Lions and lolis and books, oh my!
Fosh: Looks like this is the last of the brand new summer anime and an end to the first impressions, this series looked really interesting after seeing that trailer. Time to join in this massive tag with Hime, Overcooled, Anaaga and Karakuri! Enjoy.
anaaga: It-It-It’s Ono Daisuke! *start hyperventilating* I’m pretty excited because finally FINALLY Ono has the main character role, but I’m also scared at the same time because I might not like this anime at all. My obsession for Ono is at stake here. The story sounds pretty interesting, but what if it’s going to be another Gosick? Oh well, I guess I’ll find out once I watch it…*tremble*
Overcooled: I mostly wrote this off as the typical loli-random dude combination, only choosing to give it a chance for the nice animation and choice of seiyuu. We might have another Gosick on our hands, (I bet you’re sick of those comparisons by now, heh) but then again..maybe it will actually impress?
Hime: While this show does seems like the illegitimate child of Gosick and Ikoku Meiro no Croisée at first glance, lets not forget Gainax has brought us some incredible series before such as Gurren Lagann and FLCL. I don’t necessarily think this is going to be in their league but it definitely bodes well for us, and I’m curious to see just how good (or bad) this new Gainax production could be.
Karakuri: This show has Miyuki Sawashiro and Ono Daisuke as the leads, what more do you people want? A plot? Yeah, I’m EXTREMELY interested in the plot here as well. The atmosphere from the trailer seems pretty impressive, but let’s sees how the actual episode goes.
Right away, Dantalian goes straight into the fantasy part of the show and we hear heavy breathing and see magical glowing… stairs? We also see a blonde shota and a loli with a book in white. The shota asks where they are and the loli says that it has no name but one person called it the Labyrinth Library and another called it the Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian. The shota then asks if the loli is lonely and the two join hands.
New scene and Ono Daisuke’s character is driving a car narrating that it’s been 6 months since he heard that his grandfather died from being shot by a thief. He then explains about his estranged grandfather’s massive rare (and possibly dangerous) book collection and how he hopes to find something there.
He enters the empty house and goes to the library, only to find it completely devoid of books. He then notices a trail in the dust leading to a bookshelf. He moves it to find a secret passageway leading downstairs. Down there, he finds the library’s books and what he thinks is a doll. However, it moves and turns out it’s an extremely pale loli.
Oh, the things to find in your grandfather’s basement
Ono introduces himself as Hugh Anthony Disward and asks if she knows anything about the Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian. He further explains that his grandfather’s will states that in order to inherit his grandfather’s possessions and mansion, he needs to take responsibility for the Bibliotheca. There’s one other thing in the will about ‘taking care of Dalian’ and Hugh thinks it’s a pet, but the loli kicks him and says that she is Dalian.
Later in the kitchen, Hugh admits that he was a pilot in the war and Dalian says that Wes (Hugh’s grandfather) was her friend. They also talk about how the Dantalian houses knowledge of demons and that Hugh has some knowledge of books, but he doubts that a book of infinite knowledge was downstairs because everything looked ordinary. However, Dalian states that if a gourd can contain a whole other world (like in a story they mutually know), they why couldn’t a single book contain infinite knowledge?
Hugh seems a bit sceptical that the book even exists and Dalian notices a key (the same one he pulled out earlier) hanging around Hugh’s neck. However, this is interrupted by the sound of someone at the door and Hugh says it’s probably his escort.
Hugh and Dalian head over to someone named Henry Conrad’s house and on the way there, Dalian says that Conrad was the man who killed Wes and stole one of his books. Hugh already suspected this however, because he knew Conrad and his grandfather were book collecting rivals but there was no proof. Dalian then notes the full moon.
Inside the mansion, no one is around and the escort runs off to see what happened. Further inside, they find a bunch of corpses and Dalian tells Hugh that they should find the study quickly. More dead people later and the two run into someone throwing knives. Hugh pulls out his gun (which is apparently his good luck charm) and shoots the knife thrower. It disintegrates into dust (…or is it ash?) and Dalian announces that Conrad did steal the book.
They travel more into the mansion and meet a lion. However, it’s nothing a few bullets to the face can’t solve. Dalian then explains that Conrad took a Phantom Book and that Phantom Books are blessings if the owner can understand them, but if they are unfit to own it, the book will cross over into real life and wreak havoc. Also, their powers change with the moon and they are normally sealed with the Dantalian.
Guns solve everything.
Just as they reach the end of the hallway to the study, they meet up with a dragon. Hugh tries to shoot it, but apparently dragons are bulletproof and he gets injured while trying to dodge its attacks. He then tells Dalian to go seal the book while he buys time and that it’s his responsibility to deal with his grandfather’s book.
I stand corrected. Guns seem to solve everything but dragons.
Dalian then announces that she acknowledges Hugh as her Keykeeper. He reads the inscription on the key he has around his neck and ‘unlocks’ Dalian. He reaches inside her chest (in a non fanservicey way)and pulls out a book. Following Dalian’s instructions, he then reads the book aloud while flashbacks of his past, random shots of what I assume to be England and the death of his grandfather go on in the background.
