After reading and following the series for so long, Library Wars: Love & War has reached its final volume. It’s sad to see, since I’ve been reading and enjoying the series since 2011. Since we’re finally here, let’s see how it all concludes.
Library Wars: Love & War Vol. 15 (Viz Media)
Written and drawn by: Kiiro Yumi
Original concept by: Hiro Arikawa
English translation by: John Werry
Lettering: Annaliese Christman
The end of the journey is at hand. Iku Kasahara is determined to escort censored author, Kurato Toma, to a foreign embassy so that he can defect from the country. However, the Media Betterment Act Forces (MBA) are still searching for the author and are determined to capture him. Iku will have to try her hardest to complete this mission, otherwise the entire plan the Library Forces had devised will all be for naught. Also, she’ll need to eventually see Atsushi Dojo, still recovering from a bullet to the leg, and confess her true feelings to him if she succeeds.
The final volume of Library Wars is on the whole very satisfying and concluded very well. It concludes the major romance storyline and also getting the author out of the country, without either getting in the way of each other. While it may have taken a bit too long to get to this point with the romance, it does feel nice to see Iku and Dojo finally kiss and confess their love for each other. It was built up relatively well and the big scene with the two by themselves was sweet and very appropriate for them. Meanwhile, the author storyline, while maybe not having as big of a finale as past arcs, felt satisfying as well. Seeing everyone’s meticulous planning and intelligence on display was very exciting, especially with Iku’s gutsy and life-threatening move at the end. It should keep you glued to the book as you get more and more into politics and planning and thankfully, the romance subplot never gets in the way of it.
The last thing to mention about the story is that there was an epilogue at the end, showing us the state of everyone and the country a couple of years later. All of the scenes there were nice and everyone in the future came across as natural and believable, like how I can totally believe that Shibazaki and Tezuka haven’t really gotten anywhere with their romance, given both their personalities and their scenes together.
Kiiro Yumi did a great job when it came to the writing. The emotion and drama rang true, due to how well the author built up everyone and their drive over the course of the series. The characterization for the lead two felt right, reaching their final stage of growth here (everyone else’s character arc was completed before this volume, so they don’t get to do much here). The dialogue, while a little sappy in some spots, felt solid and was sweet. The pacing was decent and I like that the writer kept both storylines, each with their own tone to them, separate from one another. This way, they didn’t end up interfering with each other. One thing I especially liked with the writing was how it handled the ending. While some bits wrapped up nicely, the situation with the MBA didn’t. While the group was weakened and the epilogue in the future shows the Library Forces in a good spot, the MBA still exists and still causes some problems. That felt appropriate and real, since a group this strong that has been around for a long time wouldn’t just simply fold with an author leaving the country. There’s still work to be done to combat the MBA, so I like that things will still continue on.
Hmm… maybe we should let him drive next time so he doesn’t end up dying of a heart attack.
The artwork here is still nice, if a bit typical for a Shojo series. For instance, the backgrounds are often blank and the locations feel lifeless, and there’s the typical screentone that is all over the romantic scenes. It’s not deal breaking, since the characters still are drawn very well and the emotion in the characters are captured well with the expressions, body language, and angles used. It’s all perfectly good artwork, just not something that will dazzle or blow you away unfortunately.
One thing I’m disappointed about, and it’s something I see with a lot of romance series, is that we didn’t get to see any of the new relationship. The final chapter had Iku and Dojo confess their love for each other and the issue ends with a flash forward to three years later after they are married. While that’s nice and I can potentially believe the two getting married, I really wish the series didn’t have the love confession at the end. I would have loved to see the dynamic of the two together as an official couple while doing these library missions and or how it affected them on the job. It’s a shame that we don’t really get to see it, but again, it’s something you see with many romance series, so I’m not surprised by this.
Also, for those who were really into all of the characters, you may be disappointed that outside of Iku and Dojo, no one else really got any focus or attention in the main story. Sure, there was a bonus chapter about Shibazaki and Tezuka, but there wasn’t much character growth for the two. It’s a bit of a shame, since I really came to love all of these characters and their personalities.
Library Wars: Love & War Vol. 15 was the end to a long, fun journey. Despite some minor bumps along the way, the story of the Library Forces and the tale of Iku and Dojo were delightful, cute, powerful, and very intense at times. This volume finished everything off wonderfully and I’m glad to have gotten to read it. Having seen the entire ride, I would definitely recommend Library Wars to manga fans out there; certainly to Shojo fans and to people who may find this universe and its battle against censorship fascinating.