Hugh Anthony Disward inherits an old mansion and a personal library from his grandfather. In the basement of the mansion, he meets a mysterious girl, Dalian. She is a Dantalian and a gateway to “Dantalian’s bookshelf,” which stores the prohibited books of the demons.
“Gensho (Illusory Books),” the prohibited books, endanger the balance of the world, but people are fascinated by the taboo. Hugh and Dalian solve the cases involving Gensho with their ability to access the Dantalian bookshelf. – My Anime List
Based on 13 review scores:
While this animes looks nice on the outside, sharp and stylish artwork, atmospheric music, nifty ideas… the glue that bonds a story together just didn’t hold well here in the end. And that is sad because it did not have to end like this, it only needed more time and care.
Overall, Dantalian no Shoka was an action-packed series with a good amount of folklore, magic and intrigue. Huey and Dalian are the best leading duo we’ve seen in a long time and despite the plot lacking some information (which is common with light novel adaptations), it was an awesome show. Because of the inconsistencies with the plot and information given to the viewers as well as a few of the characters, we’re giving this show a respectable B grade. It’s definitely worth watching for the animation and characters, but don’t get your hopes up for a consistent, coherent plot.
Standalone though, the episodic stories and characters are more than enough to make this one worth watching. On top of that, Ganiax threw in a lot of eye candy as well, with some gorgeously animated action scenes (oh, ad Osamu Kobayashi also pays a visit to do one episode). The main couple is annoying, but this show has more than enough to make up for it.
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.
Anime News Network
The opening episode of the Mystic Archives of Dantalian is one that definitely has its positives, mainly in its setting, atmosphere and animation, and has plenty of potential when it comes to the story and characters. But it reminds me a lot of Gosick in a way where it’s particular pacing and style, partially coming from the light novel origins possibly, feels off and disjointed. Everything comes together too easily here, too quickly, with the leads working together after having barely just met. It is a standard contrivance to be sure, especially with what they went through, but there was little emotion to it, little connection to the characters and ultimately they just fell flat in presence. The overall idea is certainly an interesting one and as a book lover I’m curious to see where it goes, but it’s a series that’s going to have to work hard if it’s like this for its entire run.
My Anime List
It’s a shame that more effort wasn’t put into making this anime work as the concept is actually pretty good. The basic premise is sound, and if Gainax, the writers, and director Uemura Yutaka had taken the show more seriously, then Dantalian no Shoka could have been something truly interesting and entertaining.
My impressions are not positive. It is just an episodic and poorly written loli detective show with added magic for kicks. It also tries to pass for sophisticated by adding passages from famous works, as well as mystical theories and ghost stories, yet all that mean nothing if you are not made to care. And I didn’t, since without proper duration to each case and further developing of the stereotypical duo, this anime is a flop just like the rest of its brood.
Comic Spectrum Anime
I have very mixed feelings about The Mystic Archives of Dantalian. I definitely enjoyed the show’s concept and setting and though they both had a lot of potential, some of which was definitely well executed on. However, the show really fell flat as it continued on with a lack of coherent plot overall and no real character or setting development occurring. I really wanted to enjoy this show more than I did and I feel like they really wanted it to have a second season, but judging by the quality of the show in its current state, a second season is quite unlikely. If you really think the concept or setting are interesting, I definitely think you should give Mystic Archives of Dantalian a try, but otherwise this show can easily be skipped.
Overall this is an average show IMO which I more conservatively give a “Mediocre” label. It wasn’t bad but it’s basically the same old girl with a new hairstyle and make-up. If you like the historic setting, the bibliophile angle, or the magical books thing or just the goth-loli angle then this might be higher on your list. As a veteran Otaku I’ve seen the premise enough times done well and not so well. In this case the weak characters, easy-to-sniff-out “mysteries” and jumbled main arc just didn’t do much for me. I wanted it to be better than it was and was mildly disappointed when it didn’t try harder, is a good way to sum it up. Basically; a nice diversion but definitely not a keeper. This is why I love streaming technology.
Some nice ideas don’t do much to disguise what is a rather lifeless and flat series so far, which misses the spark shown by other recent series which plough a similar furrow.
Some bad anime are enjoyable to write about because their flaws stand out so distinctly, but The Mystic Archives of Dantalian is ultimately just a boring show, both to watch and to review. A single episode in the show exhibited some promise of a potentially better story, in which Dalian and Huey travel into the world of a Phantom Book, allowing the show both to experiment with another art style and actually develop a concrete “power” of the Dantalian instead of simply spouting vague nonsense. While that episode wasn’t interesting enough that I would call it “good”, I would much rather have watched a show based on that premise than the empty mess of a series the rest of it turned out to be. Both Gainax fans and afficionados of the gothic lolita subculture ought to skip this in favor of better entries in their respective canons.