Title: Library Wars: Love and War Volume 6
Author/Artist: Kiiro Yumi
Original Concept: Hiro Arikawa
Distributor: Viz Media Shojo Beat
American Release Date: September 6, 2011
Format, genre and length: Shojo manga, 200 pages
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: T+ Older Teen
Overall Personal Rating: B-
They live in a time where two different forces are pulling for control over media. One side, the Media Betterment Committee, wants to restrict access to some books and media to protect society. The other side, the Library Forces, wants to protect books and the access to them. Iku Kasahara is a Library Force member and with her team, they strive to protect the libraries and their mission.
It is Valentine’s Day in Japan.Iku Kasahara is wondering who she is going to give chocolate to. Before it gets too complicated in her mind, she settles on “courtesy chocolate” for the guys on the task force. Of course, she wishes it was an opportunity to give chocolate to her boss Dojo, the guy she has a crush on. When an error on paper work keeps her late in the office to fix it, he stays to help. Will this give her the chance she secretly longs for and would she be brave enough to take it?
Her friend, Shibazaki, has been going to lunch with a guy and the other women at the library have been relentlessly talking aobut it, some in a good way, some more toward the vicious side. Sibazaki doesn’t want to discuss anything about it, even seeming aloof. We get to see some back history of why she acts they way she does. By talking about Dojo, she cleverly turns the attention away from herself. Although this is a way to manipulate the situation and Kasahara, Shibazaki is starting to wonder if she could be a real friend.
A controversial magazine article is coming out and the task force is expecting to have to deal with a raid. A committee meets to figure out how to handle the release of the illegal information contained in the article. The new leader surprises some with his decision making them wonder if there is more surprises to come from him.
This series is hard to peg. This volume is very shojo, where previous ones haven’t been. I really wish the Library Force wasn’t so exaggerated. “To protect all books with our lives” is a quote from the manga and to me it comes across as silly and forced. If it was more realistic, it would actually be more edgy and powerful. Imagining it to be a real possibility could really draw the reader in. As it stands, it is too over idealistic. To protect a book with one’s life. Really? No way. As this issue focused on relationships, there is very little of the media conflict and the army part seemed out of place, where before the focus was much more valued. There was a slightly odd moment between Kasahara and Shibazaki, I’m thinking it just didn’t trasnslate well culturally.
Occasionally in the manga, somethings seem to flip around and I’m not sure what is going on, whether something is imaginary or real, or stepping into the past. A second reading clears this up. My favorite parts were with moments where we looked into the past of the characters to see the things and people who influenced who they are and what they are doing now.
The drawings are full screen and well done with dynamic lay out and structure. The clothes and hair are visually beautiful. I thought the snow scene, although minor in the story, came out well. I can’t imagine it to be easy to depict a successful scene where it is snowing .
Cute in places but not a standout shojo. The task force mission is just not believable enough for this volume and doesn’t mesh well with the light hearted moments but with the tension between Dojo and Kasahara, there is something brewing here.
After helping another library, part of the force, including Kasahara and Dojo, are treated to a hotel with a hot springs. It leads to Kasahara chasing some bad guys into the men’s only spa and with her commeting on Dojo’s excellent body. Cute and tickelish bit of shojo. This light hearted section was my favorite.
Overall Grade: B-