Tsuyoshi KoyamaKazuhiko InoueMinori SuzukiAscendance of a Bookworm
Ascendance of a Bookworm: Season 3
Also known as: Honzuki no Gekokujou: Season 3
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2022
Director: Mitsuru Hongo
Writer: Mariko Kunisawa
Original creator: Miya Kazuki
Actor: Aya Uchida, Chiyo Tomaru, Fumiko Orikasa, Kazuhiko Inoue, Kiyono Yasuno, Megumi Nakajima, Minori Suzuki, Mitsuaki Hoshino, Mutsumi Tamura, Rika Kinugawa, Satoshi Hino, Sho Hayami, Sho Karino, Takehito Koyasu, Tomoaki Maeno, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Tsuyoshi Koyama, Yuichiro Umehara, Yuka Iguchi, Yuko Sanpei
Keywords: Ascendance of a Bookworm, anime, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: Episodes 27-36
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=24606
Website category: Anime 2022
Review date: 26 January 2023
Ascendance of Bookworm
I enjoyed the first eight episodes. They're quiet, if occasionally sinister, but good-natured in the way of this series. I was wondering why this was only a ten-episode season, though.
Then came eps.35-36. Holy shit. You couldn't end this season anywhere else. Whatever might have happened in subsequent episodes, it could only have been an anticlimax after this. This will be the most important single event of Myne's life. I was reminded once again of how much I hate the (historically accurate) assumptions of the people in this renaissance world, with social status defining your worth and the nobles regarding lesser people as at best an inconvenience. I hated the bastards in ep.35. Absolutely loathed them. They turn the adoption of children into a weapon and see nothing wrong with, say, condemning a baby to lifelong imprisonment and slavery as a human battery. On the contrary, they're pleased with themselves for thinking of it. They think they're clever.
It's not just the nobles, though, loathsome though they often are. It's everyone. Grey-robed priests will thank Myne for saving their lives even though they're lower-status than farmers. High Priest Ferdinand is Myne's cleverest, most dependable ally, but also a prisoner of the social system and he'll order innocent people punished if they raised a hand to their betters. The pre-pubescent Delia still has "concubine" for her career path and her dream is to find a paedophile noble. (Ep.35 also demonstrates the poverty of her standards for an ideal patron. She's amazed by the idea of even wanting to say "no" to an old, fat, evil murderer.)
I got confused by terminology. High Priest? High Bishop? Chief Priest? The answer is to ignore the subtitles and listen to what they're saying in Japanese.
HIGH PRIEST FERDINAND (ally) = "shinkanchou", i.e. boss of the priests.
HIGH BISHOP BEZEWANST (enemy) = "shindenchou", i.e. boss of the temple. This means he's in charge of everything, not just the individual priests who live and work there, so he's Ferdinand's boss too.
Myne's still great. Her friends are still great. I love her bookmaking goals and her ability to get absorbed in low-tech technological progress and medieval economics. Unfortunately, she's threatening vested interests. This is a civilised-looking world of nice people, a sophisticated social system and deeply engraved power imbalances. And utter bastards. The last episode had me punching the air. This is an understated, subtle show that's not even trying to be exciting, but it's capable of changing gears. Dramatically so.