Ascendance of a Bookworm Anime Review

Title: Ascendance of a Bookworm

Director: Mitsuru Hongo

Publisher: Sentai Filmworks

U.S. Release Date: 1-26-21

Format: Blu Ray/675 Minutes/26 Episodes

Genre: Fantasy

Age Rating: 13+

Overall Rating: B


One day she is a librarian working with her beloved books, but then a catastrophe struck and she died…that’s what she thought. Instead, she found herself waking up in different world as a different person. Now in the small body of a young girl named Main, her family is unaware that their daughter had changed after she recovered from a flare up of her illness.

She keeps silent about her past as she learns to navigate this new life. Still, her passion for books is central to her. Unfortunately this world is reminiscent of medieval europe. Most people can’t read and books are rare and very expensive. Only the rich privileged nobility and those high in the church have access to books.

Determined to find a way back to her love of reading she decides that if she can’t buy a book, she will make her own. Main not only has to learn the workings of her new society, but find ways to create the materials to make the books. But time isn’t on her side, with her chronic condition. She often feels well, but must be careful because she can easily get sick.

People respond well to Main’s enthusiasm, creativity and spunk. She teaches the people around her about things from her world like different ways of cooking and new crafts. She meets people who help her learn to read, find ways to create the paper she needs and how to conduct business through the guild. She learns the way through the social norms, the class system and as her condition worsens, she learns how the magic of the church can help her survive.


As I watched Ascendance of a Bookworm, I wasn’t sure what audience this anime was intended for. But, since anime is not created for an American audience it has to speak for itself. I can’t really peg it into a certain category like shonen or something. If it helps, I think it can be put into a broad style of anime story telling with other anime like The Life of Budori Gusko, Mysteria Friends, and Hakumei and Mikochi.

Set in a Westernized medieval style world, it mixes everyday life with discovery, and even education. Main has her memories of a past life, but has to learn to adapt to the new world and soon turns it around and begins to adapt the new world to her. As a viewer, we get lessons on the real world like how books evolved and are created, but we also get lessons on the fantasy world from magic to society.

Personally, I was struggling to want to watch through the middle. Not everything seemed to fit together. Main was supposed to be a young kid, but was running around creating a business and such as if she was an adult. Life was pretty mundane for most people, but the world was supposed to have a magic side, as if it is thrown in to perk up the story or it never had a plan in the first place and just had elements added in a bit too randomly. However, even with all that said, I found myself watching to the end to see how it all unfolds, even watching some of the last episode a second time to get it all. So, I think that indicates a successful ending to Main’s introduction and assimilation into a new world.

Overall Grade: B

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