Posted by psgels on 28 June 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


Nearly all of the Noitamina-series have been either horror or post high-school slice-of-life dramas. So when I found out that the next instalment planned to focus on politics and action, I was thrilled to see how Production IG would tackle this series. Unfortunately, I got my hopes up too high and Toshokan Sensou ended up being my least favourite Noitamina-series since Jyu Oh Sei. Such a shame.

There was really some potential behind the concept: in the near future, books will become heavily censored by an evil organization, and this series follows a library corps who have been given the authority to use military actions in order to protect the books. It was an interesting opportunity to watch a war-series that was heavily bound by political rules for its battles. You don’t see that often in anime where most wars are just of the nature of “shoot the enemy before they shoot you”.

Unfortunately, the downfall of this series was its short length. In the end, this series feels just like a fired shotgun shell: this series wants to stuff way too much in just twelve episodes: there’s action, there’s drama, there’s comedy, there’s romance, there’s stealth, there’s a coming of age-theme, there are both large and small-scale politics, there is philosophy (the role of books in today’s society), there’s angst, there’s political intrigue, there’s sensation… there is no way to fit that in just one season.

As a result, everything ends up just half-baked, since this series tries to focus on every single one of these themes. Therefore, it has no chance to go in-depth into any of these things. The two elements that ended up best in the end were the action and the romance: whenever the focus is on one of these, this series delivers. However, when things turn to angst, sensation or politics, prepare to roll your eyes: they’re incomplete as hell, pointless and without them, this series would have been so much better.

Thankfully, this remains Production IG, so at least the production-values are pretty good. The art style is pretty interesting, where the line-art differs in thickness whenever a character is featured in a close-up. Everything is bright and colourful, and the soundtrack is pretty solid as well.

It seems that whenever I have major expectations from a Noitamina-series, it ends up disappointing somehow, so for the next instalment (Antique Bakery), I’m not going to expect anything, even though it’s going to be animated by the godly Nippon Animation. It’s going to be a dull yaoi-show aimed at fangirls, period. Toshokan Sensou would have been so much better if the plot actually went anywhere, but in the end it’s just a half-baked series. It’s without a doubt a varied series: if you’re bored during one episode, you don’t need to worry because the next episode will deal with something entirely different, but it never really tries to be anything of substance. This is one of the reasons why I usually prefer 24-episode series over 12-episode ones.

Storytelling: 6/10
Characters: 7/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10

4 Responses

  1. Marmosette says:

    Quick Hide! Usagijen’s coming!

  2. bassment says:

    Bull’s eye!

  3. issa-sa says:

    In before usagijen!
    Well, I won’t rage at you even if I personally loved the series for the strong points you mentioned. I have to agree that you’re right about them cramming too much into 12 episodes (but if they expanded it to 24, a lot of people would’ve been bored off, but then again we’d get less “this show doesn’t make sense!” jabs), though I still came out satisfied with what they did manage to pull off.
    Call me blinded by what I loved about the series (DOUJOU X IKU!!!) to glance over the weaker aspects of the series, but hey, we all have our ways of enjoying our series :P (Still, just 2 stars????)

  4. Alex says:

    good anime

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  • prince
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 10:04 PM)
    I have commented on your Schwarzesmarken episode 4 review and also answered your questions so please check it out
  • wicked
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 07:26 PM)
    Fire dragon arc! Fire dragon dies in the 5th episode
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 04:06 PM)
    @Bam, Well the three games were originally supposed to be one. But it turned out that the first two were bundled together and Alternative was made a separate release.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 08:38 AM)
    Jesus I never expected that doing a myanimelist/letterboxd account thing would be so hard. I’ve seen a scarily higher amount than I thought, its insanely hard to remember everything to add.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 06:17 AM)
    It seems then that the future of the franchise’s anime adaptations rests a bit on Schwarzesmarken’s success, which looking at the buzz doesn’t seem favourable at all. I doubt it can regain the lost audiences.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 06:14 AM)
    That would suggest that the author(s) had the foresight of including seemingly useless stuff that will come into play later. That’d be impressive if they did, as these kinda series are make-it-as-you-go.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:59 AM)
    It’s difficult to put into words but essentially while the first game isn’t good, it does work as a tool for introducing and endearing you to the characters. Then Unlimited sets down the rules of the new world. And finally alternative proceeds to kick your ass into next Tuesday.
    That’s sort of why I don’t think it would have the same effect if it was an anime. VNs allow you to get a more personal connection with the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:55 AM)
    It’s not quite the same. It’s more like there are things in extra which seem insignificant but turn out to play an important role later. It wouldn’t really work the same if you did it in reverse order. Character history is a bit different too as each game is essentially an alternate universe. The character histories in extra are different from those in alternative.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:38 PM)
    And also remember how Darker Than Black had a big jump between the main series and Gemini of the Meteor. They later made a 4 episode OVA that covered the gap, and although you knew the outcome it was still entertaining; or at least more than the Gemini one. There’s merit to non-linear chronology and storytelling, but it is usually very hard to pull. The audience is intrigued by secrets that can later be uncovered, although in anime the pay-off is not always substantial.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:32 PM)
    I don’t know, the audience usually only needs very limited information to figure out dynamics and histories between the characters.

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