Sawako Machida—or "Miss Bernard," as she prefers to be called—can frequently be found in the school library with a book in hand. Whether or not she has read it, however, is another matter entirely. In her own words, Sawako finds it too much work to actually read, and would rather just make others believe she spends a lot of time reading. But in the same library where she constantly hangs out, there are other students who love books and are quite upset with her disdainful approach to reading their favorite titles.
As she pretends to read and discuss great literary works amid eccentric book lovers, Sawako finds herself learning something after all, as well as making new friends along the way.
If you browse /lit/, you should watch this anime. If not, you can still watch it and have fun. Most of the comedy and cute moments are pretty accessible. As a bonus, at least the yuri ship is still alive after the last episode. Take that Euphonium.
Bernard-jou Iwaku is a short comedy series featuring essentially a memetastic representation of the average reader on /lit/, the kind of person constantly asking for what books to read, how to read, what lists to consult, and whether completing the holy trinity will ever allow her to amount to anything, all while never summoning the motivation to finish the
vast repository of literature that the show manages to fit into tiny three minute segments.
In many ways, it's quite likely that the mangaka for this show is a frequent visitor to /lit/. Some of /lit/'s most valued traditions, from degrading the literary merits of Haruki Murakami, to acting aloof from the intellectual depths of our favorite hermit, Thomas Pine Cone, to pretending that we read "some" of a top 100s list in order to hide the pathetic quantity of material we actually read this year, are featured in some form in the show. All we need now is some John Green, debates about translations, William Gaddis, and a book club trying to get through Zettels Traum and we'll basically have 2016 /lit/ in a nutshell.
To be kind of serious for a moment though, I think Bernard-jou speaks to more than just readers trying to get into the continentals. It's a sort of twelve episode celebration on reading (and not reading), one where I think everyone can identify with the obsessive science fiction fan, or the arduous task of finishing novels like Moby Dick or Remembrances of Things Past or feeling a bit smug about having read a book long before it was turned into a movie. Bernard-jou, in many ways, is both a cool little inside joke for ardent readers to feel good about the idiosyncrasies of their hobby, but it's also a cute and refreshing self-parody of the idea of reading and the small little ploys, habits, and tendencies that others see in readers that can make them seem ridiculous at times.
The show also boasts a rather wide list of books to read, most of which I would probably recommend. To be honest though, if you watch this show to get a list of recommended books, maybe you're already beyond help. Start with the Greeks instead.
Fall 2016 opened the floodgates to smorgasbord of anime shorts, from Chinese co-produced anime shorts to just a plethora of anime shorts, one of LA's more interested anime shorts was Bernard-jou Iwaku and by god did LA make a right pick with this one.
You know that ONE person who wants to be in on the conversation but has utterly no material to start, so then that person starts talking about something else but using your conversation material as a jumping board...this is Sawako Machida.
Really LA just summed up Bernard-jou Iwaku and that's not a bad thing AT ALL, simplistic and great in execution and really
it has it's comical moments for a 5 minute anime short.
Bernard-jou Iwaku's strengths comes from Sawako Machida voiced by Eri Kitamura, as she really is the major catalyst in causing many of characters around her to be the reactant, mainly from Sawako's "lazy-yet genki" attitude. From wanting to talk to Endou voiced by Mitsuhiro Ichiki, Shiori Kanbayashi voiced by Mikako Komatsu who's a die-hard literary reader but snaps at Sawako's antics and finally Sumika Hasegawa voiced by Aya Suzaki, a love interest to Endou and she easily gets pulled into Sawako's antics. There is a slight bit of relationship upgrade mainly in the form of Sawako and Shiori for the most part, due to Shiori's tsundere tendencies causes her to open up to Sawako in some respects though Sawako's punchlines causes her to comedically lash back at her and really the comedy is GREAT because of the all the great punchlines Sawako inevitably creates and ends. LA might have added in Endou and Sumika in terms of "romantic" subplotline in this anime short, but it's only glossed over once or twice, but Sawako's social comedic antics with everyone else (especially Shiori) more or less takes center stage.
The animation is "ok" by Creators in Pack at best it's what you kinda expect from an anime short, the basic character designs to the comical chibi moments and add to it, tons of literary information on the background to the books they are quoting and referencing at the time, LA knows that "info on the background" isn't animation in a ways but still even the "info dumping" have some backgrounding and referencing movies from the books to them. The backgrounds themselves is usually in the library so LA can see why they added the "info dumping backgrounding"...ok LA is digging too deep into the backgrounds. Overall Bernard-jou Iwaku's animation isn't exactly something to honk about, especially for an anime short, but it's ok animation nonetheless.
The voice acting however is exceptional oddly enough and is one of the main reasons why LA continued watching it. Eri Kitamura is the MVP of Bernard-jou Iwaku, being the fast-talking snarky as all hell main character but LA will also add Mikako Komatsu as Shiori getting snapped by Sawako's antics and going into a fast-as-all-hell diatribes is great for comedic timing. Seriously the voice acting as much as it's fast-talking craziness, it's AMAZING fast-talking craziness...Eri Kitamura is AMAZING in Bernard-jou Iwaku.
If you want to see a snarky as hell character with literary refernces and ignoring social cues with a fast yet good relational and comedic chemistry from the rest of the cast then Bernard-jou Iwaku is a simplistic yet funny as hell easy pick for an anime short for Fall 2016...let's just hope Sawako might actually READ a book as much as WE pick good anime shorts for Fall 2016 because Bernard-jou Iwaku along with one other anime short got the distinction as LA's favourite anime short for Fall 2016.
Bernard-jou Iwaku is a 5 minute anime about a wannabe reader that doesn't like to read, she just likes the look of a person that is talking about a book and she want to have that kind of aura that says, "Yeah, i read books i'm very smart".
Story: 6 out of 10
It is a 5 min anime, the objective isn't to have a great and deep story but have a little, funny and enjoyable story. This kind of story isn't an engaging, but is a very enjoyable story from the first until the last moment,
Art: 7 out of 10
The story isn't a work of art,
it is very simple but i like this kind of story in animes like this one because this style fits genre.
Sound: 6 out of 10
The music is nice but it didn't bring anything new to this kind of anime.
Characters: 7 out of 10
They didn't develop the characters much but you can feel the difference between the first time that you saw them for the first time and when you see them in the last episode.
Enjoyment: 6 out of 10
It isn't one of that animes that i was always waiting to be released but every time i watched it i had lost of fun.
Bernard-jou Iwaku has no right to be as good as it is. It's just a set of very quick gag shorts that proceed at lightning pace, shoving a ton of book references and witty book-nerd rants into just a few seconds of decent, but ultimately uninspired, animation. So...blah, right?
Well, no. I admit that I was drawn to this short because I love books and I couldn't resist the premise. I kept watching because the antics of Machida Sawako, the laziest reader of all time, were hilarious. And I just couldn't get enough of her hilarious trolling that inevitably led to regular meltdowns on the part
of Kanbayashi Shiori, the overly serious tsukkomi to Machida Sawako's boke.
But then things changed. We got to see this lovely little friendship develop between Sawako and Shiori. It was genuinely sweet and it didn't seem forced. The final episode was truly moving and it made me hope for more. I didn't want it to end.
I hope we get to see more of this series. It started off as a light entertainment and ended with moments that really made me fall in love with two wonderful book nerds. I'll miss them.