Hi and welcome to Anime Rants! Today I’ll be looking at Ascendance of a Bookworm. It hasn’t quite finished airing yet, but these are some of my thoughts so far. Please enjoy.
Story and Atmosphere
Immediately appealing to me was the presence of a female lead. While she is weak and frail physically, Main is highly intelligent and strong-willed. She has plenty of personality, which is amusing and intriguing. I admire this anime girl immensely. We’ll discuss this further later.
Ascendance of A Bookworm isn’t an action story nor a thriller, but it has more going on than a slice-of-life. The story flows extremely well and doesn’t feel awkward even when there are small time skips. This show has the makings of one that could go on for several seasons and not get boring (for me, anyway). Occasionally the episode endings are a bit rough, but that doesn’t really take away from the good structure and presentation overall.
The atmosphere of Ascendance is great as well. I’m not entirely sure what it is, but something about this show is extremely relaxing. It’s not a “junk food anime” at all, but it’s easy to just sit back and watch for hours. It’s also a very wholesome and cheering anime in general.
The story of Main is emotionally appealing as well as entertaining and well-structured. One of my favorite scenes was Lutz’s confrontation with Main over the truth of her identity. That was a stirring and powerful scene. I really felt for both of them. When Main is ready to die to return the body of the Main from the past, it was touching and sad. When Lutz accepted Main for who she was, it was such a relief.
Another climactic scene was when the High Priest antagonized Main’s parents and tried to have the father beaten and executed. Main’s magical power was unlocked by her raging emotions, and she tormented the high priest until he passed out, a step away from death. I was surprised to see such anger and power from weak little Main, and the depiction of her frightening powers nearly crushing the priest was shocking in a show usually so tame.
There are many other examples of this anime appealing to emotions and roping in audiences, including Main’s bond with her sister Turi, and all her friendships and relationships with people like Benno, Lutz, Frieda, and the young Head Priest. But in the interest of being brief, let’s move on to look at the character of Main.
Main is interesting in many ways. For one thing, she is combination of an adult and a child. Psychologically, she’s mostly Urano but is also affected by childish tendencies, such as crying a lot or throwing a fit.
Main’s personality is another example of the originality of her character. It’s more than just her love of books, her confidence, and her keen mind. (And those are great enough!) Main also exhibits a refreshing amount of self-interest. Much of the time, we see these female characters who are spacey, humble, extremely caring, and timid. But Main couldn’t be more different. She certainly has the ability to care, treasuring her new family and Lutz. However, she isn’t one to spend extra time and energy helping others if it doesn’t benefit her goals and well-being.
Main’s personality isn’t exactly the most likable, but I enjoy it. Moreover, I appreciate seeing an isekai anime with such an unusual protagonist. One interesting case is when Main decides to help the orphans at the Church. They were living in horrible conditions and some were starving to death. Main fainted at the sight of a half-dead, almost skeletal girl lying on the floor in the dark. It’s unusual for Main to go out of her way to change things unless there is a benefit to her. So when the Head Priest asks why Main wants to help, she explains that she just wants to read her books without being distracted by guilt. I found this highly amusing.
An Unusual Isekai
Ascendance of A Bookworm is an isekai anime, and one of the relatively few that I love. But it’s a highly unusual isekai. First of all, the main character isn’t a guy. Second of all, Main was “reborn” into the body of a girl who used to have her own life before dying and leaving an empty body. This is a form of transportation to another world that I’ve never seen in another anime.
Unlike most isekai protagonists, Main has a set goal from the start, a purpose, and a desire. This show really seems to have an attitude of its own, not pointlessly edgy like some or complete humorous nonsense like others. The closest thing I’ve seen is Tensei Slime. If you like one, you probably will like the other. As you can see, Ascendance of a Bookworm is not your typical isekai.
General Production/ Closing Thoughts
I don’t get the impression that Ascendance of a Bookworm is some super-high-quality production with a large budget. But that doesn’t matter to me in anime. To me, the visuals were perfectly adequate, with cute, simple animation and character designs. The style reminds one of a picture book. I found myself especially entertained by the face expressions; they’re often funny and never too exaggerated.
Most of the characters are likable, and though the music isn’t particularly memorable, the voice-acting is good. There is also fairly detailed world lore. Examples include the “disease” known as the Devouring, the stories of the Gods, and the way mana is needed for a prosperous land.
This anime is enjoyable for me also due to the educational value (such as information about paper-making, crafting, merchant systems, and the evolution of society). And of course, I love Main’s passion for books, and the theme that knowledge and literacy are infinitely valuable. If I were going to rate the series so far, I’d give it about an 7.6 our of 10. In terms of personal enjoyment, it would be at least 8/10.
Thank you so much for visiting Anime Rants today. Enjoy your day, and maybe pick up a book to peruse if you find yourself with extra time. Ja, ne!