Off the Shelf: Library Wars: Love & War, issue #9

Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 9 (Library Wars: Love & War, #9)Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 9 by Kiiro Yumi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kasahara & Shibazaki are successful ensnaring the library creep & the Task Force turns its attention to the upcoming exams for the rising corporals. Kasahara, Tezuka & Shibazaki all prepare for the skills test: taking over the children’s activities for an hour. The prankster boys from issue #3 return to tell Kasahara their petition has lead to their favorite books being unbanned. Which leads readers into another controversy at the Weekly New World. An interview with a popular hot actor causes him to sue the magazine. The actor talks extensively about being raised by his grandfather, a barber. However, “barber” is one of the censored words on the MBC’s list, meaning that the mag has had to replace every instance in their story, upsetting their subject. The community rallies in support & demands the reinstatement of the word.

So I mentioned in my last review that I was curious to see how the Task Force’s mission would go down & this mission actually introduced some odd stuff about Kasahara’s femininity. Or more specifically, how she thinks she’s lacking in that department. Shibazaki helps get her all dolled up as bait for the creeper but her teammates reactions to her are kind of weird. They tease, but then apparently “forget” that she’s a girl when she’s in uniform. Which is kind of weird considering they’ve been giving her a hard time throughout the series about whether she can make it as a team member, being as she’s the only girl to get as far as she has. And then there are moments like Dojo’s comment that she must be a woman after all when she knows a little bit about the symbolism of the chamomile blossoms on their badges or her repeated mention of her small bust size. . . they just puzzle me more than anything.

I think this confusion occurs mainly because when it comes to Kasahara, there’s a lot of talk around the concept of femininity without any real concrete examples as to what it means to her. Readers know that K’s parents would rather she found a husband than a career & we’ve seen what Shibazaki’s motivations are to keeping up a traditionally feminine appearance. We just haven’t seen specifically what Kasahara wants. . . despite some textual examples like her enjoying stuffed animals or owning some stylish dresses for special occasions. I guess it’s just growing pains as she becomes more confidant?

In other plotlines, Tezuka’s awkwardness with the children & his frantic attempts to study up on how to play well with children were adorable. His friendship with Shibazaki does well to draw him out of his perfectionist shell & out of the shadow of expectations by his family. He pops in & out of the story but when he shows up, I’m always happy to see that he’s loosening up a little bit more. He might actually act like a real person instead of a robot one day!

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