In the study they find the corpse of Conrad and a turn-up book about a circus that was possibly the first turn-up book ever made. Hugh comments that Dalian herself is the Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian and the two leave the Conrad house together.
Screw the house of dead people, Dalian is hungry
Damn! That was a cool first episode I was really impressed with the artwork and character designs for Dalian and Hugh Anthony. Well I love anime from Gainax Studios; it was strange for me to see them doing something set in a fantasy world with magic and monsters. Well they did work on Houkago no Pleiades and that is about magical girls. Guess I am used to the more science fiction technical side of Gianax and giant freaking robots! Anyway the artwork really kept me interested.
I did get some Full metal alchemist feelings from this thanks to the location, and the old school cars of course. That mansion was really cool too, and Hugh used his master detective skills to follow the dust trail! SO SMART! And with any new house of course you get a little girl reading books. Dalian wasn’t so bad I was waiting for her to be a tsundere type, but she did hit him pretty hard so maybe she is part tsundere. Hugh seems to be awesome too! Not to mention voiced by Ono Daisuke everyone loves that guy.
Now for the epic use of books and magic! Go figure Dalian is actually a freaking portal to some awesome magical powers. That part really reminded me of Toaru majitsu no Index, mostly how Index has several books inside of her body each giving her a various power. I am wondering if Hugh can do different powers depending on the book he pulls? Fingers crossed for Dalian not to bite Hugh on the head like Touma. Well I hope we get to see more fantasy monsters pop up more in this series, that dragon was really impressive. Well looks like I will be adding Dantalian no Shoka to my watch list of summer shows!
*tears of joy* THANK YOU GOD Ono is voicing a decent character. Still the first episode but I like Huey already. He’s independent, reliable, mature, and VOICED BY ONO <3 Except his hair (bad hair day?), Huey is a character that one wants to be stuck with. He’s a knight shining in his trench coat. And as for Dalian, I’m glad that she didn’t turned out to be another Victorique. She needs to work on her proper talking etiquette, but she’s not as annoying as Victorique when it comes to her tsundere-ness. In fact, she’s pretty honest. Good girl.
The story is something that I like, considering how much of a geek I am. I would love to stay underground with thousands of books like that (and internet, of course). So obviously I like the story already. I find the story better than I expected, since the demons are actually the characters in the book, not just some normal demon, the usual stuff. The stuff involved with the magic (such as the mist, demon summoned) is beautiful, I like it. What’s better, I’m getting knowledge about books too as Dalian explains the history of books to Huey. Every book geeks should watch this anime. One thing that I haven’t got used to is the fact that Dalian is a freakin storehouse. And her skin color reminds me of a chalk too. Need to get used to that.
Gainax didn’t disappoint me at all. The first episode isn’t as, um, explosive and surprising as Penguindrum, yet it will still able to entertain the audience with its interesting book concept. The pace isn’t slow like Blood-C (groan), so you won’t doze off in the middle of it. This show is definitely in my list. And ONO DAISUKE <3
Overcooled: What a surprise, it was actually quite good! The first half was a bit of a bumbling mess, but it really pulled together for the second half. I know they were desperate to get to the battles and the pact, but the first conversation between Dalian and Huey could be described as clunky at best. It was an awkward mix of haughty insults and trying to explain the secrets of the library, as if Huey wouldn’t ask any other pressing questions. Like why his grandfather could entrust a random girl to him with his will when she’s not even related. Or why he would even dream of following her along on her crazy book hunt. NOPE, NO TIME FOR COMMON SENSE, IT IS ALL ABOUT TEH MAGICK BOOKS.
Once you get over the forced development in the beginning, things get a lot better. Just don’t ask how or why they got there, and it’s all good. Gainax doesn’t disappoint in providing a thrilling fight scene that actually has no fighting. The creative thing about Dantalian no Shoka is how they defeat the creations from the Phantom Books by reading a story. The story sequence was incredibly well done. The story was intriguing, it had butterflies flitting around for added effect, and it all built up to one great crescendo where the dragon was killed. This is something I don’t think I’ll tired of anytime soon, and it really is the hook that’s keeping me watching this with a grin.
