Ascendance of a Bookworm Episode 1

All she wants is a good book to read.

I thought going in to an isekai story about a bookworm finding herself bereft of books that I would finally find a protagonist I could really connect with. That’s on me for having expectations before something starts but the usual standard is a high school male character getting transported to other worlds and gathering a harem and while I do enjoy a lot of their stories I’m not connecting with the protagonist. So once I realised Ascendance of a Bookworm was delivering a character I didn’t connect with, despite their love of books, I started wondering what else this anime had to offer and I came up a little low on the positives from this first episode.

Like I just stole the body of a 5 year old. No big.

Admittedly, it is a first episode and still establishing that the main character did in fact come from another world and does love books. My do they love to remind the audience that she loves books. It is her one and only personality trait so far outside of a disdain for pre-industrial revolution hygiene.

I know I mentioned this in another first episode review for another isekai (though I can’t remember which one) but the lack of subtlety in establishing the character trait or gimmick in these shows is becoming more and more detrimental. They are so desperate to declare that their character is going to be different that the only thing they do is show us that one aspect, over and over again and the end result is a character that is just kind of dull.

Affiliate Link – Book (Volume 1)
Ascendance of a Bookworm

It also didn’t help that the episode was framed as a flashback. We start with a priest using some magic headband to see our protagonists’ past in order to figure out why she loves books and a bunch of other odd things about her. That alone kind of established the premise but let’s go through it all step by step.

The reality is this episode is slow moving and pretty dull. Throw in visuals that aren’t exactly compelling (and there’s little animation to comment on) and while this isn’t broken it has nothing to really hook you into watching. The one question I’d like an answer to is what happened to the girl who our protagonist is now inside of and when they shared memories did they share aspects of their personality or can the other girl take control? I don’t think that is the case but I’d probably be more interested in the story if she could.

I went in wanting to like this but mostly found myself bored by episode 1. I’ve definitely said it on my blog before but I would rather watch something that is terrible but in some ways entertaining than something that is functional but boring. I’ll give this another episode or two but if I’m still getting lulled off to sleep by it I’ll let it go and maybe use the time to catch up on reading a good book.


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Karandi James



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Images from: Ascendance of a Bookworm. Dir. M Hongou. Ajia-Do. 2019.

7 thoughts on “Ascendance of a Bookworm Episode 1

  1. I assumed that the original occupant of Myne died and the Japanese transfer student moved in – less a thief and more a squatter. I mean the family thinks she’s just recovering from a fever. The memories would have been stored in the brain, she’d just have brought her own via isekai magic. What I did wonder about, though, is why her family didn’t notice anything odd with her. Or maybe they did and we just view the show through Myne’s eyes who’s only concern is books?

    I actually liked the episode. I don’t mind it being slow, and I feel there’s a confident hand at story telling (what with the adult not giving her book, as it’s way too expensive – that’s not standard isekai behaviour – you’d either get a mean guy denying her, or a nice guy being moved by her intensity; her walking away with her disappointment also felt pleasingly lowkey).

    The visuals are the bare minimum, and the bit players aren’t even animated in the town scenes (and I realised I prefer this to awkward CGI crowds), but the story boarding is functional enough (e.g. when Myne tries to open door, the door actually looks like an obstacle). The show could definitely have better production values, though (which is a theme for other shows this season, too).

    I definitely wouldn’t call this a perfect premier, but I did like it. (I think me being a slice-of-life fan helps with the slow pace.)

  2. There is a distinct isekai overload this season already. I have this on my watchlist but not got round to it yet, though you’ve made me a bit cautious about it now….

    1. Hopefully it gets better, but if not I will let this one go. I think people who like slice of life will get more out of this episode than I did.

      1. Okay, I’ve just watched this one and it is a bit on the anodyne side. It would have been better if the accident wasn’t dismissed via a quick info dump, thus we’d get to know the girl better before being reincarnated as a five year in a bygone age.

        Still, the four episode rule is still in play… 😉

        1. I just tend to watch things until I can’t watch anymore. Whether that is five minutes or 3, 4, or 6 episodes depends on what is bothering me about the anime. Still, I usually don’t drop something after 3 or 4 episodes largely because if I make it that far I feel the show can’t be that bad (though there are a few exceptions).

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