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


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Gray Lensman



Joined: 17 Mar 2019
Posts: 122
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 10:47 am Reply with quote
Key wrote:
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.


It likely wouldn't have been seen as one in medieval times, but the modern times of the audience would see it differently - the power disparity between a noble and a peasant (which looks like it might even be WORSE in the church than outside society) wreaks havoc with one's ability to consent. Those things weren't a concern in the past.

We also don't know the societal aspects of how things would play out after the fact either, but as you said, we anime watchers only know the bare minimum so far.
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Key
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 10:55 am Reply with quote
HannoX wrote:
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%.

Went back and looked at episode 13 again, and Benno does, indeed, say "coup and purge." I was simply misremembering.

As for the mortality rates, I was referring to the rate for mothers. (More widely-accepted figures for the mortality rate of babies in the Middle Ages is around 30% - still ghastly high.) And that 1.5% is a per-birth rate, not an overall figure, so a woman who carried seven pregnancies to term was running a net 10% risk. Up until relatively recent times, complications from childbirth was one of the most consistent and common causes of death for women of childbearing age, regardless of social status or where you lived in the world.
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yuna49



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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 11:30 am Reply with quote
Key wrote:
And that 1.5% is a per-birth rate, not an overall figure, so a woman who carried seven pregnancies to term was running a net 10% risk.

Actually it's a bit higher. The chance that a women will not die in each pregnancy is 0.985, so over ten pregnancies the cumulative probability of survival is 0.985^10, or about 0.86. That makes the chance of dying in one of those pregnancies 1-0.86, or about 14%. It's the same calculation as appears in the "birthday paradox."

(Wearing my hat as a former teacher of probability and statistics.)
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whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 4:32 pm Reply with quote
HAL14 wrote:
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


Oh no, I get that. My disappointment at seeing a world so heavily influenced by ours in a female-oriented isekai is a little separate from my catharsis issue, though I am disappointed by it because there doesn’t seem to be much reason for that setting to have been picked beyond the illiteracy premise. But mostly it’s that I don’t really delight in Myne’s successes; for such a bookworm, she doesn’t seem intent on sharing her love of books with others very often, which might in turn lead to at least bettering their lot in lives. Rather, it feels like Myne’s successes are mostly used as vehicles for more world-building, which isn’t a bad thing, but I’m not getting a real sense of accomplishment from Myne’s inventions or ideas. I don’t know if it’s because the anime’s viewpoint is limited pretty squarely to Myne, but I guess it feels like everything she does is largely just in service of her own self-interests or her wealth.
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Minos_Kurumada



Joined: 04 Nov 2015
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 5:03 pm Reply with quote
whiskeyii wrote:
HAL14 wrote:
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


Oh no, I get that. My disappointment at seeing a world so heavily influenced by ours in a female-oriented isekai is a little separate from my catharsis issue, though I am disappointed by it because there doesn’t seem to be much reason for that setting to have been picked beyond the illiteracy premise. But mostly it’s that I don’t really delight in Myne’s successes; for such a bookworm, she doesn’t seem intent on sharing her love of books with others very often, which might in turn lead to at least bettering their lot in lives. Rather, it feels like Myne’s successes are mostly used as vehicles for more world-building, which isn’t a bad thing, but I’m not getting a real sense of accomplishment from Myne’s inventions or ideas. I don’t know if it’s because the anime’s viewpoint is limited pretty squarely to Myne, but I guess it feels like everything she does is largely just in service of her own self-interests or her wealth.


That's because Myne doesn't have inventions or ideas, all she does is stuff she remembers from our world plus basics understandings of capitalism.

Most of us could do what Myne did quite frankly, it's quite down to Earth and that why I like it, she is not an unstoppable force that will get full control of magic powers, a castle and 3 husbands by chapter 6 *cough*the8thson*cough*.

I mean, paper, pizza, short cakes, costume jewelry... most of us can do that, the only thing I couldn't reproduce would the the shampoo but I know more cooking recipes and other basic stuff that can be useful.

