Dantalian no Shoka Wiki
Dantalian's Bookshelf
Dantalian's Bookshelf infobox

Japanese Name


Romanized Name

Dantalian no Shoka


Chapter 1 (light novel 4);
Chapter 2 (manga);
Episode 1




Rasiel (manga-only)


Hugh Anthony Disward
Wesley Disward (past)
Rudolf II (past)
Joan of Arc (past, anime-only)
Professor (manga-only)

For the original publication, see Light novel.
For the first adaptation, see Manga.
For the second adaptation, see Anime.

Dantalian's Bookshelf is the namesake world of forbidden knowledge of the The Mystic Archives of Dantalian series. Also known as Labyrinth Library (迷宮図書館 Meikyū Toshokan) or Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian, it’s the world where Phantom Books are sealed and where the girl in white is imprisoned. It's guarded by Hugh and Dalian, the latter being the "heaven in the pot", where the phantom library is contained.

Rasiel's Bookshelf and Long Lost Library are other phantom libraries which contain Phantom Books and are sealed inside Biblioprincesses.


The Dantalian's Bookshelf contains forbidden knowledge which should not exist. A few people who know about secret knowledge such as magic know about its existence. Books which can’t be found in the outside world are sealed inside the Dantalian's Bookshelf. Inside the library, 900,666 Phantom Books are sealed.[1] Phantom Books leave the library only when a worthy reader is found.[2] The library also has a Book of Lifetime for each person in the world, describing their past, present and future.[3] Although it’s a mystic archive, common books can also be sealed inside it.[4]

Although the library has no official name, Dantalian's Bookshelf is the most appropriate way to refer to it. The library is named after the demon Dantalian. He's the owner of the library. At the same time, the place is a world created to contain the monster.[2] Labyrinth Library is the name given by the first person who lost himself inside the place. It’s a huge world created by a divine being and sealed inside a vessel. Dalian, the Black Biblioprincess, is the vessel which contains the Dantalian's Bookshelf. The portal to access it is located behind a heavy lock on her chest. The key-keepers such as Wesley and Hugh are the only ones who can conjure a golden key which opens the door to the library. Hugh deduces that Dalian’s name derives from Dantalian. According to Dalian, phantom libraries are not rare. Many libraries disappeared without a trace, such as the Library of Alexandria in Ancient Egypt, the Library of Pergamum from the Attalid dynasty and the Library of Celsus in Ancient Rome.[5] The Long Lost Library and the Rasiel’s Bookshelf are other similar libraries containing Phantom Books and guarded by a key-keeper and a Biblioprincess.[6][7]

The Dantalian's Bookshelf is a maze of countless bookshelves filled with books. Hexagonal corridors stretch as far as the eye can see. The walls are hidden by thousands and thousands of books. There are no windows or doors. The endless corridors describe a smooth spiral. Rows of books tower from the floor to the ceiling, reaching the sky like the Tower of Babel from biblical times. It’s a universe of wisdom and darkness. It’s a lonesome world where silence is unbearable. The Dantalian's Bookshelf is a prison for the girl in white. She usually sits on a spiral staircase made of stones to read.[5]

In the anime, the library is depicted as a universe of twilight, including stars and clouds. There’s a spiral staircase with infinite translucent steps glowing in all colors. When Hugh and the girl in white are talking, their voices echo throughout the empty world. When Hugh walks, the sound of water is heard, as if the place is flooded.[8] The exit of the library is a huge, chained closed door guarded by a minotaur. It’s a brown door with intricate details in gold, silver and red.[9] In the manga, the Labyrinth Library looks more like a common library. It's huge and has endless corridors, with occupied bookshelves from the black-and-white checkered floor to the ceiling. It has an illuminated place, adorned with plants, under a skylight.[10]


