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EP. REVIEW: Ascendance of a Bookworm [2019-10-26]


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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 8914
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 2:28 am Reply with quote
When Ferdinand (thank gods he's finally got a name, as I never feel like looking up whether he's head or high priest) first explained that adoption would require declaring him abandoned by his parents, I knew that wasn't going to fly, given how his family was already treating his employment as if he'd been kidnapped. And if it had gone through, Lutz's family would never speak to Main's again.

But I agree it was confusing how it was laid out. Lutz's father said he told him "Do what you want" but it sounded like he told him that way back when Lutz first insisted on becoming a merchant. So it wasn't clear why this had suddenly come to a head, or why his father thought he'd given his reluctant blessing yet still refused to give consent for him to travel. And none of the rest of the family seemed to get what his father's words meant any more than Lutz did. I'm not even sure I understand the final outcome - was it what Lutz wanted all along, i.e., Lutz can still live at home, but also travel and also be Benno's apprentice/partner/heir?
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TarsTarkas



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Posts: 4496
Location: Virginia, United States
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 11:36 am Reply with quote
I think this is more like real family dynamics. There are many misunderstanding, lack of clear communication, and a realization of what is actually going on amongst the various family members. Clearly Lutz's mom had no idea how Lutz's brothers treated him. (If she did though, it was probably some medieval Darwins thing.)

Some fathers are like bulls running in a China shop. The children are expected to know when to move out of the way, without being told to.

As to the delay in response, I think it came down to expectations. While the father said what he said, he expected Lutz to know what he meant. And Lutz's father bided his time, thinking Lutz would eventually follow through. Sadly for Lutz's father, he hadn't realized or noticed just how far entrenched Lutz was already in the merchant business, much like Myne's family to some degree.

After waiting for awhile for the expected result that never comes, it is much harder to broach the subject without appearing to be the weaker party. So things just simmer under heat below the surface, until they boil over eventually.

I haven't caught up to this episode yet, but spoiler[the light novel seemed to indicate reconciliation and acceptance] of Lutz's choices.
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Lord Vaultman



Joined: 03 Mar 2017
Posts: 632
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 6:33 pm Reply with quote
Was the shortage in nobles really caused by an epidemic? I dont remember that ever being the official reason being given.
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whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 6:40 pm Reply with quote
So, uh, definitely didn't expect a rape subplot to be tacked onto the end, though I guess this confirms my lingering suspicion that this is definitely a heavily patriarchal society with a rigid class system in place.

Genuinely not sure that I trust Bookworm of all things to handle this kind of subject well. While Myne herself is a wealth of mostly practical ideas, there hasn't really been any indication that she's interested at all in tackling any of the societal ills she's come across so far, even the ones she finds distasteful, and I'm pretty much expecting this to get resolved with some kind of "not all men" approach by having Fran interact kindly with Wilma. :/

I honestly can't decide if Bookworm's super fluffy tone with creepy subplots rearing their heads occasionally is supposed to be some kind of veneer for how Myne's naivete is preventing her from seeing the world as is or what, but it sure is A Thing.
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ZiharkXVI



Joined: 29 Jan 2009
Posts: 184
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 7:10 pm Reply with quote
whiskeyii wrote:
So, uh, definitely didn't expect a rape subplot to be tacked onto the end, though I guess this confirms my lingering suspicion that this is definitely a heavily patriarchal society with a rigid class system in place.

Genuinely not sure that I trust Bookworm of all things to handle this kind of subject well. While Myne herself is a wealth of mostly practical ideas, there hasn't really been any indication that she's interested at all in tackling any of the societal ills she's come across so far, even the ones she finds distasteful, and I'm pretty much expecting this to get resolved with some kind of "not all men" approach by having Fran interact kindly with Wilma. :/

I honestly can't decide if Bookworm's super fluffy tone with creepy subplots rearing their heads occasionally is supposed to be some kind of veneer for how Myne's naivete is preventing her from seeing the world as is or what, but it sure is A Thing.

It is strange that we go from one rather lighter issue to the rape, but for whatever reason I have higher hopes for this show than say...most "dark" shows that sensationalize the acts over any substance. Then again, this show deals with some substantial themes - such as terminal illness, class/religion, etc. The fact that this show ends up trying to find the positive outcomes from these trials is not necessarily a flaw. If anything, that's what we hope fiction is - presenting conflict and resolution that explores how we might want to view it in reality. If I had one complaint about this show it would be that the premise is stupid, and takes away from the experience. The idea of this girl obsessing over reading a book so much that she doesn't deal with other more pressing issues is a little much (to be fair, I see it less and less). A device to get us to the conflict, but one entirely unneeded (and very misleading). I still love the show because I can tell these are stories that have more thought put into them than a whole slew of those slick "I'm now living in an mmo world" shows could conjure.
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Hiroki not Takuya



Joined: 17 Apr 2012
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 10:44 pm Reply with quote
Thank you so much Mr. Martin! It was driving me crazy trying to use Google to find what the instrument was called and as close as I got was "Guitar-Harp". Confused I had seen one of those buggars somewhere in my band/orchestra experience years ago. But how I relate to Rosina! When you love an instrument enough and can't play, you can really feel the absence. And I too was giddy to hear both VAs sing so well. Really impresses that in Japan, performers are expected to have multiple talents, whether they use them or not. The show also continues to impress with subtly, like the instrument in the background music changing to the "harspiel" when the sequence for the music lessons started. Suffice it to say that I fall more in love with this show as time goes on...

