This story is based on the concept of Library Intellectual Freedom, which governs a library's freedom to purchase all kinds of books without subject to censorship, and what happens if that is challenged by authorities to be taken out of circulation. The concept is sort of like Fahrenheit 451, but with people fighting back at the onset instead of letting society decide to take the books. On the two sides of this fight are the Library Defense Force (LDF), a militaristic entity tasked with protecting the books from the Media Betterment Committee (MBC), who wants to remove books that will ultimately harm society. Iku Kasahara, a trainee and later Page for the LDF, is a cute and inept main character, bad at everything except physical feats. Her instructor, Dojo, is angry almost all the time, but shows soft spots every once in a while to Kasahara.
This topic is near and dear to my heart, as a librarian, so I was curious and picked it up. The story was enjoyable and has some things to do with libraries and library services. One of Kasahara's tasks is as a Page, where she has to find books amongst the infinite stacks, and the stacks are arranged by Japanese Dewey. I liked the struggle for control between the federal government (MBC) versus the local government (LDF), and the conversation of how literature impacts society. This was a good first volume to get interested in the world Yumi has created.
VIZ rates this for Teen Plus, but I don't see anything in the first volume that would make this inappropriate for 9th graders. It is possible that later volumes will include more adult themes, so stay tuned for reviews of later volumes to confirm that theory. Otherwise, there is some violence when the two forces meet up, but even that is muted in this first volume.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 9-12
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: High School, Manga, Dystopian, War
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