Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai is a romance visual novel in which the player assumes the role of Kyōtarō Kakei. Much of its gameplay is spent reading the text that appears on the screen, which represents the story's narrative and dialogue. The text is accompanied by character sprites, which represent who Kyōtarō is talking to, over background art. Throughout the game, the player encounters CG artwork at certain points in the story, which take the place of the background art and character sprites. Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai follows a branching plot line with multiple endings, and depending on the decisions that the player makes during the game, the plot will progress in a specific direction.
There are five main plot lines that the player will have the chance to experience, one for each of the heroines in the story. Throughout gameplay, the player is given multiple options to choose from, and text progression pauses at these points until a choice is made. Some decisions can lead the game to end prematurely and offer an alternative ending to the plot. To view all plot lines in their entirety, the player will have to replay the game multiple times and choose different choices to further the plot to an alternate direction. Throughout gameplay, there are scenes depicting Kyōtarō and a given heroine having sex.
Set in the vast and prestigious Shiomi Academy (汐美学園, Shiomi Gakuen), Kyōtarō Kakei is a student and the only member of the Library Club (図書部, Tosho-bu). When Kyōtarō was young, he aspired to read all the magic books in the world which were kept in the magic library. To gain access, he acquires a bookmark, which is an entry ticket to the magic library, and he must show kindness and bring happiness to everyone's hearts. Being the sole member of the Library Club, he enjoys the fact that he can read peacefully by himself. After receiving a text from the 'shepherd', which reads his fate is going to change, Kyōtarō encounters a second-year girl named Tsugumi Shirasaki, whom he saves at the train station. Later that day, Tsugumi enters the Library Club, she thanks him, and asks for his help to make Shiomi Academy a more enjoyable place. Like Kyōtarō, Tsugumi has also received a text from the shepherd. With the shepherd's guidance, more students end up joining their group.Kyōtarō Kakei (筧 京太郎, Kakei Kyōtarō)
Voiced by: Junji Majima
Kyōtarō is the main protagonist of Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai
. He is a second-year student majoring in humanities. He is a bookworm and always reads a book. He used to be the sole member of the Library Club, until Tsugumi and the others join and form a group. Kyōtarō likes to help others and is a kind, collected person.
Tsugumi Shirasaki (白崎 つぐみ, Shirasaki Tsugumi)
Voiced by: Mako Mishiro
(PC), Madoka Yonezawa (anime)
Tsugumi is a girl with long brown hair tied in twin tails, who Kyōtarō encounters at the train station, she later becomes the official leader of the Library Club. She is good at sewing and cooking. Tsugumi makes it her job to make lunch for the others every day. She has feelings for Kyōtarō.
Tamamo Sakuraba (桜庭 玉藻, Sakuraba Tamamo)
Voiced by: Sakura Tachibana
(PC), Yuka Saitō (anime)
Tamamo is a girl with very long black hair tied into a ponytail. She also joins the Library Club. She is the type who gets jealous easily. Tamamo is quite independent, as she lives alone in a luxury apartment, and has high practical skills.
Senri Misono (御園 千莉, Misono Senri)
Voiced by: Kotono Marui
(PC), Nozomi Yamamoto (anime)
Senri is a girl with short, pretty lilac-colored hair. She becomes a member of the Library Club. Most of the time she is expressionless, and seems to have a cool attitude. Senri enjoys cross word puzzles, though she is not necessarily very good at it.
Kana Suzuki (鈴木 佳奈, Suzuki Kana)
Voiced by: Sora Haruka
(PC), Eri Sendai (anime)
Kana is a girl with long, wavy blonde hair with a white Alice band, and is a member of the Library Club. She has a bright, polite personality. She has a part time job as a waitress. Kana has a mild allergy to cats, so she cannot come into close contact with one.
Nagi Kodachi (小太刀 凪, Kodachi Nagi)
Voiced by: Hana Kiritani
(PC), Atsumi Tanezaki (anime)
Nagi is a girl with short reddish hair, tied into two twin tails. She is a member of the Library Committee, not a member of the Library Club. She lives next door to Kyōtarō, making them next door neighbors.
Ikkei Takamine (高峰 一景, Takamine Ikkei)
Voiced by: Andalusia
(PC), Showtaro Morikubo (anime)
Ikkei is Kyōtarō's classmate and friend, who joins the Library Club. He used to take karate classes, but had to quit because of a foot injury.
Maho Mochizuki (望月 真帆, Mochizuki Maho)
Voiced by: Bouquet Hanataba
(PC), Saki Nakajima (anime)
Maho is a girl with long white hair, and is the student council president.
