Ascendance of A Bookworm Episode 20

Ascendance of A Bookworm Episode 20

The Path Ahead of Lutz

Maybe you’ve noticed (or not) that this week’s Ascendance of a Bookworm episode review has been posted on Sunday rather than Monday.

Due to Boruto being delayed indefinitely, I’ve decided to move my Ascendance of a Bookworm reviews forward a day so that they’re closer to the actual episode release date. Once Boruto makes its return, these episode reviews will be shifted back to Mondays.

And with that housekeeping out of the way, let’s get right into the episode by discussing the rift between Lutz and his family. We’ve known since the start of season 1 that Lutz’s parents don’t agree with his decision to become a merchant. But this week we learn that they really had no idea what Lutz has been doing all this time.

Calculator Myne from the anime series Ascendance of a Bookworm season 2
Calculator Myne

You may recall that the original reason Lutz’s parents were against his desired profession is that it’s generally seen as below their own. Lutz’s family is one of craftsmen who own a shop. This means that they have a fixed home and don’t need to travel for work, something merchants spend their whole lives working towards.

However, Lutz’s work for the Gilberta Company isn’t normal merchant work. First of all, he’s not an independent merchant, he’s an apprentice at a large, noble-run company. And second, he’s being groomed to one day take over as the head of the company, so he won’t be just another merchant contracted by the company.

The disagreement between Lutz and his family comes from a misunderstanding of Lutz’s ability and projected path within the Gilberta Company. His family doesn’t understand that he’s not a blue-collar apprentice, he’s an executive apprentice.

Magical Items

Magical items in this series haven’t actually been explained very well yet. We know that these are items that soak up the mana of those who use them and that they’re generally owned by nobles and the church because of their high costs. But what we don’t know is what they can actually do.

This week we’re shown our first magical item which actually serves a purpose. Before now, all the other magical items in the series were simply items made from precious metals and designated as magical items. We don’t actually know what was magical about them other than their mana absorption properties.

The anti-eavesdropping pendant is different. Like all other magical items, it relies on mana to be used, which means that it’s just an ordinary (but expensive) pendant to non-nobles. But for those with mana, it allows them to speak to whoever has a matching pendant without being overheard.

The Head Priest giving Myne a magic anti-eavesdropping item from the anime series Ascendance of a Bookworm season 2
The Head Priest giving Myne a magic anti-eavesdropping item

I’d imagine that there are plenty of elemental magic items out there as well. We know that the gods the church is based on are elemental, and there are magical items associated with them so that just makes sense. But what interests me more are these non-elemental items like the anti-eavesdropping pendant.

Looking at just this one magic item we know about, it seems it’s mostly used by nobles to tell secrets behind each others’ backs. That’s not exactly an exciting use, but we can imagine more interesting uses for an item such as this, like spying.

Imagine a spy with an earring which is an anti-eavesdropping item relaying information to someone in another room. Or to hide the magic item even more it could be something like a tongue piercing. As long as they have some way to cover their mouth, they could yell information loud enough for their co-conspirator on the other side of a wall to hear.

Sure, it doesn’t project the user’s thoughts over long-range, but it can still be useful for gathering information when used by the right person (probably a woman) in the right circumstances.

Adoption Meeting

Shifting back over to the discussion of the rift between Lutz and his family, there’s an apparent way out for Lutz. Benno, the owner of the Gilberta Company, wants to adopt Lutz so that he can raise him to be his successor. This would further Benno’s interests, allow Lutz to continue his apprenticeship, and relieve Lutz’s family of any hardships Lutz is causing.

But, Lutz’s family refuses to sign the paperwork to allow Lutz to be adopted by Benno. So is that it? Will Lutz have to give up on his dreams of becoming a merchant? Not quite.

According to the head priest (whose name was revealed to be Ferdinand), the church can deem Lutz abandoned by his parents. If this is done, he would become an orphan at the church, and the head priest could then sign the adoption papers instead of Lutz’s parents.

This doesn’t end up happening, but it does bring up some questions about the role of the church.

Lutz's family and the Gilberta Company coming to an agreement from the anime series Ascendance of a Bookworm season 2
Lutz’s family and the Gilberta Company coming to an agreement

We know that the average citizen doesn’t like the church. This is probably due to the colossal divide in wealth and the fact that the church views anyone who can’t afford a baptism to be sub-human. We also know that the average noble doesn’t like the church as well. This is hinted at by Benno’s opinion of the church and the fact that fewer nobles are joining.

So why does the church wield so much power? Nobody likes the church, so why do they do what the church says? As far as we know, the church theoretically has no power over them.

And yet, when the head priest summons Lutz’s parents, they show up. I assume this is because if they didn’t show up, the church would have declared Lutz abandoned. But where does the church even get the authority to do that from? Have they been given this right by the nation’s ruler? Or do the people still believe the church has a divine right despite hating them?

I hadn’t noticed before this episode, but we actually know nothing about the governmental structure of the nation — or even what the nation is called. Who’s in charge? Why are they in charge? How are they in charge?

Conclusion

So what are your thoughts on Ascendance of a Bookworm episode 20? What other magical items would you like to see make an appearance? And why do you think the church seemingly holds so much power within the country despite not actually being the ruling body? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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