My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Intrigue mounts as Kasahara’s roommate Shibazaki, a librarian-in-training, comes across evidence that the temporary head librarian assigned to Kanto Library Base is up to no good. He’s been removing certain books, deemed unsuitable by the Board of Education, from the stacks. The task force tries to catch him in the act but not before a surprise raid by the Media Betterment Commitee. Due to some quick thinking on Kasahara’s part, the books are saved but the Library Forces are plunged in to controversy–a boy on a killing spree has been found with “subversive” books. Of course, all of this is as equally plot-relevant as Kasahara’s growing feelings for her commander Dojo & her rivalry with fellow trainee Tezuka.
This volume gets more into the background of the events that occurred just after the passing of the Media Betterment Act–events which lead up to the formation of the Library Defense Force & had only previously been hinted at. The details of the political clashes are tantalizing & I hope each volume continues to introduce more about the story’s world. Seriously, the introduction of the Board of Education as a powerful, yet fickle force has me hooked. Since readers don’t really know yet what exactly is deemed “offensive”, I have to wonder what exactly is taught in the schools & how they enforce curriculum.
While the relationship drama holds equal billing with the action, I don’t mind so much. This is a YA book & with the manga’s style every new development in Kasahara’s relationship feels like a hyper-distillation of familiar YA tropes. This issue ends with Kasahara & her rival Tezuka becoming more friendly & Dojo reaffirming his commitment to the Library Forces in a conversation with his CO. I can only imagine some new disaster is ahead that will test those bonds!