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Imperial Library

Imperial Library and its four seasons

Imperial Library (帝國図書館, teikoku toshokan) is one of the many National Libraries (国定図書館, kokutei toshokan) run by the government. It's a place where information is stored publicly (see CORE Part 5). Imperial Library serves as the main setting for the Bungo to Alchemist franchise, where a Special Duty Librarian with alchemy powers to transmigrate writers arrives to help solve the mystery of what are the Taints and why are they trying to erase literary works from history.

In the game, the Imperial Library has a dining hall, infirmary, lounge, bar and a courtyard. Chief Librarian and Special Duty Librarian also have their own offices, and Aka and Ao have a laboratory for their alchemy research. Most of the writers also have their own room somewhere in the library or its vicinity (details of where the rooms are, and do all writers have one or not is unclear for now). It's unknown whether all these locations are available for the public, or if only the writers and the library staff can access them. See Strolls for more info of some of these locations.

The Imperial Library resides somewhere in Japan (assumedly in Tokyo), in unknown time that resembles late Taisho or early Showa period Japan. In various stories it has been revealed that there is a town nearby, where the writers visit regularly during their freetime or for errands. A pawn shop, various cafés and other places can be found in the town. There is also a school (or schools?), and students from there are regular visitors in the Imperial Library (see CORE Part 10).

In the anime Bungou to Alchemist - Gears of Judgment, the Imperial Library is implied to not exist in the real world, but rather in an unknown time and space. The writers can't go outside of the library beside the area dedicated for farming, or the worlds inside books.

In the Stage Plays, the Imperial Library varies by each stage production. In the first Bungeki (official abbreviation for the Bungou to Alchemist Stage Plays), the library exists in real world and the Decadent School even makes a visit to the legendary Bar Lupin. Bungeki 2 and 4 have their setting rather vague, meanwhile in Bungeki 3 the library is implied to be different from the rest of the Bungeki franchise.

The Alchemist

アルケミスト (arukemisuto). Also known as "Special Duty Librarian" (特務司書, tokumu shisho) or shortly, "Librarian" (司書, shisho).

You, the player, have been invited to the Imperial Library, because of your special skills as an alchemist, to work as a Special Duty Librarian there. Your duties include transmigrating and assembling the writers into teams to purify tainted books, feeding them, and healing them.

In the anime and stage plays, this role is referred to as "Alchemist", meanwhile in the game the writers refer to the person who transmigrated them (you, the player) as "Librarian". Please do note that in the game the player isn't the only alchemist in the library.

Click here to view the letters to the Librarian / Alchemist from the other library personnel.

Cat

Japanese Name: ネコ (neko)

"……Pay attention to me sometimes."[1]

Male talking cat whose job is to relay directions from the country.
Takes his job of going out in the sunlight, rolling into ball and sleeping quite seriously.
Not all that sociable, but does not mind being petted.[1] He is popular especially among students that visit the library (see CORE Part 10).

Sort of game's mascot character, inspired by Natsume Souseki's famous work "I Am a Cat".[2] He is also able to delve into books for unknown reasons, but doesn't have the power to purify them.

Spoiler warning!

In the Foreign Secret Records storyline, it is revealed that his existence is unstable and dependent on Chief Librarian due to him being transmigrated Dr. Faust, a legendary alchemist. In the past, young Chief Librarian accidentally performed transmigration, which led Dr. Faust's soul in a book take over a cat that was nearby when the transmigration event took place. It was implied that sometime towards the end of the Foreign Secret Records storyline that Cat was able to get back some memories of his previous life. He probably didn't have any memories previously, or he kept them as a secret even from the Chief Librarian.

After the events of the Foreign Secret Records, Cat refused to be called Dr. Faust, staying as a nameless cat instead. Now he is spending his days in the Imperial Library, while hiding from the government in an attempt of not trying to draw too much attention to his true identity.


VA: Ookawa Genki


Voice sample from event Purify "Cuckoo"

Chief Librarian

Japanese Name: 館長 (kanchou)

"When you’ve got a big voice like I do, you become the center of attention, hahaha! Oops, if I’m too noisy I’ll get scolded again."[3]

In charge of managing the library.
Big-hearted personality, so when he gets off work he goes out with a bottle of sake to mingle with the writers who drink.[3]

In the first novel, Akutagawa makes an assumption that Chief Librarian is around in his fourties. He has some history with kendo, practising swings at times for mental concentration (see CORE Part 7). He also seems to be fond of sweets that he regularly buys, and shares them with Aka and Ao. It has been revealed that he can't delve unlike most of the other alchemists in the library, but it remains unclear why.

Spoiler warning!

In the Foreign Secret Records storyline, a little of his past is revealed. As a young man, he was interested in alchemy and studied it. Unfortunately the old alchemy book which he randomly bought from a bookstore ended up being a book where Dr. Faust's soul resided and The Master of Taints was sealed into. By opening the book, he accidentally lifted the seal and transmigrated the soul of Dr. Faust inside the book into a cat's body, resulting in Cat.

The reason why Chief Librarian doesn't have as great alchemy powers as others and he is unable to delve into books might be because of Cat, as according to Cat's own words, his existence is unstable and dependent on Chief's powers (see Awakening Story Prologue). Transmigrating a soul and keeping it for a long time in the real world consumes a lot of the alchemist's energy, so not everyone can do it. Due to still being a novice alchemist when Cat's transmigration took place in the past, it's possible that Chief Librarian has been unable to improve his skills in fear of losing his friend if he were to exhaust his powers by accident.


VA: Tsunashima Goutarou


Voice sample from event Purify "The Five-Storied Pagoda"

Aka

Aka.png

Japanese Name: アカ (aka)

"Hey hey, let us in on the investigation too!"

Support staff for the Librarian.
He likes sweets. His charm point is a mole under his eye.[4]
A self-assigned "far superior alchemist than Chief Librarian" dispatched by the government. As a proof of his skills as an alchemist, he can delve.[2]

VA: Ichikawa Taichi


Quote and voice sample from event Mad Tea Party

Ao

Ao.png

Japanese Name: アオ (ao)

"They are a very fascinating phenomena. As a researcher, I cannot let this chance slip by..."

Support staff for the Librarian.
He likes spicy food and has a fixation on glasses.[5]
Also an alchemist like Aka, sharing similar tendency to call himself more superior than Chief Librarian.[2]

VA: Inoue Yuuki


Quote and voice sample from event Mad Tea Party

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Introduction of Cat on Official Twitter account
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Imperial Library's Top Secret Document Collection ~Bungou to Alchemist the First Anniversary Guidebook~
  3. 3.0 3.1 Introduction of Chief Librarian on Official Twitter account
  4. Introduction of Aka on Official Twitter account
  5. Introduction of Ao on Official Twitter account
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