Shiomi Academy, an elite high school, boasts a student body of 50,000 and is home to the Shiomi Daitoshokan (Great Library). It also has a famous urban legend: a mysterious figure called "The Shepherd," who appears before hard working students to grant them a wish.
Kyotarou Kakei is a second year of Shiomi Academy, and loves to read more than anything else. Other than when he's in class, his nose is pretty much always in a book in the Daitoshokan. His dream is to spread his love of reading through the Library Club.
One morning Kyotarou gets a strange email from 'The Shepherd' which tells him that something is going to happen to him which will change his fate. This triggers a sense of foreboding within him that causes him to rush back to the train platform and save another student, Tsugumi Shirasaki, from getting killed by a derailment. After a string of misunderstandings though, Kyotarou finds himself with three new members joining his library club while also becoming involved with Tsugumi's "Happy Project."
The questions remain though; what is Tsugumi's "Happy Project"? Who is this mysterious Shepherd who keeps sending them emails? The school year is about to get a whole lot more interesting for Kyotarou and his new friends.
The idea in which equating popularity to greatness is disappointingly common in our modern world. Many people will claim that 50 Shades of Gray is high quality literature and many others will consider Drake to be a great rapper. They are blinded by the delusion that something being popular automatically makes it good. Obviously those people have never looked further into the media that they claim to be an aficionado of and have never read Infinite Jest or listened to Yung Lean before. This leads to Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai, an unfortunately overlooked show in the Fall 2014 season. It did not stand out and the
publicity was nearly nonexistent. However, if you were one of the people who decided to give the show a try, you were in for quite a treat. You would have experienced a coherent plot, enjoyable characters, entertaining drama, and an overall comfy feeling that viewers have not experienced since Non Non Biyori last Fall. The fact that people would rather discuss popular, yet mediocre shows is downright depressing. It brings back bad memories of last Summer when a terrible Adam Sandler movie beat out Pacific Rim in the box office for that weekend. Regardless, those of you who overlooked this show have a chance to redeem yourself if you change your ways and look to the less popular and more obscure things in life. Following that ideal will take lead you closer to the path of enlightenment.
The overall story for Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai was nothing extraordinary or groundbreaking. It compares to other typical club-type shows where you find both drama and comedy as the main ideas. A word that would describe the story would be “unoffensive”. It was rather soothing and made the viewer feel comfortable when watching it. The overall arching plot was a typical slice of life show with a bit of a supernatural twist added in, but that is once again typical for this genre of visual novel from which the show was adapted from. The story itself could have been more fleshed out, but that would not have been easily done with the time constraints of a 1 cour show. The pacing was also quite well done, it did not drag or feel boring at any time and gave the viewer a relaxed or comforting experience. The fact that the show was adapted from a visual and had such a comforting feel to it is rather unique. Many times visual novel adaptions are rather fanservice driven or focus mainly on the exciting action related parts of the game. That being said, Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai was not without fanservice (it had plenty), it just came off in a bit more subdued and enjoyable than the typical smut that you would expect to see. It did not feel out of place or forced into the story to sell more Blu Rays, it just had an overall natural feel due to how the story was told and how it was directed.
One aspect of this show that was rather interesting was the studio choice. Many people will remember Hoods Entertainment as a studio that did some of the most obscene fanservice shows that have aired on regular television. However, it seems that they have turned over a new leaf since their latest projects have not been lewd at all. It is a strange change of pace to go from doing Manyuu Hikenchou or Seikon no Qwaser which were over the top in terms of smut to the rather tame and pedestrian shows that they have done in recent history. Regardless, Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai was a rather pleasant show to look at. It featured a pastel color theme and the overall quality of the show was relatively high. Once again, the term that describes it best is “unoffensive”. That would also describe the sound for the show. The voice actors used were the same from the game which are commonly heard in visual novels. Experienced viewers will recognize a few voices, especially if they read visual novels. Regardless, the voice acting was well done and felt natural for the show. The OST and sound direction was also perfectly acceptable, it had that typical visual novel flair to it which fit the mood of the show perfectly. It definitely added to the comfortable feel that the show gave off.
In regards to characters, Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai did not feature anything special in particular. The cast was composed of rather cut and paste type characters with various back stories to give them some sort of depth. Obviously, the anime viewer would not see their full stories since it is not the original source material in which the reader would go through an entire route dedicated to all of the main characters, but it was easy to pick up on the various drama points and other traits from what was shown. However, what stood out for this show was the character interaction. That was top notch and it really felt like the characters had chemistry with each other. It was incredibly well done for this type of show and it really made it incredibly enjoyable to watch.
