Saturday, July 6, 2013

Manga Review: Library Wars: Love & War, Volume 1, by Kiiro Yumi and Hiro Arikawa

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)
Volumes: 11+
Spoilers?: No/Very Minor.

Goodreads Synopsis:

In the near future, the federal government creates a committee to rid society of books it deems unsuitable. The libraries vow to protect their collections, and with the help of local governments, form a military group to defend themselves--the Library Forces!

Iku Kasahara has dreamed of joining the Library Defense Force ever since one of its soldiers stepped in to protect her favorite book from being confiscated in a bookstore when she was younger. But now that she's finally a recruit, she's finding her dream job to be a bit of a nightmare. Especially since her hard-hearted drill instructor seems to have it in for her!


When VIZ first released this, I’m not sure why, but I didn’t pick it up. It sounded like it might be more serious, I guess, but I didn’t really hear much about it. Recently, though, I’ve decided that I think I wanted to give it a try. And so, when I got the chance recently, I picked up a few volumes. And now I’m starting to wish that I had picked up more.
When I did finally pick it up, I thought it would probably be pretty straight up shojo, and it is, but it’s also rather funny. And just overall entertaining.
Iku Kasahara, the starring role, is training to be on the Library Defense Force, in a world where the local libraries are fighting the government to the right to read whatever they want. The concept is kind of maddening (because, ugghhh, censorship), but it’s also really interesting. And I like what Iku is aiming to be: a hero to other people who love books, someone who can save the books, just as a mysterious man did for her a while back.
Iku is a pretty straightup cliché shojo heroine. She’s got a good heart, is not very smart but tries really hard, is looking for her mysterious man, has a love-hate (only, you know, not love quite yet) with her mentor (the obvious love interest). And I don’t really mind her. She’s not exceptional, but she’s fun, and I’m enjoying following her at the moment.
There’s a lot of other characters, as well. There’s her mentor, Dojo, who’s tough on her, but has a sweet heart. I like him, and am liking seeing her and him getting closer. Also, he’s shorter than Iku, and I like that. Just for the fact that, it bothers him, but it’s not really that big of a deal. Usually the girl is shorter, and the only time I can think of where that wasn’t true, is in Love*Com, where it was a thing, a theme, a major point of contention between the characters. Here, it’s just a fact, neither of them are of extreme heights (she’s 5’7, he’s 5’4), and I like that.
Then there’s another mentor, Komaki, who is always laughing at Dojo and Iku. I quite like him, as well. There’s a more minor character, Major Genda, who is just having a good time, also teasing Dojo and Iku. He’s just all around fun.
There’s Iku’s roommate and friend, Asako Shibazaki, who is training to be a librarian and not on the fighting front. I like her quite a lot. She’s straightforward, but helps Iku when she can, and enjoys flirting with Dojo (who doesn’t flirt back), and likes looking at the men around her. I’m really looking forward to getting to know more about her. Lastly, there’s Tezuka, who’s training with Iku. They have a angry relationship with each other, which is sure to turn into romance later, but I’m already all for Dojo; still, he’s not too bad.
There’s a lot of training, and Iku messing up and then doing her best to do better, and her freaking out over Dojo and Tezuka. It’s just really fun right now, actually, which I was surprised by. And I’m really looking forward to reading more.

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