Library Wars: Love and War Volume 4 by Kiiro Yumi and Hiro Arikawa
I’ve read reviews from other manga bloggers that find this series somewhat insipid, but Library Wars will always be the perfect comfort reading for me. Not only does it feature action hero librarians, but the romance in this manga is sweet even if it is a bit predictable. In the last volume Dojo sent Iku out on protection duty to get her out of the way of a combat mission. Unfortunately his plans to keep her safe were disrupted when Commander Inamine is kidnapped by document censoring terrorists and Iku accompany him into captivity in order to protect him.
One of the things that I like about this series is even though Iku is often portrayed as the female equivalent of a dumb jock, she always seems to be able to show her intelligence in flashes of tactical brilliance. When the terrorists make their demands, she’s able to tip off her comrades about her location. Much of this volume is devoted to showing Dojo’s thought processes, with flashbacks to the day he became Iku’s mysterious prince when he helped her rescue a book as a schoolgirl. Seeing Dojo’s motivations and worries for Iku made me want to root for them as a couple more, even though I’m sure they’ll end up together. I also enjoy the haphazard way the Library Corps follows rules. They aren’t allowed to pull their guns on property they don’t own, so they quickly purchase the building where Iku and Inamine are being held captive so they can rush in ahead of the police tactical units.
This volume ended up having a good balance of action and introspection, as we are treated to Dojo’s inner life for the first time. When the crisis is over, Iku has to cope with her parents visiting. We see the reasons why she’s estranged from them and determined to succeed on her own terms. I was happy to see this volume hit the New York Times manga bestseller lists. I hope this series does well enough that we can get some of the other versions of Library Wars translated too.