to the unworthy, catastrophe, misery, despair and death. Hughey proceeds to try to find as many of these books that his grandfather lent out as possible before they fall into the wrong hands or something horrible happens.
All in all, the premise is promising. The powers and the outcomes of using these books are quite intriguing and unique. But the series seems to rely on this alone as a driving point. Other than the two main characters, none of the cast gets much if ANY developement. And the only character that does seem to get any development is a very...unique character? In the sense that his driving force is to woo women...at all times. It introduces very unique themes and characters only to drop them or only include them in a few episodes. This is mostly due to the episodic way the entire anime works, but with no development the characters seem to be lacking in the final episode, which does try to link some of the questions together, but only adds more mysteries to the mix. Although I did love the two main characters, they both had...too little time to grow I suppose. Hughey doesnt seemt o change at all while Dalians changes are very small and hard to read and the questions of how she links to the other girl(s) they keep showing keep getting more and more relevant. I will have to say that if they don't add a second season, these questions will never be answered.
The only other qualm I have with this show is how hypocritical it is with the points that it makes. It makes a point of saying how 'some things aren't meant to be seen' or know...or something along those lines. Then saying about how the books are all meant for a certain person. Also saying things such as there being no such thing as magic or curses then having the character that made that point say about the curse on -that- family, or having a true sorceror suddenly appear in one episode out of nowhere.
All in all if you are looking for a treat for both the eyes and the ears, I definitely DEFINITELY suggest you watch this anime. I personally loved every minute of it and give it a 9 out of 10 as its good qualities are so outstanding that they far outweigh the bad. I hope that some of you find this review helpful and that you enjoy the show when you get the chance to watch it. read more
Jul 9, 2012
- STORY -
Adapted from the light novel of the same, Dantalian no Shoka (also known as Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian or the Mystic Archives of Dantalian) is set in the backdrop of England after World War I. Hugh Anthony "Huey" Disward, a young man and ex-Pilot inherits a mansion including a vast library from his late grandfather. He encounters and soon befriends a mysterious, petite girl named Dalian who is the guardian of the Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian accommodating several thousands of 'phantom books'. Phantom books grant 'forbidden knowledge' which in the wrong hands can impose grave danger. Huey is proclaimed as the keykeeper to Dantalian's archives by Dalian, and together the pair must unravel incidents involving the misuse of the phantom books and restore peace and order.
The first thing that struck me is how similar its premise is to that of Gosick. Dalian, one of the two leads, is nothing more than just a copycat of Victorique. But that's not where the problem lies. The series is episodic with each episode dealing with a particular phantom book and the threat it poses to people including its owner, and the duo ultimately saving the day using their ability to access Dantalian's Archives. Most of the episodes are boring to say the least. I occasionally paused the video to check Facebook notifications. In other words, it failed to keep me hooked. To boot, some of the episodes felt absolutely stupid. For instance, the latter half of the eighth episode (Book of Relationship).
Another flaw is the ambiguity. Many of the things are either not explained clearly or they're left totally unexplained which results in confusion and you don't know what is exactly going on.
In the entire anime, the only episode I can call decent is the one involving the perfumer. Which episode was it again? Let me check. Okay, the seventh one. The rest of the episodes are not even worth mentioning. I remember having the urge to skip a few parts of them.
- CHARACTERS -
The cast failed to leave any impression on me. To a small degree, Dalian is interesting but then again, she is an imitation of Victorique from Gosick. Huey is decent. Among the supporting characters, Armand is easily the most annoying character following Camilla. There is nothing to say about the rest of the characters as they only appear in their respective episode, play their role and exit.
- VISUALS -
There are some instances when the art is gorgeous with rich textures and lighting effects. The backgrounds are pretty well detailed too. I remember there was this particular episode in which the art resembled illustrations from storybook. I liked that innovative art style. The character designs, on the other hand, are above average.
- AUDIO -
The best thing about Dantalian no Shoka is the OP 'Cras Numquam Scire'. Besides that, I don't remember any other soundtrack. Did anything even play in the background in the entire anime? Maybe it did but I failed to notice. The ED 'Yes, Prisoner' is so-so. Sawashiro Miyuki as Dalian's voice actress did a good job.
- CONCLUSION -
I am at a loss of words here. I can't seem to find anything else other than 'mediocre' to describe Dantalian no Shoka because, well, that's what it is. Judging by the synopsis, you may expect something intriguing but to put it bluntly, that’s not the case. Well, you can still give it a shot if you can’t find anything better to watch.
