Ascendance of a Bookworm
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 9 of
Ascendance of a Bookworm ?
That is all a minor part of what transpires in this more light-hearted episode, however. The episode is instead mostly about Myne and Lutz getting a formal introduction into this world's economics, including a detailed breakdown of relative coin values. It also more fully brings them into a new realm: that of the guild system, including magical access badges. Exactly what mercantile guilds do can vary between medieval-themed settings, but in this one they seem to have near-total business regulation power, to the point that crafting and selling without guild licensing is illegal. For now, at least, that seems more like an incidental detail, but I have to think that could become a bigger issue later.
Part of that entrance into the economic world involves bringing Myne into contact with the pink-haired girl from the opener. Here we find out that she's Frieda, the granddaughter of the Guildmaster. The meeting happens because of Myne's proposal to customize a hair ornament for Frieda rather than just making one for her, but the consequences of the meeting are not trivial. It gives Myne something she's not had before: a true peer. Economics may separate them, but Frieda already shows signs of having an unusually sharp mind as well and a driving passion, to the point that Lutz even mentions the comparison. Most importantly – and most unexpectedly! – she shares Myne's health concerns because she also suffers from the Devouring, and moreover, she actually knows enough about it to educate Myne about it a little. She doesn't mention anything about a magic item to help regulate the mana, so she may not be aware that it's even a mana-related issue, but her explanation about how the condition (she specifically says it's not a disease) is exacerbated by listlessness and/or depression are exactly on the money with what Myne has been experiencing. She mentions medicine to help regulate the fever, but if even someone from as wealthy a background as her doesn't have magic item access then those must be exclusive indeed.
In general, though, bringing Frieda into the picture has a lot of promise going forward, including adding another adorable character design to the cast. The one concerning factor with this episode is that the artistry didn't seem quite as sharp as normal. Nothing was outright bad, but there were numerous shots where the artistry was a little underwhelming compared to normal. This bears watching. Otherwise this was another solid, enjoyable episode.
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