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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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Oct 7. 2015 04:45 PM)
    If sakurako-san disappoints I am ignoring everything modern that is based on a light novel from now on. I’ve been hit by these adaptations far too often.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Oct 7. 2015 02:43 PM)
    ….Dear God…I have no words in which to describe hidan no aria AA, no words. The original I could take the piss out of. But this is a new low standard set for the light novel medium.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 09:02 PM)
    One-Punch Man’s pilot was almost adapted flawlessly. It straight up uses the manga panels as it’s main storyboard, but added just enough new touches to improve the action instead of ruining it. Now let’s see how they animate the mosquitos and all the lasers for the next episode.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 08:57 PM)
    And that’s why Madhouse is one of the few respectable studios left. I thought that they will be seriously diminished after Masao Maruyama took some of its key members and funded MAPPA, but One-Punch Man showed that they are still one of the best in the business.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 08:51 PM)
    @Kaiser The anime industry isn’t advanced enough in CG to make it look good, is all it is.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 05:51 PM)
    @K-off: Your not wrong, it certainly looks poor but some of the old gonzo animated stuff was far more woeful looking. Stellvia, which was done by xebec was another example of old anime cgi which was quite ugly to look at. Just as I prefer traditional effects in film I also prefer traditional animation techniques to cg.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 05:42 PM)
    Lately, the use of badly integrated cgi have been making my eyes sore,from the obviously cgi background characters in Asterisk to the overly fluid mech movements in Aldnoah. I still remember the shitty cgi piano hands in Kimi no Uso.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 12:04 AM)
    On the note of good balance between humor and drama- I think BoJack Horseman is an example of a show that executed that almost perfectly in both seasons. You are laughing one minute and amused by the hijinks and silliness and the next minute you are actually moved and shocked by the honest introspection. Too be honest BoJack is more a tragic character then a goofy one, and his struggles are deeper and more existential than they have any business being in a show with anthropomorphic animals.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:56 PM)
    The changes in the setting actually made me more excited for season 3 then what I felt the past few weeks, since now the plot needs to move forward from the cliffhanger and hopefully this translates to more cohesion and refocusing on what mad the show great in the first place. I’m pretty sure S3 will also be a blend of episodic and arch story elements tho. Overall a few ups and downs but still a great show.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:52 PM)
    The finale also had some of the most overall arch story elements featured in the season. Earth joining the Galactic Federation is a big deal story-wise from now on. Also the use of a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” (not the Nine Inch Nails one clearly) was a nice fitting yet surprising touch. The throwback to Mr. PB after the credits was a good idea, but felt flat in it’s actual execution.

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