I’ll start by saying I LOVE isekai anime. The feeling of being in a foreign, unknown land with many wonders to uncover just gets me pumped up. And when people use their knowledge from the old world to invent things, I love it! I really like the implementation of this in Log Horizon and Wise Man's Grandchild (a good watch, if you ask me). And looking at Myne in this new world, I got the same feeling. Did I just compare this anime to Log Horizon? Yes! (And that’s a compliment if you are wondering)
Urano Motosu wakes up in an unfamiliar bed, looking around, she finds herself in a strange room, the walls made of exposed wood planks, straw sacks and spider webs everywhere. “Where am I?” she wonders. Looking at her hands, she thinks, “are these my hands?” “But I’m supposed to be dead!”, she continues to wonder. Right then, the person named Myne’s memories come bursting into her head, and she realises she has been reincarnated in another world. And thus begins Urano’s journey through a new mysterious world as Myne.
The series looks very generic. Good colour palette: check. Detailed faces: check. Detailed backgrounds: check. Multi-coloured anime hair: check. The show looks normal. I’m not saying the show looks bad — it looks good — but lacks any uniqueness to it, which is even more apparent when coming on the back of Honda-san, with its distinct style.
Visuals, fine; audio, ehhhh...look, I get the appeal of moe characters, but listening to Myne with that high-pitched anime voice is — GHHHHHHHH — irritating. Other than that, I have no complaints. Voice acting elsewhere was really good, and special mention to Benno (a merchant), going from low energy to high energy line was perfect. The background music was adequate, but the first op was gooood.
The story had a unique plot device in Myne’s hunger for books, but in the end felt like Dr. Stone Lite. The arcs were generic and predictable to an extent at least till the end of season 1. All the characters got minimal development, and I was left wanting more. Myne didn’t have much growth in season 1 either. Lutz (Myne’s close friend) was the only one who I think got enough development.
After all this nitpicking, you might think I hate the show. You couldn’t be more wrong. I love the light-heartedness of the show, accentuating the occasional seriousness. I like how Myne pursues books single-mindedly. And to be honest, I don’t hate the predictability of shows if they use good tropes. Ascendance of a Bookworm picks good tropes and has good arcs, but the reason I love it is it takes me into a new world.
“Now why would I watch a show that you are basically saying has a bad storyline and bad development and doesn’t stand out in any other way, just because you love it? You stupid isekai trash!” Hey! I’m not stupid, my mommie says I’m special. Anyway, this all gets better in season 2, the story gets a little unpredictable, some real and heavy issues are addressed and Myne gets lots of development (okay, lots may be an overstatement, but compared to season 1 it’s a big leap). The new characters are complex, but the story still remains upbeat. And to experience all this you have to watch season 1, which is not really a deal breaker. I would watch this over something edgy like Death Note any day. There, I said it! (Please don’t kill me, senpai.)
Good looking but pretty generic visuals
Good effort but not outstanding
A unique plot device and well integrated arcs but generally predictable
Everyone could have used more development
Honestly it’s a good watch, and I know the scores are low, but this is all based on the first season. You really should watch the second season if you do start.