Oct 8, 2011
The idea in it's very basic form is nothing new. A guy-girl duo out to save people from things they don't understand/are misusing to hurt others. Despite this, I found it interesting still that "phantom books" were chosen as the tools. It's something different and in a sense, philosophical, to see that words are chosen as the weapon. Anyways, the story starts off rather episodic with very little tying one episode to the next other than the main characters. There isn't much plot development till the last few episodes which left me wondering why they either didn't attempt to turn this into a longer series or just start integrating the plot sooner. There is a set of characters that don't make an appearance till the last two episodes and another set that are briefly glimpsed earlier than revisited in the last few episodes. Also, an entire history/relationship between Huey and the pig-tailed girl is pretty much left unexplained. In short, the story was generic yet refreshing at the same time, however, the plot development was weak and rushed. Unless there is another season or a movie to be released, this is a big weakness in the series.
As the rating suggests, I liked the art. In all actuality, the art and animation deserves an 8 but I am rating a 9 for two different reasons. 1) Baby The Stars Shine Bright's and Alice and the Pirates was involved in designing costumes for Dantalian and the cast. I am a huge fan of Goth Loli (one of the secret reasons I picked up this series to begin with) and anyone who even has remote interest in Goth Loli should know this name or look it up. 2) Episode 9. Watch it. The art is fantastic. The rest of the series has great art design and above average animation though at times stiff, thus the deserved 8 rating, but these two things pushed it to a 9.
The OP and ED are both good choices with the OP being the better of the two. The ED was a little strange for most people though I enjoyed the live action perspective and thought he video was interesting. The OP, however, is a beautiful number that really captures the mood with a somber score that is also, surprisingly, serene. The voice acting was good other than the fact that I kept finding myself being irritated with Dalian's pronunciations. For some reason, the way she strongly pronounced the ending syllables of her sentences rubbed me the wrong way and wore on my ears after a while.
The lack of plot development resulted in a general lack of character development. We see Dalian and Huey go through various adventures with each other but I never once really felt that their relationship had matured. There standing seemed the same in episode 2 as it did in episode 11. Only in the last episode do we see some emotion/connection between the two, but this is lost within the whirlwind of plot being flung at the viewer. Other characters are either abandoned or relegated to a mere mention in the closing episodes. There is never a strong tie connecting main characters to side characters and thus everything feels loose and unorganized. Also, as a personal note, I found Dalian to be a little too much tsundere, border-line childish. Scratch that, she WAS childish. Just not cute enough to overcome it.
I mostly enjoyed this anime for the art and the idea of books being used as weapons. This was somewhat lost in the chaos that was the last episode, but none-the-less, I still found this enjoyable enough. I wouldn't recommend unless I was sure someone else had the affinity for Goth Loli/Victorian style that I have. read more
Oct 2, 2011
This is pretty much a random story line, but still has some underlying connections (like relationships). As a young boy Huey, finds and befriends a lonely librarian who watches over a library filled with more than 600,000 books, but that catch is that the library is mystical/magical. Then the show starts with Huey being an adult and befriending another young lady named Dantalian. She and Huey go through many adventures both happy ones and gruesome ones. Will they survive?
I don’t usually like historical stuff, but this really hit the spot for me. I really liked the full tone art-style and the historical feel that is so beautifully presented. However, on some of the adventures, I often found myself getting a little upset or queasy. I directly recall episode four; there was a scene where some of the characters were continuously killed over and over and to make it worse, it was execution style with a bullet in the head. That is something I definitely didn’t want to watch, but that is also a representation of how history isn’t always happy and fun. Overall, there was a slight romance tone, but there really wasn’t anything that connected everything together. And of course the series ended in a way that would allow a second season to be made if ever warranted.
The characters are not very unique. Quite frankly, all of them seem a bit dense. You have your usual short-cute tsundere girl in an amazingly complex looking dress, an idiot girl who loves to dress up, an annoying friend who can’t find true love and Huey, a man who was once an army pilot and killed his best friend.
That doesn’t sound very different from other characters does it?
The art is fantastic, there is a great blend of colors when action happens, but overall the colors are usually dark and the art style is usually full toned (no missing borders, no missing backgrounds etc…).
