Ascendance of a Bookworm
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Ascendance of a Bookworm ?
After the way episode 7 ended, with Lutz openly speculating about whether or not Myne was really the Myne he knew, a scene was bound to come along sooner or later where Lutz directly confronted Myne about it. She's just tripped up too many times in the throes of her enthusiasm for Lutz to overlook, with the final nail in the coffin being her offhand comment in the first half of this episode about having made paper before. (The chopstick-like way she held the bamboo stirring sticks and a continuing display of knowledge she shouldn't have also doubtlessly contributed.) That it did happen sooner rather than later was definitely for the best; being circumspect about dealing with the issue would have needlessly dragged out the drama and perhaps even bitten into the emotional impact. Besides, it's not like Lutz wasn't patient about allowing her to finish making her paper first.
The way the confrontation was handled feels exactly right. Lutz may be passionate about the issue but he's not a fool, and Urano seems to understand that. Hence she is as direct with him as she can be about answering his questions about her identity, with her own speculation on what's going on mirroring what I surmised in previous reviews. (She took over Myne's body because the real Myne was dying, for instance.) Her own feelings, fears, and frustrations about her situation also filter into her responses in ways both subtle and direct, including her realization at the end of the scene that it was being fully accepted by Lutz, rather than being able to achieve her goal of making books, which was the most important thing for accepting her existence in this world. Lutz, for his part, also recognized that most of his memories of Myne were of the Urano version and that, even though Urano was giving him responsibility for deciding whether she should stay or not, it was her family who should make the call if it ever came to that. What effect coming to this resolution about Urano being accepted as Myne, and Lutz's knowledge about her not being the original, may have on their relationship going forward should be interesting to see.
Though that was the key scene of the episode - and maybe the series! - it only represents a fraction of the episode. Most of the rest involved the much more mundane process of completing gathering the tools and supplies needed to make paper. The novel twist here is the introduction of the trombe root, which is the first supernatural plant or creature that the series has revealed so far. I'm going to guess hat it triggered out of season because it's sensitive to mana and came into contact with an unregulated source of it (Myne). That Myne would recognize that a fast-growing plant which could provide the fibers for paper production could be a boon if properly controlled seems only logical, though I suspect that's going to be a harder sell based on Benno and Lutz's reactions.
With the success of the paper production and Lutz's acceptance of Urano-Myne being solidified, the story feels ready to move to the next stage. The next episode title suggests that the pink-hair girl seen in the opener is finally going to debut. Myne hasn't had another girl to interact with besides her own sister, so I look forward to seeing where that will take the story.
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