Episode 00: The Harlequinade
July 16, 2011
"Turn-Up Book" is the 1st episode of The Mystic Archives of Dantalian anime and the first story shown in the adaptation. As seen in the light novel, it's also called Episode 00, since it shows Hugh becoming the key-keeper protecting Dalian.
Hugh receives a letter informing that his grandfather has passed away. Hugh has to inherit a mansion and a collection of books, besides taking care of a girl called "Dalian". Together, they go investigate the rumors that say Hugh's grandfather was killed by his rival Lord Conrad, all because of a valuable book.
A child finds himself in a strange place. He sees a girl reading a book and asks what is that place. She answers that the place has no name, but that people called it "Labyrinth Library" or "The Mystic Archives of Dantalian". He also asks if she is lonely, while offering his hand. She smiles and they hold hands.
A man received a letter informing about his grandfather's death. The latter had a huge collection of books, even those considered accursed, which intimidated relatives. The man is driving towards the mansion his grandfather had. On the way, he stops to fix his car and to check directions. When he arrives, he tries to use a golden key to enter, but only has success with a common one. He explores the dusty mansion and finds a trace on the floor, which takes him to a secret path behind a bookcase. He uses his lighter while descending a dark stairway and arrives in a basement full of books, where what appears to be a doll is sitting in an antique chair. He realizes that he's looking at a girl reading a book. He introduces himself as Hugh Anthony Disward and says that he's searching for something called "The Mystic Archives of Dantalian", which he should inherit along with all his grandfather's assets. Hugh also tells her that he should take care of Dalian, name which he thinks refers to a pet. The girl gets angry and hits Hugh, introducing herself as Dalian.
In the kitchen, they have a conversation while Hugh makes tea. Dalian confirms she was his grandfather Wesley's friend and Hugh says that he was a pilot and that he's disappointed with the books he saw. Dalian suggests Wesley's collection can have an infinite amount of knowledge, referencing The Heaven in the Pot. Hugh sneers to the idea. During the conversation, Dalian eats Hugh's bread after asking for sugar. Before Hugh can answer about his golden key, someone appears to take him to Lord Henry Conrad's mansion, as requested by the former beforehand. Dalian decides to tag along. Inside the carriage, Hugh reveals he's going to Conrad's mansion to investigate the rumors saying that the Lord had murdered his rival, Wesley, to obtain a valuable book. He has no evidence, but Dalian affirms they should have it in that full moon night.
They arrive at Conrad's bleak mansion. Dalian refuses Hugh's hand to get out of the carriage. The servant that called them runs by himself to look for Lord Conrad. Dalian feels that they are too late and goes ahead to investigate the place with Hugh. They find a body and signs of destruction made by what appears to be a beast. Dalian says they should go to Conrad's study to find the source of what is happening. They hear a scream and find the body of Conrad's servant, with a knife stuck in its head. An eerie clown appears and attacks them with throwing knives. Hugh carries Dalian and finds protection behind a couch. He pulls out a revolver, saying it's a lucky charm. The knife thrower is shot by Hugh and turns to ashes.Hugh and Dalian keep going and find one more body and signs of an elephant. Later, Hugh has a confrontation with a lion. The creature is shot three times and turns to ashes. Dalian notices some ink in the ashes and explains they could also encounter a serpent and a jester because of the source of those anomalies: the Phantom Book called "The Harlequinade". They move towards Conrad's study, while Dalian explains the purpose of The Mystic Archives of Dantalian and what are Phantom Books and how the moon affects them.
A dragon appears to block their path, representing the circus' freak show. Hugh avoids the dragon's fire breath while protecting Dalian. He uses his revolver, but the shots have no effect against the monster. The dragon attacks with its tail and destroys some columns. Hugh is wounded in the midst of the destruction, and decides to distract the dragon while Dalian seals The Harlequinade. However, Dalian asks Hugh to decipher the words of the contract if he really is the key-keeper. Hugh grabs his golden key and recites the words inscribed in it. Dalian reveals herself as The Heaven in the Pot. A keyhole appears on her chest, which is unlocked by Hugh. He reaches his hand into the hole that appears on Dalian's chest and receives a Phantom Book called "Liber de Nymphis" from the girl inside the Labyrinth Library, where 900,666 Phantom Books are sealed. Hugh's right hand receives a mark resembling the golden key.
Hugh reads the Phantom Book. Some scenes briefly show his past as a child and as a pilot. He appears piloting an airplane. Then, as a child, in a photo with his parents. After that, at his mother's deathbed and later seeing his father leaving home. Finally, Hugh is doing the sign of the cross in front of the girl inside the Labyrinth Library. The next scenes show two girls playing and Dalian's sadness due to Wesley's death at the hands of Lord Conrad. Only ashes remain from the dragon after receiving the power coming from the Phantom Book. Hugh and Dalian arrive at Conrad's study, where the man had his final moments. Dalian seals The Harlequinade and tells Hugh she's hungry. They leave the place together. Hugh says that he will prepare something for her, but that they must find a carriage first. They hold hands.
- Conrad's mansion has a statue of Athena as acroterion. Athena is the goddess of wisdom in ancient Greek mythology. Later, the statue appears destroyed, probably broken by one of the beasts from The Harlequinade.
- Conrad takes one of the Phantom Books from Wesley, books which supposedly have the wisdom of demons.
- Conrad has a sculpture of a lying woman in his art room. It's similar to French sculptor Aristide Maillol's Air, modeled in 1938, a work that honors the crew of a disappearing hydroplane.
- There's a sculpture of a couple in Conrad's art room. During the confrontation against the lion, Hugh misses a shot and breaks it. Soon after, the sculpture appears intact.
- The family crest at the gates of Wesley's mansion has the words "ask", "seek" and "knock". It's a reference to the Bible verse Matthew 7:7, which says "everyone who asks receives, the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened". Hugh, the golden key and The Mystic Archives of Dantalian within Dalian could be an analogy to this verse.
- The family crest also reads "mors spectatum omnes quisque". It's Latin for "Death watches everyone".
- The letter Hugh received to inform about his grandfather's death has a real address. It was delivered to the College Cranwell station belonging to the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force (RAF). It's located at Sleaford, Lincolnshire, postcode NG34 8HB.
- Hugh uses a map to find his way to his grandfather's mansion. The map is based on real-life Throughway Maps of London and of The Home Counties, published in 1931 by the British Automobile Association.
- The clown hits a couch while attacking Hugh. The knife soon turns to ashes. However, the knife Hugh finds at the servant's head never disappears.
- While Hugh is reading the Liber de Nymphis, it's possible to identify real World War I photos, including those showing the Battle of the Somme, one of the largest battles on the Western Front, where armies of the British and French empires fought against the German Empire.
- The episode has no opening.
- Episode 11 ends with the scene of Hugh arriving at the Disward mansion.