Yes, it’s another raw review. This is how desperate I am.
The first episode of Toshokan Sensou/Library War was, in a word, amazing. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, given my background (I work at a library doing basic but vital gruntwork and love every second of it and plan on being an actual, bona-fide librarian when I Grow Up, a time which is terrifyingly closer every day) but it was everything I hoped it to be. I knew going into it that the tone would be light, given the fact that Arikawa Hiro’s original light novel was a satire, but I didn’t know whether it’d be a satire that took itself seriously, yet was ludicrous, or a satire that took itself lightly, yet was serious. From the first episode, it’s clearly the latter, and it was so well done on the first part that I really no longer care if it does a good job on the second front, although, given the popularity, it probably does.
The reason for this is, of course, the fact that Kasahara Iku is a hardcore contender for Cutest Anime Librarian Ever, although I don’t quite know if she counts as a librarian. The only other major contenders I can think of are Kokoro from Kokoro Library, Yomiko Readman from Read or Die, Schieska from Fullmetal Alchemist, and Nodoka from Negima!. Needless to say, this is a terrifyingly potent list, and with Iku joining the ranks the world of anime librarians are about to be upended. Inoue Marina plays Iku perfectly, although that may be just because I like her voice in general. Iku is positively adorable and cements the pre-airing buzz I had for this series into a solid block of pure awesome.
The other reason I like it so much is the fact that it manages to pull off the tricky job of being seriocomic well. Episode 1 is highly amusing, and the parts where they weren’t being silly didn’t get in the way of the parts where they were hamming it up. It makes for an extremely leveled viewing experience, and I’m certain they’ve got the comic side of things down pat. The serio part will requuire subtitles and more episodes to properly judge, but I’ve got a lot of faith in Production I.G.’s effort despite the somewhat questionable track record of the director and the almost nonexistent track record of the writer (Hamana Takayuki and Konuta Takeshi, respectively).
Whether or not the series succeeds at the satire element or not, I’m pretty sure this will be a fun series to watch. The very concept amuses me greatly (librarians…with GUNS! and TASK FORCES!) so I don’t see how this will fail to be, at the worst, highly enjoyable light entiertainment. And, hey, if the satire element is good, that’s just better for me. I’m all about free speech and no censorship, so a success in the satire department will be extra grand. For all I know, the people at Production I.G. did demographic research and produced this series especially for me. But that’s a lie, because they probably have no idea who I am. But it feels that way.