Thursday, May 29, 2014
Reader's Diary #1125- Kiiro Yumi, translated by Kinami Watabi: Library Wars 1/ Love and War
Though it says right there in the top left hand corner of the cover, I had forgotten what shojo manga was; a term I first heard when I read (and didn't enjoy) Natsuki Takaya's Fruits Basket. It was aimed at teenage girls. D'oh!
Not that I haven't enjoyed the occasional book aimed at this demographic before, but it may have been the problem here. I've been wanting to read it ever since a blogging friend and coordinator of the Graphic Novels and Manga Challenge, Nicola, brought the series to my attention with her positive reviews. Plus it's about libraries and supposedly about a library organization that saves books from government censorship and confiscation: things I'm passionate about. The original novel series it was based on, by Hiro Arikawa, was supposedly inspired by the Japan Library Association's Statement on Intellectual Freedom in Libraries. That's not something you typically see aimed at teens of any gender.
Unfortunately the story seemed way too preoccupied with a love story for my taste. Not that I'm opposed to love stories, but it wasn't what I was led to believe would be the focus of the book, nor is it a particularly interesting love story. The book follows Iku Kasahara, a young woman who joins the library Library Defense Force; a dream she's had since she was younger and a LDF soldier had protected a book of hers that was about to be confiscated. However, there's a whole lot of tension between Iku and her dojo (instructor), that is so clearly and predictably romantic tension, that what could have been a book with strong philosophies about censorship and with political overtones, turns into an annoying Who's The Boss? episode. It certainly doesn't help that Iku is a bit of an airhead.
I wonder how the target demographic feels about this and if the sequels get any better.