*Library Wars: Love & War Book 1 — Recommended

This energetic adventure with a touch of romance has behind the action an anti-censorship message any manga reader can support. Library Wars is based on a novel series by Hiro Arikawa about a future Japan where the Media Betterment Act allows the national government to seize any books they deem offensive for any reason. They’re opposed by librarians, whose code speaks of freedom to acquire and read any book in privacy. They’re fighting for a citizen’s right to access media freely… only this time, the fight is literal.

Library Wars: Love & War Book 1 cover
Library Wars: Love & War Book 1
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Iku is in training to join the Library Forces. It’s kind of like the Book Lovers’ Army, with military ranks, procedure, and discipline. She’s doing well physically, but she struggles with the knowledge she needs to handle the full scope of her job. She’s got heart, though — and a touching backstory where she was inspired at a young age by a mistily remembered Forces member.

Her fellow soldiers include the girly Asako and their instructor Dojo, who is the early favorite to be the man who set her on this career path. The chapters are typical stories of learning to do one’s best, building teamwork, how to depend on others, how to do one’s job well and follow orders of legitimate authority… what sets them apart is the unique setting, one that made Iku’s struggles to be a good soldier entertaining to me.

She’s drawn cutely, but with an edge. It’s clear that Dojo likes her for her personality, which shows through in her movement. The action is clear and exciting, with settings ranging from library stacks to a wilderness training exercise. Iku doesn’t act much older than an overgrown schoolgirl, with concerns over what others think of her and learning to moderate her emotions and passion.

I’m eager to read more of Iku’s journey — I’m going to enjoy seeing her grow into her important role, defending the freedom to read. (The publisher provided a review copy.)

9 Comments

  1. […] librarians protecting books and preventing censorship. You can find approving early reviews at Manga Worth Reading and The Manga […]

  2. I read a positive review of this in OtakuUSA recently and it appealed to me so much I immediately added it to my my manga shopping list on Amazon. I haven’t purchased it yet but I have every intention of starting this series soon!

  3. […] really enjoyed reading Library Wars. So did Tangognat, so much so that she’s giving away a copy. Leave a comment per instructions […]

  4. […] Viz also has some exciting ongoing series, like Library Wars Book 2 (JUN10 1187, $9.99), about a future where librarians become soldiers to protect the freedom […]

  5. […] Previous review […]

  6. […] most interesting elements of the series have been downplayed by this point in favor of generic romantic comedy. Dojo and Iku spat and […]

  7. […] inspiration is her current boss. That’s a “secret” most readers have known since Book 1. And it means we get yet another flashback recap of those events, a scene at this point I was tired […]

  8. […] having a hard time recognizing what I ever saw in this series. I think I wanted it to be science fiction, doing more with the censorship premise, […]

  9. Read the first and third book so great need to find the rest of the books. In love with them, and love Iku Kasahara and Atsushi Dojo’a relationship (the love hate one). Iknow who the ‘Prince’ is!!!!!!!

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