The Mystic Archives of Dantalian

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Well, what do you know…another loli detective anime! The dark and mysterious feel that this show gives off is so similar to Gosick from this past winter season (which was recently reviewed by Cheese.) The fact that both of these shows take place in the Victorian era, are mystery oriented, and have a main character who wears Lolita style clothing really makes me see how unoriginal the anime industry is at times. Anyway, I’m not here to endlessly rant about how Dantalian is similar to a show from earlier this year, so let me get to the point and review this shiz.

Hugh Anthony Disward, the main character of the story, finds out that he has inherited an old mansion and a personal library from his recently deceased grandfather. As he walks though the mansion he comes across the basement and finds a young girl named Dalian sitting alone. Hugh asks her if she knows anything about a library containing infinite knowledge of  all demons, the so-called Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian. Soon after the two of them investigate the house of the suspicious Mr. Conrad, and get back an important book from him.

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So far the plot is very standard but shows room for improvement. During the the middle of the first episode there was little to no emotion shown by the two characters. I didn’t get the feeling that they were in danger when faced with obstacles at Mr. Conrad’s house. Hugh and Dalian are also way too quick to trust each other, and I really feel that it was the big downfall of this episode. At least in Gosick the two main characters took time to get to know each other before setting off on life-changing events. This being only a 13-episode series, could they be skipping the formalities to move the plot along?

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But, on a positive note, the animation really stands out. The scenery is actually very nice. There’s a lot of attention to detail thoughout the episode. I’m hoping that this stays consistent as the show goes on. The music does a good job of setting the mood for each scene.

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Besides the above complaints, Hugh and Dalian did have some redeeming qualities to them. Hugh is battle-ready and trained to use a firearm, and shows his willingness to protect Dalian. He’s a badass right off the bat, and I like it. Dalian acts like a snooty princess, but is quick to put on the sweet and innocent face when she wants to.

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It’s too soon to judge whether this passes or fails, but the show is by Gainax and they’ve yet to make anything disinteresting. I’d like to see more character development and some plot twists and, hopefully, it will end up being a noteworthy anime. I give it a tentative score of 7.5/10.

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