The Girl Who Eats Paper?

As first year student Konoha Inoue is about to leave school campus, he presences a girl savor a page from the book she is reading. She introduces herself as second year Tōko Amano, the literature girl, and asks him to join the Literature Club so that he doesn’t expose her secret. After almost two years of being the sole two members of the club, a strange message arrives. A piece of paper with a drawing that resembles a sketch found on the corner of a poem written by famous Japanese writer Kenji Miyazawa. Further investigation leads them not only to Inoue’s past, but to the reason for why he has given up on writing novels for the rest of his life.

The “mysterious school comedy” centers on the unusual members of a high school literary club. Tōko Amano, a high school senior who calls herself the “literary girl” as the club president, is actually a supernatural creature (yōkai) that devours stories — she tears pages from books to munch on them. Her club subordinate is Konoha Inoue, a second-year high school boy who writes stories every day for Amano to eat. He once wrote an award-winning novel, but he wrote it under the penname Miu Inoue so readers thought the author was a mysterious 14-year-old bishōjo novelist. The stress from the novel’s fame and its movie and television drama plans turned Inoue in an introverted recluse

– AnimeNewsNetwork

Warnings – there may be spoilers ahead. I don’t think I have the talent to ramble about an anime without providing references to it.

Bungaku Shoujo means Literature Girl. That’s the translation taken from the Internet.

It took me a while to get into the story. It was rather hard to understand what was going on at first. It’s my first time touching anything related to Bungaku Shoujo. I have not watch the OVAs yet. Got a little impatient and saw the movie instead. After a while, things started picking up with the introduction of Miu. I came to watch this movie with the thought that this is going to be a movie about a girl, Touko, eating ‘stories’ for a living. About how she deals with the societal perspective of her diet. I was so wrong. The story’s told from Konoha’s, the guy she seemingly forced to join Literature Club, point of view.

Apparently, Konoha has experienced a dreadful past. And that dreadful past consists of Miu. I have tons of questions seriously in need of answers when the anime started throwing names like Inoue Miu or Miyazawa Kenji. Who is Miu? Why does she have the same surname as Konoha? Is she his sister? Who is Kenji? Why are his books so great? What’s exactly going on with Konoha? I liked the fact that all the mysteries were build up in a very nice way. These kept me going. Icing on the cake – my questions were ALL answered.

There were a few scenes which surprised me. It’s not really the story per se. It’s just some of the little things inside the story. Take for instance, I find it unsettling to watch Miu’s multiple suicidal attempts and how Konoha almost jumped with her at one point. Miu is strangle-worthy, and possessive. It’s understandable. Coming from a broken family, she sees herself as a person without value. A person never loved by anyone. So when Konoha started paying attention, she wanted him to stay. It’s hard not to feel for Konoha. He must’ve carried a heavy burden ever since her first suicidal attempt. It’s clear that he’s blaming himself for what had happened. It’s good to know that he has good friends standing close by.

Enough of Miu and Konoha. Let’s talk about Touko. She’s one hell of a girl. Apart from being creepy for having an absolute diet of papers, she’s actually a very normal girl. It’s interesting to see how she savors the stories that she reads, remembering the details and understanding them. This proves her strong passion for literature. She’s also a very happy person, and a positive one. Without her, it’s impossible for Miu to start anew after her psychotic inner struggles. Without her, Konoha may not be able to free himself from Miu’s bondage. While the story revolves more around the relationship between Miu and Konoha, Touko played a central role in bringing everyone together. Her interpretation of Kenji’s work was insightful.

The ending sucks. Okay, that’s not exactly true. It concludes well but I wanted to see the actual face of the person ringing the doorbell and not assumptions of who she might be. Perhaps these queries can be answered if I read/watch the light novels/manga/OVAs and stuff. I don’t know. On the other hand, I like how the anime started. The quick introduction of main and supporting characters in the opening gave me rough idea who I am expected to see as the anime proceeds.

Story aside, this movie has supreme artwork. The scenic shots, especially the train scene when Konaha finally caught up with Touko, are W-O-W. The colors are vivid and the characters are well designed. The soundtrack needs more work though. It’s just meh. There’s one thing I’m curious – how’s Miu able to survive AND not paralyzed after she jumped off from her school buidling? I take that Japanese school buildings can be quite tall?

Alrighty. My verdict. Bungaku Shoujo is a beautiful story. Take some time to watch it. 🙂

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