Miss Bernard Said key



Oh boy, how do I summarize this one. O.k. do you know what a poser is? Wait that’s a bad stat, I’m not entirely sure what a poser is. Let me rephrase that, do you know those people that really want to be a part of a community or just want to have a specific hobby or skill (like playing guitar let’s say) but are more into the idea of it than actually doing it. It’s not ill intentioned or anything. In their heads they’ve decided this was a part of their identity but when it comes time to put it into practice, it just doesn’t work out. Well that’s Sawako with books. She wants to be this huge literature buff and spends all her free time in the library, but when it comes to actually reading something, it’s a bit of a challenge for her. Still she is not letting that stop her and the self proclaimed “Miss Bernard” is more than happy to bestow her book knowledge on all those around her… no matter how spotty it may be.

I think Sawako’s plan may have worked better than anyone expected because I went in to this show firmly convinced that it was about a knows it all book worm that solves all of her friends problems with a somewhat sharp tongue and himesama attitude. How did she manage to befuddle me before I had even seen the series?

Miss Bernard Said ep1-3 (11)
awwww they’re cute!

It seems that whenever I watch a short anime, it’s the first thing I mention in the reviews. I can’t help it. I think the production of short programs series is just so different at the core from regular shows and that’s bound to affect the outcome.

Miss Bernard is sort of what I have come to expect from classic short programs. Very few characters, not much animation, limited settings and fairly simple designs. It’s a budget anime. But by that, I don’t necessarily mean cheap. Well I do but not in the negative sense of the word. The production had limited resources to pull this together so they put in just as much as they needed on each technical element. Not more but also not less which is not something I can say for every anime!

Still, it’s not a particularly memorable production and as far as visuals go, the last short I watched was Null and Peta which was far more impressive.

Miss Bernard Said ep4-6 (3)
not that this was bad…

So what is Miss Bernard Said? Should you watch it? For one, it’s an adaption of a 4 koma manga. Each episode is a single 5 minute skit (more like 3 when you take out the OP and ED) and they don’t have much to do with one another aside from the characters. The humour is probably going to be divisive. There’s a distinct eastern feel to it that might alienate certain viewers. It often feels almost like a stand up routine, with characters all talking very fast at each other and delivering punch line after punch line with minimal set up.

Then there’s the actual subject matter. Miss Bernard herself might not be the nerdy bookworm she hopes to become but that’s kind of the target audience here. The show (and jokes) revolve around classic literature, mostly Japanese classics as well as golden age Science Fiction for some reason. Being a fan of both I was delighted by the many (occasionally more obscure) references to books and authors but was a little tiffed on several occasions that Simak was completely snubbed. People underestimate Simak. Sure his works may not be as flashy or spectacular as Heinlein, Dick or Sheckley (als underrated in my opinion and very smart author) or as visceral as Asimov, Herbert or all the Russians (Russians are an emotional bunch) but still. In case I’m being subtle, I like Simak.

Miss Bernard Said ep7-12 (4)
don’t change the subject!

Also, if that little spontaneous Science Fiction related rant bored you, you should stay very far away from Miss Bernard Said. I’m not kidding.The substance of it really resides in the literature discussions and jokes. Not every episode is about classic authors or books but they still fall into the same category. Like discussing Fermat’s Last Theorem at a diner in a way that makes it obvious that Sawako is completely missing the point. (I also like Fermat, I have a soft spot for trolls…)

So this is random but it’s a “joke”, I really enjoyed. At one point the girls ask Endou “what book could a girl read to attract a boy” and after pondering the weird question he ends up answering “The Little Prince” at which all the girls scowl. That’s it. The Little Prince is one of my favourite books and I didn’t’ really get why the girls hated the answer but at the same time the delivery and absurdity of it all really made me laugh…

On the other hand, if you read this entire post without rolling your eyes or falling asleep,you may have found a short for you. There are even some pretty cute friendship moments here and there!

Miss Bernard Said ep4-6 (1)

Favourite character: Shiori Kanbayashi

 What this anime taught me: You want to hear the Simak rant again?

“Bad choices make good stories”

Suggested drink: The Book of Kells

  • Every time Endou gets a chance to read – take a sip
  • Every time anyone explains the plot of a famous book – take some notes
    • if it’s Sci Fi – also take a sip
  • Every time Miss Bernard gives a random quote – take a sip
  • Every time Kanbayashi gets mad – take a sip
  • Every time Sawako didn’t actually read something – cheers
  • Every time Sumika crushes on Endou – take a sip
  • Every time we see a supporting character (not one of the main 4) – gasp
  • Every time we’re not in the library – look around

Miss Bernard Said ep7-12 (8)

I don’t have many caps of this one, everything just sort of looks the same. Still, here you go





26 thoughts

  1. Wow. I really like Simak. Just been years since I thought of him. Now I have to go reread some. LOL. I may have to find this to slurp up some hot afternoon.

  2. This looks like a really fun series. I also wonder what would happen if Yomiko from Read or Die popped up in that anime and met Miss Bernard?

    1. I,m not sure she would interact at all. I mean it’s a library she’s never been in so she’ll be busy reading for a few weeks.

  3. I just finished ep. 1 and it looks like a keeper!

    Heinlein and Azimov were still writing great stuff when I was a kid. The Golden Age of Science Fiction was a couple decades and more before that.

    1. I usually see the the Golden age refereed to as the 50s. Since Asimov switched to writing non-fiction in 57 it matches up pretty good. I think he published one or two books after the switch. Heinlein’s career started in the 40s and ended in the 70s I think. So he was part of it too. Maybe there are a few different golden ages?

        1. I don’t know either. Still during Asimov and Heinlein’s careers. I think they would count.

          1. I looked it up they are both prominent Golden Age authors according to Wikipedia do the timelines seem fluid

  4. I had a lot of fun watching this one! Reminded me of a number of folks from my long-gone school days.

  5. How did I never hear of Simak? He’s a SFWA Grand Master for heaven’s sake!

    I just bought his Highway to Eternity, so his estate thanks you for the sale!

    I’d never heard of this series, either. The humor you described sounds right up my alley. Thanks for the intro!

  6. Aw man, I had a soft spot for this one. It’s a seriously bookwormy anime, though. I’ve nothing much to say about it, but I’m quite happy to have watched it. (I was rather surprised to hear them mention Greg Egan; certainly not Golden Age.)

    For what it’s worth, I haven’t read much Golden Age SF at all. Simak’s still on my to read list along with some others, like the Pohl/Kornbluth space merchant book (I’ve read some more modern Pohl short stories, but don’t remember them). I sort of started reading SF with the New Wave and read very few older writers. (Not that they weren’t still around.)

  7. I can’t imagine someone like Machida lasting a single day in the real world like the actual real world if she is passing herself off as educated and literate when in reality shes a illiterate philistine.
    I seriously don’t think you could be able to play video games especially if its stuff like Hotel Dusk Room215 Trace Memory,Ace Attorney or Professor Layton because you really need solid critical thinking skills and pay close attention to story and dialogue when trying to progress through the game.

    1. I’m not sure well versed in the classics and strongly analytical are that closely related. I went to university in hard sciences (for a long time) and a lot of my classmates had skipped out on literature as it wasn’t really their thing. They are great doctors now.

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