Hamana Takayuki | Japan, 2012 | 120 min | PG | HDCAM-SR | Japanese language dialogue with English subtitles
Saturday November 17, 2012 – 9:00pm
In a dystopian Japan of 2019, thirty years after the enactment of the infamous Media Betterment Act, the government agency responsible for enforcing the Act has militarized and now controls the dissemination of all media. What once was created for protecting human rights and young people from the negative influences of media and politically-incorrect and offensive expression, has now become censorship enforced by military force against those who resist their efforts.
And there were those who stood up to resist: libraries under the jurisdiction of local governments rose up against national law by enacting the Freedom of Libraries law, and legally established a self-defense militia to counter the military force of the national Media Betterment Agency.
Kasahara and Dojo’s date is interrupted by a priority mission: to protect an author whose new book about terrorist tactics and training has made him a target of the Media Betterment Agency. As the legal battle begins, Dojo is placed in charge of the protection detail, and a rift begins to develop between he and Kasahara.
Based on the eponymous runaway bestselling novel series by Arikawa Hiro, a light novelist who has also written widely about the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF), including a trilogy of novels. A relatively unknown issue in the West, the role of the JSDF is a very important topic and source of angst for Japan and its neighbours, as well as its primary military and diplomatic ally, the United States. Created in the aftermath of the Second World War, the JSDF has been constitutionally restricted from participating in affairs outside of sovereign Japanese territory, as well as matters falling under provincial and municipal jurisdiction. In other words, it is a very powerful military force with severe restrictions on its mission, in a geopolitical environment where its neighbours like China – many of which were subjected to Japanese invasion during WWII – are rapidly militarizing, and Japan is suffering through a period of prolonged economic deflation and political impasse that have many Japanese questioning what the future of the nation will be. These themes were first explored in anime in Oshii Mamoru’s PATLABOR series, and Arikawa continues and updates this exploration with the fictional political structures in LIBRARY WAR in a playful yet serious way. After all, we are talking about librarians with guns, defending bookshelves and the right of all citizens to read books – and “Head Librarian” being a military rank. This kind of flight of fancy is something that the anime and manga industry seems to do so effortlessly and so well.
About Hamana Takayuki
Born November 3, 1967, Hamana Takayuki started his career in the industry as an inbetween animator. After 4 years at Ajia-do, he joined Production I.G. in its early days, when the studio was still named IG Tatsunoko. At I.G, he worked as key animator for many projects, from the TV series Blue Seed (1994) to the feature film JIN-ROH (2000). However, in 2001 he debuted as series director in the smash-hit THE PRINCE OF TENNIS (2001-2005), and in 2005 he directed his first theatrical feature, THE PRINCE OF TENNIS – TWO SAMURAI: THE FIRST GAME. After SISTERS OF WELLBER ZWEI, Hamana directed the TV series of LIBRARY WAR.
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All rights reserved (c) 2012, Arikawa Hiro * Kadokawa Pictures / Library War Film Partners