DVD Toshokan sensô

DVD Toshokan sensô
DVD Toshokan sensô
Run time: 128 min
Rating: 6.0
Genres: Drama
Director: Shinsuke Sato
Writers: Hiro Arikawa, Akiko Nogi
Stars: Jun’ichi Okada, Nana Eikura, Chiaki Kuriyama
Set in the year 2019 in Japan. In order to crack down on free expression, a new law is passed, which allows for the government to create an armed force to find and destroy objectionable printed material. Meanwhile, to oppose this oppressive crackdown, the Library Force is created. The Library force, including instructor Atsushi Dojo and Iku Kasahara, work to protect the libraries. A fierce battle then ensues between these two groups. Written by anonymous
Country: Japan
Release Date: 27 April 2013 (Japan)


  1. In the 1980s, the Japanese government debates and ultimately creates the Media Betterment Department, whose purpose is to confiscate those books deemed to be detrimental to the Japanese population. Following a horrific massacre and book-burning in 1999, some librarians decide to fight back, and thus the Library Defense Force is born. Fast-forward to 2014 and young Iku (Nana Eikura) has found the last volume in a fantasy series, but Media Betterment officers try to confiscate it; a member of the Library Defense Force arrives, declares the book authorized and saves the day for her. Iku is smitten, and resolves to become a member of that dedicated body, and in 2019 she finally becomes an officer of the Library Defense Force. But it's a harder job than she thinks, involving as it does military-level physical training and organizational skills. In addition, her military commander, Dojo (Junichi Okada) seems to dislike and despise her, and he does all he can to get her to quit the Force…. This is a really strange idea, that librarians are a para-military force whose purpose is to defend against censorship, but director Shinsuke Sato pulls it off magnificently. The film is part farce, part rom-com and part gritty war film, which might suggest that it's all over the map, but in fact it all holds together beautifully. Apparently the main 6 or 7 characters are all played by superstars of Japanese cinema, and we're definitely treated to their expertise in all these styles of acting; and the way the film ends sets it up perfectly for a to-be-hoped-for sequel, yay!

  2. I'm not saying it's 451 but it does have the dystopian future aspect of book burning.

    Supposedly based on a book (not manga right?), the premise aligns 2 opposite sides of library protectors and censorship wing. What is so strange is that both sides are armed and have diametrically opposing views on censorship. Which kind of implies police and political groups are mostly useless? I just can't get pass the logic of the premise.

    However I do have to say, I've seen the male lease Junichi Okada in the SP series (and 2 movies). He fits that action role to a T. And here, in this movie, I was just waiting for him to go into action. Still, he conveys a sense of thoughtfulness, toughness, with a trouble past. The female lead, played by Nana Eikura, which I've seen in other TV shows, has not been and is not as impressive (for my taste that is). Her acting is relatively 'girl'-like. Her best acting I've seen was in 'A Taste of Honey'. I am not sure she is ready for lead yet.

    Story wise, it is well paced. An overview of the history of this alternative universe. Builts into the 2 main lead, then the current library, the training session to built the characters. Then the initial confrontation, interlude , the extensive battle , rest again and the final sequence.

    Ther action is packed when it needed be, and sounds good. But you are never sure the 2 leads are in danger. And the villain didn't get any time at all, so you don't feel anything there.

    It's a romantic action genre with neither dominating and neither spectacular. So in this way, it is kind of disappointing.

  3. I saw this at Fantasia Festival here in Montreal. It was billed as a "warning cry against the excesses of censorship and a thrilling, high-powered action film." Well, it did a fairly decent job at the latter, but sort of fell down on the former.

    I think Library Wars couldn't quite decide whether to be a light-hearted romantic comedy or an action movie with a cool urban backdrop. It attempted both, at times fairly well, interspersing shoot-em-up military action scenes and martial arts against a classic tale of a slightly inept heroine looking for her prince charming. There were plenty of funny moments in the romantic plot line, and the action sequences started slow but the pace picked up in the second half. So the movie, overall, was entertaining enough.

    The thing is, entertaining doesn't necessarily mean smart. The whole premise of the movie didn't really stand up to much scrutiny. You had two ostensibly legal government forces fighting one another using military force, which was a bit of a head-scratcher. The dialogue and script were — even allowing for a poor translation — pretty cheesy. And for a movie supposedly set in a near-future in an alternate reality, there was next to no attention paid to world-building.

    Most problematically, the movie claimed the turf of an important, highly relevant issue — censorship — and then relegated it to little more than a MacGuffin. After establishing the Library Defence Force as the good guys and the Media Betterment Committee as the bad guys, you basically have an old-fashioned western with white hats and black hats, and the issue they're fighting for is never explored or delved into in any way beyond that setup. They could have been fighting to protect anything and the plot would have been exactly the same. We never get the sense that books or the thoughts they contain matter to the storyline or to the message of the film.

    Library Wars is based on a book, which I haven't read but can only assume spent more time developing some of these premises. As for the film, it was good for a few laughs, some charming (if exaggerated) comedic acting, and a few good action sequences. I could easily envision it being turned into a video game, with a female main character battling bad guys through library stacks.

    But the film never quite rises to its subject matter. The issue of censorship has perhaps never been more topical, relevant or critical, and Library Wars doesn't really seem to have anything of importance to say about it, which is disappointing considering all that it could have been.

Leave a Reply

Lost Password