The OST for this series is just amazing. The opening scenes have a great song that I just had to have and the music that was played throughout the series was just amazing. The focus on instruments was tremendous and I really loved the episode where a famous instrumentalist played in a concert. (Seeing how I am a violinist, this can be very bias).
Besides the gruesome-brutal executions, I think the series was pretty enjoyable. The show has a perfect blend of mystery and action while introducing a couple unique aspects that hasn’t been put in an anime before. I commend the use of music and the dialogue is also quite good, but if the brutality is any worse than it was so far, I might not watch the second season if it ever gets made.
Sep 5, 2011
Story: Well, the viewer isn't really introduced to or given much information to the main characters. You pretty much are thrown in from the first episode in a world filled with books that can cast forbidden spells that humans want to get their hands on. Hugh and Dalian, the two main characters, some how from episode 1 the episode where they just met(yes from episode 1) just plain decide to go after the phantom books. WTF? I mean doesn't Hugh find this at all strange? I've complained about some very slow story lines, but man this one takes the cake for just moving along too fast. I honestly don't know if this happens in the novel, etc, but it just seems mighty unrealistic for someone just to jump in and so "okay Dalian let's go get these books now, when I just met you like 10 minutes ago." Yes the story has supernatural characteristics to it, but geez. Not only that. It turns out so far in 8 episodes we aren't really given much info about anything else other than there are other book holders like Dalian out there. Problem is that the format follows the "monster of the week" type and well, I'm pretty sure most people find that annoying and boring, I know I sure do. I give the story a 5. Weak.
Art. Well I can't complain about it. It's just plain beautiful, though at times it can be a bit dark and you just can't see anything. The detail to the architecture (that is the designs) of the buildings, vehicles, etc is very nicely done.
Sound. Opening and Ending songs are very reminiscent of 18th/19th century folk songs. Usually one person singing in a chamber style type of song with accompanying instrumentation. Depending on the mood, the songs really do come out strong, though I must say it is not my cup of tea. Still I give it a decent 7.
Characters. Well, the Characters aren't particularly uninteresting, they just seem extremely unrealistic and well they seem to rip off other characters from other animes like for example Gosick. We have Victorique from Gosick who's short, blonde, wears nice dresses, likes to read and is tsundere and on the other side we have Dalia, black haired little girl, who likes to read books, wears nice dresses and is as well...a tsundere. I mean seriously? Well at least the male main lead isn't a chump like Kujo from Gosick. At least Hugh can stand up to himself instead of making just ridiculous claims "I'll protect you, blah, blah" and then ends up getting beat up like Kujo does. We are introduced to other characters like those guys from the burn books society (or something of that nature) and the most recent character Fiona (who acts a lot like Elizabeth from Gosick???). So okay the characters aren't that original, but at least, AT LEAST Hugh is cooler and tougher than that other fool from Gosick. I give it a high 6.
Overall? Hmm...still kind of left wondering about this anime. It can be great, but it just seems to sit in mediocrity. It seems to copy a lot from another anime Gosick, which I didn't find particularly great (especially that terrible ending.) So I give this a fair 6. Maybe something else will come up in the next episodes, that might change my mind, but so far. It's pretty average. read more
Oct 2, 2011
Story - Good
The story of a girl who is the key to a library of magical books is not ground-breaking in the slightest. However, Dantalian no Shoka almost acknowledges this with its episodic nature. Instead of focusing on progressing an overarching plot, individual episodes are more concerned with providing entertainment. This is a double-edged sword, of course. You can argue that a nonprevelant story makes the show weaker. However, the individual episodes' stories are very interesting and captivating. In one episode, the duo enter a book. In another, a city is replaced with dolls. Each episode is unique and brings something new to the table.
Character - Great
The characters fit stereotypical anime roles, yet the small but significant divergences from the mold make then exceptional.
Dalian: Everything about Dalian is done amazingly. The way she becomes visibly disheveled when eating sweets. The way her voice actor conveys emotion with a haughty voice. Her pretentious nature, which is accentuated by moments where she loses her composure. Dalian is a stereotypical female lead done right, for good or bad.
Huey: A man in every definition of the word. He shoots first and asks questions later. He's always prepared to protect his lady, Dalian, when danger presents itself. He's never flustered or unsure about what to do next. Huey is a protagonist done right, though one could point out that lack of scenes of him failing is detrimental to his character development. I personally did not find this an issue.
