I’ve been pretty patient with Dantalian so far, but really, when are they planning to go somewhere with this? These short stories all get resolved without our protagonists doing anything, and have nothing in common with each other aside from Dalian acting cute. The creators decided to address the lack of continuity this week by bringing back Camilla and the stupid suitor. That suitor is pretty much the last thing I ever wanted to see make a return.
Huey and Dalian’s Continued Uselessness
I mentioned last week how Huey and Dalian are passerby, powerless to change the events unfolding around them. This pattern continued this week. They chase after Camilla to save her from trading her life away with a phantom book, only to discover that she traded the dangerous phantom book away for a teddy bear. Are Huey and Dalian concerned about how the book will be used in the hands of its new owner? Nah, they just head home with Camilla to eat snacks. Huey and Dalian were ineffectual throughout this ordeal.
Then we have the suitor with his girlfriend trying to kill him. He literally begs Huey for help, and Huey refuses, although a simple explanation could clear everything up. Dalian says that he needs to die at least once. They proceed to watch politely from the sidelines as the woman burns Huey’s friend alive, then cheerfully escort her to the door.
So it turns out they sent the friend to the underworld and brought him back with a phantom book: what of it? The fact remains that Huey and Dalian stood by impassively with a smile while their friend was burned to death, and politely escorted his murderer to the door. Even British manners have their limits. Making your characters powerless bystanders is one thing, but this scene brought it beyond the point of ridiculousness.
- The Teddy Bear. Camilla mentions it was named after a certain president, Teddy Roosevelt. Roosevelt’s association with the Teddy Bear began after a cartoonshowed his role in the mercy killing of a bear. For those unfamiliar with Roosevelt, he was one of the most badass presidents in American history (I’d rank him second after Andrew Jackson).
- The Book of Equivalent Exchange. This appears to refer to alchemy of the Fullmetal Alchemist variety. The twist is that value is only relative, so Camilla is able to trade a paper clip for a unwanted pocket watch. I don’t really get this book though: if the two people think something is an equivalent exchange, won’t they just do it? Why do they need the book…?
- The Straw Millionaire. Camilla mentions this Japanese folktale. A man begins with a single piece of straw, and makes a series of trades to eventually receive a house.
- The Book of Relationship. The two halves of this book, written 3000 years ago in the Mediterranean, represent two lovers tied together. It’s fictional (who would make a book with two halves?) and contains the spell from Hecate that Medea used to get revenge on Jason, her lover that ditched her. According to the most common version of the tale, Medea actually used poison, not fire, and killed the woman Jason was cheating with rather than Jason himself. Medea is often associated with Hecate and dark magic, however.
- Book of Eleusis. This book refers to the Eleusinian mysteries, a set of rituals following Persephones’ yearly descent to Hades and return to her mother Demeter.