「焚書官」 (Funsho-kan)
“The Book Burner”

Well now, that was certainly an odd turn for those of us (like me) who hadn’t read the LNs before. The entire episode focused on two characters we’ve never met, with no prior explanation as to who they are and what they’re up to. Huey and Dalian were never present, and only mentioned briefly.

I guess in judging the episode, one has to look at it both in context and in terms of pure stand-along entertainment value. To tackle the latter first, I guess I’d say it was pretty good. It’s an interesting story – a small-town lady police officer, Mabel Nash (Aya Endo) encounters two strangers, a man on a motorbike and a girl in a sidecar. This is Hal Kamhout (Katou Masayuki) and Flamberge (Koshimizu Ami). It’s immediately obvious that this is another yomihime and human tag team, and almost as immediately obvious that they’re very different from Huey and Dalian (whom Hal announces they’re searching for). Flamberge is chained at the wrists and ankles for starters, and the two of them are verbally abusive to each other in the mold of Margery Daw and Marchosias from Shakugan no Shana. Hal claims to be a “Libricide”, some sort of book cop whose job is to eliminate phantom books and those whose beings are touched by them, through the use, apparently, of Nanoha’s staff.

I never quite bought into the drama of the English village destroyed by German bombs, the plot by Mabel to replace the 80% who died with animated dolls, and the little sister Patti (Hidaka Rina) who seems to be one of the few living humans left, beyond an intellectual level. There was a nugget of interesting information in that the phantom book that allowed Mabel to pull this off was given to her by yet another yomihime, a loli-esque redhead named Rasiel (yes, I did check the source for that, but that’s all I know), who must be the mischievous sort to have done such a thing. Most of the entertainment value was derived from the interplay between Hal and Flamberge, who were quite entertaining in their cheerful bickering.

But to finally judge this ep on the first standard I raised, I’m not overly pleased. In the simplest terms I missed Huey and Dalian – I guess I hadn’t really realized how much I’d come to like both their characters, but I have. A larger issue, though, is that this episode felt confusing coming unannounced in the middle of the series with no exposition, and the matters on screen lost some impact because of that same lack of context. I’m sure these are important characters in the novels, but so what? They mean nothing to me, and I’d have liked a more compelling argument for whey that shouldn’t be the case. I can only assume we’ll see them again in the seven remaining episodes, or GAINAX wouldn’t have bothered to introduce them at all.

The previews for Dantalian aren’t too helpful, so I can only take it on faith that our main pair will be back next week. If I’m anxious for anything other than that, it’s for a reappearance by Camilla – who I really enjoyed in her one appearance – and some clue as to who the blonde yomihime that lives inside Dalian and interacts with Chibi-Huey is.




    1. Man, this show is as random as Mawaru. I no longer know what I’m watching about BUT that doesn’t mean I enjoy it any less. (Although I secretly wish they do a better story telling rather than just animate whatever thing for us)

  1. I too was also surprised by the episode; I was looking forward to Huey & Dalian after this long week. I just scanned thru the episode and read your review to see if I missed anything; unsuprisingly, I did not. Oh well, here looking forward to see Huey & Dalian back next week.

  2. It seems theres a recurring theme of resurrection or immortal life in this series so far, and showing some negative effects if such things exist.
    Also, nice to see a sneak of the other two yomihimes.

  3. I guess it cannot be helped since this is called dantalian no shoka so it is about dantalions. It is not called Naruto or Shakugan no Shana. I actually find the abrupt introduction of this 2 characters refreshing. This could have been the first episode of dantelion no shoka and I would be find with it.
    Just waiting for the Dantelions to meet.

    1. I’m with you on that! but at the same time it’s kinda sad that i would need “REFRESHMENT” already. I’ve grown so tired of the 2 original characters…she’s a lonely book god who likes sweets, and he’s a army dude turned bodyguard …..yawn.

      BROOKLYN otaku
  4. This reminds me of a bones episode (an american crime drama) where instead of the usual main cast, one episode decides to follow another group of cast, which is a little related to the main cast.
    Enjoyed it but missing huey and dalian so much! I seriously hope this is also the last time huey and dalian are not featured on screen

  5. Aaaw, I was waiting for a new episode with Dalian and Huey, but didn’t expect with some new characters as the one being focused in this episode but oh well nice knowing to see other yomihimes with their human partners. Anyway thanks for the review! ^^,

  6. GDit GAINAX, you just had to throw in this weird curveball, I wanted to swing at it but it hit me in the foot first. They really can’t keep any series solid can they. They better bring this bull together to make up for this mess.

  7. I didn’t think it was bad.I really enjoyed knowing about all the other himes and i like where they are going with the series.

