So after reviewing the first volume, we are jumping all the way to volume 13, the most current release.
As such, if you’ve only read the first volume and or first review and are curious about what happens between now and then, you may want to avoid reading the review for spoiler reasons. With that said, let’s take a look at this outing. Is it good?
Library Wars: Love & War Vol. 13 (Viz Media)
Original Concept by: Hiro Arikawa
English Translation by: John Werry
Continuing from the last volume, the Library Task Force is still protecting writer Kurato Toma from the Media Betterment Committee Forces. They want to take him in due to the fact that one of his books seemed to have inspired a recent terrorist attack (the terrorists recreated a plan from one of Toma’s crime thrillers) and now the MBC wants to take away his rights. Karashara and Dojo won’t let that happen, trying to figure out a plan on how to fight this new battle. Also, more romance to ensue.
Having read every volume of this manga, I can definitely say this series seems to be reaching a huge and thrilling finale. It makes sense since I’ve heard this series comes to a close next volume (there was an article last year about the manga ending) and the writing is on the wall. A lot of the plotlines and romantic subplots seems to be wrapping up and this latest battle with the MBC seems to be bigger than ever, one that may even spell the end for this censorship law. It’s honestly rather exciting to see how everything is coming together.
Focusing solely on the story, it’s still proceeding pretty well. The plot brings a few subplots to an end, like reaching a conclusion with Komaki and Marie’s romance (something that has been brewing for a long time and hasn’t been focused on too much recently) and the hostility between the Future of the Library and Library Forces groups finally ending. Meanwhile, the whole censorship war seems to be reaching a climax now that the Task Force is planning on using Toma’s case to end everything. It’s all coming together pretty well, though the weakest point with all of the story is the romance between Karashara and Dojo. It honestly feels like it has been stretched too thin over these several volumes and that it has taken forever to get to this point where all that is left is for the two to confess their damn love and kiss. It’s a bit tiring, especially if you have been reading this series as long as I have.
Now with the characters, they are still okay and pretty enjoyable. However, there’s not a whole lot of character development or growth left for them. They’ve all pretty much hit their ceiling, outside of Dojo and Karashara finally just being straight forward with their feelings. The biggest developments were with Komaki and Marie finally getting together and a bonus chapter where Tezuka finally figures out there is a strong romantic connection between our two leads and how he reacts to it. These are good moments and developments for these character, though one of them was pretty cheesy with how the big climax to their arc went down. Everyone’s still pretty likable, well-characterized, and interesting; but that’s pretty much it for now.
The writing in the manga is still pretty decent, with some flubs here and there. The pacing varies between the different stories; the main romance storyline is still very slow moving and feels dragged out, while the big main arc currently is going at a good, brisk speed. As such, the book doesn’t feel too slow at any moment since something is always happening and progressing in some manner. The story structure is fine, though there are some awkward transitions and abrupt scene changes that threw me off, for instance one chapter ends with Toma losing his court case and being stricken off his ability to write, but the reveal is crammed in half of the last page in that chapter. The characterization is fine and the dialogue is good and engaging. There’s also some nice bits of humor here and there that do get a laugh from time to time. The volume also had two good surprises here that’ll excite fans. One is the return character we haven’t seen in a while and the other is the ending, which is a great cliffhanger and makes me really wonder how this final volume will go down.
Then we come to the artwork of this series and it’s still looking pretty decent overall. Sure, there are still problems with a lot of blank and empty backgrounds and the fact that Tezuka and Dojo pretty much look alike outside of their height and hair style, but the art is fine. The characters still exhibit a good range when it comes to their expressions and they themselves look good as well. As for the rest of the art, the layouts are put together well and flowed decently from scene to scene, the more dramatic and emotional bits are drawn fairly well and you can really feel the mood and tone being expressed.
Is It Good?
Library Wars: Love & War Vol. 13 is a solid and at times, exciting, penultimate volume for this series. Everything is coming together well, the story and characters remain engaging to read, the writing is pretty good, and the artwork looks nice overall. There are some minor problems here and there, but nothing you will really notice or will take away from your experience with the book. If you have made it this far into the series, you’ll enjoy this and certainly will be excited to see how it all comes to an end.
Library Wars: Love & War is available from Viz Media. The supposed final volume of this series is set to be released this October. The series as a whole is an adaption of Hiro Arikawa’s light novel series called Toshokan Senso. There were also a few other adaptions, such as anime TV series, an animated movie, and even live-action movie; that are only available in Japan.
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