Anime Vice News

Why Hasn't Anyone Licensed: Toshokan Sensou?

A new feature I thought up. Enjoy!


So, this is a tentative new feature, by which I mean it'll happen whenever I think of something that I keep expecting to see licensed that hasn't been (as opposed to one of my regular features that I do weekly...usually).

Basically, I'm going to spotlight a series that hasn't been licensed-- but should definitely be considered for it. And this entry, of course, is for the series Toshokan Sensou, or Library Wars.

Title: Toshokan Sensou (Library Wars)
Origins: Based on a four-volume light novel series of the same name by Hiro Arikawa, which were published from '06 to '07 by MediaWorks.
Media: One light novel series, two manga series, one anime.
    Light Novels: Toshokan Sensou. Published by MediaWorks.
    Manga: Toshokan Sensou Love & War. Shoujo, runs in LaLa anthology (Hakusensha). Started September 2007, ongoing.
    Manga: Toshokan Sensou Spitfire!. Shounen, runs in Dengeki Daioh anthology (MediaWorks). Started November 2007, ongoing.
    Anime: Toshokan Sensou. Produced by Production I.G and aired from April to June 2008.
Status: All media currently unlicensed in North America-- or outside of Japan at all, as far as I can tell.

Summary: Toshokan Sensou is sort of an alternate history series, set in a Japan where the government has split into two factions: the Media Cleansing Committee, which allows the government to censor any media it deems harmful, and the libraries, who are willing to defend their materials through force if necessary. The series follows one particular woman, Iku Kasahara, who becomes a new recruit for the Kantou Library and also the first female member of the elite Library Task Force. A strong mix of comedy, drama, romance, and action, it's an excellent all-around series.


About the License: So, that would most likely be held by MediaWorks, who published the original novel series. MediaWorks has published everything from Kino no Tabi to Spice and Wolf to Shakugan no Shana to Azumanga Daioh-- in other words, their stuff has been licensed all across the board by American companies. So it's hard to say who would pick up what, if anything.

For example, VIZ has licensed several series that ran in LaLa (Ouran, Vampire Knight), so they might have a shot at Love & War. On the other hand, TOKYOPOP snatched up Kaichou wa Maid-sama and Jyu Oh Sei from them as well.

Yen Press just picked up Azumanga Daioh and Yotsuba&!, which were both Dengeki Daioh titles, so maybe they could get Spitfire!. Then again, Daioh published the Tsukihime manga, which DrMaster acquired; Bandai is publishing the Gurren Lagann manga that runs there (and if they got Toshokan Sensou's anime they might publish its manga as well). TOKYOPOP acquired Daioh's Strawberry Marshmallow, and VIZ has its Shakugan no Shana. Even Seven Seas got the Daioh-serialized Kashimashi. You get the idea.

Basically, it's impossible to say who might have the best shot at licensing any of the Toshokan Sensou media, and for all we know there might be a bidding war going on in the background. But it's a solid anime series that I'd love to spend some money on-- and I'd really like to read the novels. I'd say the odds there would be in favor of Yen, or perhaps I should say Hachette: if the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya novels sell decently in the mainstream, they'd have quite a lot to offer to a licensor. And I could actually imagine Toshokan Sensou being assigned to middle or high school students to talk about censorship. Hm...

What say you? Go ahead and leave your thoughts on Toshokan Sensou-- or nominations for future Why Hasn't Anyone Licensed columns!
MoonStormon May 5, 2009 at 11:48 a.m.
Never finish watching the show but what I did see was really good and would not mind picking back up when I have the time. A series on censorship is an good sale in the states.

P.S. why has no one licensed Michiko to Hatchin
Schwindelmagieron May 5, 2009 at 11:53 a.m.
I've seen all of the anime but never read any of the light novels (probably because I haven't been able to find translations online or anything), same thing goes with the manga. That said, I think the anime would pick up very well if it got licensed it has a good storyline to it. As expected of a Production I.G series which more or less have other very successful series.