    I think we can start to ask many questions about all the himes relation, dantalion and human partners, their real purpose, etc.

  8. I didn’t think the ep was bad in and of itself, but I really wanted a little context – who are these people? How are they related to Huey and Dalian? There was no buildup and no exposition – it was as if we’d walked into the 6th episode of a series where Flam and Hal were the MCs.

    1. This is exactly how I felt watching this, the characters weren’t fleshed out so I couldn’t even care about them. Please tell Huey and Dantalian to come back producers.

      Mike Oxshort
  9. No, the episode wasn’t bad. It just simply made no sense. All of a sudden, we get another duo who just so happen to be looking for the first duo & that’s it. Then they shove us right into the middle of their story. The scene was OK, but saying that it was out of place is an understatement. Needless to say, the chemistry between Flam & Hal is nonexistent & they’re actually boring when it comes down to it but that’s just they’re being compared to Huey & Dalian right out of the box. GAINAX isn’t even giving them a chance.

  10. i actually liked this episode, and tbh i consider hal&flamberge more…badass…? as the main duo. (i still prefer dalian&huey though) but still, they have good chemistry and they don’t seem to get caught as often as the other two. but just being curious, did they mention they are after dalian&huey? because i might have missed that….could also be they are after the two that can be seen in mabel’s flashback.

    all in all i miss dalian as hell (sob)

  11. To me it looked like the main story arc is finally introduced with this episode. I have no knowledge of the novels, but since there are three biblioprincesses featured in the opening this wasn’t unexpected. In fact I was waiting for them finally being introduced.

    So we have a mysterious biblioprincess and her partner going around handing out phantom books and another biblioprincess and her partner in hot pursuit of them. No doubt our two protagonists will get caught up in this pretty soon.

    From simple entertainment value I think this one did about as well as the previous episodes. However due to the fact that this one seems to get a larger story arc finally rolling after all the stand-alone episodes so far, this was more interesting for me to watch. So personally I think this was the best episode of this show so far.

    I just hope they don’t turn back into episodic stand-alone stories again in the next episodes.

  12. I liked this episode a lot. Granted I was really disappointed the entire time that Huey and Dalian weren’t there, I still thought this was actually a great way to introduce two characters who honestly I don’t think need more backstory. I think just seeing them in action was enough to really give us a good sense of who they are and their purpose. Any more exposition would have just wasted more time, this episode I think brought us totally up to speed in a really clever way.

    What I really DON’T like however is this terrible suspicion I have that somehow Huey and Dalian are going to get confused for the other pair and a fight will occur between these two sets, instead of with the apparently bad (did you catch the eyepatch..) pair.

    All that being said, I really want Huey and Dalian back asap, especially because I didn’t realize this was only a 13 episode series, which is supremely disappointing.

  13. One of the better stories. I actually prefer a naturally paced story over wacky, zany action of last episode.

    I’m surprised that they introduced Hal and Flam with this story, since their first story in the LN did indeed feature Dalian and Huey as supporting characters. I do think that would’ve been better.

    Also, I’ve read 4 volumes of the light novel and still haven’t seen a hint of an overlying plot. Maybe someone further along can correct me, but I don’t think there’s suppose to be one. Although the anime may simply decide to end on a more impactful story as a way to wrap things up.

    1. “”I’ve read 4 volumes of the light novel and still haven’t seen a hint of an overlying plot.”

      If what you said is true, then I may have found a reason to drop this anime once and for all.
      ryuzaki21 I think I might follow you to drop this anime.

    2. I really liked this episode and might even like this new pair as much as the first one.
      The previous episode was my least liked episode due to the out of place Gainax humour.

  14. I’m seeing another Iroha happening. All the side character that we don’t care about, getting all the screen time and hogging all the attention. I just want to say something: WE DON’T CARE

  15. Interesting episode, more interested in why the girl is chained yet does not try to escape. If she is willing, why chain her up? If she is not, why does she not attempt to escape?

    This seems to point to 3 different thinking that perhaps together make up the girl in the other world.

    The girl giving out books seems to be of the thought that books should be used regardless of the danger and suitability of the person while the guy with the chained girl seems to be of the thought that dangerous books should be destroyed regardless. Dalian seems to be of the neutral perspective and only interested in the books themselves as well as of the thought that only suitable people should use the dangerous books

    Zaku Fan
  16. I get a sense that they wanted to take the time out to introducing and develop complex and morally ambiguous antagonists. I’m guessing they started all of this out of context in order to give us a less biased perspective since anyone coming in contact with protagonists tend to be degraded when they simply refuse to agree due to the unintended side effects of protagonist centered morality.

