Following his grandfather’s death, Hugh Anthony Disward or Huey inherits his estate and the vast collection of rare books he prized when he was alive, and inside the seemingly abandoned mansion he finds a girl who he first mistakes for a doll surrounded by books, Dalian.
He then goes on to introduce himself and she appears to have known his grandfather while he was alive, familiarly referring to him as Wes, but she’s surprised when he asks about the Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian that appeared in his will and seemingly insulted when he thinks that the Dalian that appeared in it as well was a pet. After this though they go on to have tea together and we learn that Huey is a pilot and that Dalian likes to sprinkle sugar on buns.
Huey also mentions that Dantalian refers to a demon but given the library’s name he couldn’t find anything to connect them, to Dalian however if the gourd in the World in the Gourd could contain an entire world, what’s to say of a library with seemingly infinite knowledge. A visitor then arrives, Henry Conrad but while he appears to be fairly friendly, Dalian tells Huey that he was the one who broke in and killed Wes. Once they arrive at Conrad’s estate they head inside only to find blood and slash marks everywhere as well as the body of Conrad himself. A man with throwing knives then steps forth, leading to Huey taking out his revolver and pulling Dalian to safety, but once he fires the man turns to dust.
The two of them then continue to make their way through the ruined mansion, finding a scene that looks as if an elephant has rampaged through and a lion that also turns to dust when Huey shoots it, and with what they’ve seen so far Dalian recognises it as being the circus in a pop-up book version of Harlequinade. Going on to explain that it’s related to the phantom book Conrad stole from Wes and the way to tell, as well as the disastrous consequences if an unworthy user attempts to use a phantom book. But just as Conrad’s study is in sight one more thing steps forth, a dragon, which remains unharmed when Huey fires his revolver and proceeds to tear down anything in its way.
Up against this Huey tells Dalian to get away while he makes a last stand, taking it upon himself to right the wrong that in the end his grandfather is responsible for. However instead she tells him she acknowledges him as her keeper and tells him to recite the pledge upon the key he has around his neck. Unlocking the lock on her chest and reaching inside to retrieve Liber de Nymphis by the alchemist Paracelsus, a phantom book or to put it better a grimoire. And as he reads this we’re shown images of his past while he recites a passage about the endless misguided pursuit of happiness to cast the Butterfly of Despair upon the dragon.
They then go on to seal the book and talk about the book itself and what happens when a grimoire is in the right hands, but just as he refers to her as the gourd in the story she mentioned earlier, she tells him she’s hungry. So they head off to get some buns with sugar sprinkled on top together.
“yes, prisoner” by maRIONnetTe.
I don’t really know why but for some reason I really love the background art so far, it sets the period well and has a nice relaxing feel to it all, and shots like this are beautiful for what they are.
An interesting start, and to be honest this has been a show I’ve kept my eye on for a while ever since Gainax announced that they were looking for background artists that could pull off this style. And after that it was announced that the leads were going to be voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro and Daisuke Ono, I really couldn’t look forward to it anymore.
To start off for a protagonist I liked Huey, he may have only seemed well-mannered at first but as the episode went on he proved himself to be pretty cool and reliable when it counts, able to pull off some understandable physical feats. Plus he has a revolver. As far as weapons go in anime, more often than not they tend to be pretty badass. Next to that he also looks to have a fairly interesting past, from the glimpses we were shown he started off fairly cheerful and hopeful but as he grew up his life around him started to collapse, his mother died and his father walked out and while he went on to fulfil what his dream must have been of being a pilot, things like the First World War and what would have come with it came along. To say the least he must have had a pretty hard life and was probably drawing from it a bit as he talked about Sheol. With that I’m also wondering if we’ll see it all in more detail and whether his grandfather took him in between all of this. It would explain how a younger Huey was with the white-haired girl at the start of the episode, while providing a nice connection between him and Dalian.
Who also made for a pretty nice heroine, being somewhat cheeky yet knowledgeable at the same time, and with all of that she’s also voiced by the amazing Miyuki Sawashiro (Suruga Kanbaru, Celty, and even Maria in SZS). Probably my favourite voice actress, who hasn’t really seemed to have appeared in much as of late. But putting that aside there’s also something of a mystery about her, she was already at the mansion, appeared to be quite close with Huey’s grandfather, and doesn’t seem to really be human in the usual sense. Being more of demonic library composed of grimoires, just in human form. And in that sense she’s also incredibly similar to Index from Toaru Majutsu no Index, even appearing to have the same “I’m hungry” sort of characteristic while looking like she’ll be a bit more relevant to the story
Finally the premise we’ve been shown so far also appears to be pretty interesting, almost being a combination of aforementioned Toaru Majutsu no Index and Gosick, taking the heroine from the former and a similar setting to the latter and combining them to form what looks to be a story about Huey and Dalian going around sealing grimoires that have fallen into the wrong hands. Showing us a somewhat magical story with references to famous books or stories with a great atmosphere relevant to the time period. But with all of that I’m wondering how Gainax will handle it, when they make a show it tends to fall into one of two categories, good possibly great (often reserved for their original works) or dull and forgettable (usually for their adaptations). So in the end it can go one of two ways and while I’m not at all familar with the source material I’m hoping that it will turn out to be pretty good as the series goes on.