Miyu Serizawa (芹沢 水結, Serizawa Miyu)
Voiced by: Rina Satō
Miyu is a girl with long pink hair. She is a member of the broadcasting unit and drama club.
Sayumi Ureshino (嬉野 紗弓実, Ureshino Sayumi)
Voiced by: Yuzu Mamiya
(PC), Miyu Kashiwagi (anime)
Sayumi is a short girl with long, light blue hair, and she wears a hat at all times, which she slams on the floor when angry. She plays first person shooter games.
Aoi Takigawa (多岐川 葵, Takigawa Aoi)
Voiced by: Rino Kawashima
(PC), Kei Mizusawa (anime)
Aoi is a girl with long blue hair in a low ponytail. She is the student council vice president.
Sayori Shirasaki (白崎 さより, Shirasaki Sayori)
Voiced by: Motoe Usui
(PC), Yō Taichi (anime)
Sayori is the young sickly sister of Tsugumi, and has a bright, positive personality.
Voiced by: Itsuki Akiyama
(PC), Satoshi Tsuruoka (anime)
Gizaemon is a fat, male cat with a black and white coat.
Shepherd (羊飼い, Hitsujikai)
The shepherd is well known throughout the school, and is rumored to appear in front of those who are working hard, and grant wishes.
Voiced by: Taiyō Kuroki
(PC), Taiten Kusunoki (anime)
Kei Kirishima (桐島 慶, Kirishima Kei)
Kei Kirishima is the protagonist of Hōkago Shippo Days
. He is a cat lover.
Nozomi Toki (土岐 のぞみ, Toki Nozomi)
Voiced by: Yui Kusuhara
Nozomi is a girl with long light pink hair, she is Kei's childhood friend and lives in the same apartment as him.
Sakuya Fujimiya (藤宮 朔夜, Fujimiya Sakuya)
Voiced by: Ōka Kashii
Sakuya is a girl with long brown hair, and is also a childhood friend of Kei's. She has a very straightforward and honest personality. Sakuya is good when it comes to housework.
Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai is the ninth title developed by the visual novel developer August, after their previous titles such as Fortune Arterial and Aiyoku no Eustia. The project was overseen by game director Rune, and the scenario was written by three people: Taku Sakakibara, Hiroyuki Uchida, and Hideaki Anzai. Character design and art direction for the game was provided by Bekkankō, and CG supervision was handled by Michi. The game's background music was produced by members of Active Planets. Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai was released on January 25, 2013 as a DVD for Windows as a limited edition version. The regular edition was released on January 31, 2014. A fan disc for Windows titled Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai: Hōkago Shippo Days (大図書館の羊飼い～放課後しっぽデイズ～, lit. After School Tail Days), rated for ages 15 and older, was initially sold at Comiket 84 on August 10, 2013 and later for general sale on January 31, 2014. An adult fan disc for Windows titled Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai: Dreaming Sheep (大図書館の羊飼い -Dreaming Sheep-) was released on March 28, 2014. A PlayStation Vita port of the original Windows game and the two fan discs under the title Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai: Library Party was released on February 15, 2015. The port also contains additional content, such as the addition of a new heroine.
A manga adaptation, titled Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai and illustrated by Akane Sasaki, began serialization in the May 2012 issue of ASCII Media Works' Dengeki G's Magazine. The manga ended serialization in the magazine's May 2014 issue and continued serialization in Dengeki G's Comic between the June 2014 and January 2015 issues. The first volume of Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai was released on November 27, 2012; two volumes have been released as of July 27, 2013. A second manga, titled Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai: The Little Lutra Lutra and illustrated by Shiroi Kusaka, was serialized between the July 2012 and June 2013 issues of Kadokawa Shoten's Comptiq. Two volumes of The Little Lutra Lutra were released between December 26, 2012 and June 6, 2013.
A third manga, titled Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai: Lovely Librarians and illustrated by Rico, began serialization in the September 2012 issue of ASCII Media Works' Dengeki Hime. The first volume of Lovely Librarians was released on March 15, 2013; two volumes have been released as of December 12, 2013. A fourth manga, titled Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai: Library 4 you and illustrated by Wasabi, began serialization in the October 2012 issue of Ichijinsha's Manga 4-koma Palette. The first volume of Library 4 you was released on July 22, 2013. A fifth manga, titled Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai: Hitoribotchi no Diva (ひとりぼっちの歌姫（ディーヴァ）, Hitoribotchi no Dīva, Lonely Diva) and illustrated by Norio Tsukudani, was serialized between the November 2012 and October 2013 issues of Media Factory's Monthly Comic Alive. Two volumes of Hitoribotchi no Diva were released between February 23 and October 23, 2013. Ichijinsha published two volumes of a manga anthology illustrated by various artists titled Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai: Comic Anthology between April 25 and June 25, 2013.
