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Light Novel / Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian

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Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian (or Dantalian no Shoka or The Mystic Archives of Dantalian) is a Light Novel series written by Gakuto Mikumo. It was adapted into manga by Chako Abeno and a Summer 2011 Anime series by Studio Gainax.

Huey, a young ex-pilot, inherited the old mansion of his deceased bibliomanic grandfather and with it the book collection stored in there. However, there was one condition: He also had to inherit the "Bibliotheca."

When he inspects the mansion, Huey discovers a cellar that is filled with piles of books. In the middle of these books he comes across a black dressed girl who is silently reading a book. She is called Dalian and has a big lock hanging before her. She herself is the gateway to the "Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian," which contains the prohibited "Phantom Books."


This series provides the following tropes:

  • Adventure Duo: Huey and Dalian, Hal and Flamberge, the Professor and Rasiel.
  • Angst
  • Anti-Hero: Hal. All Libricide Officers are probably similar to him.
    "Who says anything about reading it?"
  • Art Shift: Most of Episode 9 is drawn in a different style than usual to represent the fact that it took place inside a story.
  • Artificial Human:
    • Christabel Sistine.
    • In Episode 12, Rasiel refers to Dalian as a "doll" — with strong implications that all three Biblioprincesses are puppets / golems of some kind.
  • Author Existence Failure: In-universe; Leni Lentz dies before he can complete his Crown of the Dog Days trilogy.
  • Badass Long Coat: Huey.
  • Berserk Button: Dalian has plenty when it concerns books or food. Or Camilla making a joke about Dalian being Huey's "daughter."
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Episode 12 implies that the Biblioprincesses accompanied many famous historical figures (such as Dalian seen at the side of who is very likely Joan of Arc). It's also implied that the girl trapped in the Black Library is in fact the classical Pandora.
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  • Big Eater: When she's not solving mysteries or obsessing over books, Dalian can be quite the eater.
  • Bishōnen: Huey.
  • Blood-Splattered Innocents: Estella Lilburn when her cousin gets brutally murdered in front of her. Nope, sorry, she killed him.
  • Body Horror: Paula Dickinson constantly killing Lenny Lentz and his lover over and over again to revive them using each of them as a sacrifice for the other. They become resistant end evolve into another being that is unable to be killed.
    • In Episode 8, Armand is taken over by vines which engulf his whole body and burn him to death. He gets better though.
  • Butterfly of Doom: Mentioned as part of the... Incantation... In Episode 1.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: Also mentioned in the same incantation.
  • Chain of Deals: The Book of Exchange enables this. Notably, it starts with a red paper clip (sound familiar?) and ends with Dalian getting a teddy bear she wanted.
  • Childhood Friends: Huey and Camilla.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Dalian.
  • Cute and Psycho: Estella Lilburn, being a female of the Lilburn family and all.
  • Declaration of Protection: Armand, Lord Roskin and the other three rivals vying for Viola's heart.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Although it can actually not be redundant, since it could say that it's a supposed flying machine that actually works, the newspaper article Ilas discovers as a boy qualifies. It's entitled: A Flying-Machine That Flies.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: When Viola is asked to choose between Armand and his four rivals, she walks over to Armand and runs off with a sixth guy who shows up at the end.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • When Dalian opens up her clothing and Huey uses his key in her lock (which is over her heart), red liquid spurts out.
      • And the (not so) subtle innuendo of Dalian's phrase right before he sticks his key into her "No, I am heaven.. in a pot"
    • The series dispense with subtlety with Flamberge, it's clearly meant to be an abortion.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Dalian (especially if her skirt was shorter).
  • Equivalent Exchange: Episode 4 and 8.
  • Expressive Hair: Dalian has a tuft of hair that perks up whenever she anticipates eating sugar.
  • Fan Dumb: Invoked. See the bit about Fangirl, below.
  • Fangirl: The first chapter has Dalian gush over "Crown of the Dog Days," which she insists is a romance novel and desires to read the last of the trilogy. Paula Dickinson has the same idea, but only acted on it through torturing the author and his lover countless times to get the ending of the book that she preferred.
  • Fantastic Drug:
    • Relic in Episode 6. It's a failed product which turns out to be heavily addictive.
    • Somewhat Truth in Television, as the effects of Relic closely mimic a real-life drug, PCP.
  • Fix Fic: Invoked. Dalian's first instinct upon reading the final book in Episode 4 is to write one.
  • For Science!
  • Franchise Zombie: The Light Novel was in danger of becoming one, having already been completed at 8 volumes; however, as the author was preparing a 9th, the editors screwed that over last spring by requesting the series be extended. After months of disagreements, the 9th volume, along with its scheduled OVA, was finally scrapped.
  • Girls with Moustaches: Camilla wears a top hat and fake moustache, and then sticks the latter on Dalian.
  • Golem: One of these guards the Lilburn house. Huey and Dalian have to fight it off.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When Paula Dickinson is killed, the viewers are shown the wall near Huey's and Dalian's cell, but we can clearly see her body being viciously ripped apart and blood spattering everywhere.
  • Gratuitous English: Dalian always says yes (and sometimes no).
    • Also, Japanese honorifics are rarely used, instead the characters use their English equivalents like Mister, Lord, and in one case Huey was even corrected to say "Mrs." instead of "Miss."
