Kiiro Yumi, Library Wars: Love and War, vol. 1 (ViZ, 2010)
In an America where the religious right are gaining more sway with each day that passes and new attempts to ban books every day (over ten thousand challenges to books in school and public libraries have been recorded by the American Library Association since 1990), Library Wars: Love and War cannot help but be germane.
The storyline is almost utopian in some ways: in a near-future Japan where censorship is an official government function, the Library Defense Forces are the only officially-sanctioned group capable of standing in their way. Iku Kasahara’s sole goal in life has been to be a member of the LDF since one of its members stopped the government from confiscating a book she’d just bought when she was young, and now, despite the disapproval of her parents, she’s not only training to become a member of the LDF, but she’s fast-tracked to the Task Force, the elite squad of which, if she is picked, she will become the first female member in history. But LDF training is difficult enough, especially when Drill Seregant Dojo seems to have it out for her, and then to add on the regular library duties of a Task Force member? Can Isu handle it, or will she be overwhelmed?
The first volume is pretty lightweight, but it’s all setup anyway, building what looks like a developing love triangle (though, really, having your guys exhibiting two different sets of emotions would have been nice) and the larger world in which the action takes place; I’m certainly willing to cut it a little slack for moving slowly, since there’s an entire series ahead of it. Not great, but certainly not bad, and I love the idea. ***