Search This Blog

What is your current/max resolution?

Comments not personal enough? E-mail me with requests, suggestions or personal comments. No, it's not fake....

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Toshokan Sensou (Library War) - Review

Just reading it off as "Library War" seems a bit weird to me. I feel like it's either Library Wars or The Library War. It's probably my love for articles however.

Toshokan Sensou is about the "Media Cleansing Act" that was passed at the dawn of the Seika era (completely fake era) in 1988 (christian calendar). It was a government act in which censors were given full jurisdiction to dictate what had bad messages and harmful to society and had any means to do so. 11 years later, an event known as the Hino Nightmare which involved a massive book burning and massacre of the staff at the Hino Branch Library resulted in another government act pushed by Libraries to protect themselves with their justification being that the Cleansing Committee is too powerful.

It is now 2019, the 31st year of Seika era and a highschool graduate by the name if Iku Kasahara has been recruited as the very first female member of the the elite Library Task Force.

This show aired right as the spring season (in Japan) started last year (4-10) and somehow it flew under my radar.

The animation is done by I.G. so you be assured that it's quality work.

This is a purely fantastical premise and to be honest, not too realistic. So you have to enter this anime with an open mindset. Once you get past that, it's a really interesting premise considering the censorship Japan does. "What happens when you bring censorship too far?" I know what you literary buffs are thinking. It's a concept that's like Fahrenheit 451. I could honestly care less though. Besides, it doesn't revolve around a guy who was originally part of the Cleansing Committee.


This is a pretty short anime, which I'm going to address immediately, because I feel that it could have lasted a bit longer. Rather, the pacing could have slowed down a bit showing a bit more of the "normal life."

In all honesty though, this show is actually a "romantic comedy" under all of the gunfire and training. I use romantic comedy loosely because:
A. I hate the concept of what's considered a "Romantic Comedy" and
B. It doesn't really fall under that category but it's also about a girl who's looking for her "prince" in the Library Defense Force who saved her and her book from being "cleansed."

The characters are pretty straight forward. Iku is your typical hotheaded girl who has an equally fiery passion. Her "prince" is quite blatant to the point where even the hints are almost too obvious (At one point he even holds "princely" items). Then there's the super strict, top of his class rookie that has horrendous social skills. Then there are the commanding officers. First of which is an equally hot-headed counterpart to Iku and his closest friend being the nearly omniscient, level headed type that finds humor in many situations.

I'm going to say this outright. Classic, cliched characters are overdone. Everyone knows that, but they're also quite effective. As long as it's not in a "harem" or "reverse harem" setting, they can work quite well. What you look for is not
"how does this character act as a whole" but, "how does this character's interactions differ from others and what are the character's unique qualities?" If there's little variation and the character is too obvious and too predictable, then you can consider it bad writing and move on. BUT, if you have strong supporting characters that twist and change the cookie cutter character, then you have content.

It's the same with comedy. It requires well placed timing, good material, and a personal variation. What makes your joke unique?

Toshokan Sensou is an example of one way you can add a twist to an old idea. It's short, pretty fast paced, and adds a bit of development to characters. It may need a bit more development to be outstanding, but by all means, it's a well done show. The music is also a great plus. It's not particularly memorable (then again the only tune I can sing off the top of my head is the Demon Lord from Mononoke Hime) but it helped the set the atmosphere very well and I remember taking particular note and enjoying it.

There's a DVD exclusive episode that doesn't fit in any where in particular but it's a nice side episode used for character development. I would have appreciated more of those episodes in the series.

No comments: