Library Wars Volume 6

Library Wars is a predictable yet cozy series. There’s no doubt that Iku and Dojo are going to wind up together, and the plot does meander around their relationship with some cursory treatment of intellectual freedom and censorship issues. What I’ve really liked about the past two volumes is that instead of setting up predictable and artificial plot devices to keep the hero and heroine apart (Sudden Fiance! Artificial Misunderstanding! Evil Male Model!) the focus is on some of the secondary characters, giving us a chance to get to know the other characters better. The last volume focused on Komaki and this volume highlights Iku’s roommate Shibazaki.

Shibazaki has always been an interesting foil for Iku. She’s incredibly intelligent and self-possessed, which serves as a contrast to Iku’s impulsive and emotional behavior. Hikaru Asahina, a library patron, abruptly asks Shibazaki out and she agrees to see him after being pushed into the situation by a co-worker who is worried that her own crush is nursing some feelings for Shibazaki as well. Shibazaki thinks Asahina is a nice young man, but she becomes more interested when he mentions that he’s involved in studying issues centered around book burning. Asahina manages to crack through Shibazaki’s well-rehearsed facade. Some of his qualities remind Shibazaki a little bit of Iku, and we learn why she has a tendency to become attached to people who conduct their lives without pretense. Shibazaki was targeted by a bunch of mean girls in junior high, so in high school she dedicated herself to becoming popular with a cool and intellectual approach that resembled the practices of an undercover agent. Shibazaki’s personality traits of teasing reserve and constant deflection suddenly make a lot of sense!

Sibazaki’s slow approach to making another genuine friend is set against another storyline where everyone else in the library forces deals with a censorship issue. I thought this was a strong volume of Library Wars. The Shibazaki storyline was fresh and interesting, but there was plenty of Iku and Dojo action when they were dealing with the latest crisis of the week. I’m looking forward to the next volume.

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