12 Days II: Take a look, it’s in a book, an eating rainbow

銀河鉄道の夜 | ライオネル中村

銀河鉄道の夜 | ライオネル中村

It’s been a long journey, but I’d finally finished the main story for Bungaku Shoujo near the beginning of the year. Bungaku Shoujo (localized as Book Girl, which I think is a terrible name — the fan translated name Literature Girl sounds much nicer, imo) is a light novel series about a boy who was an aspiring author until he went through some trauma in the past and a girl who eats books. Upon discovering that the guy can write, the girl makes him write stories for her to eat. Along the way, they solve some dark mysteries that stem from literature, so that the self-styled literature girl can flex her incredible knowledge and save the day.

This is pretty standard stuff for light novels. You’ve got your main character who just wants to lead a normal school life. Of course, he can’t do that because he’s being dragged around by the annoyingly energetic but strangely captivating girl (who herself is easily captivated by seemingly random things). She’ll do something crazy and he’ll be bewildered and make some snappy comeback or something. And then there are other characters to round out the cast and they’re even in the school book club. So we’ve hit all the requisite light novel notes.

The main difference comes not in the really overt references to higher literature or the mystery solving, but in the incredible self-loathing that every character seems to possess. It might be obvious that each mystery has to do with the book of the day, but SPOILERS the actual solution always comes with the revelation that one of the characters really, really hates themselves. I feel like the anime adaptations do not really adequately capture this.

Now, each book only resolves the mystery, but doesn’t really cure any of the characters. They just kind of learn to deal with it and show up in later volumes despising themselves more openly, but also not actively causing harm, so that’s progress, I guess? Anyway, while that’s all interesting as far as light novels I’ve read go, let’s be real: what I really stayed for was the Konoha/Tohko.