In the past, I’ve written on this blog about love and romance, whether in anime series like Bloom Into You, R.O.D the TV, B Gata H Kei, or Kuttsukiboshi, films like The Truman Show, and Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, along with Emilio Estevez’s The Public, or Western anime-inspired animations like RWBY, in library environments. For this post, I’d like to focus on a number of anime series such as My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, Strawberry Panic!, Sweet Blue Flowers, Manaria Friends, and Kampfer.
I’ll start with a recent series which is one of my favorites: My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! In the episode, “I Became Engulfed by Desire…,” Sophia confesses her love to Catarina in a library, pushing her against a wall to do so. Somehow, Catarina still doesn’t get it and sees them as friends or something… How? Anyway, all the characters are pulled into a book world in the library, a bit like Yamibou in many ways. Mary is continually terrified of all the people who are attracted to Catarina, even wanting to burn the book which has inside because she is so distressed. There’s clearly a lot of jealousy there! Sophia later explains what happens was just “desire,” even though she still clearly has a crush on Catarina.
Another great series that centers around love and romance in a library is Strawberry Panic!. In the show’s second episode, “Etoile,” Nagisa Aoi, one of the protagonists, goes to the library for respite, still not sure how to process Shizuma Hanazono trying to kiss her earlier in the episode in front of a bunch of people, and seeing her about to kiss another girl. She walks through the stacks of the grand library, appreciating its beauty, sees a group of girls studying in the library together, and comes across a stained glass window, bathing in the sunlight. Shizuma, who is the Etoile, follows, without Nagisa knowing. She catches Nagisa and again attempts to kiss her before being interrupted and slips out without being seen. Woah! While a later episode, “Hydrangeas,” has characters searching for Nagisa’s umbrella at the library, there is no romance in the library in that episode.
Apart from the series I have mentioned so far, Aoi Hana, otherwise known as Sweet Blue Flowers, features romance in the library in two episodes. In the show’s fourth episode “Adolescence is Beautiful,” Fumi and Sugimoto go to the library and kiss there, then talk about their feelings afterward, in this opening part of the episode before the theme song begins. In a later episode, “Winter Fireworks,” the final episode of the series, Fumi does weeding of books in the library and remembers her kiss with Sugimoto. She later talks with other students about the role/influence the Literary Club has on the library.
Then there’s Manaria Friends, another one of my favorite series. Multiple episodes focus on love in the library, since it is, well, central to the story itself. For instance, in the episode “Hide-and-Seek,” Anne does hide-and-seek with Grea in the library. A Wikipedia description of the episode puts it well: “Anne and Grea are on library duty and, in order to pass the time, they decide to play a game of hide-and-seek.” They engage in various library duties, like seeing if anyone is remaining at any areas inside the building and re-shelving books, meaning both could be easily be added to the list of characters who work as librarians, of different types, in animated series. She even takes a book on love potion and tries to seduce Grea, although this is not successful. In a later episode “Slice of Life,” Grea returns a book to the library and remembers the times she had there with Anne. This is a little like the final episode of Sweet Blue Flowers, you could say. Once again, love remains strong in the library!
I know I said earlier that I wouldn’t write about Kampfer because I am ambivalent about it, but I think one episode is an exception to that. In the episode “Temptation ～Stealing Ahead～,” an OVA which was released in 2011 as part of Kämpfer für die Liebe (2011), Mikoto and Akane practice kissing in the library, two times in a row. Sayaka Nakao sees them and it causes further drama later in the episode.
That’s all for this week. As always, suggestions for shows to write about on this blog would be appreciated.