So as the show starts Huey Anthony Disward gets a letter saying his grandfather has died and that his whole estate has been left to none other than Huey. Not only his enormous house, and his vast and very famous book collection, but also something named Dalian, who Huey assumes is a pet. He however quickly finds out that it is actually a girl who just happens to be a bookshelf for containing phantom books, phantom books being books that contain knowledge that should not be known and can bend the fabric of time and space, so they have to travel around England finding and either destroy or retrieve all of the phantom books. Confused yet, well you should be, Dantalian has a bad habit of not really explaining things and just assumes you'll go along with it. Since the show is quite episodic let me give you a run down of a basic episode, Dalian and Huey are off doing something of no real importance when someone has a problem, it's written off as just strange, but is found out to be the work of a phantom book, so they go and find the phantom book and more often than not have to defeat something using one of their own phantom books, Huey reads the book in a very dramatic fashion, something from beyond the veil of space and time somehow saves them, everyone is saved, except someone usually dies...like a lot of the time. The show this reminds of most is probably GOSICK, take that how you will, except that there was no real magic in GOSICK and they usually at least tried to explain what the hell was going one. Again the biggest problem I have is that it just throws way to much at you all at once and usually just expects you to go with it. So really people who don't want a somewhat confusing show or likes one that kind of holds your hand, you can stop reading now, but for the people who can just go with it and be like "so they just happened to have a book that can do just what they needed done, why not" you'll be fine. Actually one of the strangest things in the whole series is that basically everyone knows about phantom books, some just write it off as a rumor, but it seems everyone and their dog has seen or even used one. Also there really isn't any sort of closer at the end of episode 12, just warning you.
Remember how I said this show was like GOSICK, I really hope you do it was only like 5 sentences ago, well Dalian and Victorique could easily be cousins. While Dalian is no where near as smart as Victorique, they both have that same bossy, tsundere, Haruhi Suzumiya, kind of personality that is basically required by law if you're a petite, long haired, girl in gothic lolita. However unlike Victorique, who I felt was just kind of an asshole because.... well because, Dalian is really just trying to tease Huey because she knew his grandfather for so long and really is just trying to understand him. While we are on Huey, comparing him to Kujou is just insulting, Huey is the exact opposite of Kujou who couldn't fight his way out of a paper bag, was disliked by his classmates, and only had that super thickheaded will most Shounen characters have. Huey on the other hand was not only a fighter pilot, but is a great shot with his pistol, good at hand to hand, a very smooth talker, and just a really good character, he really is one of the things that made me want to keep watching. There are some other side characters, some are Huey's friends, some are random people, and some are others who are looking for the phantom books and some are other bookshelves. The best of these characters are Hal Kamhout and Flam, Hal is a book keeper and Flam is a bookshelf. Hal is determined to find every phantom book and burn them all, while Flam is just going along for the ride, Flam comes off as kind of crazy, but she is really actually very good, and Hal is mostly silent, but somehow that really works, also he calls Flam a piece of trash a lot, but we know he doesn't mean it. They may of only had one episode and a brief role in the last episode, but I really warmed up to them, ha warmed cuz he burns books, funny, anyway. So while I've been harping on how much I love this show's characters, and I do, there is one major problem, let's talk about character development. Character development is when a big change occurs in a characters personality or thinking, but it's also when we are given background information on a character, this is a big problem for this show, they really don't give any background on anyone, we get a little on Huey back in the war, which is all well and good, but it doesn't tell us a whole bunch, it does explain more about phantom books which is good. Yet Dalain herself we know next to nothing about, where did she come from, why must she carry this curse, what was her relationship with Huey's grandfather. One of the biggest questions in the whole series, which is never actually answered, is who the frack is that white haired chick and how does she know Huey, I NEED ANSWERS MAN.
What do you want me to say, it's GAINAX, it looks freaking amazing. All of the actions scenes are sleek, the parts where Huey is reading from a phantom book are beautiful, and all of the character designs look great. The only thing I'm wondering is why is everyone blond, it's not really a problem but it's kind of weird. There is no over exaggeration like in Gurren Lagann, or super symbolism like in Eva, just clean visuals, except in one episode where they go into a phantom book, it's not bad just different.
The OP for this show is BEAUTIFUL, seriously, if you've ever heard Lilium from Elfen Lied that's what it sounds like, only less depressing, gorgeous Latin vocals over good orchestration. I've heard people complain they don't like how some parts of the OP animation is slow, fitting the song, and other parts are fast action scenes, but personally I really liked the contrast. The ED is... live action, hmmm interesting, it's got a very creepy song playing over it that suddenly goes into hard rock at the end, I don't know, I thought it was good. The rest of the OST hasn't been released yet, but most of the other songs, like Elfen Lied, are variations on the OP, which if you're gonna play the same song over and over in different ways, might as well make it a really good one.
So despite all of the flaws, little character development, some what confusing stories, no real closure, I really enjoyed Dantalian, the most obvious reason is it feels like a more polished version of GOSICK, which had so much going for it but didn't really do anything with it's potential, however it's still not quite there yet. You know what could solve all these problems, two words, Season 2, yes I feel if this show got a second season and they really worked hard, they could tie up all the loose ends, give all the characters meaning and back story, and really make a good show out of this. Episode 12 ends in such a way that would be perfect for another season, also there are six books so far, so there is no reason for you not to make more GIANAX. So overall good show, few flaws, you can go watch it on Crunchyroll if you want, can't wait for season 2. I'm MrShadowzs and this has been my two cents.
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