Toshokan Sensou – 01
In the near future, the Media Improvement Act is passed to crack down on items that violate civil liberties and disturb public order, and censorship is enforced by a special committee. It is in this environment that a girl named Kasahara Iku tries to purchase a fairy tale book, but agents of the committee come to inspect the shop before she can do so, and they try to take the book. During the struggle, a member of the Kantou Library Corps arrives and stands up for Iku. A few years later, Iku is training at a Kantou Library base under watch of instructor Doujou Atsushi who she thinks treats her unfairly. She complains to her friend Shibasaki Asako during lunchtime and badmouths Doujou, but she panics when she realizes that he’s sitting behind her. Doujou is already well aware of how she calls him short and ill natured, and he claims that he can’t promise that this won’t affect his guidance. As Iku gets up to leave, Doujou notices that a letter dropped out of her pocket, but when he picks it up, Iku tells him to throw it away. It’s actually a letter to her parents, but Iku can’t send it because she knows that if she did, her parents would force her to go home.
Though the Media Improvement Act is in existence, there also exists a law that opposes it: the Library Freedom Act. Libraries are attached to local governments and oppose the central government on the grounds of this law, so they organized self-defense forces. The struggle intensified, and in the 30 years since the laws were enacted, this has developed into a full-scale armed conflict. Back at the base, after a sparring session with Doujou where he put her in a cross armlock and after complaining to Asako about it, Iku is asked by Asako about why she wanted to join the Defense and Operations Division. Iku gets embarrassed about this and doesn’t answer, but she remembers how that man had saved her in the bookstore in the past and his kind words toward her. She still has that book under her pillow, and the truth is that she had wanted to protect books like he had.
Sometime later, Iku is involved in an incident where she confronts a suspicious-looking guy who is trying to cut a picture out of a magazine. When the guy charges at her with a box cutter, she trips and throws him. Doujou then comes to see what’s going on, and Iku happily announces her accomplishment, but in doing so, she takes her eyes off the criminal. Doujou thus has to protect her when the criminal tries to hit her, and he takes the punch to the face. After handcuffing the guy, Doujou helps Iku back up onto her feet, and he proceeds to slap her for not restraining the criminal first and yells at her for her sports-oriented state-of-mind. This depresses Iku for the rest of the day until she runs into Doujou again that night. The confrontational words that come out of her mouth aren’t the ones she wants to say, but she nevertheless questions why he wrote her name as the person who secured the criminal on his report and starts to cry because she feels unqualified for that. When Doujou suggests she get some sleep and begins to walk away, she declares that she won’t quit until she meets and tells the guy who had saved her in the past that she followed in his footsteps.
The following day, Iku and her captain Genda Ryuusuke go off base and notice a Media Improvement van nearby. Iku thinks that this means an attack is coming on the library, but Genda observes that the car is too close to their base and that their opponents like surprise attacks. He instead thinks that the Media Improvement agents are targeting a large bookstore. Iku wants to do something about it, however Genda reminds her that their resistance is limited to library grounds and that they’re not allies of justice. Remembering the man who saved her, Iku defies her captain and runs to the bookstore, so Genda calls for backup. Inside the bookstore, Iku succeeds in grabbing a book that one of the Media Improvement agents was keeping from a young girl. She then pulls out her badge and tries to cite a legal code, but the agents just laugh at her because they realize that she doesn’t have the rank to do this. When Iku still refuses to give up the book, the agents try to pry it from her hands. It is at this moment that Doujou arrives and displays his and Genda’s higher ranks. The Media Improvement agents have no choice but to leave, and Doujou yells at Iku afterwards, though he lets her give the book to the young girl after all.
In the aftermath, Iku is shocked to find out that she’s being reassigned to the Library Task Force.
ED: 「changes 」 by Base Ball Bear
Watch the ED!: Mirror 1, Mirror 2
It’s been so long since I listened to a Takahashi Hitomi song (pretty much not since Blood+) that I didn’t really recognize her voice here. It’s actually a pretty good song though – slower paced and much better than I was expecting. I liked the ED song even more though (I really should go listen to more Base Ball Bear), and the animation that went with the ED was just beautiful. Production I.G really outdid themselves with that.
-I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this other than to look forward to the fact that Inoue Marina is in this. The story is kind of convoluted and hard-to-take-serious with the whole library war thing, but it’s done well enough that it didn’t bother me too much.
-The real standout here though is the animation quality which, while it includes a ton of humorous SD-character shots and an almost excessive use of bold lines (see screenshots above), is very, very good. It’s hard to say if it’ll stay this way, but, regardless, there’s more than enough potential in this show for me to watch a few more episodes.