On a side note: Since Del Rey has licensed the Kara no Kyoukai light novels, it's only a matter of time before the OVA's are licensed as well. (Hopefully)
darkcyderon May 5, 2009 at 11:54 a.m.
Although my stance on Toshokan Sensou hasn't changed in the slightest, I have noticed that the past few seasons have been somewhat ignored for licensing. And considering they now are jumping to trying to get the brand new seasons licensed it seems that the previous shows out there might be left in the dust.
giaon May 5, 2009 at 11:59 a.m.
darkcyder: I've definitely noticed some of that. It's kind of a shame, some great series are getting missed.
Schwindelmagieron May 5, 2009 at 12:04 p.m.
@gia: Great series, like Kara no Kyoukai. Though fans like me are happy enough with just the light novels for now. Still wondering when the first one is going to be released. When it comes to TYPE-MOON anime, both Fate/Stay Night and Tsukihime have been licensed in English so I hope the same happens with Kara no Kyoukai.

Edit: Actually, here's a question I raise. Do you think that the Baccano light novels will ever be licensed? Or the manga? I was just curious because I know the anime was licensed but the thing with anime is that they are alot more easier to acquire a license to than light novels.
martianxon May 6, 2009 at 3:35 a.m.

I really liked Toshokan Sensou. It had great premise and unique storyline revolving around censorship. Maybe it is no licensed becuase of its sort of "low profile" status and also being 12 episodes, it might not be worth it to license in the long run (as apposed to haruhi's popularity even with 12/13 episodes). Has this ever been a fact though? . I would love to see Potemayo being licensed. That show was epically cute and one of the funniest series out there that have been continuously over looked <3

mareo2on May 6, 2009 at 11:30 a.m.
I watched the anime from the first episode to the last and for the "War" word in the tittle and the only logic answer is that... Maybe because it look stupid in the west? The execution is good, cool animation, the characters are likeable, etc, etc, etc... But the basic plot is just plain stupid. With two organizations from the same gob shooting real bullets and trying to not to kill each other? Like one of my favorite bloggers said, the tactics are stupids and the library guys cry so much for a few killed in some past library burning, compare that with a real war and they look patetic. Only in a country with strict gun control and a peaceful constitution, viewers can think that that can be a great tragedy, that allow librarians to carry and use assault rifles.
avalon93on July 10, 2009 at 8:12 p.m.
Yeah, I was wondering too why they never licensed this anime, considering that - in my opinion - it's better than some of the mainstream anime I seem to be seeing lately... (And yeah, I can picture us high school students reading this book as a novel study in grade 12, too. ^^) Then again, I can see a lot of reasons why...

1) It's not very well-known. (Let's face it: compared to Bleach and Naruto, Toshokan Sensou isn't very well-known. I asked everybody in the Anime/Manga Club and a couple of manga readers in the school library if they knew Toshokan Sensou, and they said no. -.-# I only met ONE other person who knew what the anime was, but that was only because he loves hunting for not-very-well-known anime like me.)

2) The idea of war against censorship (as in full-out war with militia) doesn't seem to quite attract American licensing companies, perhaps for being a bit too extreme?

3) Did you notice how there isn't a lot of military anime licensed?

4) The fact that Toshokan Sensou is inspired by true events during the 1940s-1950s. (Censorship in Japan... look it up on Wikipedia.) (I don't know; some people find some things that happened in history to be offensive.)

5) It's a "smart" anime. ("smart" meaning that you have to think A LOT to understand the real depth of this story. This, after all, was based off of a Young Adult novel series. There's a lot of inferring that you have to do in order to get the story. For some people, that kind of turns them off.)

In all, maybe America just isn't ready for it yet. But, try waiting a couple years. Who knows? They might start licensing late, like how they started licensing a film by Miyazaki from the mid-90s in 2007.

Then again, this is all my opinion. x.x

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