In Ascendance of a Bookworm, Urano reincarnates as Main in a medieval-type world as a commoner. Technology is scarce, yet people get by through the ingenuity of self-sufficiency. It’s a life far removed from the glorious era Urano lived in, and one that prizes books as luxury items.
Without books, Main will go insane. So, she’ll do what any other self-sufficient person does and create her own. Thus begins her newfound purpose in her new life as she goes head to head with wealthy members of society and confronts her incurable disease. As the tale unfolds, facts unearth themselves from the subtext of the anime. Without further delay, let’s delve into the finer facts layered throughout this irresistible isekai.
10 Initial Memories
In the first few episodes of the anime, Main relies on the memories stored within her to navigate her new surroundings. What some might not know is that Main’s memories would, therefore, provide her with knowledge of books. However, the opening scene shows Main scrambling about in search of books only to come up empty.
With a sickly and frail body, it’s against Main’s best interests for her to search the house, especially after a fever, when she could easily look inward at her memories for immediate answers. But, this also speaks to her obsessive passion for books.
9 She Already Knows How
It’s a fact that Main’s elder sister Turi does question how she’s come to know the process to produce shampoo, weave baskets, and create hair ornaments. Normally, this would raise questions not only among family members but also those Main interacts with. That’s not the case in this isekai.
Main’s father happily brushes Turi’s concerns aside, because he’s happy that Main is energetic and living life to the best of her ability. Other characters Main interact with boil down her genius to the fact that she’s a peculiar child. Somehow or other, they make sense of her not making sense.
8 Concept & Depth Of Magic
Magic exists, but the depth to which it exists is unknown. Main has mana, although it’s usually only found in people of the noble class. It’s not until the end of the first season that her mana manifests itself in the form of crushing, which is her way of attacking the high priest for ordering her family’s execution.
So, Main and nobility possess mana and the church is desperately seeking those with mana to help maintain magic items that help with the land. As the series continues, the depth of magic slowly untangles itself, but not in a coherent, linear approach.
7 Main’s Strength
As with magic, the depth of Main’s strength is subject to scrutiny. Of course, the progression of her stamina building is shown, but that doesn’t necessarily include strength. For the sake of paruecakes – similar to pancakes – she cannot even flip a disc of dough. However, before this moment, Main smashes a fruit to extract its oils.
While she’s strong enough to smash a fruit to bits and pieces, she’s unable to flip a paruecake. By comparing the two actions, it’s clear that something doesn’t quite add up.
6 Tablets & Storage Space
Main is a master of finding raw materials to make her ideas come to life. Ancient Egypt and its papyrus immediately went to the trash bin, but Mesopotamia held promise. Until the clay tablets were trampled, and then when placed in a fire to dry they essentially exploded.
When it comes to the methods of China and using wooden slats, Main is a bit clueless as she stores the slats with the rest of the firewood. This means that her mother mistook them for firewood and used the slats. Therefore, Main may not be as smart as initially thought as Lutz once again places their paper tools with the rest of the firewood only to have them burned.
5 Letters & Numbers
The number system is wholly different in Main’s new environment. However, Main’s mother briefly explains the numbers carved onto wooden tags when shopping in the street market.
Here, Main is calculating the accounts for Otto, yet it’s doubtful that these are numbers in the first place, as they resemble the letters Main is in the process of learning. For all intents and purposes, this will simply become an unbelievable, believable system.
4 Guildmaster’s Granddaughter
Frieda is a guildmaster’s granddaughter, which puts her leagues above commoner status and near that of nobility. One might even consider it the sweet spot in the social hierarchy. So why, then, does Frieda need to make a contract with a noble to become a concubine in order to obtain magic items to keep the devouring in check?
If her grandfather has connections to nobility and is informed in the art of negotiation, then surely he could have struck a backdoor deal to keep his granddaughter by his side. However, he does none of this and merely takes what he presumes is the best choice. This also clues viewers into the patriarchal system used in this anime’s era.
3 Class Divide & Mannerisms
Main is peculiar by everyone’s standards but her own. She doesn’t notice how her behavior affects those around her and often marches to the beat of her own drum. In the beginning, Main uses formal language and shows impeccable manners for a commoner her age.
Even though Main believes she’s acting in accordance with noble mannerisms, she’s not completely in the know. The divide between not only social classes but overall mannerisms is a huge jump and one where Main falters. In a church that holds both ends of the social hierarchy, the line between mannerisms and interactions is not clearly drawn for both viewers and Main.
2 The Head Priest
What’s going on with the head priest? His former retainer informs Main that the head priest locks away his emotions so that the high priest doesn’t find any weak spots or areas of complaint. Even so, does this excuse the fact that he simply stood by while the high priest acted in a selfish manner by trying to detain Main?
For all intents and purposes, and by definitions, the head priest is a tsundere character. He haggles with Main at every opportunity, while also supporting her in his own way.
1 Churches & The Devouring
It’s a bit suspect that at just the right moment, Benno would share intel on the church’s need for people with high amounts of mana, and that internal strife had knocked down their ratio of nobles among the church ranks.
On the one hand, Benno is a merchant who had this information but doesn’t expose it to Main even at a price, despite the fact it could potentially save her. On the other hand, the church is not a place for commoners, unless orphaned, or if from a noble household. It may have been a risk and a social taboo, but isn’t Main’s life more important than that? In this anime, it’s everyone for themselves.
Ascendance of a Bookworm has taken the anime world by storm. Here are 10 lesser-known facts about the isekai series.