No other characters play as big of a role as Dalian and Huey. There are reoccuring characters such as Camilla and Armand, but they do not play a big role in either the episodes they appear in nor the overarching story. These episodic characters are often developed well, sometimes through flashbacks or monologues, and sometimes with a good ol' gunfight.
Aesthetics - Great / Very Good
The art style and music fit the setting very well. Characters are drawn in detail, with a noticeably large amount of attention paid to Dalian. Buildings and clothing not only look authentic, but also give the impression of age and even quaintness. The slow, almost classical music set to the historical Europe setting transitions into upbeat melodies when the action picks up. The OP has received a lot of criticism for not being the usual JPop techno dance mashup. Personally, I think the eerie combination of Yucca's voice and the bits of action shown work well. The art and animation quality is not as good, though. Details are sometimes skimped on when the scenes have smaller objects, and animation is choppy when fast-moving, though oddly it is not a problem in action scenes, which are fluid and beautiful.
Enjoyment - Great
I will admit, I may be biased here. The way Dalian says "yes," the way she runs while holding up her dress, the way her porcelain white face portrays emotion are some of my favorite parts of Dantalian no Shoka. The action scenes with dramatic action sequences (and dramatic book-reading) are highlights of every episode. The brief comedy moments at the beginning and end of each episode keep the show fresh, and provide satisfying conclusions to each episode.
Overall - Great
Dantalian no Shoka is more than the sum of its parts. There's some strange "X factor" that made it the show I looked forward to the most each week. Could it be the characters with their detailed designs? The fluid, fast-paced action scenes? Or maybe it's simply Dalian?
I think that overthinking why one likes a show is often a bad idea. Dantalian no Shoka goes with a tried and true formula. Dantalian no Shoka shows that you don't need to do things differently to be exceptional. You just need to do things right. If you don't mind a relatively weak story partially due to its episodic nature, Dantalian no Shoka is an amazing show with lovable characters, engaging plot, and blood-pumping action. read more
Jan 23, 2012
1. Great anime.
2. Great concept.
3. Spectacular characters. (Although, the development of some characters lacked that oomph.)
4. Great storyline.
5. Plenty of action, plot twists and books.
6. Loli AND tsundere. Lol. I know tons of people who would watch this anime for that.
7. Blonde guy in trenchcoat + book ftw.
8. Is it just me, or is the part where he sticks his hand into her chest amusing?
9. EPIC AND DAZZLING EFFECTS, AUDIO AND ART.
10. Hey, what's not to love about a dramatic ending?
And that's my story. (Your cue to say, "Cool story, bro.")
Oct 2, 2011
The story isn't anything really special. Each episode you have a different case which is handled pretty much same way everytime (of course there are exceptions). So there really doesn't develop anything deep for the story. The story really started to go intresting at the last episode and then it was already too late. Dantalian should've needed 12 episodes more because of this.
The character designs are pretty mediocore. Really nothing you wouldn't have seen already. I would've hoped more originality in them. The style in the episode 9 (?) they used was much better (though the animation wasn't that good in that ep) . There really isn't that much originality in them. The animation isn't bad but it isn't particularly good either. I would've expected more from Gainax which usually makes something out of ordinary. That's why I was little disappointed with the animation.
The music is pretty classical oriented which works prefectly with old english mood. Although the opening is pretty horrible. The music doesn't fit with the video at all. And the ending is pretty creepy. Voice actors do what they do the best. Nothing to really complain.
Dalian was annoying 98% of the time. I didn't like her selfish attitude. Most of the characters were left pretty shallow and they would've told more about some characters past. Only Hugh's past were a little bit dealt. But for example other keykeepers were only introduced but nothing about their motives were told.
For me the enjoyment wasn't really that high. I prefer series that are placed in modern days or in the future and I'm not really fan with long enchantment lines. Some of the cases were pretty intresting but there were also boring ones.
This was a pretty mediocore show. It isn't anything special but it isn't bad either. Expecting something special because it's from Gainax is gonna make you disappointed. Of course if you are a fan of books, magic, old english style and Ono you are gonna love this show. read more
Oct 1, 2011
I took a risk and did something I never ever do: watch a 12-24 episode anime while it's still airing. Why do I never do this? I want to know that I'm watching something of fine quality. I can only know that with a finished product. However, after the rare gem that was Stein's Gate, I thought "hey maybe it's not so bad." I'm highly selective with my anime, you know, like Daniel Day Lewis is with movie roles, but hey enough about me.