A long time ago, the girl in white opened the Dantalian's Bookshelf and, just like in the Pandora myth, released disasters into the world, such as plague, lust, suffering, delusion, war and death. As punishment, the girl was locked inside the library, forced to protect the Phantom Books and prevent them from falling into the hands of unworthy readers. The Dantalian's Bookshelf became her cell. The demon Dantalian, owner of the library, prevents her from leaving.[2]

There’s an old oriental legend told in the Biographies of Alchemists from the Book of the Later Han. During the late Han dynasty, a man from Runan got lost inside a pot belonging to a divine being. He discovered a luxurious palace and a fabulous country in this “heaven in the pot” (壺中天 Tsubo Chūten). When the dynasty fell, the jar lost its owner. The pot passed from hand to hand for the next several centuries. Approximately a thousand years later, when the Mongols ruled the continent, the jar ended up in Europe. Three centuries before the main events of Turn-Up Book, Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, obtained the jar.

Although a catholic, Rudolf II was an eccentric emperor, known for his passion for alchemy and magic, and for being a fervent collector of books and works of art. The masterpieces he collected from all over the world were exhibited in a private museum, a Kunstkammer, arranged inside his royal castle. Rudolf II was the most suitable candidate to own the jar where the wisdom of demons is sealed. He became very powerful with the help of the power contained inside the jar. With it, he planned to acquire infinite knowledge, something impossible to all sages and sorcerers. He bought many unusual and mysterious books with forbidden knowledge. Books from ancient libraries which had disappeared, burned tomes, forbidden grimoires. He put everything inside the jar. He wished to collect them all, even if it meant to invade other countries.

Kings from other countries heard about Rudolf’s valuable collection. This knowledge sparked a war which triggered the destruction of the Holy Roman Empire. In the seventeenth century, shortly after Rudolf’s death, before the end of the Thirty Years' War, the Swedish army invaded Prague. Rudolf’s castle was invaded, and most of his collection was stolen or lost. The jar was sold to aristocrats from other countries and eventually reached an island nation across the sea. The jar, which contains the Dantalian's Bookshelf, was bought by Wesley, a bibliomaniac.[5]

Wesley built a secret basement beneath his mansion to hide the existence of the Dantalian's Bookshelf. Hugh, Wesley’s grandson, was about ten years old when he met Dalian, the vessel which contains the library. She had traveled ten years to the past to chase the Dead Book. The latter, wishing to become the new Biblioprincess, was looking for the key to the Dantalian's Bookshelf. On that occasion, to oppose the Dead Book, Hugh opened the Dantalian's Bookshelf for the first time, although he quickly lost his memories about the event.[2]

Before his death, Wesley transferred his entire estate, including the Dantalian's Bookshelf, to his grandson Hugh. After fighting in the Great War, Hugh assumed his grandfather’s position as key-keeper. Hugh eventually remembered the first time he entered the library.[5]

At some point, a child found the Dantalian's Bookshelf and modified his own Book of Lifetime to attain immortality.[3]

In the anime, Joan of Arc was the owner of the “heaven in the pot” before Rudolf II.[9]

In the manga, both Rasiel and Dalian have access to the library. Their other selves lived together inside it.[11]

Opening the library[]

Opening Library

Hugh opening the library, as seen in the anime.

A golden key is required to open the Dantalian's Bookshelf. It’s an old key hanging on a thin chain. The head of the key is decorated with a red gem. There’s a text written on the shaft of the key. It says “I ask of thee. Art thou mankind?”. As part of a pact, the person needs to repeat these words to become a key-keeper. The key can be hidden inside the right hand of the key-keeper. A red gem appears on the back of his hand. That’s why Hugh uses a glove on his right hand. When he needs the key, he removes his glove, then he tightly closes his hand for the key to magically appear.[1][5] In the anime, Hugh raises his hand. The key-keeper mark releases a golden light and disappears. The golden key materializes, floating over his hand.[8][12] In the manga, the key is silver, with a cross on its head. In this adaptation, the key-keeper carries the key instead of sealing in his own hand.[13]

