This one ought to be fun to review, I have no idea where to start.
Art and Animations
Oh the art, my god the art. I think that Dantalian No Shoka falls into the category of Art Film more than anything else. The animation and pictures were amazing but everything was deeper than it seemed. Every single element in the show had some kind of deeper meaning or a story of its own. It was so rich that I think I missed at the very least half of the show. Details were everywhere and it gave a mysterious and creepy atmosphere to the show, There was so much that by moment you could not understand a thing but the fact that you were lost. It is the first time I am this impressed by the artistic value of an anime. Dantalian No Shoka really put the artistic level to a whole new level.
I don’t usually gives 10 on 10, but since the show beats every single anime I’ve ever seen in term of art, It deserves it.
I have a hard time to decide if the character were well done or horribly done. In the end they never changed, they stayed the same from the beginning to the end, but they were really interesting characters. Of course we only really followed Huey and Dalian, since every single one of the other characters are either dead or were just not important anyway. I feel like in the end nothing ever came out of the characters, they were cool and all, but they never changed, never really did anything spectacular. They were eternally happy and smiling. They felt so disconnect from reality sometimes. But at the same time it is this disconnection that made the story feel so special.
I really have no idea what to say about the characters, but they were not amazing nor were they boring, so lets settle for something in between.
Soundtrack, Opening and Ending Theme
Pure win. People complained that the outro was too scary, but I think it was just incredible, it was so creepy it was unbelievable, it was the best outro I saw in a very very long time. Definitively the best outro of this year as of yet. I think it was even more surreal that it was not even animated but it was acted instead, it gave an even creepier feeling. The combination of the song and the shockingly disturbing images is simply amazing.
The intro was no pushover either, it was one of my favourite intro of the season, I liked it just as much as the intro to Steins; Gate, but it was just not good enough to beat Kamisama Dolls intro. The simple fact that I actually remember the intro is proof enough that it was good in my case.
I guess it is no wonder that since the show did so well on the art it would achieve an incredible score in the music too, but here it is a 9/10
This is where things are starting to go wrong. The show had so much potential for great stories because of the wonderful universe it was set in. But in the end there was never any real story told. It was just a succession of short story that lasted for the episode and that’s it. Hell we even had an episode with 2 short stories in it. This is no fun, I want to see continuity in my anime, I don’t want something completely unrelated every week.
What’s more, there were some episode with great stories in them, namely the last two episodes. But for the most part the short stories were repetitive and meaningless. The formula was always the same, they met someone new, that person had a phantom book, the person died, they saved the day and got the book back. Most of the time they did not even saved the day and it was saved by itself. The stories were so repetitive and anticlimactic, it is what ruined this show for me. No matter how beautiful something is, if it has no story, it might as well just be a painting.
Overall Entertainment Value
The show was just not fun to watch every week. I had no incentive to watch the next episode since I knew nothing from the previous episode would ever carry over. There was never any suspense, never any twist. It was just like walking in a museum, you are shown beautiful painting everywhere, but in the end there is no continuity between them and while each individual painting are special, they don’t feel related in the slightest.
I was in awe of this show, but I never had fun. I never felt excited about anything.
A beautiful show with incredible music and fun characters, that’s pretty much what the show is. Because it has no story and it was not fun to watch. I would recommend this show to people who are into art films, but if you want an anime with a great story (like just about everyone), this is not the show for you. I don’t recommend anyone to watch more than a single episode of Dantalian No Shoka, since after the first episode you pretty much saw it all, nothing more will happen, don’t bother watching.
It might not be displeasing to watch, but it feels really plain after just a little while.
Final Rating: 6/10
ZeroG signing off