Anime: Dantalian no Shoka


This was one of the many animes I was looking forward to during the summer 2011 anime block. It has all my favourite elements. Books, set in Victorian times, handsome main character, supernatural hints, the list goes on. However, it didn’t meet all my expectations.

The only thing I can honestly say I liked was the concept. The idea of phantom books, how they can be used, how they attract people and I guess the whole library thing is pretty unique. Okay, I confess, I’m a sucker for most anime that have anything to do with books. The plot was okay, pretty standalone episodes, with a good amount of action and some mystery. There didn’t seem to be much of an overarching plot until the end of the anime, which makes me feel that all I’ve watched so far was an introduction. We meet the characters (although we’re not told much), we see what they can do and some of the situations they run into. Besides that the audience isn’t given much at all. There’s no explanation about phantom books, the library, the girls, anything. Instead we’re left trying to figure out things on our own, leaving MANY questions behind.

Like how does everyone know that Dalian is the gateway to the library? Who’s that girl in the library? Is there more than one library? Are the amount of books fixed? Who are those other girls? And even that episode about Huey’s past confused me to no end. More questions than answers and we know so little about the main characters. All I know after watching 12 episodes of the two of them is that Dalian likes sweet and she’s quite foul-mouthed (which is the usual stereotype we find in anime) and that Huey went to war and was a pilot. It’s not much to work with.

Which is sad really, because I’m sure the novels are amazing (at least I hope so) and there seems to be so much intrigue and mystery surrounding the girls. Each standalone episode is pretty interesting, I’ll give them that and if there is a second season explaining more this anime might turn out to be something really worth watching. It’s almost as if this was supposed to be a 25/26 ep anime and they cut it in half, leaving us with only the introduction and nothing else. Oh it frustrates me.

The animation was pretty standard….although I liked that one episode when they went into a book, that was pretty cool. The music was okay, the ending theme freaks me out because of the real actors. I don’t recall much besides that. That said, I quite like the two supporting characters – Camilla and Armand. They’re funny and have slightly more unique personalities than the two main characters. Camilla and her clothes, Armand and his women. Hilarious!

In summary, don’t watch this. If a second season comes out and furthers the storyline, then and only then should you give this a try.

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