10 of the most beautiful libraries in animated series

Last week I put together a post about 10 librarians in anime and animation, responding to a Book Riot piece about the bad representation that librarians have in popular culture. As I noted there, I defined the term broadly, fitting into discussions about blended librarianship and the stereotypes around librarians, like the idea they excessively revere books (biblioaltry) or grumbling about their advocacy and saying it is “left-wing”, whatever that means. I won’t go over what I noted there again, as I think that would be repetitive, so please read that article for more context. This week’s post focuses on beautiful libraries in animation and anime, like various publications, which focused on the most beautiful libraries in the world as a whole. [1] In the past, I’ve written about and shown screenshots of wonderful libraries, some of which are included in this post, and other animated series that are not, [2] so this is fitting. Some of these libraries would definitely make you part of what was once called the “literati,” meaning scholarly, learned, or well-educated people. Enjoy!

[1.] Sorcerous Stabber Orphen

A well-used library in this magical institution, by sorcerers and others alike. It plays a key part in an episode of this anime, as there is a conversation between two characters, Leticia “Tish” MacCredy and Forte, in the library. The latter confesses his feelings toward her, which makes her very uncomfortable. Later on, we see that Tish has a huge library in her room or office of some type.

[2.] She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

The two dads of Bow (George and Lance) call themselves historians but they can accurately be called librarians, who run a family library in the Whispering Woods, shown in the Season 2 finale of the show, and is a major part of the plot of the episode. While the outside of the library is not pretty in a traditional sense (veins are on the outside, wrapping around the library’s dome), the inside is beautiful. The fandom page for it, calls it a “place for learning,” noting it is a multi-floor residence where the dads live, and presumably Bow’s other brothers (Woe, Sow, Oboe, Gogh, and Waoh) at different points. It is also a museum too! Sadly, the second time Bow and Glimmer visit, it is in shambles! Hopefully, it is repaired and refurbished after the end of the series, with the Horde being defeated! That would be great.

[3.] Classroom of the Elite

This 2017 anime features a library at an elite school somewhere in Japan. Study groups meet there, trying to help students get their grades up. One student says he will no longer participate in the study group anymore, and three students end up leaving. In the end, the midterm exams come and the class, as a whole, performs very well with some scoring some of the highest scores in the school. All in all, the library is wonderful.

[4.] Macross Frontier

In the 18th episode (“Fold Fame”) of this 2007 anime, Michael and Klan, try to find out more about the symptoms of 17-year-old Sheryl and the conspiracy behind it. In the process, they travel to a library for more answers. There are various people in the library, but none of them seem to be librarians. Rather they are patrons. In any case, Michael thinks about the disease affecting Sheryl, a singer extraordinaire who he likes, and later Klan looks at the computer and pulls up old medical journals. Multiple times they are shocked by what they find, with Klan annoyed that it seems Michael (who seems to flirt with everyone) likes Sheryl. The one-minute library scene ends with Sheryl coming into the library, feeling delirious, and almost falling down.

[5.] Adventure Time

In this fantasy series, there is a library where “knowledge lives,” with books almost stacked like bricks in a warehouse. Additionally, the Turtle Princess runs the library (and is basically serving as the sole librarian). The show portrays libraries as a boring place where you “learn stuff,” and is almost deserted at certain times, although it is full of patrons at other times. The Turtle Princess later shushes the protagonists, and there are beings known as pagelings which are the “secret guardians” of the library’s books, fighting off leeches, I believe, which are trying to get at some of the books. The library is shown at the end of the episode from the outside, with the area clearly war-torn in this post-apocalyptic landscape. All in all, it is definitely beautiful.

[6.] Revolutionary Girl Utena

In this 1997 Japanese anime, there are various scenes showcasing libraries, reference, and much more, time and time again, and the library itself is very scholarly at this academy. There are various scenes of characters studying in the library, showing it as a serious place where you do serious work. The lighting on the table even reminded me a little of the Library of Congress. All in all, libraries are central to this anime, more than I would have thought originally when watching it. That, in and of itself, makes it noteworthy! Some of those in the above picture seem to be student assistants in the library, meaning they are librarians!

[7.] Futurama

Not to be confused with the pubic library, ha. Anyway, the public library appears in a number of episodes, including one where Fry fights off the Big Brain and other floating brains (brain spawn) there. The library contains, among other parts, an Ancient Literature room which houses many classical works of literature, with “classical” defined pretty hilariously, as noted on Infosphere. We do see a librarian in one episode, but she is sadly affected by the Brain Spawn and can’t even put a book back in the shelf properly! NO!

[8.] R.O.D. the TV

Some snapshots of the library in the episode “In the Gray Light of the Abyss”

This anime has a whole episode about the place where you would find the most books in Japan, the National Diet Library. In the episode, the library director says they literally have “everything that has ever been published in Japan.” Yomiko is said to read her way through the stacks all day. The director basically gives them a bit of a tour of the library, which is pretty cool, to be honest, and something I haven’t seen in animation, showing the inner workings of the library. In the episode itself, National Diet Library appears for a total of about 11 and a half minutes, which is about half of the episode! The animators likely worked with/went to the library to put together these animations, which look pretty close to how the library functioned and what was in the stacks.

[9.] RWBY

The library is a book repository and stores archived information at Beacon Academy. It is a quiet place for students to study or read, with students using the area as a place to gather, socializing, and playing board games. While there, you can also make calls outside the kingdom, and there is access to several holographic computer terminals, which are freely available to the same students. This all comes from the fandom page for the academy, but libraries show up a bunch of times in the series, including other libraries elsewhere in Remnant.

[10.] El-Hazard

In this 1990s series, this library is shown multiple times, first by a resident scholar of a mystical land, and secondly with no one. It is full of books and information! It is a wonder to behold! There’s nothing much more to say about this, however, as it doesn’t show up that many times and you don’t see that much around the library. Even so, it stores information in a way that is accessible to those who use it, without a doubt.

That’s all for this post! Onto other posts about libraries in the week to come.


Notes

[1] I am specifically referring to Stefanie Waldek’s article, “10 of the Most Beautiful Libraries in the World” in Galerie, Rachel Gould’s article, “The 10 Most Beautiful Libraries in America” in Culture Trip, Duncan Madden’s article, “Ten Of The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries” in Forbes, an article in The Guardian titled “The world’s most beautiful libraries – in pictures“, Sarah Dimarco’s article, “Inside 25 of the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries, Megan Barber’s article, “The 20 most beautiful libraries in the U.S.” in Curbed and an article in Love Happens titled “Top 20 Most Beautiful Libraries in the World.”

[2] This isn’t counting the libraries in Bloom Into You, Ascendance of a Bookworm, Stretch Armstrong, DC Super Hero Girls (also see here), Bravest Warriors, Sym-Bionic Titan, Kandagawa Jet Girls, Gargantia, Paradise Kiss, Kuttsukiboshi, Ice, Wandering Son, She-Ra: Princess of Power, Carmen Sandiego, and Steven Universe.

Published by histhermann

Marylander with MLIS who loves archives, libraries, genealogy, reviewing pop culture, and writing fictional stories. UMD '19 & SMCM '16 grad. I've been running various WordPress blogs for a while now, about genealogy, libraries, archives, and more.

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