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A scary intergalactic “library” in Megas XLR

Kiva finds out that the space station is an “archive world.”

Scary libraries are so common in popular culture, that TV Tropes even has a page for it, more ingrained than elderly patrons or librarians, as shown in various animated series. [1] That site lists three animated series as having spooky silent library: an episode of Arthur, the episode “The Library” of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and the “Buggin’ The System” episode of Megas XLR, the fifth episode of that animated series. Since the Avatar episode is focused on elsewhere in this blog, as are episodes of Arthur, I’d like to focus on Megas XLR in this post.

Coop, one of the show’s protagonists, crashes their giant robot ship (Megas) in a ring world after going through a minefield. Jamie gets scared of what is around them while Kiva says that based on the structure and alloys used, it was built by a “highly advanced race.” They fall into another level of the complex, activating the Ringworld. Kiva calls it an “archive world” which could have information on “every species in the universe” with Jamie adding it is an “interstellar library with some wicked bookworms,” referring to the worms which attacked them. The whole rest of the episode, the worms attack them, as they try to defend themselves.

When they think they’ll get some usable information out of the world and after the worms are defeated, Coop ends up knocking down all the “towers of knowledge,” making them unusable to them. He laments that he always had “bad luck” with libraries, hearkening back to an earlier part of the episode where he tried to grab a book at a higher shelf of the library, causing all the bookcases to fall over and crash into each other like dominoes. He then says that the knowledge of the universe is now lost forever and Kiva reminds him to avoid the mindfield. The episode ends, with the library never to be seen again! This reminds me a lot of R.O.D. the TV, where a pile of books was burned by the British Library, which I described in my review of the series and how it relates to the plot as a whole:

…we find out why Anita doesn’t like books: they remind her of painful memories, like the burning of books and a shadowy figure standing nearby…They then find out about the awful plans of the British Library to steal all the books in the area, putting them in a huge pile. The citizenry is alarmed and the books burn in a huge fire. These villains are some of the worst! Awful to burn all those good books! Yomiko tells them to stop and put out the fire, asking them how they could do such an evil thing, with Wendy telling it is a “bit like last time,” referring to the previous fire at the British Library. Anita has a flashback to the burning of books which traumatized her earlier in her life, and Wendy declares that Yomiko will “pay for” what she did…It reveals that Yomiko got out of control for how they were treating Junior, and Nancy by extension, leading the library to be destroyed with paper, then unintentionally starting a fire, burning hundreds, if not thousands, of books in the British Library itself. Anita is totally freaked out when she sees the hologram, especially of herself watching the fire burn, implying she has some connection to the British Library itself!

For one there is the problematic archives/library confusion, just as series like Star WarsMystic Archives of Dantalian, The Bravest Knight, and comics like Lore Olympus, That Awkward Magic!!, have done. Secondly, the facility is more like a data center than a library or archive, and is just a bunch of data towers. So, its imposing, there are no librarians present, and it is generally terrifying, to say the least! I don’t really have anything good to say about this as a form of library, and librarian, representation. Not at all.

© 2021 Burkely Hermann. All rights reserved.


Notes

[1] In Soylent Green, the main patrons are other old people, probably also considered “books”, one of whom does a good job summarizing the technical information and says the truth about Soylent Green needs to be revealed. Another good example of an elderly patron is Matilda “Tildy” Pilqvist in Hilda. She is a powerful witch and had a book titled “The Skeleton Whispererer” which was checked out for almost 30 years as shown in the episode “The Witch.” She was the mentor of Kaisa, the librarian at the local Trolberg city library, and comforts her after she admits she cannot do a spell, saying she is pleasantly surprised to see her as a librarian. What a nice elderly patron indeed! On the other hand, there are elderly librarians, like the one shown in Prisoner Zero. In the episodes “Ragnabook: Part One” and “Ragnabook: Part Two,” a monster ravages the library and threatens to steal all the knowledge within its walls. Luckily, it is stopped but in the process, the blue-skinned librarian loses his memory (in the last of those two episodes), despite efforts by Zero to get him to remember the past.

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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