Ascendance of a Bookworm
Episode 23

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 23 of
Ascendance of a Bookworm ?

I have seen various comments indicating that the anime version of Ascendance of a Bookworm is progressing through its source material relatively rapidly. Given all that goes on in episode 23, I have to think that is still the case. However, pushing the adaptation pace may not be a bad move here. Putting in much more detail than what is present now might work in a book format, but it would bog down an anime. Getting the pacing right is critical for a series that does not depend at all on action or much on major dramatic events, and the anime is generally doing a fine job on that.

Besides, it's not like there is any shortage of details in what we do get. After all, this episode even takes time to expound on the Nippon Decimal System and how it derives from the more famous Dewey Decimal System. That comes up as an indirect consequence of one of the senior blue robes apparently attempting to mess with Myne by making a mess of the library she so loves, presumably to deter her from attending the Harvest Festival trip (see below). That strikes me as needlessly potentially disruptive to the cathedral in general, since presumably Myne is far from the only person using the library; couldn't the High Priest have just insisted that she stay behind because of her responsibilities as orphanage director? Regardless, it looks like it's going to backfire, as it gives Myne the excuse to institute modern library-style organization; I can certainly understand why Gil and the others are perplexed that Myne seems happy about it, since they missed the show. (And in carting Myne off to see Ferdinand when she starts to flip out, Fran demonstrates yet another reason why Ferdinand trusts him enough to place him as Myne's retainer. I don't doubt that Ferdinand had something exactly like this in mind.)

That incident also results in convenient excuses for more world-building. How the Harvest Festivals work here gets explained, coming off as a money-making opportunity for the blue robes as much as a religious activity. Ferdinand's contribution of a whole list of books suggests that he may have been more than just an ordinary noble in his pre-temple life, but of more immediate interest are the details about the magic books and how they relate to nobility. The notion that those born into nobility must graduate from an academy for nobles in order to have the full rights of one is quite curious and, to my knowledge, without historical parallel. Still, since nobles have mana, some formal training be required to use it makes sense, as does magic books only being available to sanctioned nobles. (That it also serves as a further monopolistic control on magic by nobles is, of course, part of the picture.)

As much fun as it is to watch Myne go through her antics (including her argument with Benno), she is clearly not heeding Ferdinand's advice about being discreet and cautious, and I expect that's going to come back to bite her before the season ends. She rattles off a whole litany of things she should not know about in front of Ferdinand as is about to blow Benno's mind even further over starting to bring up ideas about making a printing press. (That is, admittedly, the next logical step after the woodprint print books.) Ferdinand also once again gives the sense that he knows more than he lets on about the potential problems Myne might face down the road. The more immediate crisis looks to be her being stuck at the cathedral over the winter, rather than getting to commute, because she has to be available for the winter Dedication Ceremony. Also the presence of “Knight Order” in the next episode's title raises other intriguing possibilities, since knights have only vaguely been mentioned before. Looks like there is plenty of potential for complications in the final three episodes.

Rating:

Ascendance of a Bookworm is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


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