Ascendance of a Bookworm – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Avid bookworm and college student Motosu Urano ends up dying in an unforeseen accident. This came right after the news that she would finally be able to work as a librarian like she had always dreamed of. When she regained consciousness, she was reborn as Myne, the daughter of a poor soldier. She was in the town of Ehrenfest, which had a harsh class system. But as long as she had books, she didn’t really need anything else. However, books were scarce and belonged only to the nobles. But that doesn’t stop her, so she makes a decision… “If there aren’t any books, I’ll just create some.” (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Ascendance of a Bookworm is Fall’s 3rd Isekai title, and in much the same way as Kemono Michi, manages to subvert expectations by changing up the typical lead with someone new and unfamiliar. In this case we’re treated to Motosu Urano, a young college woman who’s obsessed with books, but unfortunately perishes and finds herself ‘reborn’ into a fantasy world where books are exclusively for the affluent. It’s a unique take on the Isekai genre and a welcome one, but unfortunately the execution just isn’t there to make Ascendance one of Fall’s most interesting titles.
Linny: This first episode is a slow burn…one that opens in the future only to then immediately dive into the past at a ploddingly slow pace. Watching Urano, now reborn as Myne, learn about and discover the new world and life she has found herself in is done in an almost everyday daily life, slice of life like pace and manner. Everything is very calm and down to earth, which is definitely unusual for an Isekai story but could feel too muted for those who prefer a more lively introduction. Based off this first episode, Ascendance feels like a show that might be best enjoyed by those seeking a story and show to unwind with; a conclusion that only feels strengthened by the ending credits of the series which features a really calming song and equally calming visuals.
Tom: I think the series’ biggest problem is its opening sequence. Myne meets a blue haired magician who peers into her mind in order to learn who she really is. This starts the basis for flashing back to Motosu’s first waking moments, and her realization that she’s in a world without books. But this opening requires that we’re told, through rather direct exposition, that Motosu is a bookworm. I think it would’ve been much more effective to show Motosu as her bookworm, college going self, and then shift into her being reborn. As it stands this first episode gets the point across, but doesn’t showcase enough promise in making the story feel dynamic and gripping to convince me that Bookworm is going to shine this Fall, ahead of other Isekai offerings. Both Cautious Hero and Kemono Michi feel like the stronger Isekai if you’re dying for that itch. Then again, if you want something easy going, this is miles ahead of After School Dice Club.
Linny: As someone who feels like they aren’t the intended audience for this type of story telling pace and style, I also feel like part of the show’s chances of winning you over depend on how adorable or heartwarming you find the character of Myne. If her childish appearance juxtaposed against her more adult obsession with books sounds like an intriguing premise, you may find yourself enjoying this series a lot more than I did. Or maybe you’re simply on the look out for a more down to earth and toned down tale then you too may find this show charming. But for those who prefer more action packed and energetic stories, the slow pace and calm content of Ascendance of a Bookworm may not be the best fit.
Ascendance of a Bookworm is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.