a.k.a. Kokoro Toshokan
Kokoro Toshokan, a small library, lies nestled in an unpopulated mountain far away from town. Three sisters, Iina, Aruto and Kokoro, call the library home and run it from day to day. Kokoro is just beginning her adventures at the library. Will she be become a full-fledged librarian? Will the remote library ever attract readers? Kokoro tries her best to make her dreams come true at Kokoro Library, a place where miracles can happen.
summary by Madoka
Seems pretty simple, right? Watching the day-to-day operations of a library isn’t the basis for your typical anime plot… and it’s about as exciting as it sounds. When the most action in a span of a few episodes consists of Kokoro’s plight to get an overdue book back to the library, you know you’re going to need some caffeine if you want to keep watching.
But sometimes, a little peace and quiet from the normal fast-paced action of anime can be soothing. The art direction is wonderful, with landscapes looking more like watercolor paintings than the normal anime background. In regards to character style, Kokoro is one of the cutest heroines out there, which perfectly suits her personality. Warm and inviting, the style asks you to slow down and enjoy the story of three sisters in a faraway land and time.
However, that’s a lot to ask when the lack of a real plot or any action leaves you only with the animation and scenery to enjoy. It’s bearable for one or two episodes, but after a while each episode becomes a chore to watch. A semblance of a story rears its head at the end of the series, assuming you stay awake long enough to make it that far. If the rest of the series had the momentum and emotion of those two episodes, the show would be a lot more enjoyable and ten times more worthy of your time.
As it is, with daily library activities, a random robot librarian, the oldest sister’s creepy obsession with Kokoro and so on, I’m not even sure this is the type of show suited for little girls who actually enjoy this type of entertainment. If you want the occasional break from the action of most anime shows, watch an episode or two. Or even better, just save yourself the energy and take a nap.
Highs: Puts a smile on your face; simple and fitting music
Lows: Shallow and static cast; dreadfully slow pacing
The famous author Frank O’Connor once said, “Good stories are almost always about outlawed figures hoping to escape from ‘submerged population groups’ rather than about ‘normal’ characters who fit into society as a whole.” And you know what? Kokoro Library is a case where that isn’t true. This anime shows that the ordinary can be worthwhile, but it isn’t as successful as it should have been.
From the very beginning, Kokoro Library makes it a point to look at the everyday life of a librarian. That means no violence, no fan service and no incest (the latter is debatable). Perhaps this sounds boring, but it’s actually a wonderful change of pace. You’ll find yourself smiling on numerous occasions and feeling good inside just by watching Kokoro and her sisters go about their daily work. Part of what puts you into that mood is the simple soundtrack. The songs aren’t lengthy or packed with numerous instruments, but they manage to complement the anime quite well.
However, don’t expect to walk away from Kokoro Library with a list of unforgettable characters. Granted, this anime isn’t trying to be complex at all, but considering some of the situations that they eventually find themselves in, I expected the lesbrarians… err…librarians to have more depth than a bucket and be more dynamic than a stump. For the most part, they’re downright clueless. And switching tracks, the pacing is as fast as a growing stalactite. It’s nice to sit back and not have to worry about devastating revelations ready to strike the protagonists at any second, but when nothing really happens and you can guess what everyone is going to say next, something is terribly wrong.
In an anime like Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, it’s shown that everyday situations can be filled with a lot of ambiance and made very memorable. Yet when it comes to Kokoro Library, the ordinary is just too one-dimensional. If you like cute protagonists, you might want to give this a shot, but otherwise, your best bet is to steer clear.
Kokoro Library can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.