Dantalian no Shoka has been in quite the slump these past few weeks. I think that some of the higher ups took notice and told the cast and crew that their show wasn’t doing so well. To continue my trend of abridged, occasionally fictional conversations, I imagine that it went something like this:
Bigwig: Listen guys, your show sucks. Find some way to spice up the plot and characterize Dalian and Huey further, so you might give a sense of weight to the series.
Director: You got it boss! We’ll axe the two reasons why anybody watches this and replace them with two token characters that have the combined personality of a strip of drywall.
Bigwig: That’s not what I ask- [Axed in the back Groundskeeper Willie style]
Director: Now quick, bury the body!
Evidently the inhumation took far longer than necessary, because we ended up with this, which felt slapped together at the last minute. So yes, the two main characters in this episode are cheap knockoffs of Huey and Dalian that somehow have even less chemistry. The Huey knockoff is a ponce with all the charm of an inebriated, horny wasp, and the Dalian knockoff likes having her stomach probed instead of her chest cavity.
Ordinarily, I’d explain the plot by now. But I care so little about the events of the episode that I find myself unable to do anything but continue awkward similes/trash talking. Also there are dolls of a very creepy and improbably lively sort, and dolls freak me out like you wouldn’t believe. Seriously, the section in Fatal Frame 2 with the floating dolls was the one part of the game that made me scream out loud in terror. And with that paragraph out of the way, I shall now do a quick plot summary.
Alright, so Anti-Huey and Anti-Dalian (AH and AD from now on, since their names are rather trivial) have arrived in a small, secluded village in nondescript Europe presumably in search of Dalian and Huey. AH is a priest who goes around destroying phantom books rather than preserving them, most likely serving as some kind of ham-handed metaphor for religion and book burnings and stuff. His traveling companion is an albino with an attitude problem confined to a strait jacket. These are most likely the main villains, unfortunately.
The two stay the night, seeing as their motorcycle has run out of gas, and are taken in by the town’s only policewoman officer. AH goes cavorting around some nearby ruins, where he’s approached by a suspicious looking prostitute. He notices that she’s trying to turn tricks in a burned down husk of a town, so he denies her. Driven to a murderous rage, she attacks him before being brought down and exposed as a doll… of a lively sort.
AH and AD take this opportunity to explore a nearby factory which was previously used to make munitions, and is now shown to play host to dolls working around the clock to make and peddle dolls and doll accessories, like a doll obsessed Hank Hill. Naturally, this is all at the behest of a phantom book.
The policewoman officer confronts and moves to attack the two, before AH reaches into AD’s gut to retrieve a book to load into his weird staff and fire haphazardly around the factory. The policewoman officer is rescued, the dolls go limp and lifeless, I check the time on the video to see how much longer I have to sit through, and I let out an exasperated groan as I realize there are still three minutes left. And three minutes later, then resumes the creepy ED.
Overall, this hasn’t been a very substantive week in anime, Steins;Gate and Penguindrum aside. Nor is this a very substantive post, so things kind of work out. As can be gleaned from my earlier starved, tired ramblings, I didn’t care for this episode at all. Every character was unlikable, the plot was contrived in many places (What would a prostitute be doing far out of town anyway?), and once again I hate dolls.
Only time will tell whether this episode had any bearing on the main plot, or if it was just something pointless to show that Huey and Dalian aren’t the only pair of such a nature in that area of Europe. In retrospect, I probably could’ve done a much better written post on the priest’s methods for dealing with phantom books, the idea of isolation in the Uncanny Valley being company enough to keep sanity, or I could’ve just been better about expressing my point. But I feel that those ideas would give this episode more credit than it deserves.