Anime of Tomorrow
Dantalian no Shoka Ep 1
Initial impression – fascinating
Huey has inherited his late grandfather’s legendary private book collection. However, the collection comes with a price – he must also become the protector of the Bibliotheca de Dantalian (in plain English, “the Library of Dantalian”). His determination as the Bibliotheca’s new guardian is put to the test when he meets Dalian, a girl who was in his grandfather’s care. Together they seek out a book stolen from Huey’s grandfather by a man named Conrad. As they proceed through Conrad’s mansion, Huey discovers the stolen book contained a terrible curse and the monsters that lived within its pages have been inadvertently set free. He’s going to need Dalian’s help to seal the book’s curse and prevent the monsters from escaping the mansion – or eating him.
Gainax and I have a bit of a love / hate history that seems to be finding some middle ground for the first time in Dantalian no Shoka. With Gainax you can nearly always expect great writing and some really unique plot elements and Dantalian definitely delivers in that aspect. However, I’m not convinced by the first episode that the concept of cursed books causing the world problems is going to have very much lasting appeal as the anime progresses. The relationship between Huey and Dalian is delightfully grating, but punctuated by the knowledge that they both need one another, which adds another level of depth to their characters. I’m optimistic this is going to turn into something really exciting.
Here’s a question… should Dalian’s clothing style still be called, “lolita,” or “gothic lolita,” when that type of clothing actually fits the setting and time period?