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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Manga Review: Library Wars GN 9

Library Wars volume 9
Authors: Kiiro Yumi, Hiro Arikawa
Viz Media/Shojo Beat
192 pages
There's a groper in the library and Library Force members Iku and Shibazaki are sent in as bait! Iku's undercover outfit makes her vulnerable...will she be able to defend herself if the pervert targets her? Later, Library Force members are required to take a test that involves reading stories to a group of rambunctious schoolkids. Coming from a big, unruly family, Iku definitely has the upper hand! (Source: Shojo Beat)
If you're a shojo fan and you're not reading Library Wars, one of the star titles of the Shojo Beat imprint, then you are missing out on one heck of a series. Nine volumes in and it's still the mixture of action and drama that has kept readers glued to the page, as well as the unresolved romantic tension that keeps shippers writing thousand word ship manifestos on Livejournal. In this volume, we see Iku and Dojo's relationship take a dramatic turn, Iku show why she deserves her position at the library, and watch Tezuka slowly come out of his shell thanks to the charm of children.

The pervert in the library story arc is quickly resolved in the first chapter of this volume. That's good; it didn't really have enough steam to continue much longer, and it didn't need to. Plus, it makes way for far more important developments - like the relationship between Iku and Dojo, and the return of Marie to the library. Gosh, Dojo is so protective of his precious Iku-san. The scene when Dojo looks after her post-ankle sprain is too cute for words.
The next story arc involves testing the Force members' skill with children when the applied portion of their latest test involves reading to a bunch of little kids. Naturally, Iku has a big advantage - but Tezuka, the man with the spine of steel who seems unable to even smile, is stressing the event like he's being asked to face a tank and a team of snipers. Good thing for him that Shibazaki is so helpful. I adore Tezuka and Shibazaki so much!
The volume ends with a new story arc that will certainly rock the Library Wars series, as a seemingly innocent interview in a magazine turns into a censorship battle over one single word. Naturally, Iku and the Library Force is stuck dab in the middle of it. Whoever said working at a library was easy has never been in Iku's shoes.
This latest book has all the elements that make this series great - the political intrigue of the library system, the drama of the Force employees' work environment, the various relationships that exist within the Library Force, and of course the 'JUST KISS ALREADY!' brand of romance brewing between Iku and Dojo. And with Iku finally accepting the fact that Dojo is her mystery prince, that romance is blooming into the awkward goofy 'wait do I love him?' phase that made Ouran High School Host Club a classic - and Library Wars is doing as good a job as Tamaki and Haruhi, minus the plot mandated gender bending.

Volume nine is a fantastic addition to the Library Wars series. If you're not reading it, now is the time to start! Even better, the series is now available both in paperback and in e-book format. Whether you have a Nook or a Kindle, the adventures of Iku and company could be on your e-reader right now! (Hey man, you'd be Library Wars' hype person too if you wanted it to keep being published.)