Dantalian no Shoka – 05 review
“It’s an old tale about an evil woman and five stupid men. Been there, done that. You’d think it could get more imaginative than that but history sure does love its reruns.”
Dantalian no Shoka seemingly doesn’t want to bet on one type of episode or genre and once again changes its style in this episode. This week the episode was rather light-hearted and the stuff of the plot more on the humorous side of things. But was it a good episode despite this change of mood?
The episode starts with an old man waking up a woman that lies in a sort of pod and proclaiming that he’ll start an experiment using her. The scene changes then to Huey and Dantlian as someone visits their residence. The person introduces himself as Armand and he asks for a Phantom Book because a courtisan asked him for one as proof of love.
Investigating who this woman is that asks for Phantom Books Huey and Dantalian follow Armand back to the city where Armand gets a letter with the adress of Viola’s residence and a remark that implies her knowledge about Dentalian and her role as Keeper of the Phantom-Books. As they meet Viola she reveals to have no memory of anything prior to three years ago but has vast academical knowledge. Also she feels that she needs five Phantom Books to remain in the city and she sent away five of her lovers who proposed to her to find these five books. In that moment the dialogue is interrupted by a fairy out of quicksilver attacking and delivering a message of the count who’ll arrive at full moon and take Viola, his experiment, with her. After the attack Dantalian and Huey swear to remain until the next full-moon night.
In the full-moon night all of the lovers of Viola assemble in a building, Armand also is present and declares that he successfully found the Phantom Book he was supposed to find. He’s then interrupted as four of his rivals declare to have also found their own respective Phantom Books. In that moment the Count arrives and kills most of the lovers of Viola with a spell that turns their blood into boiling mercury. Next he summons multiple Quicksilver-Fairies to attack Viola who calls the Count in a terrified voice “Father” and the count reveals himself to be the magician Melgar. Hearing this the five lovers of Viola with the Phantom Books jump to Viola’s protection but Melgar reveals their Phantom Books to be all just fakes . Standing unprotected Viola rescues them by attacking the Quicksilver-Fairies before they could attack the five lovers. Through that it’s discovered that Viola’s blood is quicksilver. Melgar next explains how Viola was an experiment of his to test how human a homunculus can get and was impressed by the character that Viola developed by herself. For that reason he wants to take her back and dissect her memories for the reason of that change. Despite that the five lovers again put themselves in the way of the count swearing that the truth about Viola’s person doesn’t matter to their love. Dantalian allows Huey in that moment to open the library and it follows a scene where a child-Huey meets the white-haired Dantalian in the Eternal Library where they talk about books and the world they can offer to the white-haired Dantalian. The child-Huey asks then if she isn’t lonely to which Dantalian answers while handing him the Phantom Books that she didn’t know loneliness until she met him.
Back in the fight Melgar is about to attack the lovers and Viola but a sudden flash of light stops him which are the five Phantom Books that Viola wanted because their power gathered together is able to neutralize Melgar’s spells which revives the ones who were killed in the beginning. Defeated in that way Melgar departs and allows Viola to stay in the city. After the end of the fight the five lovers ask Viola which one of them she’ll choose since they all did what she’s asked of them. But in the end a duke appears and Viola chooses him over the five much to their dismay. The episode ends with her departing together with the duke and leaving the five lovers behind.
“You probably think that I’m stupid, naive, childish, obnoxious and… other stuff. I know, I get that a lot.”
It was a rather easy-going episode and I honestly didn’t expect to see this kind of episode with this kind of show. After the first four episodes I even was inclined to call it a much-less-sophisticated version of Kino’s Journey but hell was I wrong.
Okay, so this episode wasn’t that bad but it sure wasn’t the sort of stuff to be taken seriously. The episode also didn’t want to be taken seriously, too much exaggeration hovered over the episode and ridiculous absurdness was easy to be found (in the scene where all the lovers of Viola gather for example: Not only is the number of them preposterous, they also include Knights in full-plate-armour for whatever reason). But then there was stuff like the black-powder-guns of the lovers which fired like some kind of machine-gun which bugged me more than it humoured me. Much can be said about the whole episode, I think – the episode went too far where it should’ve reflected on its own ridiculousness instead to deepen it instead of flattening it like that
“You’re right, Armand! We don’t care if she’s a homunculus! We all cried at the end of E.T. – despite him being an alien!”
All in all it was a fun ride but in the end I would rather say, it was just a fun ride. They tried to be funny by exaggeration and I’ve think they did what they were aiming for but this episode lacked wit. There was no true tongue-in-cheek comments, Dantalian appeared to do so but I’ve felt like she merely played her role of a “straight-guy” instead of criticizing the weird and over-the-top-plot as someone should have been bound to do with all this exaggeration going on. The episode was self-aware of its ridiculous nature but didn’t want to do anything with it. Irony would’ve made this a funnier episode, I think but this could perhaps just be my own taste of humour.
Two plot-points seem to be of importance in this episode. The first is that Melgar, the evil magician, left and said ‘Until next time’ to Dantalian and we all know what these kind of words in the world of fiction mean. He will come back in due time, I think. This won’t be the last time he’ll play a part in this series. The other thing that seemed important was the conversation between Child-Huey and the white-haired Dantalian. Until now I’ve always thought them to be flashbacks but now… It certainly seemed like a thing happening when Huey opens the Library (or whatever the jargon of this series for this is). What this means in the end is unclear but it sure as hell is strange that Huey is a kid when he goes into that library (I hope, it isn’t a Freudian explanation).
As for this show… It wasn’t a bad episode, I think, but what kind of series does this make Dantalian no Shoka now? Will it be a normal Shounen-Show with some mystical elements from now on? As for me I actually hope that the series goes back to its style before this episode. This may have worked in this weeks episode but I think I’d get tired of this very fast if the following episodes are as light-hearted as this one.
Episode-Rating: 7/10 (with the hope that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime-event for this show)