Toshokan SensouMay 4, 2008
Thirty years ago, at the beginning of the Seika Era (a fictionally era settled in the present time), the so called “Media Cleansing Act” was passed in Japan. This act allows the central government to censor any media, especially books, at its liking to protect the citizens from any bad influence. Because the term “bad influence” can mean a lot this act quickly became a freeticket for the government to censor anything bothersome and to cut short human rights. The Media Cleansing Committee was created to ensure that the censorship is followed and even use of force permitted for them in order to do so. The only counterweight to balance out this grim development became the simultaneously passed “Library Freedom Act”. This law grants the libraries, which are under the jurisdiction of local governments, the right to acquire any type of media that they find worth to be conserved, making those libraries the last save spot for free speech and real democracy in the state. To defend the libraries against raids of the Media Cleansing Committee the Defense Organization was called to life to maintain the functionality of each library and, in the worst case, to fight armed against any intruder.
This is the world Iku Kasahara grows up. In her teenage years she felt the consequences of the arbitrary censorship herself as the final volume of her favourite children’s series got to be taken away from her right at the moment she wanted to buy. She resisted to hand over the book and shortly before it was violently taken from her a member of the Defense Organization helped her out. In the end she was able to keep this special book. This man became her personal role model and now, at the age of 22, she tries to follow his example and joins the Defense Organization to help the people. But that is no easy task.
Because I didn’t knew much about Toshokan Sensou beside the title (Library Wars) and some artwork pictures I thought it would be a comedy, something like Full Metal Panic. Well, it did turn out to be more serious and “only” with the normal anime comedy elements. But that isn’t a bad thing. The scenario about governmental censorship with only few being able to resist is quite interesting, the quality is high so far and the characters are likeable. Of course the idea of a quasi-war between two fractions in a stable state both backed up by law is a bit implausible, but absorbing none the less.