A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd

Decent

Overall, bland and forgettable.  There wasn’t really anything done particularly well with this anime, but at the same time, nothing done particularly poorly.  The source of the problem was the fact that it tried to do too many things.  If nothing else, this is a really good example of what happens when you try to make characters that are common to several different types of anime.

Purpose: Not Really Good.  This anime is an example of too many purposes flying about. They tried to combine several different kinds of anime, yet give them equal importance within the story. There were three different kinds of anime that were combined here – a harem-lite anime, a high school drama, and a world-focused story going on in the background.   However, they seemed to spend most of the time on the harem-lite aspect of the anime, using the high school drama and world-focused story as sub-plots. Sort of. Of course, those three types of anime have very different needs to make them really good.   In order to combine them, the anime appeared to take a “lowest common denominator” approach to the elements – keeping the development to the features that all three types of stories shared.  While the concepts themselves didn’t exactly conflict, they detracted from each other by watering down the path the story took.  This prevented proper development of the elements necessary for each of the anime types.

Characters: Decent.  The common denominator approach is very clear with the characters.  They were overall quite bland and “colorless.”  They had a little bit of somewhat serious back story thrown in there to try to give a little bit of depth – the one-shot problem back story.  In all this was a problem for all three stories they were trying to tell because the characters were basic and plain enough to be common to all three.  To illustrate, the strong point of harem-style anime is the (usually crazy) characters’ antics and in-fighting – it’s a personality clash.  The fact that it’s over a boy is really little more than a shortcut or “cheat” to get those personalities into conflict.  High school drama is similar in that the quirky personalities are reacting to everyday situations thrown their way.  The world-focused drama shares some traits with the two, with the main difference being that the characters react to (usually) much bigger problems thrown at them by the world, but they are generally more serious.  This anime showed that it was doable to make characters common to all three, but the result was characters that didn’t stand out at all.

World: Decent. One general weakness of the harem-style and high school drama-type anime is that their worlds tend to be fairly ordinary.  While not necessarily bad, the world usually borrows common and familiar themes so that it doesn’t usually require much development.  The result is  a fairly unnoticeable world that’s more like a backdrop.  Many high school dramas try to compensate for this by throwing in some magical components to spice things up.  Here was no exception.  The backdrop was similar in theme to the Adjustment Bureau.  While it had the potential to be really interesting, they didn’t spend really any time developing it.  Instead, the world in this case was used as a bit of a cheat to bring characters into conflict.

Plot: Decent.  For each of the three plots going on, there wasn’t really that far for them to go.  The plots themselves were fairly simple, as is common to the harem-lite and high school drama anime.  The plot made a little difference in the overall trajectory of the story.  Predictably, there were some plot holes, but it’s not like they exactly mattered.  The way it turned out was that each of the plots were solidly “meh” and when combined, didn’t really add or detract from each other.  Again, I think it was because the plots were “harmonized” by only incorporating elements common to all three.

Storytelling: Not Really Good.  The storytelling didn’t exactly work out too well.  While it is true that combining all three plots is difficult, the stories weren’t exactly well told.  In this case, it was almost more of a juggling act to try to keep one plot in the air while working with the other two. That said, they didn’t exactly make the most of what they had – they were somewhat inconsistent.  Some scenes were well done, but other scenes were not.  The scenes that were well done had a bit of good drama going on.  However, I’d liken these scenes to chewing gum – only about 5 minutes of flavor, then it goes bland.

Pace: Decent.  It was a little on the slow side.  This mostly stems from the story’s juggling act.  Since one story like was always in the air, there was always the slight nagging feeling that it was dragging on.  It wasn’t exactly significant, but it was worth a sigh or two.

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