The Literature Girl movie is not about the titular literature girl, at least not qua literature girl. We are told that she is a youkai who consumes stories; the movie deftly takes this premise and chucks it down the storm drain. Here is nothing supernatural, save, perhaps, for love and inspiration—concepts deified in the time of the ancients.
And then the movie isn’t even really about the literature girl in any other sense. She is not the protagonist; we don’t even get her perspective for more than one 10-second scene. The real focus here is Inoue Konoha, a character cast in the mould of such marvelous specimens of manhood as Shinichiro.
As Ryan points out, the main impetus of the plot and the drama in this film comes from his interactions with a cast of secondary characters, all related to him through romance in some way or other.
Literature Girl is a love quadrangle. Where’s Hiromi, you ask? There is no Hiromi.
There are three ‘characters’ vying for Konoha’s attention: Miu, Nanase, and Konoha’s writing.
Miu consistently attempts to undermine Konoha’s freedom and creative expression for her own therapeutic purposes. Nanase sees writing as a proxy for Touko, and knows that Konoha’s involvement in the school literature club equates to his involvement with Touko.
“I was rejected,” she says after Konoha tells her that he wants to write and runs off into the night.
She meant that she’d lost to Touko. The writers meant that she’d lost to writing. They’re both correct, in a sense—the truth isn’t always one thing. But really, much as True Tears was mostly about Shinichiro’s development as an artiste, so too is Literature Girl primarily about Konoha rediscovering his passion and taking up the pen once more.
Of course, Konoha loves Touko. She’s one part megalomaniacal Suzumiya Haruhi to Konoha’s Kyon, two parts obsessive Yomiko Readman to Konoha’s Nenene, and several parts unadulterated selflessness—erring here on the side of Mugi, erring there on the side of Alicia.
And Touko has no intention of competing with Konoha’s writing.
She’s not even a choice in the quadrangle: the moment Konoha runs to her side, she disappears, kawarimi no jutsu, and poof, in her place Konoha is left only with his desire to write.
Why does Touko unilaterally cut herself off from Konoha?
Guilt, maybe—guilt over hogging him for two years. Over forcing him into her club, forcing him to write for her. And maybe that complex hid his true feelings from her; maybe she doesn’t know that he never resented her until the last second before the train doors close. Maybe he even appreciated the heavy-handed encouragement!
But is Touko really clueless? She consistently displays vast insight. Despite her demonic genesis, her only “powers” are completely mundane: she’s good at conflict resolution; she has a vast memory for the contents of books; she has a friend who works at the school planetarium. And with powers like those, mundane though they are, she couldn’t possibly be totally in the dark, right?
She knows Konoha’s feelings, and she makes every decision at every turn throughout the film in an attempt to steer him back toward his novelist career, to push him back into his passion.
And so Literature Girl becomes the movie that isn’t really about Amano Touko, but maybe really, really is: despite not getting much screen time, despite not even being a potential love interest, despite being the supernatural plot hook to a completely mundane tale, Touko ends up being a proxy for Konoha’s true love (writing), not the other way around, and she helps guide our troubled protagonist back to the ‘best end’ of his love quadrangle.
And of course, on a meta level, Bungaku Shoujo (the book) within Bungaku Shoujo (the movie) is definitely about Amano Touko; it is undoubtedly Konoha’s love song to his bibliophile senpai.
Seiyuu Stuff: Why did Production I.G. feel the need to hire Shizuka Itou for the sake of one line of dialogue? One useless, useless line of dialogue? Also, if you hate Asakura Miu, you’re not alone! lolikit’s got your back: Miu is yet another incarnation of the paragon ogress herself, Hirano Aya.
these notes are like lelouch's head to the boot of this post's suzaku
it is moist & delicious meta
and it's not even a lie!