When the Dantalian's Bookshelf must be opened, Dalian verbally grants Hugh access to it. He grabs the key and read the words of the pact, as if he’s a knight pledging alliance to a princess, or a magician casting a spell. The lock on Dalian’s chest glows dimly. The answer for the key-keeper’s words come from the world sealed behind the lock. The raspy voice of an old woman says “No. I am heaven… heaven in the pot”. Dalian reveals her neck and chest. Her skin shines faintly. Hugh inserts the key in the keyhole. Dalian lets out a weak sigh. The lock swings open to both sides, revealing an endless deep hole enveloped by a whirlwind of light. Dalian says “The Labyrinth Library that seals 900,666 Phantom Books. The door to wisdom is open!”. Hugh, or Dalian herself, reach into the portal to grab the appropriate Phantom Book. More than one book can be removed at once. Phantom Books can also be inserted in Dalian’s chest to be sealed inside the Dantalian's Bookshelf. The lock on Dalian’s chest closes when the library is no longer needed.[1][5][8][12]

In the outside world, it seems like the Phantom Book is quickly removed from Dalian’s chest. In fact, the person enters the Dantalian's Bookshelf to grab the Phantom Book. The girl in white somehow knows which Phantom Books the person will need. She grabs the Phantom Books from a bookshelf. She gives the Phantom Books and tells the person to leave immediately, before the door of the Dantalian's Bookshelf closes. Hugh uses these opportunities to briefly talk with the girl in white.[12] In The Key-Keeper, the girl in white gives a thin, almost invisible thread to Hugh, so he can follow and leave the library.[2]

In the anime, Hugh appears as a child when he’s inside the Dantalian's Bookshelf, with a golden mark on the back of his right hand. In this adaptation, the lock on Dalian’s chest opens differently. Her dress is magically ripped to reveal her chest. Her silver choker also disappears. The golden lock moves more organically when Hugh uses the key. The lock becomes something similar to a flower, and its petals open to reveal the void where the Phantom Books are removed. When Hugh reaches his hand into the void, black-and-red energy comes out from Dalian’s chest. The girl in white sends the Phantom Book to Hugh in the form of a golden sphere of light. The sphere, which Hugh releases in the outside world, turns into a Phantom Book.[8]

In the manga, Dalian's other self, imprisoned inside the library, can momentarily go to the outside world, without Dalian's awareness. However, the guardian of the library will quickly appear to bring her back.[13]


Not much is revealed about Dantalian. He’s referred as the monster named Knowledge. He’s the demon who owns the library and has command over knowledge. The library is a labyrinthine world created to contain the terrible monster. He's depicted with books in his hands. He turned forbidden wisdom into Phantom Books. Dantalian keeps the girl in white inside the library. His existence scares her. She worries that the monster can hear her conversation with Hugh.[2][5]

In the anime, Hugh enters the library to free the girl in white. When they approach the exit, a guardian appears out of thin air, in a burst of blue energy, blocking their way. He’s depicted as a giant, strong minotaur with a horned skull enveloped in blue flame. The monster releases a powerful column of blue magic, which destroys the path under Hugh and the girl in white.

In a flashback, the girl in white appears in front of a minotaur, right before releasing calamities to the world. It's uncertain if the minotaur is Dantalian himself.[9] In the manga, the guardian appears as soon as Dalian's other self leaves the library. He's a giant with huge manacles around his wrists.[13]


There are many instances of Hugh opening the Dantalian's Bookshelf. However, only a few times its interior is featured:

Anime-only appearances[]

  • In The Magician’s Daughter, Hugh enters the library to remove five Phantom Books.[14]
  • In The Perfumer, Hugh is seen excitedly talking with the girl in white about airplanes.[15]
  • At the end of Episode 10, Hugh is seen inside the library, insisting on freeing the girl in white.[16]
  • In Song of the Unseen Tomorrow, Hugh enters the library to finally release the girl in white. They reach the exit together, which is a huge closed door protected by Dantalian. The demon destroys the ground under Hugh and the girl in white. She’s chained against the door, while Hugh gets lost in a dark region of the library. The girl in white and Dalian work together to send a Phantom Book to Hugh. He manages to leave the library.[9]

Hugh gets lost inside the Dantalian's Bookshelf, as seen in the anime.