When looking at the complete package of Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai, it is hard to consider it to be anything but enjoyable. The fact that it was one of the least popular and overlooked shows for the Fall 2014 season is rather disappointing. However, that may be for the better. The discussion and subsequent translation project for the visual novel were in part done due to the smaller and tight knit community that enjoyed watching this show. Regardless, if you are looking for something enjoyable that you can sit back and relax to, Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai would be an excellent choice. It goes to show that it does not matter if something is relatively overlooked, it could end up being better than many high profile options. That being said, the moral of this review is look in unlikely places and you will find true hidden gems. Worshiping nothing but mainstream media is a terrible habit and you should try to think outside the box more often. Once you do, you can appreciate more things and even find enjoyable stories in unlikely places. Or in terms more suited to Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai, don't judge a book by its cover.
Initially, I'd written a review halfway through the show, now that I've completed it, here's an updated version.
Firstly, this is very much a slice of life show. If you're not a big fan of those, you may not want to watch this one. I enjoy slice of life, romance, comedy, fantasy, sci-fi, and other light-sided genre, so it appealed to me.
This show also incorporates a fantasy element - a magic library. I won't go into a lot of detail, so as not to ruin the story, but this library (while only briefly and periodically mentioned) is a theme that is important to every
character in the show (but two, specifically). Your Main Character, Kakei, is seen having premonitions right from the get-go. He has this strange, but imperfected, ability - which he uses mostly to save people. The First girl he saves using it (Shirasaki) was distributing flyers to start a club with the unspecific goal of 'making people happy' at the time, and later invites him to join her and her friend. The club grows in size and popularity as the show continues, as does the back story and magic library information.
The characters are pretty fun to watch, their interactions are light-hearted and fluffy, but there are some tensions here and there between some of the side characters and the main characters. There is also the typical 'harem-style' anime theme of 'who does the MC really love?!' going on between the main female characters. The show doesn't have any naughty bits exposed, but there are some brief nudity scenes and some suggestive humor, but it is mostly a clean, happy romantic-style slice of life with little drama. Perfectly suited for sitting back on the couch or bed and relax while watching. You don't have to think too hard to follow the story.
everything about this anime was fine, just fine. the story was fine, the characters were fine, the art was fine. truly mediocre and the genre of this mediocre anime is school/harem/magic/slice of life.
story: kakei(the main character) reads books to not be scared of anything and his goal is to find the magic library. sounds somewhat interesting. nope it is not.
art: average just average.
characters: typical harem.....their looks are average. also the MC is boring.
enjoyment: average. i know i used that word a lot, but it perfectly describes this anime. never really laughed hard or smiled much or thought i cant wait till
During high school, it's a time to really start thinking about one's future: pursuing higher education, finding a part-time job, volunteer work, and extracurricular activities are all in the realm of setting one up for a successful life later down the road. Along the way, friends are made and decisions are chosen. Sometimes, though, teenagers need that tiny extra "push" to get them going down the right path. Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai will most definitely "be telling this with a sigh" that the path they took was "the one less traveled by."
Daitoshokan follows the life of Kakei, a young
high school boy who, one day, saves Shirasaki from a fatal accident. Their newfound friendship causes them to form a group known as the Library Club.
What's unfortunate with Daitoshokan is in its handling of the major plot device at play. Known as the "Shepherd," it is designed to be an important aspect of the show. However, it is never perceived as such. The first half of the anime consists mainly of character introductions, which is perfectly reasonable. But the characters themselves are largely uninteresting, and coupled with the fact that the foreshadowing is handled so poorly causes the big reveal to be rather small. Even worse, it never elaborates much on the "Shepherds" either, making one not understand the full extent of their powers. When the second half of the season begins, it then fails to utilize this established plot device effectively. It is used quite sparingly, causing its use to hold no weight, drama, or emotional attachment. Simply put, this anime is exactly the same with or without the idea that is supposed to separate it from other shows.
While Daitoshokan is considered a romance anime, it never tries to be. Instead, it's confused as to whether it wants to pursue a single, established relationship or have all the girls involved be potential suitors. In other words, it can't decide if it wants to be strictly romance or strictly harem. This causes a lot of the scenes to feel segmented; the continuity between differing events doesn't exist because the anime is always flip-flopping between both ideas, without coming to a clear solution.
At its core, the anime is about doing something for yourself versus doing something for others. It's an important life lesson that is usually learned at an early age. And there are similar ways to describe it: "it's about giving, not receiving," "treat others as you would want to be treated." The problem is that the show never really attempts to demonstrate such an idealistic message. It may come about as dialogue, but the actions that Kakei and the others take never fully demonstrates their movements as such. It all feels worthless, that the events taking place are neither for a single person or for a group of people; they're just there.
Daitoshokan continues its trend, having a tough time in the art and animation department.
The art style is wholly uninspired. It is boring, generic, lacking detail, plain, unadventurous, pretty much any adjective that places it in a negative light. The environments refrain from being enticing, and while the characters involved switch between "realistic" and "comical" in drawing, it does not save it from being hard to watch.
The character designs follow the same format as the art. That is to say, they are unappealing to say the least. The uniforms for the cast are forgettable, everyone's faces are eerily similar, and the only major difference between characters is their hair and bust size.
