Library Wars: Love and War, Vol 9 by Kiiro Yumi
This manga is one of my go-to comfort reads. As a librarian, I am always happy to read about Library Wars‘s slight goofy premise of librarians becoming a paramilitary force to fight censorship, and while the development of the inevitable romance between overly tall rookie recruit Iku Kasahara and her intense, slightly short, and ever capable instructor Dojo might not be filled with much suspense, there are plenty of adorable and amusing moments along the way.
Iku now knows that Dojo is her fabled “Prince”, the long lost officer from her past who inspired her to join the Library Force. Dojo doesn’t yet know that she knows, but it is growing more and more difficult for the would-be couple to hide their feelings for each other. This volume is fairly episodic, but the stories do serve to push Iku and Dojo closer together. Iku takes part in a sting operation to catch a pervert that is preying on disabled women in the library, and Dojo isn’t very happy that she was placed in harm’s way even though she does manage to finish off the mission capably. Most of the volume centers around the skill test that Iku, Tezuka, and Shibazaki must pass to move up a level. Tezuka and Shibazaki don’t need to worry about passing the written part of the test, but Dojo volunteers to subject Iku to some merciless tutoring to make sure that she’ll be able to advance in her chosen profession. The skills test is where Iku will shine, because it involves leading a storytime for little kids. Tezuka has a bit of a child phobia, and he isn’t sure how to handle it. Iku seems incredibly casual about the situation but as she wanders around going on extra walks, she’s actually designing an incredibly successful active learning activity that ensures she’s going to pass the skill test with high marks. There are some great moments of awkwardness as Dojo apologizes to Iku for not having more faith in her, and she tries to give him a present in thanks for his help on the test.
In many ways, Library Wars is a standard sort of shoujo title, but Yumi’s art easily shifts between showing details of blushes and cartoonish negative emotions as the characters experience the agony of unexpressed love. The paramilitary library plotlines are amusing if one doesn’t think too hard about them, and Iku and Dojo are such a cute couple that I’d happily read many more volumes of the manga.
I didn’t realize that a live action movie adaptation was going to be released in Japan next month! Check out the trailer, what do you think?