Library Wars: Love & War Volume 15
When Viz launched Library Wars: Love & War in English in the summer of 2010, I appreciated the premise, of an organized force of librarians who form an army to defend the right to read and defeat government censorship. However, the series became much more focused on its dippy heroine and her crushes (typical of its shojo genre) than the science-fiction exploration of the premise I hoped for, so I stopped reading with volume 5 in 2011.
I checked back into the series by Kiiro Yumi when I saw that Library Wars: Love & War volume 15 was the final book in its run. (The four original novels by Hiro Arikawa turned into 15 manga volumes.) As such, it does everything a reader of the series could hope for.
Iku has grown up quite a bit since I last saw her. Instead of clumsy new recruit, she’s now capable of handling a mission solo, and she’s been tasked with conveying a novelist to a safe location while the government is after them both, so they must go in secret. She’s still inspired by her teacher/love interest, though, giving us scenes of her thinking about him whenever she’s stressed, foregrounding the emotional aspect.
This mission was plenty understandable to someone like me who hasn’t read the story in a while. In a way, it’s a bit generic to anyone who has read similar thrillers — must deliver item X to place Y in spite of opposing forces — but there’s a clever twist to it that adds a light-hearted note. Her actions also have bigger effects on the country’s laws, which leads into the big picture, “jump ahead three years” happy finale, where things have changed for the better both personally and politically. Even though I really didn’t remember much about these characters, they were in such basic roles that I could still share the happy feelings. (The publisher provided a review copy.)