Review: The Mystic Archives of Dantalian

An anime about magical books set in early 20th century England? Sign me up!

The Mystic Archives of Dantalian ( or Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian as everyone seems to write it as) is about Huey, a young English lord who inherits guardianship over a vast archive and a girl called Dalian. Long story short, the archive is actually full of magic books containing forbidden knowledge, Dalian basically is the archive and, as guardian, Huey (assisted by Dalian) has to seal magic books away to stop them from falling into the wrong hands.

The story consists of episodic mysteries laced with the odd fight scene, just to remind you that that shooting a dragon with a gun will never be quite as effective in killing it as reading it a really old book.

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Even though it’s by Gainax, the animation didn’t particularly stand out to me and I can’t remember a single bit of the soundtrack for the life of me, other than that I didn’t really like the opening or ending. *shrugs* It’s not like any of that took away from the viewing experience so it doesn’t really matter.

The characters themselves are entertaining enough to keep me interested in the mysteries throughout the series, even if Huey isn’t anyone in particular to write home about and Dalian is more or less your cookie-cutter tsundere loli. There are other recurring characters that are equally entertaining, if not more so in the case of Armand’s love life.

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If you like golems, homunculi and automatons with emotions, the mysteries will not disappoint. Unlike certain mystery shows *cough cough* I found myself able to piece clues together and find out the truth myself, but I never figured it all out way before the protagonists. The signs of a well written mystery fiction, right there.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the production team were quite of how to make an ending that would encourage people to check out the light novels. I’ll give them credit for not just leaving it mid-arc, like Pandora Hearts, but it’s still one of the most lacklustre original endings I’ve seen in a long time. From episode 11, I just became very confused and only mildly interested in finding out how everything ties together. I think there were about 5 characters that were just shown and not even properly introduced. Where the hell did they come from!?

In a nutshell: magic books & mystery in 1920s England


The Mystic Archives of Dantalian should  be available to watch on Funimation (and I think Crunchyroll) but that doesn’t include to anyone living in the UK and probably other regions (for some reason) and so you might have to rely on good old DVDs…

Sorry about that. I kind of forgot that I hadn’t actually scheduled this post for last night. Anyway, it’s here now.

Because of NaNoWriMo, I won’t be posting anything next week and there probably only be one more post this month at most. I keep you updated on Twitter.

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One thought on “Review: The Mystic Archives of Dantalian

  1. Karandi

    I don’t hear a lot about this anime. I really liked the idea behind this anime but the execution wasn’t great and then the ending… well you kind of already addressed that issue. I’d love to see this done again and with a bit of thought about how the whle story would play out but that seems unlikely.

    Liked by 1 person


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