The other week we watched a couple episodes of The Mystic Archives of Dantalian on Crunchyroll, and a little voice in my head piped up. “That,” said the little voice, “is a library, not an archives.”
Yes, the line can be blurry. Still, a collection of books—Phantom or otherwise—is really more of a library sort of thing. “Bibliotheca” (right there in the alternate title!) screams “library” when googled or when pinging neurons last used during French classes. Wikipedia and Google Translate collaborate to inform me that the Japanese word used translates to “bookshelves,” a generally useful storage item designed, by implication, for bound volumes. So…why “archives”?
(Yes, it can be argued that this is a rather silly line of thought. This is my problem? Not Lolitas or the fact that human hair does not do that?)
But in this case, was “archives” deemed a sexier word than “library”? Weirder? Is it back to the idea of designated, recognizable spaces, perhaps? We all know what a library looks like: shelves of books presided over by women who may be hot, aggressive or grandmotherly, but will definitely be bunned and bespectacled. There’s less of a popular consensus about archives—well, aside from their dustiness—so perhaps it is easier to imagine that they are trans-dimensional spaces inhabited by strange women with hair that ignores physical laws.
Or perhaps I am overthinking this, just a tad.