Dantalian no Shoka | A lesser Gosick?

Welcome to yet another Saturday! I hope school as treated you all well, and if you aren’t already doing so, I hope you’re enjoying a well-deserved summer vacation! Today we’re going to be chatting about Dantalian no Shoka, an Anime that gave me Gosick vibes if you get what I mean.

Coincidently enough, both Anime, in my opinion, follow a similar concept and both aired during 2011. Thought I’d point that out, without further adu, let’s get onto the review!

Six months ago, Lord Hugh Anthony Disward, also known as Huey, lost his eccentric grandfather, Sir Wesley Disward, who was a renowned collector of rare books. His grandfather’s will states that, in order to inherit his manor and everything inside it, he must take guardianship over the Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian—an archive that contains forbidden knowledge—and also take care of a mysterious girl called Dalian.

As Huey settles into the manor, an old rival of his grandfather’s arranges a meeting with him. Dalian, knowing the rival to be Wesley’s killer, tags along and discovers that the murderer is in possession of a Phantom Book—a cursed tome that Wesley tried to seal away. When the book puts the two in danger, Huey discovers that the Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian and Dalian are one and the same, and she entrusts Huey with the key to unlocking the knowledge stored within her. Together, Dalian and Huey seal the book away, and thus begins an unlikely partnership as they solve mysteries caused by other Phantom Books. – MyAnimeList

The idea in it’s very basic form is nothing new. A guy-girl duo out to save people from things they don’t understand/are misusing to hurt others. Despite this, I found it interesting still that “phantom books” were chosen as the tools. It’s something different and in a sense, philosophical, to see that words are chosen as the weapon. Anyways, the story starts off rather episodic with very little tying one episode to the next other than the main characters. There isn’t much plot development until the last few episodes which left me wondering why they either didn’t attempt to turn this into a longer series or just start integrating the plot sooner.

There is a set of characters that don’t make an appearance till the last two episodes and another set that are briefly glimpsed earlier than revisited in the last few episodes. Also, an entire history/relationship between Huey and the pig-tailed girl is pretty much left unexplained. In short, the story was generic yet refreshing at the same time, however, the plot development was weak and rushed. Unless there is another season or a movie to be released, this is a big weakness in the series.

This has the sort of glossy animation that’s become popular recently. To save money, the studio used filtered photographs for backgrounds. It has a slightly jarring feel to it but nothing as eye-gouging as badly done CG. The thing that bugged me most about the animation was the style used at “magic” moments. Often, the visuals are totally inappropriate to the mood and setting. Enough with the stupid energy bolts and Technicolor seizure graphics! This ain’t Power Rangers, dammit! Instead of going for dark, gothic and discreet they ruin the atmosphere and buildup with that wacky stuff. Hey, should I be expecting Ichigo to pop up with his new Bankai?


The background music so far is very appropriate to the scenes it is used in. It doesn’t seem out of place and just fits with the anime in general. With episode two I saw the opening, they did use it in episode one, but without the opening sequence. I think the opening is very appropriate for the anime, it goes with its theme of being a dark mysterious anime, which the opening reflects with its mellow sombre tune. I stand by my perspective of episode one; the ending… IS strange, the music was creepy and the video is just really really creepy, I didn’t particularly like it one bit. So for me, the opening and background music is appealing, very appealing.

Huey’s character seems likeable to me. Seems like the kind of person that has an interesting past, to say the least. Also seems to be well rounded, such as his knowledge of books and firearms, and piloting experience as well. Dalian was enigmatic, to say the least. She seems to be the kind of character you will learn more about slowly as the plot progress, but from what I’ve seen so far she is somewhat reserved and was brought up in a somewhat pampered state. I mainly say this because of the manner she bosses Huey around and her posture she withholds the air of someone that had been pampered or sheltered.

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  1. It released shortly after Gosick finished airing too! I liked the show for what it was, and also felt like it was a lesser Gosick, which is a series that I adored. Wonderful review.

  2. I watched the show because I was looking for another Gosick, and didn’t end up finishing it. It was probably unfair to judge it by pitching it against Gosick, but still, it’s hard not to.

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