Anime worth checking out -
"In a small library located
on an unpopulated mountain,
There is a quiet and kind girl,
A strong-minded girl,
And a girl who has the same name as the library..."
So begins the story of the three sisters who
accepted the daunting task of nurturing a legacy, a library built
by their late parents. With a two-hour round trip from the nearest
town, there are few who partake in the services that this small
library provides. But it is said that miracles can happen at
The quiet and kind girl is Iina, the oldest of the
three. Even though she is only 17, she has taken it upon herself
to nurture and protect her younger sisters. This is the role
that she inherited when their mother passed away. This deep emotional
attachment to her sisters has left her completely oblivious to
the feelings of Uezawa, the local delivery man, and his many
unsuccessful attempts to win her heart. Iina is very good with
computers and keeps the library stocked with the latest in technology.
She also has a passion for taking pictures, especially of her
Aruto is the strong-minded girl. With a talent for
cooking and the uncanny ability to sleep anywhere, this 15-year
old is the most level headed and rational of the family. Her
straight forward approach balances out the more emotional and
naive nature of her two sisters. Aruto may appear to have everything
under control, but she also has a secret that she keeps hidden
from her sisters.
We meet the girl with the same name as the library
as she prepares for her first official day of work. Though she
is only 10, Kokoro is realizing her dream of becoming a librarian.
Kokoro only knows her parents through stories and pictures -
her mother having died after giving birth and her father passing
away soon after as well. Living with her two sisters in a remote
mountain library, she has grown up surrounded by great literature
and very few friends. But that is about to change.
With no rampaging monsters, giant robots,
vengeful aliens, angsty bishonen, annoying talking animal sidekicks,
or gratuitous fanservice, this show has what most fans truly
desire in good anime - a well written story with subtle surprises
and characters that instantly find a place in your heart. The
episodes begin at a rather relaxed pace, with the first episode
introducing the three sisters and the life that they enjoy at
the remote library. Kokoro's first "reference" as an
official librarian seems to be a success, but the anticipated
return of her first "user" soon becomes a journey into
the city and a lesson in trust. Realizing what it means to be
a librarian sets the stage for Kokoro's many new and exciting
Along the way Kokoro encounters a wide variety
of people, from a young girl battling the disease that claimed
the life of her mother, to a robot librarian just learning the
joy of helping others. A chance drawing leads to a meeting with
her favorite author, Himemiya Kirin; a young woman who seems
somewhat familiar - except to Kokoro.
The story begins to take a subtle turn at
episode 5, when a card is left at the front door of the library.
It reads: "Today at Kokoro Library, I will come to get the
book with the lock". A notorious thief and master of disguise,
who goes by the unusual name of "Funny Tortoise", has
set his sights on the library's most mysterious book. No one
knows what secrets lie within its locked pages or why this thief
wishes to steal it. Help arrives in the form of Inspector Kajihara
and ANGEL, an all female detective squad, from Interpol. With
not-so-subtle jabs at shows such as Lupin the 3rd, and Saint
Tail, this seemingly out of place episode sets in motion the
slow revelation of the truth behind the mysterious book and the
story that it holds inside it's locked pages.
Episode 11 finally reveals the key to the
story of Kokoro Library. A step back into the past sheds new
light upon the relationship between the seemingly random events
in the previous episodes and the people that Kokoro has met along
the way. The true joy of this series is the discovery of this
heartwarming story for yourself, so I will divulge no further
details as to what happens. Though some viewers may find the
ending somewhat predictable, I found it to be very emotionally
satisfying. The quality of the writing is even more apparent
when the series is viewed for the second time, now that all of
the clues and underlying connections between the characters are
known. I even found new and interesting bits that I had not realized
before when I watched the episodes again for this article.
Kokoro Library (Kokoro Toshokan) ran for 12
episodes and aired from Oct. 11, 2001 to Dec 27, 2001. With its
cute characters, emotionally engaging story, and high quality
artwork all wrapped in a beautiful piano-based musical score,
I found it to be one of the best anime series of 2001. Unfortunately,
series of this particular type have received little interest
from companies here in the US, and no license has been announced.
... But it is said that miracles can happen
at Kokoro Library.