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 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.
Once more my passion for "oddness" rears its super-deformed head, this time bringing me a bemusing, yet slightly surreal, take on libraries.
Kokoro Toshokan originally began as a manga by Takagi Nobuyuki in 2001. The popularity of the series led to it quickly being adapted as a TV series direct by Masuanri Koji (Read or Die TV & OVA, Kamichu!), and the influence of both the mangaka and the director really stands out in the anime.
The story is about a library situated in the mountains. This is Kokoro Library, and it is run by three sisters - Iina (eldest), Aruto (middle), and Kokoro (youngest). The
two eldest sisters are fully qualified librarians, however Kokoro is still in training. The library is important to all three sisters as it was built by their parents shortly after a war destroyed the old city library, and whilst the sisters work hard to maintain it, it also doubles as their home.
Now viewers may find themselves a little bit bemused by the story in the first few episodes, as nothing major really happens. It's almost pure slice of life, however this may turn some people off the show. There are a few slightly surreal elements introduced into the series as it progresses, which gives the latter half of the show a slightly dream-like quality (something which was used to great effect a few years later in Aria), and it's these inclusions that add a certain refreshing quality to the show.
In addition to this, whilst the series is mainly episodic, the last few episodes do have a pretty decent plot, and explain some of the history of the library, and why it's considered important.
The art style is pretty good overall. The characters are designed to look like individuals, however I did wonder why the three sisters had to wear what look like maid uniforms, as it seemed a bit odd for a library uniform. The supporting characters are also well done, however there is a certain genericness to them, as well as to the sundry townsfolk. That said, there are some features of the character designs which could have been improved upon, however as the design follows that of the mangaka, I feel that this can be forgiven.
The backgrounds and scenery are very well done, giving the series a slightly quaint, rural feeling which belies some of the more strange story elements (androids for example). The timeframe used for the series seems to be that of the early to mid 20th century, and this is reflected in the clothing and transport used throughout the show.
The sound is very good throughout the series. The effects are pleasant, and add to the atmosphere of a given scene. The thematic music generally works very well within the boundaries of the series, often adding to the dream-like quality of the show, however there are some moments where the track choice may seem odd. The OP, a song called "Beagle", is a rather pleasant track that wouldn't be out of place in a theatre musical. The ED is pretty much the same, featuring a melodic, yet slightly off-kilter vibe (this was done on purpose though, and adds to the effect of the song).
The characters are pleasant, if nothing truly outstanding. I found all three sisters to have a certain amount of charm, as did several of the supporting characters. However, the series never really tries to develop its cast to any great degree, yet even with this factor Kokoro Toshokan is still enjoyable to watch (very much like Aria and Binchou-tan, although this series preceded both by a few years).
There will be people out there who dislike this sort of show, as they like their anime to have a strong story, excellent animation, well developed characters, lot's of T & A, fights, explosions, guns, people looking cool while eating crisps, etc, etc. Kokoro Toshokan is severaly lacking in most of that list (it does have guns and explosions at one point though), yet it is still a nice way to spend half an hour.
On the other hand, fans of Aria will probably like this show, as it has many of the elements that made Aria a joy to watch. As a slice of life show it works really well, pleasantly mixing various elements to produce a show that, whilst lacking certain "polished" qualities, is far more charming overall than many other series with bigger budgets and stronger casts.
It's worth giving it a try if you have a little time to spare.
Kokoro Library basically revolves around Kokoro who is named after the library she works in. Together with her two sisters, they work to maintain the library their parents left them even if hardly nobody ever comes there (since it's at the top of the mountain or something).
At first, I was bored by the series and was struggling to finish it. I'm glad I stuck through it until the end since the story progressed quite nicely as it went on. It may seem boring at first, but there is some humor in the episodes. Thing I didn't expect like obsessive sister love and robots kept popping
up and made me laugh.
In total, I recommend giving this series a try. Hopefully like me, you'll be surprised that you enjoyed this anime after watching it.
No, no, no... Cuteness and good background music is nowhere near enough to save an anime where meaninglessness is allowed to run amok to this extreme degree.
Many anime are slow paced, but in Kokoro library time almost stops. There is no story and no character drive (but I have to admit the actual library itself and its surroundings is a cousy place).
Edit: Was this show "comedy" classed? If there was any comedic ambitions with Kokoro library, the creators have another failure on their list.
Technically good, but character design is awful. The only one that looks even remotely good is the homophobic sister. The rest of
the cast is cursed with horrible haircuts, boring facial expressions and a wardrobe that makes your eyes bleed.
Backgrounds and the general feel of the library is nice, though. Seems like a cousy place, but I wouldn't go there until someone strangled the librarians.
OP/ED are uninteresting, bordering to bad, but background music is unusually good. Well composed and performed, it increases the cousy feel of the library.
Voice acting is average as far as I could tell. I was kind of preoccupied being irritated on the stupid things the characters said, so I didn't pay much attention to the accoustic qualities of those stupid things.
There is no story. Towards the end comes an explanation of part of the setting, but it doesn't justify all the stupid fillers up to that point.
The three librarians are cute, innocent (kinda) and stupid beyond repair. Almost nothing they do feels motivated or rational. They overreact, underreact and come up with one breathtakingly meaningless idea after another.