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Mystic Archives Of Dantalian Episode #12 Anime Review

4 min read

Can Phantom Books be taken to the next level?

What They Say:
While Huey is reading a newspaper article about an immortal man who doesn’t die after suffering multiple gunshot wounds, Dalian is busy buying buns after spotting an ad for a new shop in the paper. However, once her shopping is finished, a crowd of zombies appear in the vicinity. Dalian believes that the Book of Atonement has been printed onto copies of the newspaper…?

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the final episode of the Mystic Archives of Dantalian, the show deals with an interesting Phantom Book that revolves around Atonement. With the idea of an immortal man, one who is always moving forward being part of the introduction, as we see Huey reading a story about it, it takes a different turn not long after that when during a tea time break, the pair end up meeting another keykeeper named Raziel. She’s of similar personality as Dalian but with a brighter look and a difference in that she has an eyepatch. The more colorful approach alone is amusing to watch as they go against each other, but also the way that rubbing under her chin like a cat gets her to settle down a bit.

This episode turns quickly violent though and because of the way it dropped us into things, unlike past episodes where there was a bit of a build to character introductions, it’s all disconcerting. There’s an epic scale to it here that is wholly Gainax in style as the pair, after Huey having been shot, have to deal with being on the run while visualizing something rather grand when compared to the reality. The idea of Phantom Book pages being printed on newspapers and new books being born into the present age merits a lot of examination, but it’s instead just a plot device to move things in the direction that they want.

Not surprisingly, for a finale it offers up a fair bit of emotion because of what’s going on as Dalian can’t believe she’s potentially losing Huey to the gunshot wound. Dalian’s had her moments to date in the series where she’s gotten somewhat emotional, but she’s generally either been distant or dismissive of things with her haughty ways. With this, we see her genuinely upset and concerned and putting everything on the line when it comes to Huey. But unfortunately, it’s so empty of real connection that it’s little more than just images and words with no meaning. The show lost me about halfway through when it went with the idea of not having a larger storyline at play, which is fine, but it only rarely gave me a compelling story to watch on a weekly basis. And this one just cements it even more as there’s no feeling when it comes to watching what happens to either of the leads here.

In Summary:
From the opening episode of this series, I really wanted to like it as it has a neat concept to work with and a lot of great detail and love when it comes to its designs and world setting. But it didn’t know how to make it really work, to draw the viewer in fully. We got a bit more about Huey early on and then almost nothing else while Dalian was an enigma throughout for the most part. It was easy enough to watch their adventures and admire the way it worked through it all, piece by piece, with a sense of the familiar in its structure. But that was the extent of the connection that was forged here for me. I felt like I had no investment in the show beyond appreciating what went into it, leaving it a hollow but visually pleasing experience. It’s a show I don’t lament ending and can’t see myself actively seeking out again.

Grade: C

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

Review Equipment:
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.