So yeah, most of the thing is just watching the world building and the like.
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HAL14



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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 5:40 pm Reply with quote
whiskeyii wrote:
But mostly it’s that I don’t really delight in Myne’s successes; for such a bookworm, she doesn’t seem intent on sharing her love of books with others very often, which might in turn lead to at least bettering their lot in lives. Rather, it feels like Myne’s successes are mostly used as vehicles for more world-building, which isn’t a bad thing, but I’m not getting a real sense of accomplishment from Myne’s inventions or ideas. I don’t know if it’s because the anime’s viewpoint is limited pretty squarely to Myne, but I guess it feels like everything she does is largely just in service of her own self-interests or her wealth.


Ok, i get what you mean and i agree. Not about being unsatisfied but about her accomplishments being different. In most isekai i've read when the MC makes earth inventions it usually to benefit themselves or those around them either directly or by selling it for money. Myne's focus on books doesn't really help others. Literacy is important but books are a luxury. Yeah she sells stuff but thats a vehicle to support her hobby. Maybe as the series progresses, a serious enough issue will arise that requires an idea/invention that isn't a book or for profit.
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Key
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 7:28 pm Reply with quote
yuna49 wrote:
Actually it's a bit higher. The chance that a women will not die in each pregnancy is 0.985, so over ten pregnancies the cumulative probability of survival is 0.985^10, or about 0.86. That makes the chance of dying in one of those pregnancies 1-0.86, or about 14%. It's the same calculation as appears in the "birthday paradox."

(Wearing my hat as a former teacher of probability and statistics.)

Well, if you're going to go out to 10 births, sure. But my numbers were accurate for seven, which I used because "5 to 7" is the one range that I could find for average number of children per woman in the analogous historicaltime period. Interestingly, pregnancies also tended to be closer together due to the common use of wet nurses, so an eight-year gap between Myne and her younger sibling-to-be would be a little unusual, unless there was a failed attempt or two after Myne but before Urano arrived.

whiskeyii wrote:
But mostly it’s that I don’t really delight in Myne’s successes; for such a bookworm, she doesn’t seem intent on sharing her love of books with others very often, which might in turn lead to at least bettering their lot in lives.

Ferdinand has observed that Myne seems quite self-absorbed, and upon reflection, that's been a pretty consistent portrayal throughout. I don't think she was at all making excuses when she said she was concerned about the orphans because their situation distracted her from her book; I think she really did mean that.

In fact, in a broader context, that may be the most universal of traits among isekai protagonists: being self-absorbed. Honestly, I'm trying to think of one from an isekai series who isn't, even going back to the pre-boom days; even Yoko from The Twelve Kingdoms took a long time to finally accept that she was part of a bigger picture and couldn't just dwell on her own immediate concerns.
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whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 9:44 pm Reply with quote
Key wrote:
Ferdinand has observed that Myne seems quite self-absorbed, and upon reflection, that's been a pretty consistent portrayal throughout. I don't think she was at all making excuses when she said she was concerned about the orphans because their situation distracted her from her book; I think she really did mean that.

In fact, in a broader context, that may be the most universal of traits among isekai protagonists: being self-absorbed. Honestly, I'm trying to think of one from an isekai series who isn't, even going back to the pre-boom days; even Yoko from The Twelve Kingdoms took a long time to finally accept that she was part of a bigger picture and couldn't just dwell on her own immediate concerns.


Sure, I just don’t know that I’ve ever personally encountered a modern isekai that took so long to get going with its protagonist. And judging by the Crunchyroll comments, the anime is moving at a breakneck pace compared to the novels, so if I’m already feeling dissatisfied by a series that’s basically burning through its source material and that’s *still* not enough for me, continuing on just feels like an exercise in frustration. I’m not trying to criticize anyone else who enjoys this series, and I hope this means we get more isekai with less typical settings in the future, but this has turned out to be disappointingly not-for-me.
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TarsTarkas



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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 10:19 pm Reply with quote
Now I think we are just trying to find reasons to put Myne down.

