By Leroy Douresseaux
February 24, 2011 - 08:13
|Library Wars Volume 4 cover image is courtesy of barnesandnoble.com.
Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
In the near future, the Media Betterment Act allows the national government to seize any books it deems offensive for any reason. In response, libraries and local governments form the Library Forces to protect their collections from the federal government. This force is essentially an army to defend books. The story focuses on two characters: Iku Kasahara, a young woman who is new to the Library Forces, and Atsushi Dojo, her instructor and a Sergeant First Class.
As Library Wars, Vol. 4 begins, a group calling itself The Bakushu has kidnapped Iku and General Kazuichi Inamine. Dojo is very worried that Iku has not received enough training to handle this situation, but she is about to surprise everyone, including herself. Then, Iku’s parents arrive at headquarters to visit their daughter’s workplace, but they believe that Iku is merely a clerk. Also, Iku and Dojo grow closer, but closer professionally or personally?
THE LOWDOWN: Make no mistake, even with the action scenes and quasi-military setting, Library Wars is essentially a shojo high school romance, except that the would-be-lovers are adults in their 20s. Cartoonist Kiiro Yumi, who created this manga from a light novel series by Hiro Arikawa, presents the pretty art one would expect of shojo manga carrying the “Shojo Beat” label. The art is not spectacularly beautiful, but it does cute very well – as seen in the bonus manga about a lost puppy.
Even with this science fiction or speculative fiction concept, Library Wars is standard romantic melodrama. It isn’t bad or mediocre, but considering that it is a manga about censorship, at a time when some manga are frequently coming under scrutiny for controversial visual depictions, Library Wars should aspire to more than subplots about young love.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Readers wanting anything “Shojo Beat” will want to try Library Wars.