Ascendance of a Bookworm Episode 5 Review

Bookworm Episode 5

It’s All Too Hard

For the first half of this episode, Ascendance of a Bookworm managed to convince me we’d moved on from the pathetic and whine-riddled Main who was unbearably smug and just plain unlikable. Turi’s baptism send off was a lovely family affair and even if Main did scold her father for not going to work, it was a reasonable and fairly cute family interaction. If only more of the story could be like this.


Even after the baptism as we see Main get given a knife as she’s now expected to go foraging in the forest, Main is remarkably more enjoyable as a character. Sure she’s plotting to make wooden tablets now rather than actually foraging but she’s actually being a fairly decent part of the family and watching Main and Lutz together is just fun.


Unfortunately, on finding out her mother has set fire to her drying wooden tablets (you know they did just look like firewood), Main has a hissy fit including full glowing eyes before collapsing. She then lies in bed and sulks coming to the conclusion that if she can’t make a book she might as well not be there. And this is why I find her character fairly repugnant. She’s attempted three things to make a book at the age of 6 and while they haven’t worked out she’s learned from them. Deciding to throw the towel in at this point is nothing short of ridiculous, not to mention, what about her family who were so overjoyed that Main didn’t die and now the girl inside Main’s body is just welcoming death.

However, she does at least remember that she promised to do something for Lutz and for now at least she’s stopped throwing a pity party long enough to sort out a meeting between Otto and Lutz. I hope Otto can help Lutz get a job that he is interested in even if it isn’t a travelling trader. Lutz is lovely and every scene with him in it is significantly better just by his presence. Okay, it is also because Main isn’t anywhere near as tiresome when Lutz is around.


Anyway, I guess we’ll see what happens with Lutz and Otto and also, now that Main’s made pencils (kind of) out of soot and clay I wonder what she’ll find to write on.

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Karandi James

All episode reviews of Ascendance of a Bookworm.

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

13 thoughts on “Ascendance of a Bookworm Episode 5 Review

  1. I think , this show could have benefited from having a second main character. (Not a second Main) Someone that put’s Main’s character a bit in perspective by being somewhat her opposite. We can see Main grow into a more balanced person but also see a lot of negativityf from her. If we get her counterpart.. like the loveable but somewhat flat arced counterpart we could appreciate Main’s growth more.

    She is a six year old so I do get why she gives up after three attempts, even if she learned.. if she has a good character along with her that can show her how much she has grown and make her realise.. things might feel more cohesive and less of a hissy fit but more like moments of weakness that can be put in perspective.

    1. There seems to be a lot of justifying Main because she’s a child, but that isn’t flying for me when her internal monologue and attitude never feels like a child. Main’s behaviour is directed by Urano who wasn’t a child and her attitude is distinctly non-childlike. That makes it very hard to simply put her actions down to her being a child.

      1. Oh no that’;s not what I meant though..
        I meant a NORMAL six year old would really easily give up.. after a few attempts.

        She is inner monologing a lot so.. I would have liked to have seen.. like a second main.. who takes on that adult mindset along with being a very good spirited character.. who just undertands Main and narrates her mind process for us. Rather than Main doing it herself.

        Now we see either grown up or a kid and she bounces between them for getting insight in the character.Having a guarding or even an imaganary friend would have .. made the split less painful

  2. I do think you’re being a bit harsh on the child–and I maintain that, despite Urano’s presence, Myne remains a child. Oh, and as for finding something to write upon–the walls, of course!

  3. With respect, I think “repugnant” is a bit harsh. Petty perhaps, childish even, but Main really isn’t that dislikeable for me, especially for someone so proactive and determined to almost literally make something out of nothing.

    She has a reason to be disheartened every time her plans are set back, like the kids trampling on her clay and the mother burning the wood blocks (although she should have had the foresight to warn the family not to touch them), which is blighted further by this mystery illness which I feel is more a cause of her depression than setbacks to her endeavours.

    The biggest problem is that we don’t know anything about the girl Main used to be so it is difficult to gauge if this is her true personality or not. On the one hand she might have been a spoiled brat who never had to lift a finger; on the other she may have been quite an active, intelligent and practical girl and being trapped in a weak body is both unknown and a frustration to her.

    Bearing that in mind, whilst I can see how Main might not appeal so much if the former option is revealed to be the truth, until there is a comparison to her prior behaviour we can only take her at face value which, we have demonstrated with our opposing opinions, is a risky move on the part of the writers in creating an engaging lead for audiences to invest in.

    That’s my take anyway! 🙂

    1. See I don’t see her as overly determined so much as entitled. If she was determined and willing to stick at one solution or craft and learn from her mistakes and eventually overcome them then I could possibly get on board with seeing her as a determined character. Her wanting a quick fix and willing to work but only to a point before quitting really sets my teeth on edge because I deal with too many people who tell me that nothing ever goes their way but they flit from thing to thing before mastering anything. I may be projecting onto Main but I find her truly unlikable and just when I think we might be moving on from that she takes a step backwards again. I’d really like to see her grow beyond this but again if she won’t stick with anything I can’t imagine her getting a better result anytime soon.
      Of course, there’s also the issue of her blaming her mother for burning things, when as you said she could have just asked her parents to set it aside and explained what she was trying to do. Same as Lutz’s delivery. He could have explained that he was giving it to Main and why. I don’t know, it just made me mad at Main in the end for blaming everyone and everything around her and moving on without looking back and learning any of the processes she’s given up on.

      1. I get what you are saying and can see how it might be vexing to you.

        People handle disappointment in different ways. Some can use it as an impetus to try again having learned from the first failure, or they feel defeated each time the end goal is in reach. Main might be the former but again, it depends on if this is how she was before.

        Conversely, she might feel like giving up because she knows she is trapped in a weak body which hampers her progres, or maybe it is the knowledge that she now lives in a world where starting from scratch is considerably harder from not having the same convenience of picking up where she left off as she would in a modern world – i.e: it’s the equivalent of restarting a half-saved document in Word vs starting again because it didn’t save, if that makes sense. 😛

        It is an interesting way to present the lead character but I wonder if this is really just the writers trying to milk the sympathy for Main. Lest we forget, this is aimed primarily at a Japanese audience who will fall for this, thus come out in support for her and urge her on to “do her best”, which of course she will in the next episode, no doubt! 😉

  4. This is actually one of the reasons I like Main as an isekai character,she doesn’t abandon her past life, the thing that was absolutely important to her in her old world, stays absolutely important to her in the new world and you’re right that makes her less likeable and less sympathetic, but I think it’s definitely preferable to all these isekai heroes, who seemed to come to terms with death and a whole new world in about 5 minutes and then never have a moment’s thought for their family and friends and home or anything. Her acceptance of living a new life is a work that takes time and I think you can see it even in the first five episodes that she is starting to adapt to her new circumstances. Despite being 22, Urako grows a lot as she lives her life as Main.

    I do think that they failed to set up who Urako was before they jumped into Main’s life. This seems to be a standard light novel adaption thing, where we’ll skip all that boring foundational character stuff and jump in to the exciting stuff, forgetting that if we don’t know who they are, all these changes really don’t mean much at all. Arifureta is a classic example of this.

    1. Definitely. Arifureta has practically no impact when you don’t understand who Nafumi was before he went through his ordeal and the adaptation was significantly weaker for their decision to cut out a lot of the foundation for all the classmates. I don’t think adaptations need to be true to the source, but a story or a character without a foundation just isn’t going to work as effectively as one that they’ve taken the time to properly explore.

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