Tag Archives: library war

Library Wars Winner

I got some great comments on my library wars giveaway. I will never look at compact shelving or microfilm machines again without trying to estimate their potential for destruction. The winner (according to Random.org) was comment #4 from Rij who said they would fight the enemies of intellectual freedom like this:

First I’d roll over their toes with a book cart, then I’d feed every enemy of intellectual freedom to our copy machine. It eats everything.

Other methods for destroying the forces of censorship included locking them in a room with an anime club, sending secret codes through MARC fields, and constructing a madness inducing labyrinth with the book stacks. Thanks for playing everybody!

Library Wars: Love and War Volume 1 – review and giveaway

I will start out by saying that I am an unabashed fan of the Library War franchise. What is there not to love about stories where librarians fight censorship with machine guns? In Japan there are the original Library War novels, the shoujo and seinen manga versions of the story, the anime, and random tchotkes. Shoujo Beat is bringing out the shoujo version of Library War and I hope it does well enough that we get some of the other types of merchandise released in the US.

In Japan the government has passed laws that have created rival military organizations. The Media Betterment Committee is tasked with control and censorship over all forms of media. The Library Defense Force fights for freedom of expression. Instead of battling censorship in the courtroom, fights over books involve plenty of guns. Going to library school is like going to boot camp. The heroine of Library Wars: Love and War is Iku Kasahara, a freakishly tall athletic girl who had a fateful encounter with a LDF officer when she was a child. He defended her right to read when a book she wanted was about to be confiscated and as a result she’s determined to join the defense force to become just like her ideal “prince”.

One of the things I like about Iku is that she has some of the traits traditionally assigned to male manga heroes. She’s a dumb jock who cares deeply about her job and tries to make up for her shortcomings by trying hard. Her companion in school is her roommate Asako Shibazaki who is enrolled in the more cerebral librarian track while Iku tries to master the physical capabilities necessary to become the first female member of the LDF. The only problem Iku has with her training is her drill instructor Atsushi Dojo. He seems to have singled her out for harsher treatment, or does he just have high expectations for her? He tends to get a strange expression on his face when Iku mentions her long-lost Prince and sometimes he seems strangely familiar to Iku. Iku is determined to antagonize Dojo whenever possible, as she drop kicks him in martial arts class only to find herself trapped in a sadistic headlock.

Iku struggles to attain her goal, foiling people who attempt to deface library property, mastering classification systems, and rappelling down a building. Her strength is her willpower. She loves reading and she’s passionate about defending books. As Iku is singled out to join the LDF she’s joined by another new recruit. Hikaru Tezuka is academically perfect and doesn’t understand why the other new rookie is an emotional mess whose main skills are height and being able to run really fast.

The art in Library Wars is serviceable generic shoujo. I don’t think I’d recognize the artist’s style if I were to read another one of her works, but I’m really reading Library Wars for the story and not the art. This manga gives me the warm fuzzies. Librarianship isn’t a very glamorous profession, and the media portrayals of librarianship don’t often extend beyond the image of a tired old spinster going “shush.” So seeing librarians dressed in uniforms and performing training exercises to become action heroes was enormously entertaining. Iku’s a somewhat familiar character type, but her tendency to never give up is admirable and inspires sympathy in the reader. Seeing her unconventional friendship develop with Dojo was fun. He clearly knows more about her than he’s letting on, and she’s gradually discovering that her merciless drill sergeant might have a soft side. This manga is a must read for anyone that loves books or libraries.

And because I love this manga so much I used some of my amazon referral money to buy an extra copy, and I’m going to give it away to share the Library Wars love. To enter, just leave a comment on this post mentioning what weapon you would use to fight censorship if you were a member of the Library Defense Force. I’ll randomly select a winner on June 10th. I think I would reclaim the metal rods inside library card catalogs and use them to poke the enemies of intellectual freedom full of holes.

Viz gets Library War: Love and War

I don’t remember the last time I was so excited about a new manga license. Viz is going to put out the shoujo manga version of Library War, called Library War: Love and War. Library War is a tender love story about librarians who defend intellectual freedom with machine guns. How could any self-respecting librarian or book lover not adore this manga?!

I only hope that more Library War merchandise makes its way over to North America like the anime, light novels, little keychains, mugs, pencil cases, t-shirts, bookmarks, and cell phone charms. All of that might be too much to hope for, but I’m so happy that this manga is coming out here.

Toshokan Sensō – Library War 12

The final episode! I’ve been drawing out my viewing of this anime because I didn’t want it to end. I also find it difficult to find the time to watch any anime at all these days.

