The Spring 2022 Preview Guide
Ascendance of a Bookworm Season 3
How would you rate episode 27 of
Ascendance of a Bookworm (TV 3) ?
Community score: 4.5
What is this?
Main continues to prepare for her winter stay at the cathedral. Worried about missing her family, but still realizing this move is best for everyone in the long run, she works on her various other affairs in the meantime, including the production of the picture book, and entering into a patron-ship with Johann the blacksmith that could pay dividends for her literary ambitions later. But her efforts at advancing printing tech hasn't gone unnoticed by other forces as well, with the Ink Guild setting their sights on her, possibly motivated by even more powerful, complex backings. With outside pressures like those forcing Main to move up her time to go stay at the cathedral, she will have to ready herself for this more strenuous next phase of her life in this world.
How was the first episode?
Coming off the previous seasons of the show (and a couple more since-released OVA episodes) the premiere of the new season of Ascendance of a Bookworm seems to mostly be about getting audiences back up to speed. The framing is focused on Main's continued preparations to stay at the cathedral for the winter, with other continuing plot and character points reiterated while potential new ones seeded. There are a few major shifts already reached by the end of this one, but for the most part, it really just feels like recap and setup. That's hardly a bad thing for a series as dense and as detailed as Bookworm, which means that picking things up after the previous break should be comfortable enough for the returning audience.
That sheer density is still definitely an element you feel in this one, though. Seemingly as a result of kicking off a new season and story arc, this premiere makes a point of parading out dang near every still-relevant character from Main's journey up until now, trying to remind you, at least a little, of how they all fit together into this storied setup. Some of it feels plenty natural, like Freida popping in to update us on the sales of the pound cakes and advance some more details on the picture book. As well, Johann's inclusion marks a major turning point for where part of this story will be going, and the focus on Main with her parents and sister is specifically integrated here due to what the tone and themes of this episode end up being. But at the same time, you've got bits like Main hanging out with Corrina and Otto while getting fitted for new robes, or entertaining split-second interactions with her retainers which amount to feeling like little more than cameos or even mere background noise amongst everything else this episode is doing.
That extends to some of the plot components being put in play here as well. Even understanding how intricately the show depicts medieval-style politicking, it still comes off as kinda funny that something as mundane-sounding as the 'Ink Guild' will be providing the antagonistic force in the story for the near future. Once again, just the bare basics of their inclusion are set up in this one, as we remain pretty in the dark regarding what their issue with Main's ink production is and what behind-the-scenes powers are motivating their pursuit of her or roughing up of Lutz. It comes off similarly to so many of the rote preparations we see Main going through here to ready herself for moving into the cathedral, very much having the feeling of "Get this taken care of so we can get the really dramatic parts of the plot under way".
But to its credit, Ascendance of a Bookworm still knows how to present all that nuts-and-bolts story structuring with enough equal intrigue and heart to keep us invested amongst it all. Obviously there's continued appreciation for the little historical-style details to the preparation, such as the point that preparing clothing is a major factor for something like a winter stay, especially for someone with as fragile a constitution as Main. More pertinently to this story's ambitions, though, is the side setup of Johann meeting back up with Main and imploring her to join his Patreon. Yes, much of this is more storytelling of the technical variety, but the resultant goal of Main commissioning the production of metal letter types very pointedly puts us back onto that long-term goal of advancing book production. It's rewarding to see this progress, and even comes with Main pointing out that she hasn't gotten to nerd out about her aspirations like this in a while.
But even with all the recap refreshers and technical story setups, the heart of the series is still felt in a lot of these bits, and keeps Bookworm feeling as much itself as ever. In between the explanations, Main's rapport with the likes of Freida, Benno, and Lutz is fun to watch. More importantly, that time spent showing her with her family pays off strongly, as we realize it's going to be a while before we see her with them again, and grasp that Main herself is coming to terms with that. After those warm shots of all of them together, the contrast with the tiny girl alone in her huge new bed hits hard, to the point where the immediate narration about how quickly Main became homesick is honestly unneeded. But as with all the other structural components assembled over the course of this, the whole thing still fits together like so many movable letter types, creating a first page for this show's next season that's as detailed and engaging as the series has always been.
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