Hein (fub) wrote,

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Finished series: Dantalian no Shoka

We've finished watching Dantalian no Shoka. My first episode review is here.

Huey Disward, a former WW1 combat pilot, inherits his grandfather's estate. There he meets Dalian, a young girl who reads all the time and is slowly working her way through his grandfather's book collection. And some collection it is: Lord Disward was known for being a collector of Mystical Tomes: books with magical properties. Dalian (whom the acquantainces of Disward call 'The Black Reading Princess') turns out to be the gateway to the Mystical Library of Dantalian, where the demon Dantalian (also a pretty girl, of course) lives. She can select an appropriate Mystical Tome (ranging from a spellbook of healing spells or a stone tablet with an incantation to banish a demon) which Huey can then read to save the day -- all with a sequence that is rather Absolute Destiny Apocalypse.

Most of the time, the pair chases Mystical Tomes that are being abused: there's a particularly gruesome episode where people get killed, resurrected and killed again. When the evildoers are defeated, Dantalian takes custody of the Tome to make sure it's not further abused. This makes for a rather episodic series: in some way, the pair learns of a Mystical Tome, finds out what's going on, defeats the evildoers who would abuse the Tome (often by using a Tome of themselves) and then lock it up.
There isn't much character development: Huey is a typical Manly Man and doesn't do much beyond that. Dalian is a typical goth-loli (again, totally inappropriate for the time period) with a tsundere streak -- though she can be easily bribed with cakes or fried bread.
We also get to see two additional Mystical Libraries: one with a 'book burner' as a partner, and a sinister one who tries to create Mystical Tomes. However, as there are only twelve episodes, there is not enough time to show the (potential) conflict between the three Libraries. Only the last episode has all three operating on the same issue.

Visually, the series is not really inspiring. The character designs are nice and varied, but there is nothing there that wowed us. Voice acting is pretty good though, with some familiar voices being type-cast.

Good points:
- Interesting premise;
- Interesting mysteries.
Bad points:
- Rather episodic;
- Too much backstory to cram in twelve episodes;
- Dalian's brattishness.

All in all, I liked it -- but it lacks the narrative thrust to make it a really interesting series. I'll give it a 7.
Tags: anime, full review

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