@ZiharkXVI- My dear sir, such people do exist and they tend to do what Myne does. While a plot device, see how much mileage the author is getting from this and being an "arts&crafts" person! I't not hard to see how this would have been much harder to pull off in writing if she were really into something else like figure skating...


Last edited by Hiroki not Takuya on Mon May 18, 2020 11:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Key
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Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 16201
Location: Indianapolis, IN (formerly Mimiho Valley)
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 11:21 pm Reply with quote
whiskeyii wrote:
So, uh, definitely didn't expect a rape subplot to be tacked onto the end, though I guess this confirms my lingering suspicion that this is definitely a heavily patriarchal society with a rigid class system in place.

I'm going to wait until more details get spilled next episode before I make any judgments. "Gave her flower up" was said (at least in the translation) rather than "took her flower," which suggests to me that she was seduced rather than raped. Could be more a case of her being played than her being compelled into it (which wouldn't at all be out of character for nobles, either). But we'll see next episode.
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Ingraman



Joined: 07 Feb 2005
Posts: 1056
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 11:50 pm Reply with quote
whiskeyii wrote:
So, uh, definitely didn't expect a rape subplot to be tacked onto the end,

I guess that it still counts as a rape subplot, even if a rape doesn't take place.

https://forums.j-novel.club/topic/2140/ascendance-of-a-bookworm-anime-discussion/506
https://forums.j-novel.club/topic/2140/ascendance-of-a-bookworm-anime-discussion/509

Without someone protecting them, any grey might be abused by a blue priest or shrine maiden. The greys aren't really regarded as people by some of the nobles...


Last edited by Ingraman on Tue May 19, 2020 2:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 8914
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 1:13 am Reply with quote
Quote:
The one disappointing aspect about this is that the animation team cut major corners on showing him and other characters actually playing the instrument

I kept hoping they'd at least spring for some vibrating strings, but sadly, no.
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Kami-koto



Joined: 14 Feb 2019
Posts: 49
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 1:46 am Reply with quote
Some major translation errors in this episode. Wilma wasn't raped, the situation got resolved before it happened.

Lord Vaultman wrote:
Was the shortage in nobles really caused by an epidemic? I dont remember that ever being the official reason being given.

It was a purge, as mentioned in S1.
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blahmoomoo



Joined: 27 Jan 2020
Posts: 28
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 2:10 am Reply with quote
Kami-koto wrote:
Some major translation errors in this episode. Wilma wasn't raped, the situation got resolved before it happened.


No, it was clear that was what happened in the lines immediately following the flower line.
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Key
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 8:14 am Reply with quote
Kami-koto wrote:
Lord Vaultman wrote:
Was the shortage in nobles really caused by an epidemic? I dont remember that ever being the official reason being given.

It was a purge, as mentioned in S1.

Was it a purge instead? I am clearly misremembering, then.
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whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 9:09 am Reply with quote
I don't know if it would really matter much to me whether Wilma's subplot ends up being attempted rape instead of actual, because while I appreciate the world-building gone into Bookworm, I think it's lacking a sense of catharsis for me that I've come to expect in other, male-oriented isekai--which is a shame, because there seem to be fewer isekai stories aimed at women, let alone those that make it into anime form. But this is very much not any kind of power fantasy, and I kind of already know that being a woman in a male-dominated world sucks, and I'm not really in the mood to have a quasi-historical medieval world reiterate that back to me. I appreciate that Bookworm is a more thoughtful, mature isekai story, but I think this episode really cemented that it's not a series for me.
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HAL14



Joined: 01 Apr 2018
Posts: 143
Location: Heart of africa
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 10:18 am Reply with quote
whiskeyii wrote:
I think it's lacking a sense of catharsis for me that I've come to expect in other, male-oriented isekai.


Could you give an example of the catharsis your'e talking about? Because if its what i think you mean then Main not getting back at others or given them their comeuppance is because of how tenuous her authority is in the setting, not just because she's female but also because she's a child. The only isekai examples i can think of where child MCs as young as her have this much or more authority is Tanya the Evil and Knights & Magic and even in those shows there are limits plus they are action shows so authority equals asskicking ability
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HannoX



Joined: 30 Apr 2012
Posts: 130
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 10:23 am Reply with quote
Key wrote:
Kami-koto wrote:
Lord Vaultman wrote:
Was the shortage in nobles really caused by an epidemic? I dont remember that ever being the official reason being given.

It was a purge, as mentioned in S1.

Was it a purge instead? I am clearly misremembering, then.


While I don't remember exactly what the anime says about it, the LNs state it was a purge. I imagine a number of the nobles backed the wrong side in a political dispute, although no details are given. Maybe when Myne moves further into noble society we'll learn more. As for infant mortality, I think in the Middle Ages it was around 50%. spoiler[It is later revealed that Myne's parents lost 3 or 4 children, IIRC before Tuli's birth. Probably helps explain why their father dotes on his daughters so much.]
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