Honestly, when did it become Myne's job to bring up medieval society to the modern age. Also, holding ourselves accountable, have any of us saved our society. I believe the answer is no. Most people, unless they have real power, live their lives trying to be happy. Doing the things they like. In fact we have it better than Myne, where we have more options to help people, and unlike Myne, we are not stuck in the body of a frail little kid. Think it is a disservice to Myne to imply that it was more of a book reading problem, than a natural disgust of the situation with the orphans for Myne. Ferdinand certainly had no problems knowing that the Church's orphans were slowly starving to death and living in squalor and filth. Think we are holding Myne to a higher standard, than we hold ourselves to in real life.
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Kami-koto



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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 3:13 am Reply with quote
Myne isn't there to fight against the patriarchy or the class system. Her ultimate goal is to live surrounded by books, in other words her own happiness. Myne helps those in her immediate surroundings, but she doesn't feel obligated to make the whole world a better place. I honestly think that's pretty realistic.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 4:06 am Reply with quote
whiskeyii wrote:
...I am disappointed by it because there doesn’t seem to be much reason for that setting to have been picked beyond the illiteracy premise. But mostly it’s that I don’t really delight in Myne’s successes; for such a bookworm, she doesn’t seem intent on sharing her love of books with others very often, which might in turn lead to at least bettering their lot in lives.

Well, the setting also provides a lack of technology and a class system as a series of obstacles to overcome, which are not a small things.

I don't see how you expect her to share her love of books with others when she has no books to share and almost everyone around her couldn't read them anyway. She has tried, but they have no idea what she's talking about (even the literate Ferdinand asks her to speak in a way he can understand, because his experience of books and reading is all religiously and duty based, which he clearly gets no pleasure from). So first she has to make her own books to show them, and to do that she's had to take all the step by step actions we've seen.

While she's driven by her own interests and obsession, she's also doing things that will better people's lives, eventually. She's perfecting paper-making to make books available in the future - for herself, sure, but also for others to read. She's teaching kids to read now, which she didn't have to do, and she's making a picture book for her expected sibling, which will also benefit other young children. She saved the orphans because she cared enough about their plight that it interfered with her reading. Is it self-serving if you help people because thinking about their suffering keeps you from enjoying what you love? If so, we could use more such self-serving people!

She's also still perceived as a child, so adults aren't just going to stand in awe and gratefully accept her wisdom. Adults generally don't like kids telling them what they should or shouldn't do. Joining the Church not only gives her access to books, but also some power and respect to get adults to listen to her some. Same for getting as rich as she can, and not just to directly fund her bookmaking goals.
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HannoX



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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 9:01 am Reply with quote
Kami-koto wrote:
Myne helps those in her immediate surroundings, but she doesn't feel obligated to make the whole world a better place.


Actually, Myne knows very well that spreading books and literacy will change the world and eventually lead to a better standard of living. But she has to start small by teaching those in her immediate vicinity like Lutz, Tuli and the orphans. You may say she wants to spread literacy so that others will write books for her to read, but that doesn't negate the fact that doing so will lead to a better world, although she knows it can take centuries.
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Kami-koto



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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 9:33 am Reply with quote
HannoX wrote:
You may say she wants to spread literacy so that others will write books for her to read, but that doesn't negate the fact that doing so will lead to a better world, although she knows it can take centuries.

I never said otherwise. I wasn't even criticizing Myne in the first place. Just as you said, what Myne is doing will make the world a better place, but that's not why she's doing it. She's doing it for herself and there's nothing wrong with that.
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thedarkemissary



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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 4:19 pm Reply with quote
Anyone else feel like this show has veered wildly off course? It used to be a fun slice of life about quirky Myne and her quest for literature, accompanied by friends and family.

But, since season 2, it feels more like a drama about Saint Myne and her army of followers leading a reform of the social economic culture.

Don't get me wrong. S1 had some deeper emotional stuff but, by this point, I had expected Myne to make progress towards the first printing press and Cheesecake factory, not saving orphans from the tyranny of the church and state.
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Yuvelir



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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 4:39 pm Reply with quote
thedarkemissary wrote:
Anyone else feel like this show has veered wildly off course? It used to be a fun slice of life about quirky Myne and her quest for literature, accompanied by friends and family.

But, since season 2, it feels more like a drama about Saint Myne and her army of followers leading a reform of the social economic culture.

Don't get me wrong. S1 had some deeper emotional stuff but, by this point, I had expected Myne to make progress towards the first printing press and Cheesecake factory, not saving orphans from the tyranny of the church and state.

IMO the progress here isn't that incoherent. Rather it's that they have glossed over so much stuff and made her journey so frictionless, being the polar opposite of S1, that it feels like a whole different series.
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