Anime: Bungaku Shoujo

Anime movies. Sometimes they are amazing, sometimes they’re just mediocre.

Bungaku Shoujo unfortunately falls in the latter category. It’s main failing? It tries too hard to squeeze too much content into an hour and a half.

I’m sure the novels for Bungaku Shoujo are amazing. Reading all the spoilers at MAL for the character just seems to confirm it. But the movie falls short. It’s not even a good romance. Praise is due for creating THE most messed up character ever in anime. She has managed to over take Flay, which to me is an accomplishment.

Bungaku Shoujo is a movie about a girl who literally eats books (I’m using literally correctly – she really does EAT books). One day Inoue Konoha sees her eating a book and she then forces him to join the literature club and write snacks for her to eat. The premise sounds pretty cool doesn’t it? Or at the very least it starts off interesting. The plot goes down hill from there. It’s choppy and the characters are barely introduced. The movie tries to be mysterious, but so many questions remain unanswered. I haven’t read the novels, but I think what the movie does is it concentrates tells us about Inoue Touko. It’s really more of his story than the “literature girl”. However, we all know that Touko – the literature girl is more interesting.  Furthermore the characters mention events that have happened, that the audience has no clue about. It also animates or shows us who I think are the main characters in the novels, but some of them are gives only 5 minutes of screen time in the movie. Who are they? How do they know Touko and Inoue, we are not given any indication. The cutest guy in the series is given like 2 minutes of screen time, and says just ONE line. Please don’t do that to me.

The movie draws a great deal from Kenji Miyazawa’s works. He’s an amazing Japanese children’s book writer. I like how his stories are incorporated in the story. It makes a brilliant introduction to Japanese authors that the world may not be familiar with. At the same time, I think it is helpful to actually be familiar with the stories that they mention in the movie, it adds to the experience. Although I myself have never read any of his work, so I can’t say if it’ll add to the depth of the story, but at the very least, it doesn’t take away from the story. This is probably the best part of the movie. The use of books to express feelings is done very well and it had piqued my interest in reading Miyazawa’s works.

I feel bad because I really don’t have anything good to say. I would rather go read the novels. Or maybe I need to go watch the OVAs. Perhaps that will help, but as it is – a stand alone movie, it’s really just not worth the time. It should have been made into a series. I think it would have been interesting. Oh well, a lot of people seem to like it for some reason. They did have some memorable quotes towards the end of the movie, but it doesn’t save the movie. Neither does the time skip or the scenes after the credits.


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