The only thing that could drive me away at this point, are the characters. On the plus side, Huey is voiced by Ono Daisuke (who is an okay seiyuu in my opinion..nothing special, but he’s easy on the ears). On the minus side he is dull as dishwater. He only really starts to shine in battle mode. I don’t know about you, but I admire a man who can pick up a loli in one hand and shoot a dragon with another. As for Dantalia, she’s voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro who I LOVE. I love when she does her kiddy/loli voice like Puchiko in Di Gi Charat~ But voicing aside, she’s a bit of a bitch. Do all lolis have to be pretentious and snooty? Can we have just one good-natured loli for once? I can only hope she doesn’t become grating on the nerves, but it’s too early to tell. I’ll be tuning in next week to see what else they’re up to~
Well, I was a little put off by the heavy breathing at the start; seriously I felt like I’d clicked the wrong video and was suddenly watching When A Stranger Calls, but aside from I have very mixed feelings about Dantalian no Shoka as a whole. I’ll start with what I thought was good about it: the music, for starters, was absolutely gorgeous. At times it had a very beautiful, Princess Mononoke-esque sound that blended well with the scenery, there was also some violins leading up to one scene in particular that created some real tension and atmosphere. I love violins so I was fangirling a little bit over that piece of music. The OST for this will no doubt be amazing, and merit an immediate download, I can’t wait. There was also so really nice lighting on the characters, like when Hugh was stoking the fire or when he first discovers Dalian. The carriage on the way to Conrad’s mansion was also very well lit and again just added to the richness of the palette. The action scenes and especially the key sequence was beautifully animated, and I thought the secret bookcase was a nice old-school touch. I chuckled a little bit there, cause every obnoxiously large library needs a hidden passage. It’s like the law.
Moving on to the stuff I didn’t like..the character designs are quite dull, as are the characters themselves. I really didn’t like how gung-ho they were about finding a mansion full of dead people, or being randomly attacked by lions, dragons and clowns wielding disintegrating daggers. Uh-Uh. I would question that shit, I would ask my little loli companion to “Hold the phone, what the fuck is going on?”. It was all just so subdued, and that takes the edge off what should have been exciting. Hugh and Dalian look bored, if they were real actors they would be fired, cause they are honestly look like they don’t want to be there and they’d rather be off doing something else. I do, however, appreciate being thrown straight into the story. A lot of shows aren’t doing that at the moment and it’s a pet peeve of mine to waste time on unnecessary build up. That being said, the story they threw us into …isn’t all that interesting. I can see where they are trying to create an atmosphere, what with the music and stuff, but they just aren’t quite managing it. And it’s mostly down to the blase attitude of the characters that the atmosphere so fails. There’s a horrible over-use of live action pictures with the threshold turned up trying to pass for backgrounds as well. It doesn’t make them blend in, just turning on threshold. Why don’t you just draw them, seriously? I guess they’re trying to give off the illusion of painted backgrounds, but it just doesn’t work and definitely not when you use it on photographs.
I love books and I love reading, and I’m all for something that’s either trying to encourage people to read or wanting to bring books to life and show how exciting they can be, but this is still a bit too vague and experimental for me to tell what it really wants to be. It is also very Gosick, which is of course a tremendous worry. They aren’t really selling me on the magic book thing, either. If you really look at the scene where Hugh “unlocks” Dalian, what does it look like? A frigging transformation sequence. So we’re talking magical girls. That alone pulls the whole premise down to candyfloss level. I think if it veers off into cliche tsundere loli territory with a bland male side-kick and lame comedy then it’s doomed, but if Dantalian no Shoka can keep going towards darker waters where we can explore the “taboo” books and Gensho it could turn out really interesting. As usual it’s too soon to tell with only the first episode but I’m going to be keeping my fingers crossed for this one. There were good things about it, but it’s an easily tipped scale.
Anyone who knows me from my Rozen Maiden fangirl days (which is no one here because this was years ago) should know that my former obsessions with Miyuki Sawashiro, gothic lolita attire, Ali Project and violin music streams from there. This show just happens to have all 3/4 of those things so it’s a winning combination in my mind. The music alone is FANTASTIC and it really helps with the mysterious atmosphere this show has going on. The ending song is pretty cool too. I’m not quite sure how I feel about the live action ending, but it was unique I guess.
Hugh as a character seems really composed. I mean really composed. If my grandfather died and left me an extremely pale loli as part of his will, I would have some MAJOR questions and concerns. Also, during the whole house of corpses thing, he didn’t even seem that phased when things randomly started trying to kill him. I’m wondering if this is purposely part of his character as an important part of the plot, or if that’s just his character in general. It’s definitely better than the alternative of having him be a blundering useless lead and pretty refreshing too. Dalian is just awesome design and personality wise. I love her extreme paleness and I like characters with red eyes. Yeah, she seems to be a bit of a tsundere (or whatever kind of dere she’s considered to be), but hopefully she doesn’t become an extreme one. Bringing back Rozen Maiden here, but if she stays around the same level as Shinku, I think I can deal with it.
Oh lord, I had major Shining Tears X Wind flashbacks during the whole scene with Hugh and the key with Dalian. I have to admit though, despite the first episode being more fantasy based than horror (which is what I was looking forward to), I really did like the whole book reading scene. The animation is extremely pretty at the beginning too. This episode shows some great atmosphere where everything seems to fit quite well. The pacing was actually pretty decent and although the beginning was a bit boring and the introductions seemed forced, but once it got to the whole house thing, it all came together. So I’m pretty satisfied with the result so far and I hope they keep focusing on the books because that was the interesting part of the episode.
Apparently the next episode is titled ‘Book of Fetus’….. Er, yeah. Whatever that means.