Ascendance of a Bookworm
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Ascendance of a Bookworm ?
The former case came to a head with Lutz a couple of episodes ago but got thoroughly resolved (for now, at least?) with him at that time. However, that doesn't at all mean that others won't become suspicious as well, especially since Myne is not at all being careful about revealing that she has copious knowledge beyond what people of that setting should have. Since her family seems to firmly be in denial, Benno is the next most logical candidate to figure it out. Doubtless he has had some suspicions about Myne ever since they first met, but Myne's admission this episode about knowing how abrasives work in shampoo despite not having tested them in this setting provided an opening for bringing the matter up that he couldn't ignore. Myne's response – about how it's a secret that he couldn't buy – was perfect considering who she was dealing with. I also have to again commend the artistic effort for the way her expressions are being handled, especially in this scene. Anime favors exaggerated expressions, since subtler ones can be harder to animate and easier to miss, but the extra effort being put in here in details like showing her determined face shifting to a slightly sad smile shouldn't be overlooked.
The other major concern is, of course, Myne's health. Last episode made her aware that The Devouring is the likely cause of her health problems and gave her some knowledge about how it could be managed, but this episode reveals that even taking that advice to heart isn't going to be enough, as the condition is now flaring up on its own. The choice to start depicting the threat posed by The Devouring as a barely-capped box with energy leaking out of it is an interesting one and presumably added in at this point because that is how Myne pictures it herself now that she has some understanding of what's going on. It's still not clear at this point that Myne understands that The Devouring is connected to mana (and thus magic), but details reinforced last episode and this episode firm up a theory I've had ever since Benno explained what The Devouring is to Otto: the reason that only nobles have magic is that they are the only ones with the money and connections necessary to survive long enough to manifest and control it. Myne is making some money and now has a wealthy connection, so that could give her the resources she needed to make it through this. Even so, things look pretty bad at the end of the episode with her spontaneously being overwhelmed and collapsing. Will this be an involved enough event to ride the rest of the season out on?
The little artistic details aren't the only special ones here, either. Lutz and Myne's hand-holding scene and his attitude when carrying Myne conveyed volumes about where his heart stands without him having to express it, and Myne having to bat Benno away from too-aggressively rubbing her head was amusing but also provides insight into how it's best that Myne is mature beyond her years, as Benno clearly doesn't know how to deal with kids. Little touches like these assure that the series is not just a one-trick pony of depending on Myne's adorability.
Ascendance of a Bookworm is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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