What a pleasant surprise! This actually turned into a nice ending, although it was rushed. They could have easily used up an extra episode or two on this or the last episode, especially given how repetitive the later arcs became.
Huey is Awesome
At least when he does something besides sipping tea and standing by helplessly. Even I’ll admit it: he was pretty cool in this episode, what with getting shot, shooting the gun out of the Professor’s hand from a puddle of his own blood, and jumping out the window with Dalian. He even attempted to save the girl from the library and stop the plot to zombify London. But then Dantalian goes back to its own tricks, and…
Someone Else Saves the Day
I liked this plot device at first. It was something new, unexpected, and cynical. Huey and Dalian get caught up in all these adventures, but no matter what they do it’s all more or less useless. Things happen, and they have no control over it. But it did start to grate on my nerves after ten episodes of our heroes being useless.
In this episode the twist was really well done though. Since Huey was actually trying to stop the phantom book owner for once, it was actually a tense scene. The Professor is showing off his trucks full of zombification newspapers, and mentioning how his plan is now unstoppable. Then out of nowhere, Hal’s flamethrower bursts all the trucks into flames. I had the same face as Rasiel and the Professor when it happened:
So this anticlimax was effective, because:
- Our lead characters actually cared about what was happening, and were still powerless to stop it.
- The viewers actually (sort of) cared about the people who saved the day.
The lesson is that indifferent characters tend to make for indifferent viewers.
The conclusion didn’t resolve much of anything, which fits in perfectly with the show’s themes, but still managed to tie everything together and come to a good stopping point. They even managed to bring in the other biblio-princesses.
The Girl in the Library
Honestly, this whole subplot didn’t appeal to me. We have a childhood friend who’s trapped in a library, who Huey makes a promise too. This is what motivates Huey to this day, twenty years later. Boring.
Still, I did like the scene where Huey and Dalian were running away, and the two worlds merged. It was nicely done. Same with the scenes of Dalian and her alter ego’s past / present / future. I’m not going to speculate much, since endless Penguindrum speculation has reduced my enthusiasm. But I did notice what looks like Dalian with Joan d’ Arc, and a toga-clad Dalian opening Pandora’s box. So she’s pretty darn old.
I especially liked the scene where Huey and the Dalian in the library hold hands. Usually Huey is wearing his gloves, but here his hand is bare and stained with blood. The girl reaches out to Huey, then pulls back, but Huey grabs it.
- Book of Atonement — This is a nickname for the book of Leviticus. And I guess it’s fitting this episode should air a week before the Day of Atonement.
- The Professor’s book — A note written by a fugitive who assassinated a president of the new world. Most likely the diary of John Wilkes Booth. It doesn’t seem like the whole thing is available online, unfortunately. I’m kind of puzzled as to why the Professor claimed Dalian would never have heard of it— it would have been pretty famous. Perhaps this is just because it’s more recent? It’s power was lame anyway— he could have used an actual gun just as easily.
- Crastinus Dies Nunquam Sciat — This is the title on the spine of the book Huey takes from Dalian. This translates (very roughly, I don’t even know Latin) to ”tomorrow is never known.” Given what Huey is saying at the time, the meaning seems clear. As far as I can tell this book is fictional— perhaps it is the story of Dalian herself.
- Could this guardian be Dantalian? He has “all Men’s and Women’s faces”, and this face seems to fit that description.
- I cracked up when they showed the Germans riding the zeppelin.
- I love how everyone says the middle name but only for Huey. Still, a marked improvement over calling someone “Setsuna F. Seiei” out loud. *facepalm*
Oh, and I said I’d be late with this post. Sorry, I lied. Boring trip. Have some angry Rasiel and Dalian pictures as an apology. Their fight was pretty cute.