Manga-ka: Kiiro Yumi
Publisher: Viz Media
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: August 2010
Synopsis: “When the director of the Kanto Library Base gets sick, a temporary replacement is assigned, according to regulations. But Iku and her roommate Asako discover a trail of missing books that leads back to the temporary director Has he betrayed everything the Library Forces stand for an handed books over to the enemy?!”
Readers looking to Library Wars for guns blazing in the name of saving books may be a little disappointed with volume two. I was a little let-down myself that there wasn’t much more actual book-defense than last time after the first volume had so much importance spent on training.
We are rewarded with one assault on their library that sends the trained flying and the alarms sounding. It’s great seeing them put their training into action to stop an onslaught of outside officers from taking a bag of books they deem offensive. The incident begins on a more internal level as Iku’s roommate starts to suspect something before it tears into defense-mode when they become under attack.
Admittedly I find it a little silly watching all this taken so far in terms of censorship, though that isn’t to say I don’t find the very notion of it scary. On one hand you have the library versus MBC agents that leads to instances like the aforementioned, but then moments before and after you’ll have regular citizens and patrons using the library as they please. It’s part of what makes it interesting I suppose, seeing the stark contrast. One second a little girl is reading a book in the library, the next she’s being screamed at to drop the apparently offensive book as men in swat gear tear through the building. I’m left wondering what the rest of the world is like when books read by children are so harshly dealt with yet still so overlapping with the politics of it all.
A love-triangle has come together and become the central aspect of the story. Tezuka, in attempts to get to know her better by higher-up suggestion and out of general interest, asks Iku out. Iku is flustered but unsure and tells Tezuka she’ll give him an answer once she has time to think it over. Meanwhile Iku continues to have affections for her mysterious past-saviour who it feels fairly evident she knows is her Commander, Dojo. Dojo for his part is obviously a little bothered by Tezuka asking Iku out but handles is professionally, not wanting to compromise anyone or anything via stepping over the chain of command. Even when it isn’t directly occurring, these romantic-overtones are still ever present and feel like the bulk of the story’s attention.
My favourite part of the story though is still seeing Iku and Dojo standing next to one another. Dojo is shorter than Iku which is such a unique physical difference in shoujo-manga and I find it such a neat quirk. It may not seem like much but I can’t help but smile every time I see them share the page.
The romance is cute but I guess I was expecting more of a series with such a great premise. The story’s still cute and the characters lively and likeable, but I think I need to lower my expectations of cool-factor to enjoy it a bit more for what it is. Library Wars is a little more Love Wars in a library setting but it works the library defense aspects strongly enough when they do happen to keep it well-rounded overall.