The Mystic Archives of Dantalian
Alex: LOOK AT THOSE SCREENSHOTS. Look at them. This anime oozes beauty by the bucket-load, with plenty of style and flair to make everyone love it. Infact, it’s one of the best fantasy spins on the detective/mystery genre that i’ve seen in my time.
Dantalian No Shoka, the third and final instalment in what people have been calling the “Gosick Trilogy”, is an anime which takes the detective/mystery formula and gives it a complete 360, turning it into a fantasy anime.
The detective, or the main character, is one Sir HughAnthony Disward, who inherits a huge mansion filled with books…and Dallian. Dallian is the library of Dantalian, containg knowledge of thousands of sealed books which give the reader power to edit the fabric of the universe. In a way, you could say that she is similar to Index, from the ToAru series of anime. And yes, she’s also slightly moe and rather cutesy. But it’s in a good way, and it’s rather refreshing in this case.
Each and every episode focuses on the two of them hunting down these fantasy books, and since they’ve adopted a case based approach to everything, some episodes are clearly much better than others. Whilst all the episodes are highly amusing and entertaining, certain examples where Gainax lets their creativity fly, as seen in the Bookworm episode.
It looks fabulous. It has brilliant, refreshing and unique direction and taste. And it focuses on a different direction every episode. The only downside is that even when it’s all over, your left with the impression that the entire thing has just been a huge teaser, saying “Buy the novels”. You have enough to get you engaged in this unique world where Phantom Books distort reality and grant the owner unique and creative powers, but you never get enough to make you feel satisfied. Sadly, until a second season gets announced (Which is unlikely..), the anime will be constantly thought of in my books as nothing but a ridiculously huge tease, which amused me, dragged me into this mystical world and then chucked me out before I was satisfied.
I’m off to hunt down the novels/manga/art of this franchise…