The government has passed the Media Betterment Act, establishing a military police force to stop the spread of “negative influences harmful to society;” and in response, libraries have organized their own military units to protect freedom of expression. After being saved by a Library Defense Force agent in a bookstore, Kasahara is inspired to enlist in the Library Defense Force. Although she proves quite athletic and capable, she must endure the harsh but meaningful training of her instructor and superior officer, Doujou. As she learns how to be a good soldier, she participates in LDF operations, helping protect literary freedom for everyone.
When I first read this synopsis I got a bit of a Fahrenheit 451 vibe and in a sense they’re similar enough but also completely different in how they are laid out. Library War, despite it’s name, doesn’t really focus too much on the fighting and violence aspect but more of the social and psychological aspect as well as developing romance between characters. Yes you heard right, this is a bit of a romance anime. To be honest they’re not heavy on it but it’s in there enough to be a central theme. You spend the first few episodes “trying” to figure out who Kasahara’s prince charming is even though it becomes increasingly obvious. This isn’t a bad thing, so to speak, but I think with how obvious it becomes after just a couple episodes that they spent way too much time not just coming out and saying it. Now all this talk of romance and a war over books may sound strange but somehow Library War pulls it all together. The “war” has a bunch of restrictive rules that sometimes it might as well be a paintball outing but people do die in the skirmishes which I thought was necessary to try and actually show you that they are fighting. I felt that was necessary because for the most part the battles actually seem harmless so you don’t really get that invested in them but when there were casualties I found myself a little more invested. Another tag you could put Library War under would be comedy. I actually enjoyed a lot of the comedy in the show. It ranges from intelligent humor to really dumb humor so there’s a little something for everyone to laugh at. The story doesn’t really take you anywhere except the point where characters hit their peak so to me it felt like a strange ending. The ending is also really vague with just some photos to show you what happens at the end so it did leave me feeling a little bit incomplete at the end but for some people that’s the perfect ending so don’t let that discourage you. All in all the story is rather entertaining and has nice blend of different elements to mix it up on you once and a while but does still have some glaring flaws.
Library War has a nice cast of characters; especially the two leads. Dojo plays the hardass instructor that has a soft spot and has a subordinate that reminds him of his former self in Kasahara. It’s an overused trope I know, but it works well here and makes for some nice interaction between Kasahara and himself. Speaking of Kasahara she’s a great female lead for the most part. She starts out immature and only thinks of her prince charming but by the end of the show she’s definitely more mature and a damn fine soldier to boot. The interaction and chemistry between these two are fantastic. The supporting cast is great as well. Shibasaki, Kasahara’s roomate, is like the information gatherer character and kind of the force that pushes Kasahara onto the path that she takes in the anime. She also has a little romance bit in the show between another character but don’t really wanna spoil that as it’s not as obvious as the main focus. Komaki is like the comedic relief because he stays calm and cracks jokes even during skirmishes. He’s one of the best soldiers that the LDF has but you wouldn’t guess that by looking at him. I loved how he timed the comedic relief and he was just a great character overall. Hikaru is the other candidate other than Kasahara chosen for the special forces in the LDF. He starts out as a jerk but after a talking to from Dojo and then Kasahara standing up for herself he backs off and becomes really good friends with Kasahara. He has a bit of an important backstory that I don’t really want to spoil but I will say that it’s very interesting. He is a sniper that starts out with a fear of heights but in the end he too becomes a great asset to the LDF. Genda is the commanding officer and is your typical leader type of character that leads by example but doesn’t always just charge into a situation. He’s a good character for a military type of anime and was pretty entertaining in some episodes. All in all these characters may have been typical for the genre but I think they do enough to separate themselves and end up being fairly entertaining.
Library War has a pretty decent soundtrack. The opening is called “Atashi no Machi, Asu no Machi” by Hitomi Takahasi (English Translation is “My Town, Tomorrow’s Town”). It’s a soft rock ballad that really just feels emotional when you listen to it. The animation is for the song is Kasahara sitting in her room looking sad about something so that just kind of amplifies the mood of the song in my opinion. Hitomi Takahasi has a really nice voice and gets to show off some really emotional vocals in this song. It’s also an easy listen if that makes any sense to you so I found myself not wanting to really skip it. Overall I think it’s a really great song and a nice pick to add to the soundtrack. The ending is called “changes” by Base Ball Bear. It’s a more upbeat punk rock song that adds nice contrast to the opening song. It’s a really nice song to jam to overall and a great pick for the soundtrack. The soundtrack was composed by Yugo Kanno who’s also done soundtracks for Ajin, Da Capo, and my personal favorite of his: Psycho Pass. This is a really easy to listen to soundtrack that’s soft on the ears and has just a nice easy going feel to it.
I thought that Library War had very good quality voice acting. The main cast goes as follows: Tomoaki Maeno(Dojo) and Marina Inoue(Kasahara). I kinda feel like there could’ve been a couple candidates to play Dojo but Tomoaki Maeno was a good choice in my book. He played the character well and didn’t fall flat in any of his scenes. Marina Inoue was astounding as Kasahara. Kasahara was a very emotional character which can be pretty tough to play but Marina Inoue pulled it off excellently. Overall just a great lead cast. The supporting cast was just as good and goes as such: Miyuki Sawashiro(Shibasaki), Akira Ishida(Komaki), Kanji Suzumori(Genda), Tatsuhisa Suzuki(Hikaru), and even featured one of my all time favorites Daisuke Ono as Asahina. Just an amazing supporting cast that helped mold the leads throughout the show. They really helped fuel the great character interaction in Library War and with a great voice cast it felt about as real as an anime can get.
Library War is a very unique anime in terms of it’s premise. It uses that to draw you in and then keeps you with great character interaction and chemistry. It’s a romance anime at it’s core but features plenty of comedy and action so as to not feel so mushy. It’s got a great cast and the soundtrack is also worth a listen. Library War is 1 season with 12 episodes and an OVA side story. There was a movie released in 2012 that’s supposed to serve as a sort of sequel and to wrap up the whole story. I couldn’t find it legally so I didn’t include it in this review but judging from what I’ve read online it’s really good and worth a watch if you’ve seen the anime. I highly recommend this show if you want something light to watch and want to kill some time. All things considered I’ve decided to give Library War an 8.5/10!