Dantalian no Shoka (The Mystic Archives of Dantalian) is a bit of a wild card for me: It’s very undisputed that the animation, courtesy of Gainax, is the strongest aspect of this series. Episode 9 was just a visual feast and arguably the strongest episode of the series. The biggest strength this series for me has to be the episodic storytelling. Each episode is dedicated to a particular conflict with a minor character that is (usually) resolved the same episode. Some people may be turned off by this, but i’m a huge fan of episodic animes.
The BGM used is very reminiscent of a classical European beat and each track feels very sophisticated in nature, which reflects this series as a whole. What really impressed me, however, was the OP and ED themes. The OP is sung entirely in Latin and the vocalist really knows her stuff, but the visuals that accompany the song are also very breathtaking. The ED, on the other hand, is very bizarre. Not the song, but the visuals: It’s all composed of real-life images and surprisingly it fits very well with the mood of the series.
Dantalian no Shoka is a show that tries to be very sophisticated at times, but this is not always the case. Take Dalian, for example. She’s as tsundere as you can get (Miyuki Sawashiro did a great job!), but she has her moments where she uses her intellect and finds out something our other main character, Huey Disward, cannot. Dalian may not be the most memorable character this past Summer season, but she’s got her quirks especially when it comes to sweet buns and her “Yes” and “No” answers. Huey is a bit more developed in character and comes across as very sophisticated most of the time, rightfully voiced by Daisuke Ono. These characters are fun to watch, even if they aren’t the most well developed or bright.
All in all, i thoroughly enjoyed Dantalian no Shoka. It had the episodic forumla done well, great visuals, pleasant music and enjoyable characters. It may not have been groundbreaking and it sure wasn’t original at all (Detectives are the new in?), but it was a fun series and I’m glad i watched it.
Animation: 9/10 – Stunning, as expected (?) of Gainax. They really were creative here, it shows on episode 9.
Story: 7/10 – Its format is reminiscent of slice of life, even though this series isn’t one. It’s very episodic in nature, which is a huge plus for me. But the one problem the story had was little background given to some of the minor characters and some episodes felt a little two-dimensional.
Music: 8/10 – Very classical European-like and sophisticated tunes. The OP is stunning not only visually but also vocally (it’s sung in Latin). The ED is very creative and kinda creepy.
Characters: 7/10 – Dantalian no Shoka only gives us glimmers of character background to our main characters, Dalian and Huey. Huey in particular gets some more development towards the end, but it’s really not enough. These two weren’t given that much development at all, but they were fun to watch.
Enjoyment: 8/10 – I love shows that are episodic in nature and that’s the biggest plus of DnS. This show works well when it’s relaxed and giving us a good story to tell, but beyond that there’s not much else. Stay for the great visuals, music and storytelling and forget about detailed character development.