Money Makes the World Go Round
Main and Lutz continue to learn about their role as apprentice merchants and earn some money, which becomes pretty important in this pair of episodes from Ascendance of a Bookworm. Main’s illness is incurable and she can’t even treat the symptoms without being able to buy a magical item that will at least take some of the fever away for a time. Fortunately, she’s made connections now and so when she does collapse with the fever she is taken care of, for a price, though she’s firmly warned that without further access to magical items (largely only available to nobles) she probably won’t survive another year.
Which for once she seems to take seriously. I somehow doubt the Main we met 8 episodes ago would have cared one way or the other. She might have sulked about it but I don’t think we would have had the same experience that we had over these episodes. The Main we know now has friends, has clear goals, and has connected with her family. That was probably the best part of these episodes of Bookworm; seeing Main actually acknowledge the importance of her family to her.
So having spent her savings in order to buy just one more year, the question becomes ‘what will Main do now?’. I somehow doubt her family or Benno are going to just let her die in a year’s time and I know Lutz has no intention of doing so. But what can they do? I felt like they were running low on time so I checked the episode count and apparently Ascendance of a Bookworm is going to have 14 episodes which probably gives it time to resolve this in some form.
One thing I am appreciating a lot about this series as we get more into the merchant side of things is how sensible Benno is. When Main asks him if selling baskets would work, he doesn’t tell her no but suggests instead that she sell consumable products. He’s aiming for ongoing sales rather than one off purchases. It’s a small and rather insignificant point but when combined with other small details there’s this ongoing sense that this world Main has found herself in is actually a functioning world rather than a set-piece for an OP character to bounce around (not that it isn’t fun when we get that kind of story but the world building is frequently lazy).
It took awhile but Ascendance of a Bookworm has definitely won me over and I’m enjoying it. I still won’t say I like Main as a character but there’s a lot of charm in this series overall, the world building has been fairly solid, and it really feels like the story and emotions have built up fairly naturally to this point which has fully engaged me. I’m kind of glad I didn’t drop this one earlier though I also somehow doubt I’ll ever rewatch it.
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Images from: Ascendance of a Bookworm. Dir. M Hongou. Ajia-Do. 2019.