Huey and Dalian take a trip to London where they try to bust up a high-class drug ring, and where the normal phantom book investigation takes a musical twist. Once again I see an anime story, in which a character makes an almost real life doll, and once again, not with sexual intent. Why do they always make me out to be some sort of fiend with my crazy sex-bot fantasies?
Dalian and Huey are in the park. It’s a chilly overcast day. Huey sluggishly practices his violin, while Dalian sits on a bench eating. While amateurishly tugging on his violin bow, they’re quietly approached by Christabel Sistine, a blonde-haired woman with a blank stare and unexpected virtuoso-like talent for the instrument. With her is the protective tussle-haired Dallaglio Hayward.
The show moves into the oft-seen book shop, and in incredible coincidence, there’s a pamphlet for Christabel sitting right by the old man. There’s rapid exposition from the biblioprincess as she explains the existence of two phantom scores, written by the 18 century composer, Guillermo Baldini. The two scores still in existence have polar opposite effects on their listeners. One will induce in its audience, an incredible high, likened to narcotics by Dalian. The other, has the ability to leave listeners wallowing in utter despair.
The big catch of course, is that they’re such masterpieces, and almost magical in nature, that they can’t be performed by even the most skilled violinists. Indeed, any who have even attempted to perform them, have met with untimely, and I’m sure horrible, deaths.
It just so happens that the icy woman they met in the park, Christabel, will be performing in London in a large concert hall. Hulian travel to London. And to the concert hall, where the shit inevitably hits the fan. The pair end up being bound and gagged, where they are told, quite conveniently so, about everything that’s happening. Christobel’s singular robotic purpose was to learn the phantom scores for Dallaglio and family redemption. The purpose on this particular night however, is to play the mesmerizing opium-like phantom piece, after which the audience will have to continue to return at all costs, and eventually become slaves to the hypnotic violin sonata.
Things don’t end well for Dallaglio, who ends up being both used and ultimately sent to an early grave. Christabel, quietly comprehending his broken-down state, plays the other of the two phantom scores, Twilight, which causes the building to crash down. Dalian and Huey escape, along with most of the patrons of the arts. In a disconnected ending sequence (after the credits), we once again see the inner library, where the purple-eyed girl explains to Huey how it’s fated that she be where she is.
I didn’t watch the preview and was hoping to see Hal and Flamberge this episode. Surely we’ll see them in the last couple shows, right? Even if you’re slightly concerned with the lack of central storyline, this episode isn’t too shoddy. If you prefer the book-of-the-week formula, you’d probably greatly enjoy it.
It left me thinking over a couple of things as well. One, how’d I’d like a Christabel for myself, and teach her about more than playing music. And secondly, how I didn’t necessarily hate it–which translates to–I enjoyed it more than much of the series. If anything, I thought it moved too quick, with the explanatory moments seeming rushed–especially the scenes with Dalian in the book store and the Ringleader at the concert hall.
That itself, led to me think about how they could have improved upon, not only the story of the master doll-maker and phantom scores, but of the whole series as well. First, I was thinking how obvious it was that Christabel was a machine. It would have been nice to have a moment of real surprise to learn so. Later I thought, “Wouldn’t it have been nice if some of the higher quality episodes, have been two-parters instead of the quick one-shots?”
In both the alternate-book-world featured in the previous show, and this musically entwined episode, the added time and concentration on character/plot development could have benefited it tremendously. While not hating this episode, I found myself being indifferent more than anything. Had Christabel and Dallaglio (and their relationship) been given time to breathe, their characters could have had a much larger impact when they ultimately do what they do, which is instantly disappear from viewers’ memories. Perhaps instead of appearing so mechanical in nature, Christabel could have just seemed cold, with terrific posture.
Again, you have to figure that the two library-keykeeper duos will meet up, likely near or in the finale. The other only kinda’ sorta’ central plot is the continued showing of the inner-library girl. The Un-Dalian. And to be honest, they haven’t explained enough about her, or even shown her enough, for me to take an interest.
I’ll have to read this manga before this series ultimately ends. I haven’t read it, so I can’t comment on Dantalian no Shoka‘s transition into animation, but I have just finished watching the anime No. 6, and have seen some reviewers advise their potential viewers, to stick to the source material. Perhaps the same will be true for Dantalian.