In this case the risk did not pay off. This entire show was like a tease. You have this uppity goth lolita, Dalian, and her lukewarm handler Huey. They travel about, hunting shadow books. And at the end of every episode he enters her and reads a magic book that asplodes the monster of the week.
Dalian was entertaining with her snarkiness, but she didn't really do anything but talk snarky and be kawaiidesu while eating bread (sounds familiar). I was hoping she had ninja powers or some shit. I guess it's hard to do much when you wear a tent dress everyday. They made it seem like there was gonna be some huge payoff to all this. But no. In the end I felt empty and unsatisfied, to say the least.
What the hell was the point of it all? The second to last episode was basically some random shit about airplanes, and Hayami Show reading books on a plane with his manly Aizen voice. In the end, basically nothing in the murky plot is resolved, except "Oh herp derp sorry your princess is in another castle lol." In fact, there's basically there's no tangible plot that I can see except "hunt shadow books with some loli princess girls."
I dunno if there's another season. If not then wow, so much wasted potential. There are so many ways they could have made this a good anime. read more
Oct 15, 2011
P.s I'm only on the second episode.
I'm really liking this anime for the art and story. beautiful character design, intresting plot so far. Young male inherets grandfather's Mansion and large collection of book's. Not as thurough a reader as his grandfather but seeming still intrested. Apon ariving at the mansion, he walks inside to find that the library is completly of books. >.> where could the books be. End's up being led to an underground celler where his grandfather apprently kept his books close by at a table and a chair. And siting in this chair is the next chapter in this man's life. Great anime, I reccomend it to anyone who loves a story that isn't exactly outlined in the begining. Thank's for reading. read more
Jul 19, 2011
… Hey wait a second, that’s not Dantalian I am describing; that’s Gosick! Damn these shows are identical in their premise!
… In fact all loli detective shows are so much alike.
… In fact all loli detective shows ever made aired at the same year. I hereby name 2011 the year of the loli detectives.
Damn anime industry, I know you are running out of ideas but copying each other so soon and so obviously will be your death. Variety is the spice of life or did you forget?
Ok, back to describing the anime properly. Dantalian is the Victorian era based story of a boy named Anthony meeting a girl who reads many books named Dalian and they team up to solve mysteries concerning the supernatural. What we have here is a library full of demonic books that bring into reality their contents. Anthony doesn’t think much before he decides to befriend the girl and prevent the evil knowledge of the books from spreading.
The production values look good; there is a lot of detail given to the Victorian setting of the show and the special effects are abundant. The character designs look generic and the soundtrack didn’t strike a chord with me despite trying to be all sad and mysterious. The detail to shading shows various quality drops as if they eventually don’t bother adding layers of shadows or even smooth character outlines.
Story-wise Dantalian is episodic, as well as extremely rushed and messy. Too many things happen too fast and with too much telling instead of showing, so my enjoyment was very low. I mean the storyboard is about introducing a whole new cast in each episode, explaining it, as well as developing and find a conclusion all in just 18 minutes of duration. There is absolutely no time to get to bond with the story or the characters. The episodic missions create an information overflow and by the time you learn something new, it is already almost over and you are left with no reward for bothering to follow through and understand it. No time to build tension or drama or sympathy at all. I like how they are trying not to repeat the exact same things each time, like NOT fighting a cursed book on episode two, or NOT having to fight the cursed book on episode 3. That is still hardly enough to give a rat's ass about characters and storylines who come and go in one episode.
Character-wise, we have cop-outs of the typical boy-loli duet. Having aired so close to the similar Gosick, Kamisama Memo-chou and Milky Holmes makes them look completely boring right away. I mean five minutes after they meet and she is already going tsundere on a guy who lies defenceless at her feet. How original! The cast on later episodes ain’t any better; five minutes after you meet them they start to die and the rest just disappear. I find it impossible to like them.
Action-wise, the show is completely random. Monsters appear and Anthony fights them by reading books he plunges out of the girl, after shoving his hand deep inside her. And for some reason the monsters are sitting still for several minutes as he is chatting with Dalian and then reading fairy tales and mystical passages that somehow banish them. LOLWUT??? As cool as it looks at first, it is completely ridiculous and unexciting as there is no choreography or enough duration to even bother to care about it. But at least he also carries this normal looking gun that he uses before he goes for the books. You know, in case he can kill a monster with more conventional means before he has to start READING BOOKS in the MIDDLE OF A BATTLE with MURDERING FREAKS. But it’s not like it matters what he is doing since the monsters are just sitting still as he does his stuff. As for fighting in more conventional ways, well, he is easily owned by a normal human guy just because he doesn’t freeze while he is reading poetry. Completely retarded. Not even the era means anything after awhile, since all of a sudden there are cars and airplanes.
