Bibliophile Princess

Alt title: Mushikaburi-hime

TV (12 eps)
Fall 2022
3.578 out of 5 from 1,883 votes
Rank #4,794

When book-loving Lady Elianna spots Prince Christopher—her betrothed in name only—consorting with another noble lady, she realizes the recent rumors must be true. The prince has someone he truly loves, which means the annulment of their engagement is both inevitable and fast-approaching. What she doesn’t realize is that this is merely a surface ripple—one of many where the truth runs deep, in a conspiracy surpassing her imagination!

Source: J-Novel Club

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This series begins by explaining that Eri, (who can only be described as the softest, most precious human with an obsession with books) has entered into an agreement with a prince she had been a childhood friend with. She agrees to be his fiancee in title only in order to buy him time from being pressured to choose anyone else, so long as he grants her access to a library and allowed her to continue reading in the meanwhile. She, like many of her family, was only really interested in books, and had no interest in becoming a queen as it would interfere with her freedoms to do so. However, her mind starts to slowly change as she realizes her feelings for the prince. Over the course of the anime, we see a lot of growth in Eri as she expands her horizons beyond books to navigate relationships around her, contributing her knowledge to the Prince's plans to aid his kingdom in wise and clever ways. As people begin to recognize her contributions, she reaches a crossroads where she needs to determine her own feelings toward the prince. While she had technically been with him for years, the relationship was never romantic. It never felt real to her because it was born out of a mutual agreement that they never really communicated further about. On the other hand, we repeatedly see that she left a far bigger impression on the prince as children than she remembers, or that he lets on, and she was always the only one for him. Overalll a high quality story, with a very Shoujo, soft color story and animation style that I love. However there are two points I would have loved to see improved. First, because of the premise of the show and how independent the characters are, we don't see our main two characters together quite enough. The prince is always so busy with state affairs that he is constantly away for long periods of time, and Eri travels away from the castle often as well. This directly causes the second point, as so much time away from each other opens a lot of opportunity for doubt in Eri, which genuinely does not feel true to her character compared to how independent she was before this agreement. All this being said, this may not be the anime for you if you don't enjoy sad episodes. For a happier vibe with a similar premise, try similar title Snow White with the Red Hair.


I want to preface this by saying that I read the first few chapters of the manga before the anime was announced, so I knew more about the story going into it than those who didn't. So, when this started airing, I adored this anime. For this season, I would have ranked it in the top compared to all of the other titles that I decided to pick up and watch. It kept my attention and the introduction of the characters was well-done and sweet, but that seems to be where it lost me... The first issue I had was that Elianna had a hollow personality with only one defining trait she's a bookworm and only loves to read. It makes her incredibly knowledgeable about the academic studies done to progress society that only the nobility can really get their hands on and understand. Her only strength is her passion, but outside of that--, she has nothing. Elianna has no strong desires of her own as an adult to the point where even the simplest simpleton takes advantage of her and poses a realistic perspective that she doesn't seem to want what her partner, Prince Christopher, wants. He wants to be a strong ruler and works himself to the bone to do what's right for his people and has curated strong and valuable advisors. It's the typical "strong man puts life and love into a young woman who's pretty much a blank page" type of content, and that's not good enough for me. I'm happy that MADHOUSE picked up this title because it has beautiful art and solid voice acting (Japanese), so I knew the quality would be solid-- but the content of the story and characters weren't good enough. I wouldn't be surprised if MADHOUSE decided to put this down after 1 season because I genuinely don't think the core content is worth an adaptation. It's possible that the pacing is well done for the manga because of how readers process time, but that didn't reflect well as an anime adaptation. In the future, I really hope MADHOUSE is willing to pick content where the female main role isn't a pushover and has more... tenacity and depth. If this was made a few years ago, I might have thought differently, but this is my collection of thoughts and maybe this resonates with other watchers and readers alike. This review isn't to deter you (the reader) from consuming the content, but to give you a general understanding of what to expect.

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