Moving Forward in Ascendance of a Bookworm
Lutz continues to be an outstanding character in Ascendance of a Bookworm and through him we actually get a moment with Main that for once makes her sympathetic rather than obnoxious. It is a great moment and one that only exists because of Lutz’s presence. He isn’t a scene stealer and his personality isn’t out-there or particularly noteworthy, but his solid presence and the logical build up of his suspicions has made him a definite asset to an anime that I’ve been fairly on the fence about.
Episode 8 brings the situation the forefront and directly addresses Lutz’s concerns, how Urano/Main feels about being in Main’s body, and even raises the question of what about Main’s family? Given the lack of focus these concerns had been given prior, it was fairly satisfying to see the anime finally tackle them in this way. While Main still comes off as relatively selfish, here it understandable rather than bratty as she really didn’t mean to take on Main’s body and, as she correctly points out to Lutz, there’s no way some one would choose a body so weak if they really had a choice.
However, it isn’t as though episode 8 put the brakes on the story in order to dig into this matter. The whole time Main and Lutz continue their progress toward producing the paper prototype and their foray into becoming apprentice merchants flows naturally into episode 9 where they are making more of Main’s hair pins to sell to the guild master’s granddaughter.
There’s the ongoing very practical look at the world with the kids learning about coins and money, getting registered in the guild, seeing maps, and so forth. All of it makes this particular isekai world feel a little more grounded than so many others as it actually kind of looks functional as an actual society. While that doesn’t make it the most fascinating of viewing, it certainly helps keep me interested in what is a fairly slow building story around a character I didn’t particularly like from the beginning.
Ascendance of a Bookworm isn’t going to be a favourite anime of mine any time soon, but I certainly appreciate the show more now that we are at episode nine than I did back in the earlier episodes. It continues to build on its strengths and the more focus the support cast get the more interesting Main becomes as a character as we spend less time in her head listening to her whine and more time seeing her learn to value others.
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Images from: Ascendance of a Bookworm. Dir. M Hongou. Ajia-Do. 2019.