A librarian trainee that writes harsh, opinionated book reviews is only the start of the Library Defense Force’s troubles. After both Kasahara & Tezuka separately confront trainee Sunagawa, the troublemaker reveals that he is a sympathizer for the pro-censorship cause. This faction growing within the library supports’ ranks is led by Tezuka’s older brother Satoshi, who believes that giving into the MBC now will end the war & pay off in more autonomy for the library later. But as the Defense Force finds out, Sunagawa’s nasty reviews are just the tip of the iceberg. Shibazaki gets a tip that Sunagawa’s been burning books & when he’s called before a review board, he names Kasahara as an accomplice!
Trouble! Intrigue! Yelling at jerks who don’t take responsibility for their actions! While this issue does have all of that, I joke about my excitement. (Kasahara putting Sunagawa in his place is very satisfying though.) The relationships that readers began exploring in issue #6 deepen here. With the arrival of Tezuka’s brother, I thought for sure that Tezuka himself would start to isolate and begin to break off from the group, especially since pride is such a large part of his characterization. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had guessed wrong: the team pulls together in different ways from Kasahara trying to draw him out to all of them brainstorming to figure out what Sunagawa is up to to Tezuka coming clean about his estrangement from his brother.
This new sense of belonging for Tezuka is well-contrasted with Kasahara’s isolation during her inquiry before the review board. Her teammates support her just as whole-heartedly as before but her ostracization among the other recruits is painful, especially with her determination to bear it without complaint. In short, the author zigged when I thought she’d zag & the story was definitely more satisfying as a result. I’m curious now if the original novel is as good as the manga series.