Words convey a lot of things; our thoughts, our memories, our feelings, and everything else we can imagine are written and recorded into history. Speaking of history, how long has it been since we last saw that adorable, gluttonous, but also intelligent black princess by the name of Dalian "Kuro no Yomihime, Black Reading Princess”? Too long, I'd say! It's been over a year and our Black Biblioprincess returns in this special episode with her partner, Huey. We miss her and it's here in this episode that we see Dalian who once again presents some supernatural mystery.
Dantalian no Shoka: Ibarahime (also known as The Mystic Archives of Dantalian: Ibarahime) is a special all new original episode contained within the fifth volume of Chako Abeno's Dantalian no Shoka manga adaptation. For any die hard fans of the original series, this special episode should be a special moment.
Though it has been long, Dalian returns as her usual self. From the very beginning, she begins complaining just about...everything. And of course, her stomach speaks for herself just like from the original series. Just give her a candy and she'll shut up. Then, there's also Huey who returns in his usual role and maintains a calm composure despite Dalian's 24/7 complaining.
Being known as part of the supernatural mystery genre, this episode brings forth some mystery. Surprised? You might be. That's because most OVA or special episodes these days are often one of those beach, onsen, summer festival cliches. Yet, Dantalian sticks with its style of mystery and doesn't fall into the cliches. That's just one of the little gadgets that makes this special episode unique in its way.
However, let's remember that the original series wasn't exactly a hit smash, or at least in my opinion. It lacked smoothness and tries to characterize its characters too much. Needless to say, the characters' personalities does not balance although they sure bring out entertainment by just watching Dalian and Huey battle it out and about verbally using non magical words. But drop the arguments in this episode because a new character brings forth some trouble for the duo. Working together, the duo once again delivers just deserts.
As for the animation, it's just alright. Gainax once again is in charge here but nothing much has changed. The episode retains its 1950s feeling of the old English Ages that brings out some realism. The Victorian like dress that Dalian wears retains its original design while Huey still wears his signature hat (see the promo poster if you don't believe me).
The music/soundtrack doesn't change much either in this episode. It still has the usual choir music tone and the English style soundtrack. It retains its classical style and I do have to admit, it brings back some nostologia of the old school music. It is definitely well choreographed with the ED song being once again a smash hit in the strangeness department.
Overall, Dantalian no Shoka: Ibarahime is one of those episodes that gives the fans a heads up that the original series is still something to treasure like words in a book, the words written from our memories, or the words delivered by our feelings. However, it once again lacks story or characterization just like the original series. The art is also nothing special to take notice of despite its subjective realism. On the other hand, the soundtrack is quite pleasing to the ears that is appealing and gives off the audio tone which reflects the classical style of the English Ages. It's difficult to say if this is enjoyable for me or not as it lacks originality (aka the Gosick clone theory). However, it brings back some nostologia and I'll leave it at that. Whether you'll like the episode or not is up to you to decide. Maybe, you can write your thoughts and record them in a book, come back later, and then think about it. read more