In this episode Huey and Dalian appear to have ventured into one of Dalian’s books, exploring a strange fantasy world on the brink of disaster. Elsewhere in this world there also happens to be a girl called Ira who happens to be working under her grandmother as her apprentice and likes a boy called Tito.
And as she goes about her daily things she bumps into a man who appears to be her uncle Gianni and needs her grandmother’s help to combat a strange threat. So she takes him to her even if she doesn’t approve of soldiers being on sacred land, however she doesn’t believe his tales of giant insects known as Baziumu attacking villages, and even if she did she isn’t in any position to help them. Currently her stock of Elgans is empty. Gianni however takes this as a slight against them.
Later though she tasks Ira with retrieving some leaves so that she can make some Elgans, telling her to wear two pairs of gloves when picking them and to burn them afterward, and as she does this she manages to bump into Huey and Dalian, the latter of which nicknames her after her eyebrows and tells her to run if she ever runs into a Baziumu. Aside from that the pair also ask where they can find a place with a lot of books and are pointed to a store in town. When Ira arrives back her grandmother uses the leaves to make an Elgan which she entrusts to her and bids her to go to Tito. However by the time Ira arrives back she finds the town in ruins and under attack by Baziumu, and of course worried about her loved ones she heads to Mr Salut’s store. Unfortunately when she does this she’s attacked by one and the Elgan has no effect on them, but luckily Huey and Dalian arrive just in time to save her and vanquish the Baziumu attacking the town.
Following this the three of them head to where the survivors are taking refuge, finding Mr Salut and Tito safe and sound while Gianni is accusing her grandmother of making them unable to defend against the Baziumu. Leading to Ira telling them the situation they were in yesterday and Tito standing up for her before Huey and Dalian make their entrance, telling them that books attract the Baziumu. And as it would so happen the ones they salvaged have lured them in, forcing Huey to retrieve a Phantom Book from Dalian’s library to destroy them. Afterward telling them that they came from a different world and that it’s time for them to head back, with Dalian telling Ira that they’ll meet again and Tito that he’s supposed to be bossed around by her as the sun rises.
In the end though this entire incident is revealed to be the result of an infestation of bookworms, some of which eat the story itself, and meaning that some of the books in their collection need to be fumigated and repaired. And as the episode ends Dalian keeps her word and meets Ira again by reading her story.
Well this was an interesting episode, one of the things about this show that I love the most may be the 20th century England setting and atmosphere but it was the temporary change from that, that made it so. Switching it with a nice fantasy one and showing the story through the eyes of the characters who lived in it.
Aside from that the change in art style thanks to Osamu Kobayashi directing the episode was another thing that definitely helped with this, befittingly removing a bit of the detail in return for a rougher look that suited this change. Both the change in the art style and the way that the characters were animated and the style of the backgrounds just made the entire episode seem as if we were looking at the illustrations in a book. And so considering just what was going on in the episode it was just a great move. That aside the animation itself also seemed a lot smoother, all the little things had a lot more movement to them than you would usually expect.
The characters and setting in this episode were also something of a highlight, through them the story changed to your traditional sort of fantasy, telling the story of a young girl called Ira training to be a shaman under her grandmother in a strange sort of world where they were up against a strange threat. There may not have been much to it but it just had a mystical atmosphere to it all. For some reason these sorts of stories just don’t appear to be as common nowadays so even this temporary change was a welcome sight. With it I also liked how we saw everything through Ira’s eyes, giving us a better insight into her world and the people who were important to her even if they didn’t appear much.
Of course this also meant that the role that Huey and Dalian played in this episode was different as well, in contrast to the usual sorts of stories from their perspective where they bump into someone or get a knock at the door they were strangers. perceived by Ira to be them as odd travellers with both strange garb and motives, being connected to the threat but arriving just in time to stop it. And sure we may have already had a good understanding about them from the past episodes but I couldn’t help but find this sort of change intriguing in its own way. Finally the way it ended was kind of interesting as well, even in a world full of magic books who would have thought that there were bookworms that burrowed into the actual story of the book itself? Also Dalian nudging the story in the direction she wanted it to go and keeping her promise of seeing them again was also kind of nice on the side.