Ascendance of a Bookworm Episode 3 Review

Basket Weaving and Making Pancakes

I was fairly sure episode 3 was where Ascendance of a Bookworm and myself would part ways. The first two episodes were decidedly unimpressive and Main, our protagonist, annoyed me. Yet here we are at the end of episode 3 and while the first half seemed more of the same, Main ignoring what her mother and sister wanted to do her own thing and then whining at her sister every step of the way to help her before quitting, the second half of this episode seemed to finally find its feet.

Then I realised why I enjoyed the second half of the anime so much more. Main put aside her quest for paper and was actually just engaging in the slice of life winter behaviours with her family. While she was bringing in her knowledge from her former life she wasn’t fighting anyone or whining. It is odd that I say a story is at its best when it isn’t pushing toward something, but letting go of her immediate obsession with making paper and spending time helping her sister make a hair ornament or cooking pancakes was actually the best this anime has been and actually pretty enjoyable.

It was also kind of nice seeing her back at the gate house and practising her letters before helping out with the maths. In this case she hadn’t demanded it, but was unable to be left at home alone and so it makes sense that she is entertaining herself while waiting for her mother and Otto is a fun character as he seems to be the only one really paying attention to just how clever she is for a five (six?) year old.

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Unfortunately it isn’t all sunshine and roses as this episode gives us a firm reminder that the real Main is gone. I thought at first the father was being really harsh when he said he didn’t care if Main was acting strange but he followed it up by explaining that with all her fevers he was just happy to see her up and active. It was kind of a heart-breaking moment when you realise the little girl he wanted to see up and active isn’t there anymore.

Oh, sad.

Still, this episode did enough to keep me watching and it would be nice to see Main develop into a character that doesn’t set my teeth on edge. It really was a lovely moment when we realised that she put all that effort into making Turi’s hair ornament as a thank-you for Turi helping her earlier. It made some of what happened earlier in the episode a little easier to swallow. Now if we could see Main think outside of herself a little more often then I could probably get behind her and her quest to be a librarian in a world with very few books.


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Karandi James



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All episode reviews of Ascendance of a Bookworm.

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

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10 thoughts on “Ascendance of a Bookworm Episode 3 Review

  1. I think you might be missing the point that, while they can have moments of incredible generosity, most small children are inherently self-centered. Personally, I think it’s a survival instinct. . .

      1. Granted, yet I’m not sure that Myne’s physiological brain development is ready to handle Urano’s adult personality and thought processes. I just don’t think she had the brain chemistry yet. And, while the source material might prove me wrong, I think I’m still seeing vestiges of Myne shine through. . .I don’t think Urano is 100% in control of things. 99%, perhaps, but not entirely.

        But maybe I’m just way off base with this one. . .

    1. It is so weird when I like the slice of life aspects of a show over the actual story and yet this episode kind of makes it clear that those elements are the most enjoyable. I’m kind of hoping Main continues on this path because that will make this show a lot more enjoyable to watch than I found episodes 1 + 2.

  2. I’ve actually been really enjoying this anime, partly because I’m very much of the opinion that the past would be a nice place to visit, but I’d never want to live there. So seeing Main struggle with the practicalities of medieval life has been amusing, though seeing her come to accept her situation and deal with the loss of her old life gives me hope for the rest of the series.

    I do find it interesting that the show is using the mythology of a fairy changeling to explain how she ended up in another world, when typically changelings are bad things in stories. It’s got me interested in the author of the light novels, to find out why they chose to do that.

    1. Yes, normally they are just reborn there or turn up as a teenager ready to go. The idea of hijacking another person’s body doesn’t normally appear and that’s probably because we’re all just left feeling bad for the family who don’t know their real daughter isn’t there anymore.

  3. One of the reasons why i like the light novels is the way Main develops and adapts to her situation and realises her life as Urano is over and that her Mum and Dad and Tuuli are now her family

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