A 56-page "super prelude" book for Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai was published by Enterbrain on July 27, 2012. A light novel titled Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai: Overture, written by Noritake Tao and illustrated by Bekkankō, was published by Enterbrain on August 30, 2012. A 63-page Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai heroine profile book was published by Kadokawa Shoten on December 20, 2012. Enterbrain published two volumes of a light novel series adaptation of Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai, written by Noritake Tao and illustrated by Masao Aona, with cover illustrations by Bekkankō, between January 30 and April 30, 2013. Enterbrain also published a 320-page visual fan book on June 28, 2013, consisting of detailed story explanations, character introductions, rough illustrations, stage commentaries and interviews from the staff and cast.
An anime television series adaptation produced by Hoods Entertainment began airing in Japan on October 8, 2014. An original video animation episode will be bundled with the first DVD and Blu-ray compilation volumes to be released on December 25, 2014. The direction, character design and animation direction is shared by five people under the collective name Team Nico: Ken'ichi Konishi, Tomomi Kamiya, Asami Sodeyama, Kaori Hayashi and Yū Shinoda. The screenplay is written by Kiyoko Yoshimura and the music is produced by Active Planets. The anime has been licensed for streaming in North America by Funimation, and will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on July 12, 2016.
Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai has nine pieces of theme music: two opening themes, two ending themes, and five insert songs. The first opening theme is "Straight Sheep" (ストレイトシープ) by Ceui, and the second opening theme is "Yume Kai Biyori" (夢飼い日和) by Hagumi Nishizawa. The sub ending theme is "Dear Smile" by Ceui and the main ending theme is "Ashita e no Shiori" (明日への栞) by Nishizawa. The insert songs are credited to the five heroines: "Natural Garden" (ナチュラルガーデン) by Tsugumi Shirasaki, "Sazanami Tsubaki" (さざなみ椿) by Tamamo Sakuraba, "Yozora no Stairs" (夜空のステアーズ) by Senri Misono, "Kimi dake no Day Star" (君だけのDay Star) by Kana Suzuki, and "Michite, Hiite" (みちて、ひいて) by Nagi Kodachi. The opening theme for Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai: Dreaming Sheep is "Dreaming Sheep" (ドリーミングシープ) by Mitsuki Nakae. The first ending theme is "Hitsujikumo no Sora ni" (ひつじ雲の空に), also by Mitsuki, and the second ending theme is "Sacrament" (サクラメント) by Wagumi Nishizawa.
The single for "Straight Sheep", which also contains "Yume Kai Biyori", was released on August 24, 2012. The single for "Ashita e no Shiori", which also contains "Dear Smile", was released on January 25, 2013. An image song album titled Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai: Vocal Collection was released on March 29, 2013. The game's original soundtrack was released on May 24, 2013 in a three-disc collection containing 41 tracks.
The anime has two pieces of theme music. The opening theme song is "On my Sheep" by Mitsuki Nakae, and the ending theme song is "Aozora to Green Belt" (青空とグリーンベルト) by Hagumi Nishizawa.
In 2012, Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai ranked four times in the top ten in national PC game pre-orders in Japan. The rankings were at No. 4 in September, No. 3 in October, and twice at No. 2 in November and December. Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai ranked first in terms of national sales of PC games in Japan in January 2013. Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai was No. 1 in the 2013 sales ranking on Getchu.com, a major redistributor of visual novel and domestic anime products. The game maintained first place in sales ranking for the month of its release, and in February the ranking dropped down to No. 11. The fan disc, Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai: Dreaming Sheep, ranked at No. 1 in sales for March 2014. In April 2014, Dreaming Sheep's ranking in sales dropped down to No. 20.
In January 2013, Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai was voted No. 1 in Getchu's Bishōjo Game Awards as the best game of the month. It was voted as the best overall title of 2013, and ranked fourth in the vote results for the best scenario. Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai has also been ranked third in the 2013 game ranking for system, third in the 2013 game ranking for graphics, first place in the 2013 game ranking for music, and second in the 2013 game ranking for best movie. In the 2013 character poll held on Getchu, Suzuki Kana was voted No. 2, Kodachi Nagi at No. 12, and Ureshino Sayumi at No. 20.