In this review I want to use Bungaku Shōjo’s style of associating stories with various tastes. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but in my country there are vitamin C pills sold at the chemist’s. Those pills consist of sweet coat to prepare you for bad thing, bitter middle layer, where the actual medicine is located, and honeyed core to wash away the after-taste. Bungaku Shōjo has that kind of a story.
The first OVA has Japanese girl talking about some story written by the Russian classic author. I was impressed, not by the story, but by the whole concept. That cute and unusual scenario was standing out against a background of the latest anime shows, so I enthusiastically waited for the film. And here it came.
The plot revolves around Inoue Konoha, a high school student who once wrote a best-selling novel but doesn’t want to continue author career. He has a bookworm friend, Amano Tōko. She is a literature girl whose food is books, literally. Since I like books myself, I usually go berserk every time I see somebody ripping a page or something, but okay. Amano is very sympathetic character, so I easily forgave her.
The film begins like aforementioned coat of a pill: sweetly and light-heartedly like your typical romantic story. But then it throws the viewer into whirlpool of despair and psychological problems. It wasn’t the stuff I expected after watching that OVA, but I have to admit that Bungaku Shōjo works perfectly as drama. The plot is a bit rushed in the beginning and has some sharp angles but it is good at one certain thing: transmitting necessary feelings to the viewer. Bungaku Shōjo is a very atmospheric creation, and the music really helps here. Those piano-centred arrangements are definitely a good choice for a film of such kind.
Two major themes of Bungaku Shōjo are romance (of course) and books. Yeah, the books help us to express ourselves; thanks to them we can share our experience, dreams and emotions. I am somewhat an amateur writer myself and I enjoy writing short stories, so I appreciate Bungaku Shōjo for exploring the role of literature in our life.
However, there are some minor minuses in this film, like the fact that Amano is a book-eater has no real significance for the plot development. Looks like she is given that trait just to become more… mysterious and strange, I think. And I have already mentioned that the story of the film has some difficulties in it. Another thing is the art which is certainly not a masterpiece: trains look damn plastic, for example.
So, was Bungaku Shōjo good or not? In the beginning of my review I compared it with a vitamin C pill, and vitamins are nice for health, right? In fact, Bungaku Shōjo is the best romantic drama I’ve seen recently, and that is equal to 9 points in my eyes.
P.S. Night on the Galactic Railroad, a book by Miyazawa Kenji-shi, has a prominent role in the story of the film. I don’t know whether that intentional or not, but I like how Inoue Konoha, the protagonist, shares the same family name with Inoue Masaru-shi, a man known as “the father of Japanese railways”.
P.P.S. I really want Amano to try out my quantum mechanics textbook. Wonder what taste does that hell of a book have.