Manga Review: Library Wars: Love & War Volume 13

Library Wars: Love & War Volume 13 has a concept based on the Statement on Intellectual Freedom in Libraries that went into effect in Japan in 1954. In this series, the Japanese government has passed the Media Betterment Act (MBA) in 1989 which allows the censorship of any media deemed to be potentially harmful to Japanese society. Agents in the Media Betterment Committee (MBC) are deployed with the mandate to go after individuals and organizations that try to conduct freedom of expression activities in the media. However, local governments opposed to the MBA establish armed anti-MBA defense force units to protect libraries from being raided by MBC agents. The story of the series begins in 2019.

Library Wars: Love & War Volume 13
Written by: Kiiro Yumi
Publisher: Hakusensha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: April 7, 2015

Volume 13 primarily follows Iku Kasahara and Atsushi Dojo from the Library Defense Force (LDF) as they try to protect Kurato Toma, a famous writer that the Media Betterment Committee is trying to silence. As it becomes apparent that the MBC has received information on where the LDF is hiding Kurato, Iku and Atsushi are forced to find elaborate ways to smuggle him away from their hiding place to the LDF’s base. If seeing this smuggling transpire wasn’t amusing enough, we also see that Iku is having a hard time controlling the feelings she’s been secretly harboring for Atsushi. As we see the two of them interacting, it appears that Atsushi may have feelings for Iku as well. But with both of them trying to hide what they feel from the other, it creates awkward, yet amusing, interactions between these two characters.

We also see Asako Shibazaki calling Hikaru Tezuka’s older brother, Satoshi. Satoshi is part of the government’s Future of the Library Committee, and she wants to make sure that he’s not the one who revealed Kurato’s hiding place to the MBC. From what we see in this scene, it’s obvious that both of the brothers are interested in Asako, and it almost appears that Satoshi is challenging Hikaru for her. As I read this scene, I couldn’t get over just how closely Satoshi resembles Shigure from Fruits Basket. The resemblance was so similar that I had to remind myself that he wasn’t Shigure.

There’s also a storyline that focuses on Mikihisa Komaki and Marie Nakazawa. Marie is Mikihisa’s childhood friend who has a hearing impairment. From what’s shown in Library Wars: Love & War Volume 13, the two of them are romantically interested in each other. This storyline is rather sweet as it shows the two of them buying rings together, getting crepes together, and ending with Mikihisa kissing Marie. At least someone’s love life seems to be working out in this volume.

While there’s a lot of romance involved in Library Wars: Love & War Volume 13 there’s also some action that takes place. However, the action primarily takes place when Iku and Atsushi are trying to get Kurato to safety. But since this is a shojo manga, it’s not terribly surprising that more emphasis is placed on the romance and the relationships between the characters than on the action.

When it comes to the art in Library Wars: Love & War, the character designs include some of the basic tropes of shojo, such as having several “beautiful boy” male characters and female characters with large eyes. But what catches my attention here is that Yumi is a bit more conservative when it comes to the screentones that are used for this series. While some of the sparkly and bubbly screentones that are associated with shojo appear in Volume 13, they’re not as prevalent as I normally see in other shojo titles. I guess that would be due, at least in part, to what the basic concept of the series is.

Overall, I found Library Wars: Love & War Volume 13 to be an interesting read. There’s an interesting concept going into Library Wars: Love & War and I think readers who enjoy shojo romance stories with a political backdrop will find something to like about this series. And readers who are already reading it should like seeing how the storyline progresses in Library Wars: Love & War Volume 13.

The reviewer received a review copy from VIZ Media

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