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Ian Wolf's review
"Never lend books; no one ever returns them. The only books I have in my library are books other people have lent me." – Anatole France
When reading Library Wars I cannot help but make parallels with the real world, because although we have not got into any armed conflicts over the control of books and libraries, there is the non-violent war with regards to the internet and censorship going on at the moment.
Now in its seventh manga volume, Library Wars is adapted from a series of light novels by Hiro Arikawa, set in the year 2019, in which books are subject to heavy censorship by Japan's "Media Betterment Committee." Fighting against this is the "Library Defence Force" which is trying to protect books from being censored. The story follows one member of the forces, Iku Kasahara, stationed at the Kanto Library Base, fighting for literature alongside her drill instructor Atsushi Dojo, who she is unaware is her "Prince" that inspired her to join the force in the first place after he protected a book she wanted to read.
This volume starts with the library having to deal with someone posting negative reviews of books on a website (I wonder how many online reviews the creators of Library Wars read of their work?) which later results in Kasahara and Dojo being called before an enquiry about whether or not they were involved in book burning.
However, the main development in the story is with one of the minor characters, Hikaru Tezuka, whom it is revealed has an older brother, Satoshi, who works for the pro-censorship government and is controlling certain things behind the scenes. Satoshi is constantly trying to get Hikaru to join him. Although Hikaru refuses Satoshi says to himself that, "You will be mine." (p. 56).
In terms of the art, nothing is really original. Even Kiiro Yumi, the person responsible for adapting the story, says, "It may not be the best artwork, but I hope you enjoy it from cover to cover." (p. 23)
I have to say it is pleasingly enjoyable, primarily because of the storyline and plot, which is more Arikawa's department. As I mention earlier, we currently live at a time where people are worried about internet censorship and piracy. There are always talks about ACTA, SOPA, the Digital Economy Act and so on.
We live at a time where it is possible that the government will censor the internet and limit what we can read and see online. I would argue that the only difference towards the potential censorship of material online and the way books are treated by the government in Library Wars is that, rather than book burning, we should be worried about firewall building.
|Score:||6 out of 10|
|Review By:||Ian Wolf|
|Date Published:||Sun, 19 Feb 2012|