Friday, October 29, 2010

Anime — The Book of Bantorra : Armed Librarians

A belated review, by some months, belated enough that it's fallen off the Crunchryroll roster.

I tried the first episode late last year, and wasn't impressed, but went back after a lot of talk about how the series was getting awesome later on; and fortunately the awful CGI from the first episode seemed to be a one-off.

In a climate where cute girls doing cute things and high-school romance seemed to have driven almost everything else off the table, Bantorra was a welcome return to an adult cast (with well endowed women) and OTT violence. However shoehorning a series of ten light novels with more plot twists than you could shake a stick at into a 26 + 1 recap episode series didn't quite work out so well in the end.

The setting was interesting and unusual in many ways -- a sort of alternate 1940s, where magic also exists, and people have made up European-style names that look and sound more like keyboard mashing (Olivia Litlets, Parney Pealrmanta, Enrique Bis'hile...); in a world where at death, a memory snapshot fossilizes as a "book" that can be "read" by touching it.

So the big struggle starts off between the Armed Librarians under Acting Director Hamyuts Meseta of the Bantorra Library, and the Church of Drowning in God's Grace, whose noble thoughts about the value of humans is belied by their separating their flock into True Men (at the top), Mock Men (mid-range operatives) and Meats (the masses). And then things get more and more complicated, with -- except in the occasional digressive arc for a bit of back-story -- the villains of the piece changing again and again, and major characters being killed all over the show.

Perhaps had it been a 40-episode series it might not have seemed quite so erratic and all over the place; or maybe it would have still seemed like it was trying to fit in everything and the kitchen sink. Overall a decent enough piece of entertainment and one that at least did all it could to be different from the current pack.

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