Original Run: April 12, 2022 - June 14, 2022 Number of Episodes: 10 Genre: Fantasy, Isekai, Slice of Life Based on the Series Created: Miya Kazuki and You Shiina
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Ascendance of a Bookworm Season 3. Reader discretion is advised.***
Having spent years adjusting to her new life , Myne (voiced by Yuka Iguchi) is on the cusp of achieving her dream – access to a well-stocked library. Having become an apprentice priestess, thanks to her high mana levels, Myne sets out to continue her book-making and printing business. However, Myne garners more and more enemies with every bit of success.
The status of Myne’s common-born upbringing has angered many nobles to the point where they have set out agents to kidnap or eliminate the rising star of the people. Fortunately, Myne’s ingenuity and kindhearted nature have allowed her to build a rock-solid support system of friends and allies.
Sadly, Myne is reaching a heartbreaking crossroads. To continue her success and protect those she cares about, she may have to give up aspects of her life that have made her truly happy.
Ascendance of a Bookworm has been an unassuming series. Since it first released in 2019, the show has operated under the shadows of much larger, more highly anticipated anime. And where other stories might struggle under such circumstances, here is the third season of a tale that has thrived.
Although it might get lost amongst more well-known titles, anyone who has found the chance to watch Ascendance of a Bookworm will likely agree – it’s a pretty damn good watch. And if anything, the series has only become more addicting the longer it’s gone on. Or, to put it another way:
Ascendance of a Bookworm Season 3 retains all the elements that have made it a quiet yet unquestionable hit. At the same time, this installment pivoted its narrative in a new direction.
During the first two seasons, Ascendance of a Bookworm has focused chiefly on its protagonist, Myne’s, efforts to obtain literature. Myne used the knowledge from her previous life to advance printing technology which ultimately built her a small business empire. Additionally, Myne realizes her new body contains massive amounts of magical energy – mana. As a result, she saw this as an opportunity to gain access to books, a right reserved for the nobility.
Following the end of season two, Myne successfully inserted herself into the upper echelons of society. Season three, therefore, concerned itself with the consequences of such an accomplishment. Thus, this installment had less concern with the nation-building aspects of its predecessors and was keener on high-stakes politics.
Granted, when you word a show’s premise like that, how can you not wonder how this can be a story about books and libraries?
That’s sort of the point.
For season three, Ascendance of a Bookworm reached a spot where its initial goal hit a natural pause point. The story needed to address a more immediate concern before it could return to the series’ original sales pitch.
Sure, Myne continued to expand her business and continued down many of the branches established in the previous seasons. But what made this installment succeed was it brought a specific chapter in the story to a close. From here on out – assuming there will be future seasons – certain aspects will fundamentally change. How the show will adapt to those changes is unknowable as of the release of this review (December 2022). The way Ascendance of a Bookworm Season 3 pulled that off was fun and incredibly addicting. Once again, this was a series that was hard to put down.
A crucial factor in this equation was the evolution of Myne herself.
If you read through the reviews for Ascendance of a Bookworm Seasons 1 and 2, you’ll see Myne was always a notable negative. She wasn’t an annoying or lousy character; Myne was simply the most rigid element of the series. She never had the chance to reflect on her actions and, consequently, never had an opportunity to evolve.
That and she had a tendency to be a bit of a brat.
In season three, Myne finally realized how her actions affected and – most importantly – angered those with the power to stop her. She was no longer just putting her dreams and desires on the line. If she continued forging ahead with considering the wake she was forming, people Myne cared for would suddenly become targets.
For the first time, Myne carried herself as a force to be reckoned with rather than an uppity little child. As it turns out, Myne, although inexperienced, doesn’t lose her cool when things get dicey. She proved capable of thinking statically and seeing the world as things are instead of how she wanted them to be. She could withhold the truth when necessary, establish false narratives to hide her intentions, and calculate the motives whose loyalties might be compromisable.
So, yes, unlike the last two seasons, Myne added to the enjoyment of what has been an enjoyable story.
This section is proving challenging to write. After all, the constant negative that has plagued this series has been Myne’s lack of likability. As stated above, season three fixed that.
Therefore, did this installment have any negatives?
Well, on the whole, this was probably the strongest season of Acendane of a Bookworm yet. That’s saying something since this has been an outstanding show since season one. It makes you wonder if the franchise can maintain its quality since the story appears to be heading toward a newer environment.
But that’s for a season four review, should there ever be one.
As for season three, all the background politics was fascinating. It was the primary driver of this installment. An unfortunate side effect was that whenever the story reverted to more familiar territory, Myne’s business dealings, it was hard to care any longer.
Think about it. Assassins were running around in the shadows looking to kill the main heroine. Why in the heck would anyone care about the logistics of developing colored ink?
Season three found itself riddled with these types of moments. One could skip vast swaths of episodes because they held no vital information. The balance between the atmosphere of what came before and the realities of this season was the best. This became a much bigger issue the closer season three got to its conclusion.
Fortunately, it would seem the show understood this. Ascendance of a Bookworm Season 3 did bother with stretching its run to meet twelve episodes. Ten was plenty.
There is a true skill in utilizing the time you need and avoiding filling time because you feel you need to.
With each installment, this series proves that it isn’t an isekai that needs high magic and action. Sure, this show has all the parts to do those things, but it doesn’t need them.
Instead, this franchise has found continued success in telling a much more personal story. This is a series that prefers using a softer hand.
Therefore, as with the other two, Ascendance of a Bookworm Season 3 has earned a recommendation.
But these are my thoughts; what are yours? Have you seen this show; how would you advise Ascendance of a Bookworm Season 3? Leave a comment below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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