Two stories this week and one with no satisfying resolution.
The straw millioniare
There was a guy who had one red paperclip and he wanted to see what he could get for it. Like Dalian says, value is relative. A paper clip might be worthless to you and me, but it got the guy a fish pen. Well, honestly, what could a tacky fish pen get? Apparently, a doorknob. Eventually, the guy traded his way up to a house in Saskatchewan, Canada. Okay, so that’s not exactly the first place most of us would choose to live, but c’mon, he got a house for just a paper clip. The idea that relative value could fetch us almost anything as long as we were willing to try is a little whimsical but mostly fun.
Of course, in the universe of Dantalian no Shoka, this ability to barter is apparently dangerous. Ooh, what if people were willing to die for a certain item? We wouldn’t want reckless practitioners to take advantage of such folks. Camilla makes her reappearance in the story, and she has gotten her hands on something called the Book of Equivalence. With it, she can convince anyone to trade her anything of equal relative value. Like the guy I mentioned above, she also started with one red paperclip. Hm, that’s curious how that came to be…
Time and time again, the crux of the anime’s message seems to be that the layperson is an idiot. Thank god we’ve got nobles like Hugh and royalty like the biblioprincess to keep us in check. The duo follows Camilla’s trail in order to prevent disaster. They arrive just a tad too late to realize that Camilla had been doing all of this to get Dalian a priceless teddy bear. Of course, even though Dalian insults everyone she meets, people can’t help but spoil her. I’m sure that Dalian will live to be a hundred years old, retaining her youthful appearance. In fact, she’s actually be doubling as a NEET detective in our present day…
Choking on your alibis
Our second story deals with the Book of Relationship. It has the power to supposedly bring two soul mates together, but if one of the two lovers is unfaithful, the book grants the other lover the ability to destroy his or her mate. Sounds cool at first glance. If two people were truly soul mates, why would one of them cheat? Armand appears at his lieutenant’s door, however, begging for help. He had used the Phantom Book to meet the girl of his dreams, but their bliss was short-lived. She becomes insanely jealous anytime Armand even comes close to another woman.
Okay, here’s the thing — if they were such soul mates, why did the book lead him to such a flawed, jealous woman? Is Armand so pathetic that this is honestly the best he could do — this lady was his soul mate? Dalian claims that Armand’s flaw is in seeking women based on their appearances, but then the Phantom Book doesn’t exactly find you your soul mate after all, now does it? Anyway, the ending is disturbing to say the least. The jealous fiancée tails Armand to his current location, sees Dalian and Camilla, and immolates him. Yes, the poor guy literally burns to death while begging Hugh and Dalian for help. The duo does nothing because they can just bring him back to life, apparently.
Gosh, he’s innocent though. Assuming he isn’t lying, Armand wasn’t cheating, but he still had to die in such a horrific way. The scene actually reminded me of The Wicker Man. Is this justice? Is it okay for Hugh and Dalian to, essentially, play gods by allowing people to die and resurrecting them with supposedly forbidden magic? The ending consists of Dalian going on and on about how “a fool and an idiot” caused her and Hugh so much trouble. Eight episodes into the series and I still can’t feel anything but contempt from the anime for the layperson.
A couple episodes ago, the series introduced a completely new pair of characters. The anime even makes it seem as though these guys would be Hugh and Dalian’s primary antagonists. Two weeks later, Hal and Flamberge are still nowhere in sight. Yes, I hated those two, but what was even the point of including them in the story if the anime’s going to just conveniently ignore them for the time being?