Let’s Hear It For The Supporting Cast
Main and Lutz finally meet with Otto and Otto’s friend Benno regarding Lutz becoming an apprentice merchant. However it very quickly goes from being a discussion about an apprenticeship to an actual business deal as Main barter’s the recipe for shampoo for the tools and resources she needs to make a paper prototype. Still, Main isn’t what kept me interested this week (nor did I particularly dislike her this time around) as between Otto, Lutz and Benno there’s plenty of solid support character work going on across these two episodes.
I do have to admit, Lutz and Main are too adorable together. He manages to knock a lot of her rough edges off (plus she isn’t as insufferably smug toward him as she is to her own family so the time they spend together is incredibly pleasant). However, he’s also coming into his own as just a solid character and his gradual realisation that Main isn’t all she seems is a great development and I can’t wait to see where it goes. While he doesn’t press her on it I liked her observation that he’s stopped calling her by name which makes it pretty clear he does know even if he isn’t willing to put it all out in the open just yet.
Otto as usual remains a good supporting character facilitating the connections Main needs. Earlier in the series it was supplying her with writing implements but now it is links to the merchants. While such a character could easily have little to no personality, Otto comes across as a fairly well-rounded if somewhat ordinary guy and his presence is always appreciated. However, I did notice that with the introduction of Benno, there were a lot of shots this week of either the grownups literally looking down on the kids or the kids staring up at the adults. It definitely gave a sense of how young Lutz and Main are but just felt a bit weird given Otto is usually sitting at the same table as Main while they work.
Incidentally, Benno’s introduction and the new connection Lutz and Main have is also appreciated as for the first time you can kind of see Main actually achieving one of her goals. She isn’t going it entirely alone this time and is being actively supported by someone who is seeing potential profit in her creation. The likelihood of success, and the inability for her to just ditch this idea and move on to the next one as she’s now signed a contract to produce something, means that a lot of the issues with the previous attempts have now been dealt with. Furthermore, he’s the first character who has seemed to take any interest in actually figuring out what is wrong with Main other than just being ‘sickly’.
However, with all this going on Main’s family have been pushed to the sidelines with her father only really making an appearance to assume she didn’t succeed at becoming a potential apprentice merchant and then to scold her for getting sick. Admittedly, I definitely wanted to cheer him on when he suggested grounding her indefinitely if she let herself collapse again.
Honestly, I still don’t like Main, but these two episodes put me overall in a more positive frame of mind about Ascendance of a Bookworm overall. The supporting cast are really selling it and with progress being made on the whole paper creation as well as potential answers about what happened to Main it all just feels like things are actually coming together.
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Hope you enjoyed.
All episode reviews of Ascendance of a Bookworm.
Images from: Ascendance of a Bookworm. Dir. M Hongou. Ajia-Do. 2019.