  • Gratuitous German: Rasiel, her Evil Counterpart, uses ja and nein. She's even used Es ist das Ende (It is the end) once.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: The title itself, the correct phrasing would be "Biblioteca Mística de Dantalian"
  • Happiness in Slavery: Flamberge spends all her time wearing a custom straitjacket that extends down and splits at her hip like a dress, and shackles on her ankles. She says that she wears it to mess with Hal, who counters that she simply enjoys wearing it. She doesn't deny it, and even when on the way to a fight she does not ask Hal to untie her, and actually knows how to defend herself while bound anyway, so everything points to her simply enjoying 24/7 restraint unless Hal needs her to unlock his full power. Any inconveniences she experiences (like getting out of the sidecar of Hal's bike without use of her hands) are Played for Laughs.
  • Hero of Another Story: Hal and Flamberge.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard / Karmic Death:
    • Paula Dickinson's constant killing and reviving of Leni Lentz and his wife eventually made them immune and resisted death itself, allowing them to become one body and soul that ultimately destroys their captor.
    • The people who wanted to enthrall everyone with music and locked themselves into a soundproof room ended up still in the building when it fell, since they were the only ones who didn't hear the violinist's warning to get out.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Huey and Dalian.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Fiona fights with perfume. And she's good at it.
  • Invocation:
    "I ask of thee, art thou mankind?"
    "Nay, I am the world."
  • Large Ham: The magician in Episode 5.
  • Loony Fan: Paula Dickinson has been torturing the Lentzes all because the character Dyer from "Crown of the Dog Days " gets killed off in the third book, and she didn't take too kindly.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Viola.
  • Magical Library: Dantalian's archives, a more magical variety placed in another dimension, it seems.
  • Man-Eating Plant: The rare cactus that the main characters keep in their greenhouse. In keeping with the series' theme, it has book page like petals which it uses to attract prey.
  • Marionette Master: Mabel Nash, although she's more of a doll master.
  • Mind Screw: Thanks to its mixed up chronology (not to mention that freaky cloud giant) made Episode 11 nearly impossible to follow until the end, and even then it left a lot of questions unanswered.
  • Nice Hat: Dalian when she goes out.
  • Number of the Beast: Dalian's incantation for summoning sealed Phantom Books:
    "Labyrinth of bookcases, warden of 900,000 and 666 sealed Phantom Books, open the gates to wisdom."
  • Our Homunculi Are Different: Viola.
  • Parlor Games: Dalian loves sweets so much, during the On the Next for Episode 3, she started playing shiritori with names of different sweets.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: While there certainly are blondes in Britain, they're not quite as numerous as shown in the anime.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Huey and Dalian are arguably this. In spite of Dalian's Tsundere tendencies, there is nothing remotely romantic about their relationship.
  • Pretty in Mink: Dalian has a black coat trimmed with white fur, and a white fur hat.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Dalian and Flamberge.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Deconstructed in Episode 6.
  • Serious Business: Dalian takes Sweets and books very seriously.
  • Shout-Out:
    • All of Episode 4 is pretty much an anime version of Misery condensed into a half hour. And somehow makes the original look tame in comparison.
    • From the same episode, a chapter title page (or something similar) in the book Dalian is reading says "Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones," the title of a short story by Samuel R. Delany.
    • Hal's staff greatly resembles Raising Heart. It even goes "Cartridge Load" when he stuffs a Phantom Book at one end to fuel his attack magic.
    • In Episode 8, a stuffed bear appears in an auction catalog, whose design is noted to have become famous thanks to "a certain president."
    • A certain scene in Episode 3 looks strikingly similar to Gainax's earlier mini-series, Wish Upon the Pleiades.
  • Snow Means Death: Used in Episode 4 of the anime.
  • Spell Book: 900,666 of them!
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Is it Dalian or Dariane?
  • Stalker with a Crush: Paula Dickinson.
  • Stop Motion: Used in the anime ending.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The opening is a calm operatic piece of music with action sequences overlayed.
  • Sweet Tooth: Dalian loves sweets so much, during the On the Next for Episode 3, she started playing shiritori with names of different sweets.
  • Talking Is a Free Action:
    • Even though they're in the middle of combat, Huey can still read out loud some pretty long lines from the Phantom Books.
    • Inverted in Episode 6 Mabel mentions that Hal has little time to read the book. He then shows that he doesn't have to read by loading the book into his staff and firing away... With fire.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Huey recites and weaponizes the opening theme (in Japanese) in the final episode to blow away the advancing zombies.
  • Tsundere / Shana Clone: Dalian has hints of this to Huey.
  • Two Shorts: Episode 3 consists of two separate stories.
  • Verbal Tic: Dalian ends nearly all of her sentences with "-desu."
  • Waistcoat of Style: Huey has one under his coat.
  • Yandere: Subverted with Paula Dickinson. She killed both Lenny and his lover in order to the get the ending she wanted for "Crown of the Dog Days."
    • Miss Lilburn from Episode 2 is a better fit.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Both Dalian and Paula Dickinson were hoping Dyer would end up with either Ignatius or Arthur in "Crown of the Dog Days." and even ended up engaging in Ship-to-Ship Combat.

Alternative Title(s): Bibliotheca Mystica De Dantalian


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