Posted by psgels on 30 August 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews




Bungaku Shoujo is a project consisting out of four OVAs and a movie. I remember not really being impressed by the first OVAs, which didn’t really give me the motivation to check out the other parts of the OVA, so I just decided to go with the movie instead. Which, as it turns out, is completely different.

Before I continue however, I do want to say the following: with most of my series and movie reviews, I try to not include any spoilers. With this movie however, it’s impossible to really talk about my impression of this movie without discussing some of them, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you might want to skip the rest of the paragraphs of this review.

I say this of course because Bungaku Shoujo marketed itself as some cheesy romance in which the lead character gets to date a cute girl who eats books. The prologue of the movie reinforces this completely when it throws cliche after cliche when introducing its characters. And in the end, this turned out to be a huge red herring for the real subject matter of this series: dealing with a mentally insane childhood friend.

At this point I’m still not sure whether the creators tried too hard with that character, but nevertheless my highlight of this movie was the interplay between her and the lead character as it really took its time to explore how both of them feel about each other. With excellent animation, I felt myself to really care about these two, and to be honest, the entire cast quickly loses the stereotypes associated with them at the introduction. There is a bit of overacting at times, but even there it feels subtle and restrained, to really give off the impressions of a natural cast. I’m definitely surprised by that.

My main problem with this movie was the conclusion. Basically, most of the major conflicts are solved with a cheesy speech that I feel was totally unnecessary. I would have really preferred it if the characters just talked to each other to sort out their differences. Or heck, went to a proper psychiatrist.

The animation for a movie’s standards is pretty good, but average. There are a few still frames and off models here, but characters are well animated. For movie’s standards it’s nothing extraordinary, though. The soundtrack itself is also nothing to write home about.

Nevertheless it’s a compelling teenaged drama with a lot of symbolism to novels (most notable Kenji Miyazawa’s Night on the Galactic Railroad). It’s not the best and the whole “demon eating books” turned out to be just a gimmick that could have easily been omitted without changing anything, but it definitely kept my attention throughout the movie.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Takes its time to tell the story, great sense of mystery.
Characters: 8/10 – The acting tries a little too hard at times, but nevertheless the cast is believable and charming.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Solid and detailed, but doesn’t stand out compared to other movies.
Setting: 8/10 – Aside from one gimmick that’s not used to its potential, it does its job of supporting the story, especially the book symbolism.

Suggestions:
Night on the Galactic Railroad (one of those movies that I got to appreciate more and more over time, so just ignore that rating).
Gedo Senki
Kappa to Coo to Natsuyasumi

7 Responses

  1. Firechick says:

    Whoa! This is out already!? I saw the first Memoir OVA and it was wonderful! I can’t wait to see this movie!

  2. Dr. Pest says:

    Oh wow. This was the first anime I really loved since the beginning of 2010 (ok…besides the Koizumi OVA).
    I didn’t like the first OVA of Bungaku Shoujo, so I had no expectations but the movie was exactly my style. My first 9-10/10 points since 2009. Well I’m looking forward to the last two OVA episodes now.

  3. brian says:

    the ending left me with questions? who can answer some? like what is Toko’s relationship with Inoue? what happened to Miu and Inoue?

  4. Firechick says:

    I saw the movie and…I flipping loved it! The music, the animation, Touko-chan, I loved it all!…except Miu. I seriously hated her. I literally cheered when Nanase slapped her and taught her a lesson. She seriously needs to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around her and that she needs to let Konoha see the world and not cling to him and keep him confined all to herself! Other than Miu’s horridness, I loved the movie in general. I can’t wait for the other Memoir OVAs!

  5. Cuddlefish says:

    It’s actually based on book 5. Miu is somewhat more sympathetic in the book, mostly from the details that the movie cut out.
    In short, her family treated her as a “rubbish bin” for their negative emotions towards each other. She became a kleptomaniac because the things she stole could empty her mind of “rubbish” and fill it with stories.
    Campanella’s first wish was for Giovanni to accompany him to the journey’s end (considering the meaning behind Night on the Galactic Railroad, that’s a dangerous wish). Eventually, though, Konoha became the Campanella who Miu admired.
    One noticeable thing that the movie omitted was the contents of Konoha’s book – not the original one he wrote, but the notes Miu added to every page, retelling the story from Hatori’s point of view. This misses out on some of Miu’s character development.

    Also, the cheesy speech thing is a staple in each volume of Bungaku Shoujo. Touko just walks in, braids swaying, and resolves the situation by talking for half a chapter. It works better in text.

  6. grace says:

    this was definitely my favorite anime movie over the past few years. the characters were just incredibly sympathetic–even the “antagonist,” so to speak.

  7. Thorben says:

    If you are interested in the movie, its recommend to watch the three http://anidb.net/perl-bin/animedb.pl?show=anime&aid=7441 OVAs first. They give a proper introduction to the characters and their backgrounds and are in my opinion perhaps even better then the movie itself.

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  • Wicked
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 05:39 PM)
    Other wise I’d have recommended Life and Limit by Keiko Suenobu or maybe something like Mars. Although I don’t think Mars ages very well
  • Wicked
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 05:33 PM)
    @kaiser Shoujo don’t tend to be as twilight zone-y as Partner, plus it’s only 3 volumes. There are shoujo that deals with heavy subject matters like bullying or forbidden love, but i don’t know if that’s what the person is asking for
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 03:27 PM)
    @Wicked: That was a decent enough manga, that Partner series, I like a good dark shojo and it was well enough in that regard within what its genre/demographic could get away with and its story fit comfortably its three volume run.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 03:14 PM)
    @K-Off, DSII was a disappointment somewhat salvaged by the DLC. DSIII is much better but still doesn’t top DSI.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 03:05 PM)
    @K-off: sorry I’m actually in your (former) neck of the woods about 50 miles north of Orange, working at a music festival called lightning in a Bottle. You’ll love Dark Souls III if you’re patient enough. So much of it is a direct homage/copy of the original that it feels like a shelved fanfic at times, but there is polish and some ingenuity behind some of the deeper nuances of the game.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 06:24 AM)
    @Bam Finally going to start DSIII this monday, I’ll have to see what’s so special about this one since I wasn’t the biggest fan of DSII.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, May 29. 2016 06:17 AM)
    Pretty pleased with my Vita so far, finished Danganronpa 2 and completed 100% of Ray Gigant this week. June looks like a pretty good month for the Vita, currently deciding whether or not I should purchase Odin Sphere or Grand Kingdom when they release. Of course I really should repair my WiiU gamepad before Mirage Sessions comes out.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, May 28. 2016 08:11 PM)
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, May 28. 2016 08:10 PM)
    @Wicked: I might read that I liked Kodocha and parts of honey bitter.
    @Mario: I think shion sono made a live action movie of that.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, May 28. 2016 11:57 AM)
    @Maamoo: if you like datk twisted psychological thriller I would recommend my favorite manga: psychometrer Eiji. It’s a shame that they haven’t adapted it to anime yet

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