As for actual animation, it's average at best with a minimal amount of it existing. Character movements vary in complexity, but usually with one character moving on-screen at a time. To add salt to the wound, other avoidance techniques are incorporated, such as having dialogue with no one on screen or having the camera zoom out to a large degree.
The downward spiral continues; the cast of Daitoshokan completely fall flat, with zero qualities to separate them from other shows, let alone each other.
As the main character, Kakei is as generic as they come. Nice, calm, and trustworthy, he enjoys reading to talking any day of the week. Initially hesitant about joining the Library Club, the time he spends with his friends within it cause him to view life in a different way. He starts off being rather reclusive, but by the end, he's willing to help the people who have allowed him to break from his shell. He's as one-dimensional as protagonists go, with his sudden shift from being single to open-minded lost somewhere among the comedy, poor dialogue, and fan-service thrown his (and our) way.
As the leader of the "Happy Project," Shirasaki is a clumsy yet affable girl. Her determination to make life filled with joy should be lauded. She is quick to be jealous, easily teased, and cute when she doesn't mean to be. The first to have feelings for Kakei, she is not the best at expressing such emotions. Nevertheless, she makes a good effort, making her the main romantic interest in the series. Outside of this, though, she does nothing else. She doesn't contribute to the narrative nor does she provide any insight that wasn't previously made available. She is, more or less, an object.
Senri is arguably the most complex character within the show, but that isn't saying too much. Holding an elegant beauty, her voice is angelic, making her the center of attention even when she doesn't want to be. Her rigorous training and unfortunate past made her become an isolated person. Her development sees her going in the opposite direction as Kakei. That is, instead of doing something for everyone, she starts to do things for herself, proving that there should always be some room for "me time." However, she somewhat rescinds on her new thought process, making it seem as if the realizations she had were for naught.
Kodachi is the resident jerk, looking to disrupt the flow of the Library Club. With a large bust and an even larger attitude, her sarcastic remarks and constant joking make her difficult to deal with. Her past and person are shrouded in mystery...with that mystery being discovered within the first episode or two. She is the shining example when it comes to the highly misused "Shepherd" idea. If anything, she provided the most laughs and sexiness to the show, making it at least somewhat tolerable.
The "kid" of the bunch, Kana is outgoing and not afraid to swing both ways. She normally refuses to wear her emotions on her sleeve, making her incapable of acting like her true self. She shares a love of books, just as Kakei does, giving her the opportunity to connect more easily with another person. Her past, while sad, provides the reasoning as to why she goes about doing what she does. Unfortunately, after her little and literal episode, she is relegated to the side, becoming another member of the unnecessary harem.
The last character to mention, since this process is beating a dead horse, is my personal favorite: Tamamo. The classic "tsundere," she holds a trademark fan, both to conceal her embarrassment and to smack about the characters when needed. Among everyone, she tries the hardest (and fails the most) at getting Kakei to notice her properly. What's interesting is just how much she is tossed to the side. Her introduction early on, and sparingly over the course of the season, make it almost seem as if she isn't even a part of the cast at all. Surprisingly, she contributes even less than Shirasaki. Tamamo is just a trope to be filled, a last, lousy attempt to get viewers invested in the characters.
The OP has, like everything before it, a generic beat, making it quite unmemorable. The only good part attributed to the song is the rising and falling note effect, similar to swiping one's hand back-and-forth along the keys of a piano. Other than that, it's not worth hearing.
The ED is slightly better, with its very slow drumming and vocals. The vocalist is given the opportunity to demonstrate their chops a bit more, too. It's whimsical in nature due to the jingling bells and background singers.
The soundtrack contains appropriate pieces that fit the mood at hand. Melancholy piano playing and bass/guitar arrangements for more tense situations. Nothing to phone home about when all is said and done.
The voice acting for the anime is average, with no notable performances to be had.
I'd be the first one to tell you that romance is great and should be seen by everyone. This show does have these small moments, where the girls hug or otherwise get nervous when around Kakei. It can be cute and funny, depending on the girl involved, allowing for a reprieve that the show desperately needed.
The rest of the anime is mired in disconnected drama, strange sub-plots, and misshaped character backgrounds. Furthermore, the club's cat, Gizaemon, should never have been included. They try to use him for comedic relief, but it never got a laugh out of me. They never even explain his amazing ability to understand and communicate with speech, but I think at this point, it doesn't even matter.
As it stands, Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai does not do anything right, or even okay. When it comes to harems and supernatural abilities, other anime out there do it so much better. It's a wonder how this one got green-lit in the first place.
Story: Terrible, inconsequential plot, romance trying to be a harem, lackluster theme
Animation: Bad, boring art style, generic character designs, slightly below average actual animation
Characters: Bad, cute girls with little development
Sound: Bad, bad OP, okay ED, bad soundtrack, average VA work