Manga-only appearances[]


  • The Great Library of Alexandria in Alexandria was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. The Library declined gradually over the course of several centuries. The Library dwindled during the Roman Period, due to lack of funding and support. Its membership appears to have ceased by the 260s AD. Between 270 and 275 AD, the city of Alexandria saw a rebellion and an imperial counterattack that probably destroyed whatever remained of the Library, if it still existed at that time. At its height, the Library was said to possess nearly half a million scrolls, which is an enormous collection that required vast storage space.[17]
    • The Library of Pergamum in Turkey was one of the most important libraries in the ancient world, built between 220 and 159 BC, said to house approximately 200,000 volumes. The Kingdom of Pergamon fell to the Romans in 133 BC and the library grew neglected.[18]
    • The Library of Celsus was the third-largest library in the Roman world behind only Alexandria and Pergamum, believed to have held around twelve thousand scrolls. The building was commissioned in the 110s AD. The interior of the library and its contents were destroyed in a fire that resulted either from an earthquake or a Gothic invasion in 262 C.E., and the façade by an earthquake in the tenth or eleventh century.[19]
  • The Book of the Later Han is one of the Chinese official historical books and covers the history of the Han dynasty from 6 to 189 CE, a period known as the Later Han. Part of volume 82, Biographies of Alchemists, talks about Fei Changfang, said to be an immortal priest who could heal all diseases and expel spirits.[20]
    • The story about the "heaven in the pot" is told in the section about Fei Changfang. He met a pharmacist who, at the end of the day, disappeared into a pot hung at the top of his store. Fei asked to go into the pot as well. There, he saw a vast space, the realm of the immortals. The pot was a separate heaven.[21]
  • A universe in the form of a vast library is part of The Library of Babel, a short story by Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges, published in 1941. The labyrinthine library has hexagonal rooms with books containing every possible ordering of 25 characters. Though the large majority of the books in this universe are pure gibberish, the library also must contain, somewhere, every coherent book ever written, or that might ever be written.[22]
  • In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth was an elaborate, confusing structure designed and built to hold the Minotaur, a mythical ferocious creature portrayed in Classical times with the head and tail of a bull and the body of a man.[23][24]
  • The Tower of Babel narrative is a biblical origin myth meant to explain why people speak different languages. After the Great Flood, a united human race speaking a single language built a city and a tower tall enough to reach heaven in order to avoid a second flood. God, observing their blasphemy, confounds their speech so that they can no longer understand each other, and scatters them around the world.[25]
  • Dantalion is the seventy-first demon in the demonological grimoire the Lesser Key of Solomon. He is described as a book-carrying man with multiple faces of varying genders. The powers attributed to him include teaching any art or science, causing love, and showing visions from anywhere in the world.[26]
  • In the manga, the arm of the library's guardian is similar to the arm of the Loge giant.[11][13]
  • Astrology and alchemy were regarded as mainstream scientific fields in Renaissance Prague, and Rudolf II was a firm devotee of both. He loved collecting paintings, sculptures, musical and scientific instruments, among others. His Kunstkammer, a collection of notable objects, provided a solace and retreat for contemplation and also served to demonstrate his imperial magnificence and power.[30][31]
    • His ill health and unpopularity prevented him from restraining the religious dissensions that eventually led to the Thirty Years’ War. During his rule disputes between Roman Catholic and Protestant factions crippled the political institutions of the empire.[32]
    • The Thirty Years' War was a religious and geopolitical war fought primarily in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648. It's one of the most destructive conflicts in human history.[33]
  • Joan of Arc is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years' War, and was canonized as a Catholic saint.[34]
  • Shura tries to write an article about the Dantalian's Bookshelf.[35]

