Huey and Dalian are back in the saddle on Dantalian no Shoka this week, with no reference to the Flam and Hal interlude of last week whatsoever. And they deliver a solid if unspectacular episode, whose most impressive feature may be the body count.
I’m growing increasingly fascinated by the story of the blond yomihime who apparently lives inside Dalian, or at least inside the Library of Dantalian. She seems to get a teaser just about every week, always at the beginning of the episode, with just the tiniest bit of new information but not an iota more. It seems as if young Huey developed an interest in flying at least in part out of his desire to take the girl away and show her the world beyond the library – a world she tells him she can never leave (the tragic irony that he should instead use the airplane to deliver a rain of death is inescapable). The Yomihime curses Huey for complicating her simple, orderly existence but it’s clear there’s a great deal of affection between demon and boy. How was it that Huey was able to come and go seemingly as he pleased – though she did warn him he might be stuck there if she didn’t leave soon?
The episode itself followed what’s more or less become the structure of most of the stories in the series. A random meeting at a bakery with a girl fleeing her father knocks Dalian’s buns to the ground, and after the girl – Fiona – is caught, her father takes H & D back to his manse to apologize and reimburse. Turns out he’s the head of Famenias, a legendary perfumery in London, and Huey and Dalian quickly pick up the scent of a phantom book and a crime syndicate’s involvement. A requested meeting with Fiona (Itou Shizuka) yields more information – Fiona is searching for the scent that will make everyone happy, but in the process she’s effectively making narcotic mood elevators, which her father is selling to the public (as Blue Trance) and to crime syndicate Padauk (in undiluted form, as Relic). The knowledge of the Famenia family in making perfume from the likes of sperm whale vomit and civet cat (not a real cat – more of a weasel) musk glands comes from the phantom book Gandharva, passed on to Fiona by her Great-Grandfather.
This wasn’t the most compelling story of the series so far, though it was interesting enough. It was certainly accurate in that smell in indeed the sense connected to the oldest structures of the brain, and the one most connected to memory. Hallucinogenic and hypnotic perfumes are nothing new, but there were some twists and turns in the story, mainly in just how unrelentingly brutal and violent it turned out to be. H & D seemed quite content to leave the phantom book in Fiona’s hands, as she seemed the rightful owner, but the attack on her lab and her father’s mansion by the Padauk ruffians sets off a chain of violence in which Fiona shows herself to be rather a ruthless young lady, and Huey shows off his skills with a pistol and a phantom book of healing. But things don’t end well here, to put it mildly.
Next week promises a return to the style and substance of episode 3, as it’s another two-story episode and will apparently feature Camilla. That’s good news for me, as that was one of my favorite episodes and Camilla was a delightful addition to the cast. As the last couple of episodes have been on the mediocre side and there’s only five left, a strong return to form would be especially welcome.