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Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 7 Paperback – February 7, 2012
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About the Author
Kiiro Yumi won the 42nd LaLa Manga Grand Prix Fresh Debut award for her manga Billy Bocchan no Yuutsu (Little Billy’ s Depression). Her latest series is Toshokan Senso Love&War (Library Wars: Love & War), which runs in LaLa magazine in Japan and is published in English by Viz Media.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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And thus begins the story arc about the Inquiry--a sort of Spanish-Inquisition-like process (minus the physical torture) in which the committee interrogates their target until they break and confess to whatever they're accused of. As if that's not bad enough, the person also ends up shunned by those in the dorms and at work, because of the stigma of being a suspect. It can go on for as long as the committee wants. Iku learns that Dojo has gone through the trauma of an Inquiry, though no one will tell her what for. And then, against all odds, Kasahara herself is implicated and must undergo an inquiry of her own. It's really touching to see how upset Dojo is about this, having gone through one himself and knowing how terrible they are, and the lengths he goes to in caring for her during the ordeal. Love his promise to protect her. And it's really heartwarming to see her team all band together to try and help her get through the Inquiry. I love how this trial really brings out more of Dojo's tenderness toward Kasahara and we even see him smile and openly give her the approval she's always looking for. I think she impresses him with her perseverance. It must be really hard for him, wanting to protect her but having to work within the confines of the military structure or risk making things worse.
Also during the course of the Inquiry, Kasahara learns that her prince went through one, too, because of his actions to help her back in high school (and no, being Kasahara, she doesn't put two and two together and figure out who he is, LOL). The scene between her and Dojo where she tells him it breaks her heart to know her prince went through that because of her is a really nice one. I'd love to see it from his point of view, but I love that he tells her he's sure her prince would do the same thing again (come to her rescue) despite the Inquiry.
I rated this one a little lower than normal because, while I don't mind action or plot-heavy volumes, there was a lot of focus on other characters rather than on Kasahara and Dojo and their relationship (which I increasingly want more of, the more I read of the series) and a lot of focus on library politics, which isn't one of the more compelling aspects of the story for me. I like the other characters, but I love the volumes where Dojo and Kasahara are center stage the most. There's a nice little Marie/Komaki bonus story at the end that's cute.
The main plot of this volume involves a librarian that has been writing negative reviews and posting them on the library's website with the permission of the head librarian. Though some of his co-workers disagree with his opinions, he justifies himself by saying that the library also posts positive reviews on its website and that he even puts a warning on his reviews that his writings only represent his point-of-view, not the library as a whole, and that what he write could be seen as insulting by people that enjoy the books he is criticizing.
However, the main protagonist, Iku, goes as far as threatening his life at one point when he gives a negative review of a book she likes.
But, honestly, the guy was /completely right./ If the library is publishing positive reviews, it'd be censorship is they didn't allow negative reviews as well. Iku, who speaks out so violently against censorship of any form, opposes her co-workers right to publish negative reviews. In fact, most of the library does. It's really quite ironic. In the end, the reviewer is marked a villain.
But aside from that one plot point that bothers me to no end, it's a good series and worth reading.
This volume has a bit of a shaky transition from the last volume. It pretty much starts right in with a new mini story arc which is dealt with from beginning to end within this one volume. However this story arc paves the way for a new plotline involving a book burning and someone (or group of someones) out to get not only the Library Forces but Kasahara in particular. I said for the last volume, I wanted to get back to the sci-fi story and am happy that this volume mostly concentrates on the Library Force and its opposition but this time it seems to be coming from within the Library System. As far as romance goes Kasahara and Dojo take a backseat in this volume to Shibazaki and Asahina's budding romance, along with Marie and Mikihisa's. K &D do, however have some close, touching moments that bring them closer together while at the same time continuing their usual bickering, though it is not as mean-spirited this time around. A good entry in the series and the plot line started with this volume is interesting and will continue on.