Susan's Reviews > Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 1

Library Wars by Kiiro Yumi
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Jan 21, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: manga-graphic-novels
Read in January, 2012

In the world of this series, censorship is rampant, with book burnings and book seizures such a concern that libraries and local government agencies have had to organize (and mobilize) to fight back in the form of special military units called the Library Forces. The newest brash young star in the Forces is agent Iku Kasahara, who was inspired to enter her career because of a heroic act she had witnessed in her youth. Her bravery (and hotheadedness know no bounds) and neither does the drama of
the love/hate relationship she has with her instructor, Master Dojo, who is constantly drilling her and critizing her, trying to channel all that Freedom of Information passion into something that's a little more focused and disciplined. Unbeknownst to Kasahara, he also happens to be the very hero who set her on her course. Unbeknownst to him, Kasahara's respect for his devotion to the Library Forces and his general integrity are slowly but surely working him into her good graces in spite of his best efforts to drive a wedge between the two of them. Great series for romantic tension, to be sure, and kind of a great series overall, in spite of a fair share of predictability. The characters have a lot of personality and likability. While it is too bad that Iku's bravery and fierce commitment to ethics (the things that make her such a standout member of the Library Forces team) are often undermined by her rashness, I think this series has a lot more substance to it than many Shoujo series I've come across. In spite of the predicaments she gets into, I think it is clear that she is both a good soldier and a woman with feelings, and at the end of the day, this balances in her favor. I also think being so quick to dismiss the females in the series does a huge injustice to the character of Shibasaki, a whiz of a librarian, fellow Library Wars task member, and Kasahara's BFF. I think she's almost the secret heroine of the series. Though initially she would seem to be just the token gorgeous character that everyone loves, Shibasaki's personality transcends what could have easily been a fluff role. Though she likes to toss off the odd flirtatious comment or two, it's clear that in reality, she's no fluff, all business. She's super intelligent and insightful, sarcastic and independent, and---as you finally get to see 'round about volume six, kind of nuanced and a little vulnerable underneath it all (not that she'd let anyone see it). Although she's in the buddy role, as the "pretty girl" she's actually new to the experience, having grown up as the victim of jealousy and gossip, so her friendship with Kasahara is actually a lot cooler and more complex than you'd think.

Some things are givens. I know...without having to read further, that in every volume Iku is going to end up doing something crazy or hasty albeit for the best possible reasons, that there will be much bickering between her and Dojo, and that eventually they will have to, have to, get together---that in every volume the crisis of the day will resolve as nicely in the end as an old familiar sitcom, but I'll keep reading anyway---because Yumi has a way of making you really really care about these characters. I started reading this because it was about libraries and fighting censorship, and I still love that---but I keep reading because I love the characters. I don't think it's an accident that this series was one of the best circulating graphic novels in our teen collection this year.
I'm through volume 6 and would practically recommend this for any age. It's just fun. I almost see it as if Full Metal Alchemist had a Shoujo cousin.


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