Light Novel Club Extra Chapter: Anime First Impressions – Ascendance of a Bookworm

Our discussion of the first volume of the Ascendance of a Bookworm light novel is done, but we still have some unfinished business: namely, the anime adaptation that started earlier this month! Both @jeskaiangel and I have watched the first episode and will now share our thoughts on how the anime adapts the novel.

For those who haven’t been following our Light Novel Club posts and are just here for first impressions of the anime, here’s a quick synopsis:

One day, avid bookworm Urano Motosu dies after an earthquake literally buries her in books. She reawakens as Myne, a sickly young girl in a poor family: certainly not an ideal situation, but Myne decides she will be fine as long as she has books to read. Unfortunately, this world is one where books are rare and expensive, so she decides she will just have to make her own books!


stardf29: So the first curious thing about the anime’s first episode is that it starts with a scene much further down in the story, even beyond where the official translations are. It’s mainly just a framing device and nothing too crazy was spoiled; I think it was probably put there to let viewers know that this is a magical world, something that is not apparent at all in the rest of the episode or for most of volume 1 of the novel.

Otherwise, the episode adapted early events well, covering the basic early storyline without rushing things too much or leaving anything important out. It has a nice relaxed pace to it that gives it a slice-of-life feel but also making it clear that Myne is struggling with the transition to life in an impoverished world with a young, weak body. And Yuka Iguchi does a great job with voicing Myne and her eccentricities. The only issue is that it’s pretty clear the show doesn’t have much of an animation budget, but at least it does what it can and the result is still cute; plus, I like the old-fashioned artwork in general and how it’s reminiscent of the World Masterpiece Theater series of old anime adapting popular books: very fitting for this show.

Jeskai Angel: I was surprised at how the opening skips so far into the future, but it doesn’t spoil anything too terribly important, so I guess it’s fine. I enjoyed the OP and recognized most of the characters it depicted. This episode established that Myne is obsessed with books but that getting any will be difficult for her. And that’s about it. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t great, it just sets the stage for Myne’s quest for books. Thing that really threw me: the folks doing the subtitles apparently didn’t know about the light novels, because they went with some odd spellings for “Main” and “Turi.”

stardf29: The subs actually did “Myne” at first but changed them with episode 2 (and then retroactively to the first episode). I think it has to do with how her name is actually written in-world, as shown in ep. 2:

bookworm_slate
Or maybe they just didn’t want to associate this Myne with the one from Shield Hero.

That obviously looks like “MAIN” twisted around, so maybe they thought viewers would be confused with that? Personally I think it’s an unnecessary change, but oh well.

And since you mentioned the OP: while that was nice enough, I personally am particularly fond of the ED, with its folk-song-esque music style and the artsy visuals.

One other thing I liked are the little sequences with the chibi-Myne showing her thoughts. The bit at the end is also great:

bookworm_spoilers
Feel free to save this image and use it whenever someone posts spoilers.

Ascendance of a Bookworm is streaming on Crunchyroll. The original light novel is available from J-Novel Club.

Don’t forget that, for our next Light Novel Club meeting, we’re reading new series of your own choosing! Also, stay tuned because we have another anime adaptation of a light novel we covered to share some first impressions of…

stardf29

Frank is known as "stardf29" on various parts of the Internet; it stands for "Star Defender 29", which is something he came up with during his chuunibyou years. Now, when he's not doing things for the Navy or indefinitely delaying his writing projects, he likes engaging in anime, especially of the slice-of-life sort.

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