Poor Dojo is in the hospital recovering from his injuries in the battle for the museum. He isn’t in bad shape physically but is suffering from shell shock. He just sits and stares blankly at a TV. Iku runs up to talk to him, but he doesn’t respond to her.

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Toshokan Sensō – Library War Episode 9

Iku dreams that she’s talking to her prince charming. She asks him to tell her his name. He turns around and it is Dojo, telling her that she’s an idiot and she needs to get back to work. She wakes up screaming “Noooooooooooo!” At work Iku keeps beating her head against her desk. Hikaru and Shibasaki are mystified by her behavior.

Iku is mortified that she talked about her prince charming in front of Dojo. Hikaru says she must be stressing about her promotion test. Komaki helpfully explains that only 50% of the people who take the test manage to pass, and there’s a written part and a practical part. He suggests that she get to work memorizing a book. Iku freaks out. Dojo comes into the room and tells her not to worry, because he’ll supervise her test preparation. Iku falls out of her chair. Dojo moves to help her up.

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Toshokan Sensō – Library War Episode 8

I’ve fallen way behind in my Library War blogging.

Iku is called before a tribunal because the ratfink Sumigawa falsely named her as a collaborator. He’s unreachable at the moment, because he is allegedly sick and resting at home. Iku’s friends wonder if this is the work of the horrible Administrative Faction of the Library Corps. Iku has no idea what they’re talking about, so Dojo helpfully explains with the aid of charts:

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Toshokan Sensō – Library War Episode 7

An unassuming man in a suit approaches Iku’s roommate Shibasaki in the library and asks for her help in locating information about book burning. She wonders why he’s looking for such dangerous information. Iku and Hikaru are discussing Shibasaki’s love life, how she met a guy when he asked her a reference question and went out for drinks with him. Iku peeks in on her roommate’s date through the cafe window. Iku and Hikaru continue their spying inside and conclude that Shibasaki doesn’t seem very interested in her new man. Iku drops a glass, causing a commotion.

Cafe spies

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Toshokan Sensō – Library War Episode 6

The episode opens with Iku and Komaki fleeing from the Media Enhancement Committee. They’ve just gone to rare book store to pick up a valuable copy of “The Book of Prophecy” aka Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. As they run away Komaki is shot in the leg. Iku yells at the MEC troops, saying that they aren’t allowed to fire a shot in a residential neighborhood. Komaki and Iku take refuge in a train yard.

Iku calls for help

Dojo and Tezuka head out to rescue them. Shibasaki is enjoying having her room to herself, but she notices the trucks heading out. Tezuka seems to pause briefly to talk on his cell phone. While Iku and Komaki are waiting to be picked up, Komaki comments that Iku reminds him of Dojo when he was younger. Flashback time!

Komaki tells a story

Komaki and Dojo are defending a hall filled with fairy tales and picture books. A pitched battle between the Library Corps and the MEC lasts until dawn. An idiot MEC officer shoots near a little boy who is trying to enter the hall, and Dojo runs out to yell at the MEC, just the way Iku did. He then challenges them to a fistfight and gets throughly beaten up. Genda encouraged everyone to join the melee. Afterwards, Dojo is rewarded by being made group leader in an attempt to use responsibility to curb his recklessness.

Young Dojo with a shiner

The MEC troops have staked out the train yard where Iku and Komaki are hiding. Dojo and Tezuka observe from above, and then proceed to stake out optimal positions.
Iku and Komaki realize that the MEC are going to find them soon so they venture out from their hiding place after stashing the book. The MEC capture them and continue to search for the book. It’s morning and the first train starts to move. A MEC officer realizes that the book has to be hidden on the train, Iku tries and fails to distract him by demanding to go to the bathroom. The Library Corps start staging an ambush, but the MEC leader calls the mission off. They’ve been ordered to stop by the Judiciary Committee because someone reported the shot fired earlier.

Dojo is annoyed that Komaki got shot. He walks up to an MEC officer, and Iku thinks Dojo is going to throw a punch. Instead Dojo warns the MEC dude to be prepared for a vigorous protest for their violition of the no shooting zone agreement. Komaki comments that Iku can learn a lot from Dojo.

Dojo wonders if Tezuka was the one who reported the MEC shooting incident to the Judiciary Committee. Iku returns to her room and sees the debris from Shibasaki’s horror movie watching and junk food eating spree. She’s disappointed that Shibasaki was having fun while she was facing a life and death situation. When she plugs in her cell phone, Iku realizes that Shibasaki stayed up all night leaving messages for her.

Farenheight 451 is safe in the library.

This episode had everything I enjoy about this series; a little bit of action, cute book references, and nice little bits of character interaction.