Streams: Crunchyroll on Mondays Rating: 4 (of 5)
Ascendance of a Bookworm ranks up with 86 as one of my most favorite series of the past three years, so it may go without saying that its return to anime form was my most-anticipated title of the year, much less the Spring ’22 season. Since I previously did the episode reviews for the first two seasons for Anime New Network, I intend to continue them here. Since Crunchyroll is numbering the episodes by total instead of by season, I will use their episode numbering going forward.
Note #1: While I used the spelling Myne throughout the earlier episode reviews, I will begin using the spelling Main here since that is clearly what is being used in-character.
Note #2: For those who may need a refresher, I recommend checking out Episodes 26.5 p1 and p2, each of which succinctly recaps major developments from each season; the former is narrated by Lutz, while the latter is narrated by Gil, and both are available on Crunchyroll as well.
It doesn’t take long for the series to get back to what it does best: advance both the world-building and Main’s ambitions while also furthering the timeline. In this case, that means preparations for winter, including new clothing, and funding that means putting additional copies of Main’s first book on sale for the first time. That also means advancing the tech level further. With the request of Johann (a character who had blink-and-you’ll-miss-them brief appearances in earlier seasons) for Main to be his patron for his upcoming graduation project (my term, but that’s essentially what it is), the steps are set in motion for the development of a movable type printing press. Though this invention originated in China in some form as early as the late 9th century A.D., it first appeared in Europe in the 1450s and eventually revolutionized Europe, proving critical to many social and religious breakthroughs later on. The impact in this setting is also likely to be immeasurable.
But that’s a development that I suspect may be in the works for most of the season, as Johann has about a year to get things done. The more immediate concern is that the Ink Guild is not taking kindly to Main’s development of her own ink for printing books, and that is already starting to cause enough trouble that Main’s security has to be taken into account. This is something that was bound to happen eventually in the story, as Main is just too valuable an individual for too many reasons, and the passive way that the commoners of Ehrenfest who know her are covering for her can only go so far. What’s more, the final scene of the episode suggests that a noble may be pulling the strings behind the Ink Guild to get them to go after Main, though to what end is unclear.
That is a particularly important development, as it represents a key shift in the storytelling. Up until this point, the challenges and threats facing Main were very straightforward ones: how to make her book a reality, how to survive her Devouring condition, how to deal with people at the cathedral, and so forth. For the first time, Main is facing more covert dangers, which was inevitable now that nobles are more aware of her. Seeing how the circle around her tightens to protect her provides great story fodder for this season, as does seeing how Main adjusts to living away from home for the first time. The scene where she’s crying herself to sleep shows again how completely attached Main has become to her new family.
In short, it’s all good. Between all that and a few guest appearances of familiar faces, this a solid continuation that should please any fan of the earlier seasons.