I’m ready for the bitter end of an ugly 2011 Summer anime season highlighted by Lord Dishwater and his book bitch Dullian. I prematurely thought Dantalian no Shoka could be a summer favorite. The story’s premise sounded solid enough and the manga’s illustrations were pretty sharpalized (sharp + stylized). I have never been so wrong in my entire life. Ever.
Episode 8 follows much of the same format we’ve been party to throughout the series. With the exception of a couple reoccurring characters, including the returning champion Camilla, who in the first half of the show, barters her way into Dalian’s cold bloodless zombie-like purple heart. To sum it up, she first travels to America where she has the first female-to-male sex change.
Ok, that doesn’t happen, but we do see her in drag. In reality she stumbles across a phantom book whose magical power is Equivalency. It manifests itself by way of a very neutral sounding three-headed scale… No, not really. With the power of the book, like stated above, she trades up for a priceless stuffed animal that Dalian creams herself over.
The second half of E08 features the Book of Relationships. Oh my god, how do people with testicles watch this show? I’m not going to summarize what amounts to several minutes of straight dialogue. If you haven’t seen it, know that Armand returns, with new lady troubles and in the end, everything turns out fine.
The most recent episode (nine) features a different setting as Huey and Dalian enter the Twilight World. Much of the episode follows Ira, a young shaman apprentice in the stylized inner-book world. The design is magically illustrative, a sort of mixture of Madoka and Kemono no Soja Erin. As the story book continues Ira and the shaman woman attempt to brew a nasty insecticide concoction to repel the village destroying bugs. Good luck with that.
In the end Huey and Dalian, the other worlders, show up to save the day and stop the spread of the insects. Returned to the real world, Lord Dishwater and Dullian, now back to their ugly animated selves and once again the main characters, spar a bit verbally over moisture ridden books and the show ends and thank god it’s over.
This is show voted least likely to be missed, remembered, and re-watched. It was brief, but there’s a quick moment in Episode 8 after Camilla gives the prized bear to Dalian, where she says, “In the oriental folk tale…” I’ll try not to repeat myself, but in the E06 review I mention the constant references to the orient and even Japan in many of the story’s origins. Again, why set a story someplace very far from East Asia and then continually reference it?
The trading up thing was honestly not that bad in the first half of episode 08. It immediately reminded me of that story last year where the guy traded up for a Porsche on Craigslist. I’m not crazy about the Camilla character, but she’s easily my favorite character on the show which is really saying something. She arrives like a breath of fresh air in the first part, however the second half of that was completely unwatchable. At the very least, the Book of Dating originated from the Mediterranean.
I wanted to greatly enjoy episode 09, and there were several things I thought were done well. For one, there was very little Huey and Dalian–always a plus. The illustrative story book design was fantastic and a much-needed departure from the usual blandness and dullian look of the series. The story though, wasn’t so inspiring. The best I can say was that it was a nice change a pace, similar to E06, which featured the other magical book pair, Hal & Flamberge.
Overall though it suffers from much of the same symptoms the entire series has, the most blaring being the lack of explanation. What the fuck is happening in this episode? Ok they’re inside the story? Check. Beyond that, I have very little idea of what occurred. So insects were not just infesting the library in the real world, but actually eating the story in the book? Ok. Just end please.
Oh, I wanted also to compare the design of the episode to “The Tale of The Three Brothers” animated scene from Harry Potter and the Death Hallows Part 1. Although after watching it, it wasn’t quite what I remembered in the way of animation style. It’s still awesome however, so I’ll link it anyway for those who many want to watch it.