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“When our world ended, their mission began.” -Official “9” tagline

When 9 (The Lord of the Ring’s Elijah Wood) first comes to life, he finds himself in a post-apocalyptic world. All humans are gone, and it is only by chance that he discovers a small community of others like him taking refuge from fearsome machines that roam the earth intent on their extinction. Despite being the neophyte of the group, 9 convinces the others that hiding will do them no good. They must take the offensive if they are to survive, and they must discover why the machines want to destroy them in the first place. As they’ll soon come to learn, the very future of civilization may depend on them.

Marketing jargon aside, the reason “9” has made it to Librariblog is one of the film’s redeeming qualities outside of its animation and character design (see above image from The Anime Blog). The film’s protagonists are a set of 9 little robots, known as Stitchpunks. Every Stitchpunk has its own personality. There’s “the protector” (1), “the guide” (5), “the defender” (7); you get the idea. Two of the Stitchpunks are actually cataloging twins, numbers 3 & 4, whose purpose, according to their special poster, is to define and teach us.

From DreadCentral:

3/4 – Communicating visually, not verbally, 3 and 4 are the scholarly twins who voraciously catalogue everything they can see and find, recording and building a massive database for the group of the world that surrounds them and the history that led up to their creation.

Not only can the twins not speak, they turn into film projectors when the need to communicate with others arises. Their goggly eyes begin to project items presumably found in their developing database as they fall into a trance and hover above the ground. These catalogers can only use items they have cataloged to communicate with their fellow creatures, yet they have their own communication language when dealing with one another. I can’t help but wonder what this says of many people’s perceptions of librarians, archivisits and catalogers in our world?

Another side note, as I’m trying to keep this brief, I will just mention that I keep trying to imagine what inspired the character designers’ choice to dress 3 & 4 in knitwear. All I know is that the library student I saw the film with mentioned that she’s thinking about how to design a Halloween costume based on these two rather obscure little dudes.

What this whole ponder session comes down to: how rare it is to see cataloging in any kind of entertainment situation. Librarianship as a whole isn’t exactly the most edge-of-your-seat profession, and cataloging (imho) isn’t necessarily a wild gig to have. The post-apocalyptic/ dystopian setting of the film makes for a nice way to illustrate the importance of such intense, repetitive work. The catalogers (and I’ll just slap the word SPOILER right here) are integral to the stitchpunks’ survival in the film. Without them, the heroes would have had no way of knowing what they were up against. Go, 3 & 4! I would not have given this technically fabulous piece of work more than about 5 minutes’ thought after seeing it had it not been for those little guys. It’s great to see LIBRARIANSHIP IN THE MAINSTREAM.

I endorse this review of “9” at SouthPawFilmworks.