My impressions are not positive. It is just an episodic and poorly written loli detective show with added magic for kicks. It also tries to pass for sophisticated by adding passages from famous works, as well as mystical theories and ghost stories, yet all that mean nothing if you are not made to care. And I didn’t, since without proper duration to each case and further developing of the stereotypical duo, this anime is a flop just like the rest of its brood. read more
Oct 2, 2011
Which brings me to the characters. This was by far the most negative element of the show: the complete lack of character development. Dalian was your generic bitchy little girl who actually cares more than she lets on. Huey was just plain bland. Some of the side characters, such as Huey's friend with the strange wardrobe choices, were cute, but ultimately lacked any sort of depth. The mysterious figure with the braid who we kept seeing is another example of a character wasted: he shows up at the very end, does something crazy for no apparent reason, and then the show ends. Who is he? Why is he such a dick? We don't know. Nothing was explained. Not to mention the mysterious pigtailed girl in the library. We spent so little time with her that it was really hard to give a crap about her when she showed up again in the last episode.
The show's artwork, while polished, was as bland as the characters. I sometimes found it difficult to tell characters apart. There was an exception, however, in the episode with the apprentice medicine woman or whatever she was. The art in that was truly beautiful, and I wish the entire show could've looked like that. In comparison to that high point is the climax to the musical episode, which they chose not to animate but instead to just show us a bunch of stills of the "thrilling" conclusion. It was really jarring considering the quality of animation in the rest of the show.
Dantalian no Shoka had a lot of potential, but just failed to deliver in almost every aspect. I wouldn't waste my time with this one. read more
Oct 2, 2011
So, the plot. Hugh Anthony Disward, the protagonist of the story, inherits a mansion from his suddenly deceased bibliophile grandfather. In this mansion he meets a girl named Dalian, who is the custodian of the Mystical Tomes. These magical books have varying powers: some can bring people back from the dead, others can turn the person who reads them insane, and so on. Lord Disward, understanding the danger the Mystical Tomes hold, joins up with Dalian in a quest to find and seal the Tomes away.
Dalian is a typical tsundere character, who is lovingly done with all reference to ISO 15129 Female Leads of the Anime Shows. She sips her tea, enjoys various sweets and cakes (oh man, excuse me for thinking about K-ON for a second) and scolds Lord Disward to work off her tsundere position. Nothing really new or inventive here. On the other hand, Lord Disward seems to be a lot more interesting character. He participated in war (not a soldier, merely a pilot, as he claims himself), and that’s actually a really attracting trait. When one think about a military pilot and books, the associations are quickly led to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Or maybe Richard Bach. That kind of people. Nevertheless, Lord Disward gets a certain romantic aureole right from the start with just one phrase.
Whole nature of Dantalian no Shoka is episodic. All episodes are standalone stories, and most of the secondary characters appear only in one episode, so the cast is pretty much limited to Lord Disward and Dalian. The stories are usually very metaphorical and deal with a number of philosophical questions. The common themes are what can happen if the Mystical Tome falls into wrong hands, and the drawbacks of the magical books’ powers.
And now pieces are set. As you can see, all those things make Shoka a promising anime. What can possibly go wrong, huh? Firstly, the pacing of the series is terrible. Shoka goes strictly with “one story — one episode” formula, so most episodes seem too rushed and messy with their stories being crumpled and not detailed. I can see this series tries to make the viewer think, but it just doesn’t give him time to reflect upon what happened, and it limits the plot to just “fancy things go around in Victorian England”.
Secondly, the character development. Dalian, as ISO 15129 recommends us, is never affected by any events. Her character remains static during the whole run of the show, but that’s not an issue, since I never expected anything from her. The problem lies with Lord Disward. He is a capable protagonist at first glance, shooting enemies and all that, but he turns out to be really plain and undeveloped, usually just saying something trivial about episode’s outcome and not getting impressed with anything happened in it. Remember that stuff I said about military pilots and romantic aureole? It kicked only in one of the last episodes, and because of pacing problems even that episode failed to show the development of Lord Disward’s character.
