Library Wars: Wings of Revolution ~ our constitution has been subverted by terrorism

February 24, 2013

Librarians defend the Freedom of Expression from armed government agents.

Librarians defend the Freedom of Expression from armed government agents.

This post is a spoiler-free comment about the Library Wars: Wings of Revolution movie (2012). For those who do not know, Library Wars is a franchise that takes place in a near future in which the central government has claimed the right to “improve society” through book-burning. Libraries, being creatures of the regional or local governments, resist the censorship campaign, which leads to armed struggle between the two sides.

Library Defense Force members Doujou and Kasahara.

Library Defense Force members Doujou and Kasahara.

A 2008 television anime series based upon the Library Wars series of novels was created by Production I.G., but never became available in the USA. A translated manga based upon the same material, however, is being published by Viz Media. Wings of Revolution is a follow-on and conclusion to the story presented in the TV series.

Does one really have to have watched the TV series to enjoy the movie? I would recommend doing so. If, however, you have read the manga up to the point it has been published in the United States (Volume 8 as of this writing), the story will make sense, and all of the characters will have been introduced. The TV series went a little further into the story, however, so the exact situation at the beginning of the movie might be clear at first.

If you haven’t seen the TV series or read the manga, I can’t imagine being sufficiently invested in the characters to get anything out of the way their various stories were wrapped up. I would highly recommend watching the TV series first.

Asako Shibasaki, special agent: information retrieval.

Asako Shibasaki, special agent: information retrieval.

The story of Wings of Revolution examines the way the political situation contributes to further erosion of the right to Freedom of Expression. It also brings the stories about several of the main characters to a satisfying conclusion. In terms of capping off a great series, I think the movie did a good job. It clearly wasn’t intending to be a bridge to another arc of stories about the same characters, but rather a conclusion.

In my ideal world, someone would make high quality blue-ray sets of the original series, together with this movie, available for purchase in the American market. I think the larger issues about the pernicious nature of censorship are well worth discussing, and the series would be very accessible to folks who are not anime otaku. The artwork can be quite distinctive. The action sequences are well handled. The romantic comedy sub-plots (which the manga adaptation has a tendency to play up) are generally entertaining.

The only reason I am qualifying my recommendation is because I do think people need to have watched the TV series to get the most out of this movie. If you haven’t done so, I urge you to check out the series, or at least pick up the manga.

I’ll leave you with the words of Iku Kasahara, the heroine of the Library Wars Tv Series:

I too have many books that I cherish. Movies, television shows, art, music, manga, anime. Everything that allows humans to express themselves have made my life richer. Haven’t you ever experienced that? I believe it is wrong for anyone to take away that human right of freedom of expression.

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