The concept of Library Wars jumped off the page of the press release Viz Media sent me about their new books.
Librarian heroes. I couldn’t resist.
In a future where the government creates a special committee to destroy books that are “unsuitable,” libraries and local governments respond by forming a special military unit to preserve books. The Library Defense Forces or LDF are charged with protecting books and readers at all costs, even their lives. The main character of volume one is Iku Kasahara, who has dreamed of being part of the LDF since she was a young girl. The volume follows her training, especially her love/hate relationship with her drill instructor.
What Kids Will Like About It:
Library Wars is classified by Viz as shojo, meaning that it’s a story marketed to girls. I didn’t find anything particularly girlie about Library Wars save for the fact that the main character is female. There is romantic tension between Iku and her drill instructor but in many ways, this story plays out similarly to other stories about young idealistic heroes who join the military in order to serve a higher cause.
That the higher cause is the preservation of books is something many kids who love reading will find appealing. The book has a quick pace and contains a lot of humor but also a good deal of action.
What Parents Will Like About it:
If you grew up a reader, I think it’s impossible to lose the love of libraries and books. This story appeals to that love. While it does suffer from some manga elements that I don’t enjoy, mainly over-the-top humor that seems too ridiculous, it also has surprising emotional depth as Iku struggles to prove herself worthy.
My favorite is in a flashback as Iku–then a young girl–first sees the LDF in action. The panel where she’s handed back a book that she’d been desperately trying to protect is note perfect.
About the Creators:
According to a press release from Viz, Library Wars is based on a collection of novels written by Hiro Arikawa that were extremely popular in Japan, selling more than one million copies. Arikawa won the 10th Dengeki Novel Prize for her work Shio no Machi: Wish on My Precious in 2003 and debuted with the same novel in 2004.
Kiiro Yumi, who adapted the novels for this collection, won the 42nd LaLa magazine Manga Grand Prix Fresh Debut award for her manga Little Billy’s Depression.