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Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 1 Paperback – June 1, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 11 Up–In the near future, Japan can legally restrict or censor any offensive media. Only libraries can acquire and circulate materials, censored or not. The Library Defense Force (LDF) was formed to protect libraries and their collections. While in high school, Iku Kasahara witnessed an LDF agent stop a government raid on a bookstore. She vowed to join the organization and be like her hero. Fresh out of college, new recruit Iku struggles through LDF training, which is like military boot camp. Based on the light novels by Hiro Arikawa, this adaptation to manga is well crafted. The artwork features natural, realistic character design and movement. Characters' faces are distinctive and expressive. Scenes are nicely detailed; layouts are not overcrowded. The action is fluid and easy to follow. The writing is very good, with engrossing story lines and nuanced characters. However, a problematic area is the treatment of women. Tall and athletic, Iku is the first woman to apply for a combat Defense Force position and not the traditional Librarian post. At one point, her superior slaps her across the face. In other instances, Iku is comforted by encouraging pats on the head from that same officer. Library Wars delivers an appealing, determined female lead in the midst of an intriguing war on censorship being waged in bookstores and libraries. Readers will be curious to see if future story lines focus on Iku's adventures as an LDF agent or on her quest to find her mystery hero.June Shimonishi, Torrance Public Library, CA
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

  • Series: Library Wars: Love & War (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: VIZ Media LLC (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421534886
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421534886
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.6 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #657,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ellen W. VINE VOICE on June 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
..."Library Wars" might have been the result. In the future, the central government of Japan has passed the "Media Decency Act." This act allows the government to confiscate books with "inappropriate material" from bookstores and keep them from the public. The only way people can read these books is through local libraries, who are allowed to collect the banned books and lend them to the public. Still, there is a lot of tension between the two groups, and war has broken out over it. When Iku Kusahara was in high school, government officials raided the local bookstore and almost took the book she'd been waiting for for so long. But the Library Defense Force came to the rescue, and one man in particular saved Iku's book for her. Since that day, she has dreamt of becoming a member of the Library Defense Force and becoming like her prince.

Now, she's making that dream come true. Being on the Defense Force is a very dangerous job, and Iku has to lie to her parents, saying that she's only a librarian. Iku's doing very well, however, her physical strength surpassing most of the men's. The only problem is her drill instructer, Atsushi Dojo. He seems to have it in for her, doing things like making her do push ups for stopping after finishing a race. Iku hates him and argues back with him, but she seems to be stuck with him. But after he supervises her first mission, she begins to see that maybe he's not so bad, after all.

While the plot here seems pretty original, it doesn't make the most of its unique features. The conflict between the government forces and the libraries takes a backseat to Iku's personal woes.
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Library Wars is possibly the best shojo manga series I've ever read. In fact, in general, its one of the best overall, and I've read everything from Dramacon to Zatch Bell, and Skip Beat to Fullmetal Alchemist. Basically, this story occurs during a time when Japan is experiencing extreme censorship (fictionally of course). The federal government is at odds with the local governments. The federal level wants to contain "harmful" books, words, materials, etc. by censoring them. On the other hand, the local government is fighting back by allowing the libraries to continue to keep censored books in their facilities and available to the people. This causes a bunch of different problems, as you can imagine--raids, battles, etc. And as a result, the library has built up a private military to protect the books and the people in its facilities, as well as future interests.

This story follows a young woman who was sparked to join an armed unit of the library forces due to an experience she had as a little girl. It follows two people (and their group of friends) from a seeming mutual dislike to an incredibly deep love, which gets deeper in every volume. This series has a great balance of action, tragedy, suspense, and romance. It also has a way of making you care about the other on-going romances that occur in the series, which is a sign of great writing--being able to seamlessly balance multiple plots in a way that appears effortless. I've reread this series something like 20 times, and my eyes are still glued to the page every time I start reading.

This series isn't about love triangles or shallow high school romances. So if you're looking for a manga that embodies "Mean Girls," look elsewhere. This isn't that kind of story.
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I will say that this isn't my favorite volume in the series. It got off to a bit of a slow start for me (the series, that is) and I didn't get completely hooked until a couple of volumes in. But this was an intriguing start and captured my attention enough that I wanted to read the next book.

I like the parallel between an event that happens during the manga and the event that put Kasahara on the path to becoming a Defense Force member and I thought it was a nice foreshadowing of who her "prince" truly is. There were a few other nice moments in there--Dojo taking the hit to protect Kasahara from the guy she turned her back on was one I really liked (though the aftermath of that and her resulting puffy cheek was a major detractor for me and one I didn't think I was going to be able to get past--thankfully, it didn't happen again and I put it down to a military thing). I also liked how he and the other officers came to back her up during the MBC raid, even though she really wasn't supposed to be doing what she was. And I loved the bear incident, which made me laugh. It was also nice to see that Dojo was trying to make Kasahara feel better and really does care about her, even if he tries hard to hide it. The little bonus strip at the end of that chapter is one of my favorites.

So, a bit of a rocky start to the series for me, but hang in there. It gets dramatically better and it's turned out to be one of my favorite manga series EVER.
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Fun shojo manga. The premise is a bit shaky -other reviewers pointed out that the protagonist would have washed out of the training program in a more realistic story. I live in the US, we're not as free as we think we are and "It CAN happen here", but I'm not sure what it would take for the busybodies around here to start shooting people to clean out the library -and I hope I never have to find out.

The story itself is surprisingly poignant. At the heart of the "Library Wars" is a conflict between federal and local governments (Tea Party members take note!). The protagonist has to deal with the frustration of seeing her expectations conflict with practical concerns.

One thing: Ray Bradbury's novella Fahrenheit 451 is referenced (and revered!) in the LW universe but a distinction must be made. In Bradbury's novella *the majority of people stopped reading of their own accord*, the Firemen were actually redundant. In Library Wars, the censors are resented by a significant number (though clearly not a majority) of regular citizens.
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