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Mystic Archives of Dantalian light novel, Chapter 1, volume 1.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 The Mystic Archives of Dantalian light novel, Chapter 4, volume 7.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Mystic Archives of Dantalian light novel, Fragment 2, volume 1.
  4. The Mystic Archives of Dantalian light novel, Chapter 3, volume 8.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 The Mystic Archives of Dantalian light novel, Chapter 4, volume 1.
  6. The Mystic Archives of Dantalian light novelChapter 5, volume 1.
  7. The Mystic Archives of Dantalian light novelChapter 5, volume 2.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 The Mystic Archives of Dantalian animeEpisode 1.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 The Mystic Archives of Dantalian animeEpisode 12.
  10. The Mystic Archives of Dantalian manga, Chapter 2.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 The Mystic Archives of Dantalian manga, Chapter 11.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 The Mystic Archives of Dantalian light novel, Chapter 4, volume 2.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 The Mystic Archives of Dantalian manga, Chapter 8.
  14. The Mystic Archives of Dantalian animeEpisode 5.
  15. The Mystic Archives of Dantalian animeEpisode 7.
  16. The Mystic Archives of Dantalian animeEpisode 10.
  17. Library of Alexandria. (2020, September 14). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:55, September 17, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Library_of_Alexandria&oldid=978329969
  18. Library of Pergamum. (2020, July 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 00:19, September 18, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Library_of_Pergamum&oldid=968320700
  19. Library of Celsus. (2020, August 13). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 00:22, September 18, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Library_of_Celsus&oldid=972760379
  20. Book of the Later Han. (2020, September 8). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:08, September 18, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Book_of_the_Later_Han&oldid=977336486
  21. Miyeko Murase et al. The Written Image: Japanese calligraphy and painting from the Sylvan Barnet and William Burto Collection. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2002, p. 148.
  22. The Library of Babel. (2020, July 3). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:23, September 18, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Library_of_Babel&oldid=965807652
  23. Labyrinth. (2020, September 17). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:31, September 18, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Labyrinth&oldid=978941023
  24. Minotaur. (2020, September 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:30, September 18, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Minotaur&oldid=979080588
  25. Tower of Babel. (2020, September 8). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:55, September 18, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Tower_of_Babel&oldid=977339355
  26. Dantalion. (2020, February 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:59, September 18, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dantalion&oldid=941412769
  27. Dantalion. (2016, March 23). In Magi-The Labyrinth of Magic Wiki. Retrieved 18:55, September 18, 2020, from https://magi.fandom.com/wiki/Dantalion
  28. Dantalion. (2020, August 27). In Megami Tensei Wiki. Retrieved 18:55, September 18, 2020, from https://megamitensei.fandom.com/wiki/Dantalion
  29. Devils and Realist. (2020, August 23). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:15, September 18, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Devils_and_Realist&oldid=974585515
  30. Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor. (2020, September 17). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:25, September 18, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Rudolf_II,_Holy_Roman_Emperor&oldid=978823734
  31. Cabinet of curiosities. (2020, July 11). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:25, September 18, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Cabinet_of_curiosities&oldid=967119026
  32. Rudolf II. (2020, July 14). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 19:25, September 18, 2020, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rudolf-II-Holy-Roman-emperor
  33. Thirty Years' War. (2020, September 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:44, September 18, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Thirty_Years%27_War&oldid=979064619
  34. Joan of Arc. (2020, September 12). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:58, September 18, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Joan_of_Arc&oldid=978019587
  35. The Mystic Archives of Dantalian light novelChapter 2, volume 6.


Light novel - Manga - Dalian Days - Dalian-chan's Bookshelf

Anime (OpeningEndingOVADrama CD 1Drama CD 2OST)
(Introduction ShowTalk EventDalian & Huey NightDJCD)


Dantalian's Bookshelf - Phantom Book - Phantom Book Egg


Dalian - Hugh Anthony Disward - The Girl in the Bookshelf
Flamberge - Hal Kamhout - Rasiel - Professor