What’s it about ?
Post-WWI England : a young lord inherits the care of a mystical library containing some very dangerous Phantom Books. The wider plot isn’t clear yet, but presumably he’s going to go on and investigate whichever of those are at large and must be contained.
Huey, our bishounen, Daisuke-Ono-voiced protagonist. His grandfather just got murdered by a burglar, so he inherits (1) a huge countryside mansion, (2) the valuable book collection therein, (3) the care of “Dalian” (whom he at first assumed to be a pet), and (4) the opportunity to become the caretaker of the Mystic Library of Dantalian. I quite like him ; his phlegm and and complete lack of freaking out when surrounded by weirdness are quite endearing.
Dalian, the gothic lolita living inside the mansion. (Fans of Miyuki Sawashiro hoping for her usual sexy, sarcasm-laden voice will be disappointed ; she uses a much higher register, somewhat akin to her performances in SHAFT gag series.) She holds the Dantalian books inside herself somehow, and contracts Huey to take care of it (cue blatant key/lock imagery).
The plot this week involves looking into Grampa’s murder and the theft of a Phantom Book… Except Huey’s already figured it out offscreen (the culprit was Grampa’s long-time rival mascarading as a burglar to get the book). We also get a demonstration of why Phantom Books are so dangerous (it kills the thief offscreen and summons nasty beasties), as well as Huey drawing on the Dantalian’s power to defeat the monsters.
Average. The visuals are pedestrian, and there are some annoying storytelling hiccups.
The only thing of note is the ED sequence, a charming little B&W live-action piece (and the song ain’t bad either).
Did Gainax really produce this ? It’s a baffingly mediocre show with no spark whatsoever : it feels rote and by-the-numbers. I had to catch myself from falling asleep several times.
Still, the premise is decent enough, and Daisuke Ono was enough to carry me through Psychic Detective Yakumo (yes, I’m that shallow), so I’ll probably give it a second episode to see where the actual plot goes. Not sure beyond that, though.