Sunday, March 30, 2014

Jmovie Review: Library Wars

In an alternate reality Japan, the Japanese government passes a censorship act, the Media Betterment Act (MBA) banning all works that are harmful to society. To combat this, the freedom of libraries law is created whereby libraries have are the last bastion of freedom for books. To safeguard the libraries from the MBA group, the Library Task Force (LTF) is created to defend libraries.

Library Wars has three parts to it, a very light and fluffy shoujo manga story about the Eikura Nana trying to find her prince in the LTF, a story about freedom of speech and the mass media and government using creative works as scapegoats anytime someone commits a crime and the action component which is the battles between the MBA and LTF.

The generic, skin deep quadrangle love story is basically the main story and the freedom of expression issue is merely a tool for the story and is hardly debated. Where Library Wars really comes apart is the action stuff. We are told that the LTF can only defend themselves in the beginning but are not told what the parameters of self defence are only that the LTF are at a disadvantage.

We are told that this is urban warfare but they fight more like a 18th Century army than a modern tactical urban warfare group. I'm watching the stupid shootouts between the MBA and LTF thinking where are the snipers? Where are the traps? Where are the grenades? It is only in the middle of the movie that we are shown that the LTF snipers are only allowed to fire warning shots!

I am happy to accept the premise but when everything that flows after that must make some sense. The LTF has this army that is trying to kill them (although no one dies in this movie despite thousands of bullets being fired) and they're not suppose to kill anyone when firing their guns in defence?

Library Wars is in the end a shoujo manga for 12 year old girls. Its painfully obvious with the casting of Eikura Nana who is good for the shoujo role but completely fails in the physical stunts department while Kuriyama Chiaki who can actually do physical stunts is confined to best friend role. None worse than when Eikura Nana is supposed to be doing push ups but the camera is showing her shoulders up and her shoulders aren't moving.

Yet another light novel adaptation with an interesting premise that completely falters in execution and somehow they end up being popular in Japan. I could not stand how stupid the so called 'urban warfare' was in this movie that I couldn't even finish watching. Library Wars is a shoujo movie made for 12 year olds that insults the intelligence of anyone older than that. Do not worth.


Anonymous said...

Enjoying your blog, found it via a Reddit link. Toss me an email - and i'll mail you a copy of the film. Keep writing, great to hear about j-doramas and other interesting Japan related stuff.


Shane said...

Have you seen Nazo no Tenkosei? I just skimmed over the first episode; camera work and lighting are very move-like. Would love to see a review to know whether it's worth a proper watch!

Akiramike said...

Nope, its johnny dorama so no incentive to try unless you or one of the regulars says its good.

Shane said...

Yeah, the cast doesn't really fill me with confidence. But I'm that impressed by the cinematography that I'll give it a try and let you know if it's any good.

Anonymous said...

do not worth. it happens to th ebest of us. usually i can tell when japanese movies are just shit from the trailers. this is one of them.

Shane said...

Concerning Nazo no Tenkousei:

After a few episodes, I must say it's a peculiar show. Kind of slice-of-life with sci-fi elements. The story is quite silly really, and the plot moves extremely slowly.
But there's something brilliant about the way it's all been executed. The dialogue, atmosphere and cinematic camera-work really raise something which should be terrible into... Well, something quite enjoyable. It won't be to everyone's taste but it's definitely a unique drama series!

Akiramike said...

Shane, let me know how you find Nazo no Tenkousai after you finish it.