Monday, January 29, 2018

Good Climax: Library Wars Side Story

A side story of Library Wars is the tale of Komaki and Marie, the girl from next door.  On the Library Wars DVD, this story is one of the extras--in the manga, it is incorporated into volume 5.

Marie is deaf due to sudden hearing loss. She has been enamored with Komaki since she was little. He has always looked out for her; now that she is older, his interest is patently not the interest of a caretaker: he likes her for herself.

He lends her a novel about a deaf girl; some well-meaning (but clueless) person hears about this and decides that the act was meant as a cruel taunt. The rumor of the "abused deaf girl" grows out of proportion, and eventually Komaki is arrested in keeping with various censorship laws.

Library Wars is an intelligent political action series, and the arrest is clearly being done for reasons other than misplaced compassion; Komaki's arrest is a conduit to breaking up the Library Forces, not an end unto itself (nobody really cares about the deaf girl although the opposition uses outraged self-righteous disgust to further its ends).

In this case, there is no emotional change since all parties know what they already want (even Kasahara, Library Wars' heroine). The climax is almost entirely external, being a rescue operation that is effected through spywork plus legal and military means.

Yet there is a subtle yet powerful emotional pay-off as Komaki comes to terms with Marie no longer being a child, but rather a woman who has the wherewithal and maturity to rescue him.

The story is doubly effective since Komaki is not the gung-ho type (that's Major Genda). He's mild-mannered, vaguely sarcastic (in fact, he usually falls into the category of delightedly wry friend).

Although a good soldier and tactician, he prefers to sit back and observe. He is the most thoughtful and philosophical of the Library Wars characters: in fact, the anime includes a scene that brings home the idea that Komaki understands the soldiers on the other side of the fight; he can refrain from disliking them even as he fights them.

He is more Jane than Booth. Consequently, his endurance in the face of psychological pressure--the insistence by his interrogators that he caused harm to Marie when he knows he didn't--is impressive. He and Marie are true heroes.