    I think what I got out of this episode (although pure speculation) is:

    1) Hal Kamhout (and Flamberge will be opposed in some form to Dalian and Huey. This is likely due to opposing philosophies or purposes (use and preservation of books vs. book burning).
    2) Hal and Flamberge aren’t strictly evil, nor are they strictly good. Hal seems to believe that he’ll be damned for his actions and accepts them as necessary. The resolution of this episode showed he was destroying a misused book and the desire to use it to free the town, which would definitely fall on the good side.
    3) Hal seems to believe that this situation was caused by Dalian, his ‘hunt’ will likely be antagonistic in nature, maybe they’ll be trying to kill Dalian. Since he’s mistaken, this may result eventually in a form of reconciliation, or at least in a state where they don’t actively hunt/kill each other, or maybe they’ll set it up as a tragic-type story for Hal and Flamberge if they fail and die. In order to do that, we have to get to know them first, and I mentioned the reasons for doing it ‘out of context’ above.

    I think I didn’t mind this episode so much because I believe it’s the opening to a larger arc. That thought has me sitting on the edge of my seat in excitement.

    If it’ll pay off or not remains to be seen.

  17. Flamberge seems totally different from Dalian, when Hal used the key on her I thought he was killing her. Dalian never had that reaction with Huey, maybe something is wrong with her besides the facts she´s letting him use her own books as ammunition!. I wonder what happens when a yomihime lost all his books, sure as hell is not going to be pretty.

    I hope they are not looking for Dalian an Huey to kill them because it´s absurd. Its not the books who bring disaster, it´s the people who use them knowing full well the consequences. The Phantom Books have forbbiden knowledge but are the same as any other kanowledge, it´s up to the person to decide how to use it. That little yomihime who was playing with Mabel´s mind is really a nutcase, I´ve lost many love and I know how Mabel felt, but that lunatic use her sorrow to make her bury herself in that insane nightmare.

  18. Was laughing through the entirety of the action scene, especially when “Nanoha’s Staff” (the way it was used) was used.
    Personally, I don’t think Hal and Flam are after Dalian and Huey but the other one that gave Mabel the book.
    Missing Dalian already…

  19. If only police officers in the real world were like Mabel when she first meets Hal & Flamberge!

    On another note, does anyone know what Daoistic book about creating animated dolls Mabel used?

  20. Just thought I’d mention, the original chapter in the light novel that has these two in it comes out of nowhere, just like this episode. Of course, the novels (at least the first one) ahd already shown a tendency to tell stories out of chronological order and such, so a random shift to two seemingly random characters (who are obviously not random, given who they are and what they do) didn’t feel as out of place as it otherwise might have.

    So you looked up Rasiel’s name, did you GE? Heh. Replace the “s” with a “z” and search wikipedia. It’s as appropriate as Dantalian is for a supernatural being who holds forbidden knowledge. No, that’s not a spoiler, because I really know practically as little about her as you do. I figured that out entirely based on my own deductions that the yomihime have names very similar to whatever supernatural beings supposedly control their libraries.

  21. Loved this episode. Changes of pace and perspective are always welcome in my opinion. Felt a bit like Kino no Tabi to me.

    To the complainers… a good story doesn’t have to rely on just one or two main characters. And why must context be presented for everything? No doubt we will learn more about these characters and their role at some point but it doesn’t have to be right away. This way we get to come up with our own ideas and the characters remain mysterious for the time being.

    And to be perfectly honest… this series has so far given context to the story contained within each episode however it has provided practically none about anything else (Dalian, Huey, Dantalians, where the Books came from and why, etc) so, really, you should only be watching it if you enjoy the short stories presented.

  22. My favourite episode of this series so far. I love Flam and Hal so much and the unlocking scene was better than Huey and Dalian’s in my opinion. Although, the part where he reached inside her and took out the book I thought he was gonna kill her!

    I wonder how weird the unlocking scene for Rasiel (that girl who gave Mabel the Phantom Book) is? Her eye patch is where the keyhole is!!! That must be painful.

  23. There is something very curious about this episode and apparently no one has noticed, in the part where Hal is fighting the woman puppet you can tell that when it goes crazy it behaves pretty much like Angel Bardiel when fighting EVA 00 and EVA 01 from Evangelion, both the series and the second Rebuild movie.

    In the series you can see Rei analyzing the enemy and when the angel becomes aware of it, it jumps on top of EVA 00, and when the puppet jumps it does the exact movement as the angel.

    Also, when it’s about land the blow on Hal, the kind of shot is the same as the one seen in Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0 and it is again when fighting Angel Bardiel.

    Has anyone noticed it, or I’m just to obsessed with evangelion??? xD

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