Let’s take Kino no Tabi for comparison. (I know it’s bad to compare anything with one of my favourite anime of all time, but please, bear with it for a second.) Kino no Tabi is episodic, was based on ranobe and has a lot of philosophy too. However, Kino no Tabi’s stories are wonderful and well-balanced. Its protagonist, Kino, seems to be emotionless, but one still can feel how various events have an impact on her character. Oh, and I think I got an idea why Shoka failed. The person in charge of Kino no Tabi was Nakamura Ryūtarō-shi, one of the most talented and distinctive anime directors. And the director of Dantalian no Shoka was Uemura Yutaka-shi, a newbie. I’m not saying he is a bad director. He was trying to tell us a good story, but he is just not experienced enough to do so. Probably, this project was too much for him to handle in right way.
Okay, now I’m done with this review. Dantalian no Shoka could offer a lot but has too many issues to do it. I rate it 7 points, because the director actually tried and because it has beautiful violins in its soundtrack. read more
Apr 16, 2013
We of course need the ill-fitting, tsuntsun loli to bring in a wider audience, too. Mouthy, dinky and childish? Pedopaaaanderiiiing.
The gothic storybook ambiance makes it easy for me to forgive this being formulaic & monster-of-the-week (even if they weren't always "monsters"). Harder to forget this having Angel Beats!-levels of disjointedness, though.
Could have been a lot better had they tied things together, did more digging into the interesting and potential-filled world they created, and relied much less on a bog-standard tsundere to charm the viewers and carry the show. (Charm the viewers and carry the show! Charm the view-- sorry, that line made me wanna SING) And she *was* charming, don't get me wrong, but we need more than that. They certainly got the FEEL right, now they just need an appropriate personality to match the looks. read more
Feb 22, 2012
However, the major strike against the story is the lack of clarity around the ending. While it's not necessarily nonsensical, it seemed that there was a deeper interconnection between the various characters and their purposes for existence which is ill-captured in the truncated anime adaptation. Basically, at the end there are more loose threads than you could wave a stick at, to the point that I felt like I had watched some selected episodes from the first half of a show.
Still, not a bad show, so I'll give it a well-earned 7. Add 1 if the art style really calls to you, because it is quite good quality. read more
Oct 14, 2011
The anime gets right into things and explains everything right off the bat, almost smothering you with information. Despite this it still allows for you to understand what's going on and how everything works while giving hints of everyone in the first episode.
I'll be honest: Half of the anime is filler.
There is no exact goal established in the beginning so it's just them dealing with random situations involving the Phantom books, which grows tedious and boring. The story had much potential and could of been developed well--but, once again, because of the short amount of episodes it was compacted and had light focused in all the wrong places.
I found it intriguing and would keep up with the episodes regularly in the beginning, checking on my crunchyroll app, however I soon realized that the anime wasn't very enjoyable and switched to the manga.
If you're interested more in the plot and goal, then this would be the wiser of the choices.
It could of been much more memorable and interesting if there weren't so much filler. At times I felt a bit likes this was like FMA, just because of the atmosphere in the episode with the writer.
Art was beautiful and the animation was good. The environments were realistic and done well. The designs were unique and eye-catching as well.
I love the music for this. It suited it very well--I was actually quite surprised with the ending theme but it felt suited to it. Not only was the music gorgeous, but it created a subtle environment that you could easily get into.
All the characters were well cast and fit into their roles with ease.
Although Dalian sometimes acts a bit like a tsundere, she isn't pushy or angry 24-7 and is--dare I say it--quite classy, able to carry herself 'like a lady' without embarrassing herself or angering the audience with stupidity. She is mature, although she has the tendency to get fired up (not blow up, mind you) and is calm and collected the majority of the time, though easily swayed by sweets.
Huey, the other main character, is a capable young man who did some service in the military. He's very similar to Dalian in some respects, having the same mannerisms but can be unexpectedly bold. He is intelligent and I don't think I've ever been irritated by his decisions.
His relationship with Dalian is almost sororal with how he treats her. He treats her like a woman, but cares for her almost like he would if she were his sister. Mind you, I said 'treats' not 'feels'.
Overall the characters were excellent and I reccomend the manga instead of the anime unless you're looking for something short with a bit of a 'no strings attached relationship'.
Mind you, I still have not finished the anime, but I have read the manga. read more