Kyoutarou Kakei is a second-year student at Shiomi Academy–this monstrous city-school thing that anime makes me wish I’d been able to attend in my youth. He’s a very withdrawn individual whose only interaction seems to be with his token male friend. The reason for this is he’s loved books since he was child. They were his only escape from a world he didn’t understand. That’s why his memory of being invited to a magical library where he’d find all his answers is so important to him. Even now he reads to try and understand the people around him better. Having only one friend and being the only member of the Library Club doesn’t seem to help with that, though. Also, he can sometimes see the future. (As you do.) This power leads him to saving an extremely introverted girl, Tsugumi Shirasaki, from getting hit by a train. His kindness compels her to invite him in joining her “Happiness Project” where she seeks to make school life super fun. Harem shenanigans ensue.
Back at it again with that Summer of Anime…after being away for two weeks. Yeah, didn’t mean to take that long a break. Been dealing with other things. Nothing really bad, mind you. Just…other things. Anyhoo, if you thought that sounded like a set-up for a visual novel, then give yourself a firm pat on the back, ‘cuz it is. It’s gotten to where you can almost pick from what medium an anime’s adapting just from the first episode. And this is kinda paint-by-the-numbers adult visual novel adapting here. For the most part, at least. Even though you can tell early on who the canon couple will be at the end, it still takes a while for Kakei to show romantic interest in anyone. It goes back to that whole withdrawn thing. He’s more interested in reading about people than knowing them. It’s actually a good built-in excuse for why it takes so long for him to hook up with one of the girls when all these attractive women around him obviously want turn his pages if you know what I mean (I don’t even know what I mean).
The harem members for the most part are pretty decent. I thought Senri Misono would be another Rei Ayanami clone, but her personality is far different from that character type. Kana Suzuki is one I think a lot of people could sympathize with because of her past falling out with some people when she stepped outside her “assigned” role in the friend group. Shirasaki’s another good one since you can’t help but cheer as she does her level best to stop being shy. I got two problems with a couple members, though. First, Tamamo Sakuraba’s crush on Kakei was rushed as hell. She hated him in one episode but was crushing on him in the next. Nothing happened to change her opinion. Second, the school president and coolest-looking of the bunch, Maho Mochizuki, isn’t around anywhere near enough. Poor girl was relegated to the background before the story even started.
My favorite character wasn’t any of the haremettes, though. It wasn’t Kakei, and it wasn’t his best bro Ikkei Takamine (although his line about no injury fully healing was a good mission statement for the series). And, believe it or not, it wasn’t even the redhead Nagi Kodachi (I have a problem with her, but it’d be spoiler-ish to get into). No, none of them are best character. Best character is actually Gizaemon–the fat cat who hangs out in the Library Club room. No one knows where he came from or where he lives, but he’s cute as hell and can talk sometimes. Now, I know he isn’t actually supposed to be talking since it’s a gag for the audience, but it works. Or maybe he can actually talk but no one finds it weird. I dunno. The voice they give him is most certainly not that of a cat, and he almost always got a laugh out of me.
Other than “Giza-sama,” the highlight of this series comes from the Shepherds. See, there’s a rumor at Shiomi Academy about a Shepherd who grants wishes to whoever finds him or her. As it turns out, Shepherds are like guardian angels of sorts. They’re the ones who can access the magical library and read peoples’ books–their lives, essentially–and help out when they can. The thing is they don’t have books of their own, so people don’t remember them after a while. That’s why perfect candidates for Shepherdom are goodhearted people who are distant from everyone else–which fits Kakei to a T. When the Shepherd stuff gets introduced and it’s about Kakei choosing between becoming a Shepherd and staying a normal person, this show gets pretty interesting. There’s also a quick line about the identity of the Shepherd seen throughout the show that was pretty neat, and I kinda wish more had been done with it.
Fairly decent haremettes, a cool plot with the Shepherds, and Master Giza make this a pretty easy watch. The music, look, and beginning are kinda generic, though, and the show feels rushed at times. All that said, I’ll give this a 7.5. There are better visual novel adaptations out there (ex. Clannad), but there are also much worse (ex. I dunno…pick one out of a hat).