「調香師」 (Chōkō-shi)

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.




  1. You know, this had been bothering me for a while, but I really noticed it this episode. At the beginning/halfway through they should a screen with the current episode number. Some match up with the aired episode, some do not. Plus, the episode number at the beginning never seems to match with the number halfway through (Or maybe that was just this episode).

    But mostly, this week was ‘Episode 7’ at the beginning then ‘Episode 6’ halfway through while last week was ‘Episode 7’ then ‘Extra Episode 01’. And next week was listed as ‘Episode 8 & Episode 9’. I think Gainax is running these episodes out of order. And if so, the lack of mention for previous episodes would make sense. Though, this is all speculation and I may sound silly.

    Irational Promise
    1. The title of last week said “Episode 7” and this week says “Episode 8.” Someone said that Epi 3 was counted as a double episode, but then the Epi 1 was said to be “Episode 00,” so where is the other ‘double’ episode? Or is the number really all whacked?

  2. I was impressed by how much they packed into this one ep. And it didn’t feel rushed.

    Well, that might just be my opinion of how laid back this series takes itself, but nothing feels horribly left out. All the necessary pieces to the story are there, but nothing more >). It’s making for a great watch ^_^.

  3. I feel like this show would be more better if theres some character development going on.
    dalian becoming a bit more behaved and/or huey getting a bit more jumpy or something.
    one of the things that I think this show lacks is a character who goes “OMG” or at least appear surprised and stuff since it makes me feel like its a bit dull(they need some more expressions like this) . but maybe thats just me complaining…

  4. Ah, back to normal. There sure is a lot of death going around isn’t it. This show would probably be boring without all the death but none of that is really an issue, except for a few sences.

  5. Given the source material, I’m not surprise that most do not see the overarching plot that is going on. The story is slow moving, sad that there are so few episodes. I hope that somehow (beyond what most would expect) we get more after this season. There is character development, though it is subtle since they are well developed characters. One might find it more interesting to know more about Huey’s past and also Dalian’s nature than watch them develop into something different.

    As for this episode in particular, I can totally empathize with Fiona. It’s a sad story, but I can understand why things turn out this way. And I’m really glad I get to hear Dalian’s voice again XD

  6. How many of you googled “sperm whale vomit” and “civet’s gland” after watching this episode? I certainly learned something new about perfumery today and it amazes me what we would do just to smell sexy ;D

    Seishun Otoko
  7. Gah! Girl inside Dalian isn’t blond! Her hair is is a pinkish-purple! Huey is blond! Camilla is blond! Fiona is blond! That girl is NOT blond.

    That’s all I wanted to say right now. Go back to whatever you were doing.

      1. Strawbery blond is a reddish-blond. Her hair is pink, leaning towards lavender. Do a google image search on #E6E6FA. That’s the HTML color code for lavender, and it’s pretty close to what that girl has in the images you posted above.

  8. Well, well, one thing I’d like to comment on, is while I dont recommend Fiona’s way of dealing with mobsters, I was quite impressed with her determination to cleanse her failed experiment turned into drug (and avenge her father in the process).
    I also would like to comment on 2 things in regards to previous ep, namely first, Flam seems to get her name from the flamberge sword
    second, the baritsu gets a mention in the Sherlock Holmes fictional fight with Prof. Moriarty!
    Here endeth military and literature trivia for today.
    Oh and they really do make parfume from such outlandish ingredients!

  9. It seems each episode reveals a bit mre about not only the girl (i’m thinking the girl is actually talking to Huey’s grandfather and she split into 3 due her being immortal and experencing his death) and also about the books. This ep it was revealed that the book could only be used on a person once, at least for the healing books.

    I don’t think Dalian said “Yes” this episode which i kind of miss, though her venomous tongue is still there being consistently sacarstic and rude to Fiona’s father

    Zaku Fan
  10. hmmm are the girls IRL “aspects” of the original yomihime locked in the library? Dalian looks neutral good, Flam neutral lawful, and the one with eyepatch looks chaotic neutral…


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