Never Underestimate a “Bookworm”

July 5th, 2022 in Anime, General Reviews by

This is another show that had a bad capsule description and that description made it a bit of a coin flip to want to watch. And since it was ANOTHER isekai, that made it doubly undesirable to want to catch. But it was a show that I could catch (I am having serious problems trying to track down my anime without getting the Red Box of Death), so, I did so. And we get to watch ”Ascendance of a Bookworm” (“Honzuki no Gekokujō: Shisho ni Naru Tame niwa Shudan o Erandeiraremasen” or Lover of Books: I Can’t Choose the Means to Become a Librarian”).

Like many of these tales, it starts off tragically. We follow Motosu Urano, a book-loving, book-reading, book-existing post-secondary student and soon-to-be librarian. So, she is potentially late teens – early 20s. This is of importance later. She ends up crushed to death beneath a pile of books during an earthquake (No, we don’t see it. Thankfully.) With her dying breath, she wishes to be reincarnated in a world where she can read books forever.

Urano awakens in the body of a weak, five-year-old girl named Myne (or Mine, depending on who is doing the subs) in a world where books are scarce and only available to elites. Myne, retaining her memories from her previous life, decides to create and print her own books so that she can read again. The series watches her struggles to do this.

Now, Season 1 blended right into Season 2, but since they are calling it as such, I will contend this review with Season 1. OK, just to her left are (clockwise from top) dad Gunther, mom Effa and older sister Tuuli (or Tule). Well, needless to say, Myne is shocked, horrified, disgusted and pole-axed that (a) there are no books in her house, (b) there are no books in town, (c) there are no bookstores, (d) books can only be found with the nobility and the Church and (e) between reading and eating, guess which loses? And the books are actually manuscripts, as they are all done by hand as no printing press efforts are extant. Holy incunabula, Batman!

Whenever she is not felled by a mysterious ailment, she is working hard to make books, so we kind of get a small taste of the history of paper and printing, working through papyrus and clay tables and wood planks. It’s when she brings her modern-times awareness to this provincial life that things take an upswing, as she makes shampoo and crocheted hair ornaments and attracts the attention of Benno (upper left, back) a merchant. This is when the story really takes off.

Now, even though Myne is five to seven during the run of the first season, she is still a 20s Tokyoite, so she is wise beyond her years and can’t honestly reveal what she knows. Also, the show is a flashback, as it opens with Myne being drugged by the Head Priest Ferdinand (him in blue), so he can discover the truth.

Now, it is an intriguing series, but there are a couple of stop-short moments that make one ponder a bigger truth in all of this. Another annoying aspect is that the High Priest is what you have come to expect with a depiction of the clergy: a greedy, power-hungry liar, who think nothing of the people he is expected to serve on behalf of their god. Now, the first season ends (at 14 episodes) with two side stories. They call them OVAs, but they are more background tales. They also only run about 13 minutes but they explain the events of the last two episodes of the series better.

You binge this, as it unfolds the tale far better than a piecemeal approach. And with a second season at the ready, you could slide into it with nary a glitch.


On a scale of 1 to 10:

Artwork           7 (Servicable)
Plot                  8 (We have a challenge before us)
Pacing              8 (We build off of failures)
Effectiveness   8 (Good use of flashbacks)
Conclusion       7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service      0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)
Bingeability     9 (You may need a running start for it)

Overall            8 (There’s a lot to keep your interest)

And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I need my books.

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