Huey’s grandfather, an avid book collector, has passed away, and Huey returns to his grandfather’s home to inherit the library. He finds a young girl, Dalian, who is a mystical library holding 900,666 phantom books. Huey becomes her keykeeper, and they travel together finding and dealing with phantom books in a sequence of short stories.
Dantalian takes an interesting approach to the traveling detectives setup— our heroes are completely impotent. Everything they do is futile. In an absurd twist, the conflict resolves itself without their intervention. This twist is new and fresh at first, but after eight episodes of the same thing it begins to get stale.
The other problem this approach entails is that our protagonists are not central to the story. So the show must rely on episodic bit-characters to carry it. Since these characters are underdeveloped, the viewers feel little attachment to the unfolding stories. This may be the intention: our protagonists also feel little involvement with what’s happening on screen. They watch as their friends are tortured and murdered without so much as batting an eye. This is unique, to say the least, but hard to believe and somewhat unsettling.
Fortunately, the show manages to have an ending which ties everything together. But they should have done this earlier, and spent less time on the highly similar episodic stories. Dantalian was enjoyable but not great. I did have fun blogging this though, becoming a bibliomaniac myself and tracking down all the phantom books, becoming an art connoisseur, and even writing poetry.
- Plot / Script – B – The short stories are interesting and surprising (until they become repetitive).
- Characters – C – Dalian is a sweet eating moeblob.
- Production – B – It looked nice.
- Overall – B-
Recommendations – Gosick, Rozen Maiden, Book of Bantorra