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 Post subject: Toshokan Sensô
PostPosted: June 26th, 2009, 8:57 am 
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aka. "Library War"

Saw two thirds of it so far... nice piece of work, although I had to get used to the fat black lines of the drawings first.

It's a strange world... the media are massively censored, subversive books are being confiscated and burnt by the government in order to protect the public from immoral influences... you know, like always. To protect the right to free information the libraries have united and armed themselves, clashing with government troops in deadly firefights over the possession of books.

Kasahara Iku is our heroine who joined the library forces because her favorite book was saved by a library agent when she was in highschool. Aspiring to become a heroic savior of children's dreams like him she decides on her future. The story begins a few years later after boot camp and we see her struggle with her superior officer Dojo and her fellow comrades. What follows is comedy, drama, and romance.

It has 12 episodes, plus one extra on DVD. Apart from what I mentioned about the lines I find the artwork appealing, the music isn't half bad, and the voice cast is very good. What I find distracting is that, despite being a rather light-hearted concept, there's hardly an episode where Iku is not shown shedding tears for different reasons. It's a bit disturbing imho. The more subtle topic - censorship and governmental tyranny against which to arm oneself - is definitely not light-hearted, but it's conveyed in a comprehensive way, so to speak. It creates awareness, I think.

While it's fun watching all the interpersonal relations develop, as a former soldier I must say that the depiction of the relations between superiors and inferiors is totally unmilitary and way too liberal to be in any way realistic. Obviously the author has understood that comradery is important in the armed forces, but he has not understood that superiors must appear as higher - superior - beings to their inferiors. The relationships shown by dialogue lines and actions in Toshokan Sensô are too friendly and too direct in my opinion. Comparatively they were even more reserved in Valkyria!
If a superior becomes your friend there will be an authority problem. I've seen it myself when some of my fellow recruits became corporals and sergeants later on. We were on friendly terms and I was shocked to realize at some point that I was questioning orders they gave.
Is it hard to understand the underlying problem? I hope not because I'd have a hard time explaining it in detail.

The show has Inoue Marina in the lead role as Iku, and I begin to believe that Inoue Marina is indeed the new Hayashibara Megumi in a sense. I feel like in the 90s when it seemed like Hayashibara Megumi was in every Anime! Hell, she was in every Anime!
I don't mind of course. I like Marina's voice, but it is still strange when in a pretty short amount of time too many characters sound the same.

Which leads me to a digression:
Hayashibara Megumi was the most popular Seiyû for years. I don't know about sales, but she regularly received the most positive feedback and votes from fans in on- or offline polls. These days it seems to be Inoue Marina's turn. Or term. But what do I see?
Neither Megumi no Marina are good technicians. They have sympathetic voices that can reach lots of people, but they seem to lack flexibility. They always sound the same, you turn on the TV and you immediately know it's them. In my opinion that is a big minus in skill. And still these women receive the most positive feedback. The technicians on the other hand remain in obscurity, close to anonymity, those Seiyû who are able to apply their voices to the role, the Seiyû whose names you are surprised to read in the cast list after watching the show.
Take Mizuhara Kaoru. Or Yajima Akiko. Or Chihara Minori. They had extraordinarily popular roles.
In Lucky Star. In Crayon Shin-chan. In Suzumiya Haruhi.
And yet they don't get the popularity that they deserve.
It looks like their high degree of skill negates the necessary recognition factor.

If you can, watch Toshokan Sensô. I'm sure you won't regret it, especially since it's a short show that will not steal much of your time in case you don't like it that much.

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 Post subject: Re: Toshokan Sensô
PostPosted: August 18th, 2009, 6:59 pm 
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I've watched all of it now, including the extra episode.
This extra episode is a nice add-on to shed some light on certain characters, but it's unimportant in terms of story.

Actually there's not much more to say about Toshokan Sensô... of course, everything ends well and Iku and Dojo become a couple. Nice.

Well, almost. There is one thing that terribly disturbs me in the depiction of that blossoming relationship:
Dojo slaps Iku, more than once.
Eventually he does it to save her from talking too much in anger and getting into serious legal trouble - but still... imho the end does NOT justify the means. There should be other ways to silence her in an appropriate fashion that do not endanger his public image as a superior officer.

Hmpf... apart from that it really is nice and entertaining. I admit I wouldn't buy it (nor would I download it) because I do not like it overly much, but it's definitely worth watching.

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