Confining every story to a single episode does weird things to the dialogue. Information is squeezed into every nook and cranny where it simply doesn’t belong. Or maybe the writing’s just plain bad — what’s really the qualitative difference anyhow? Take a look at the following exchange:
Dalian: “What’s Relic?”
Noth: “This stuff right here.”
Noth: “That’s right. The smell makes you feel really good. An ultimate high that washes away all the pain and sorrow…”
Fiona: “No! It’s a narcotic that directly stimulates the limbic system with enough hormones to drive people crazy! It was a mistake created while I was developing Blue Trance!”
Two things… first, this is just clumsy exposition being forced into a tense scene for the sake of exposition. Why would someone in Fiona’s state suddenly blurt out the inane details of her perfume at that point and juncture? Secondly, what she has to say is largely unnecessary. We could already tell that the perfume is doing something strange to people. We could already tell from the opening that the perfume acts as a sort of drug. The stuff about the limbic system and hormones are just unnecessary data. Dialogue like this serves no real purpose; it’s just redundant.
Continuing on, Hugh’s bullets are having little effect on Noth because the drug numbs any pain. It’s at this point that Fiona turns into some sort of perfume grenadier. That actually sounds like a cool concept, but Fiona ruins it by treating her new role like she’s in a shounen fighting anime. When she smashes a bottle of chemicals into Noth’s face, she feels compelled to explain to the audience just exactly what that chemical was:
Fiona: “It’ll make your senses many times sharper. Of course, your sense of pain as well…”
But this is just silly. Just seconds ago, we can see that Noth feels no pain from Hugh’s bullets. So if Noth all of a sudden starts to feel pain, I think most of the audience can deduce just exactly what Fiona had done. Unfortunately, the anime continuously violates the old “show, not tell” adage. The result is unnecessary dialogue at every little instance.
Vance: “What is this smell?”
Fiona: “That one will hypnotize you.”
Vance: *passes out*
Again, Vance’s passing out suffices as an explanation. Fiona’s explanation is just so silly and cumbersome.
“Please come again next week.”
You get anime this season where we are so intimately mired in the characters’ day-to-day routines that revulsion occurs. “Enough already,” we say, “Get on with the plot!” Then Dantalian no Shoka comes along and does the exact opposite. The anime never really allows us to sit down and smell the flowers. Characters are immediately offed left and right, and if you blinked, sorry but you just missed it.
Fiona tells us about her perfume-making job at around the eight and a half minute mark. Just five minutes later, her father and his entire estate seems to have been murdered. Another five minutes later, she has already committed her revenge, which we don’t get to see, and she is now dying from a gunshot wound. She then spills her guts (no pun intended) to Hugh about everything. In just ten minutes, we go from character introduction to character confession. Such dramatic events occur within such a short time period that it’s just “Wham, bang, thank you, ma’am! Please come again next week.”
Again, the “show, not tell” problem rears it ugly head. Fiona, fueled by guilt and anger over her father’s death, should have an emotional scene where she “murders” (in reality, she used her perfume to get her enemies to kill themselves) every single person at the Padauk Firm, but like everything else, we are simply told what happens; we don’t get to see anything. What a shame. I guess Fiona is a nothing character, destined to be forgotten when the series end, but does that mean Gainax should short-change her story this much?