Reincarnated as the Piggy Duke: This Time I’m Gonna Tell Her How I Feel!, Vol. 1

By Rhythm Aida and nauribon. Released in Japan as “Buta Koushaku ni Tensei shita kara, Kondo wa Kimi ni Suki to Iitai” by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Zihan Gao.

For the most part, the “villainess” stories that we’ve seen a lot of lately have all been… well, villainesses. The genre began as a woman-driven creation, usually pairing the (former) villainess with various hot guys, because theoretically they live in an otome game. The male equivalent has not particularly shown up much. Visual novels meant for guys tend not to have a serious romantic rival for anyone. If for villainesses you think of sneering ladies covering their mouths with fans while laughing “OHOHOHOHOHO!”, then for villains in anime and manga you tend to think of a specific type. Short, fat, usually has a bowl cut. Son of a major noble, so can bully people pretty well, and usually will get a humiliating defeat at the hands of our heroes. That said, one of the more interesting things about this new series is that it really isn’t that. The titular Piggy Duke is actually the “Ensemble Darkhorse” of the show.

We don’t even find out how our hero died this time, but he’s been reincarnated as Slowe Denning, a duke’s son and the antagonist of the popular anime Shuya Marionette. Shuya is the hero. Slowe has spent most of his recent history destroying his reputation, to the point where he’s now despised by almost everyone around him. Of course, the reincarnated anime fan knows why: he’s trying to rig things so that he can confess to his retainer, a (secret) former princess who now lives as a commoner. That said, with his new memories of how the anime turned out for Slowe (badly, though the fans loved his stubbornness), our hero is NOT going to go down that path. He’s going to try to lose some weight. He’s going to improve his reputation. And he’s going to confess to the girl he likes. That said… easier said than done when he can’t even walk ten feet without three passersby calling him the Piggy Duke.

Not gonna lie, this book’s fat shaming is not great. Slowe’s appearance is belittled all the time, and while some of it is due to his porcine face and occasional snorts making him sound like an “orc”, most of it is mocking his weight. A good deal of the book sees him starting to work out to lose it, or searching for magical weight loss potions to help take the pounds off. But that said, I did enjoy this more than I expected. Slowe actually does sound much of the time like an anime fan would if their memories were now part of their favorite villain character. Also, unlike almost all villains of Slowe’s type, he actually has HUGE skills with magic… which, yes, means this is an OP hero story, sorry, did you expect something else? The magic system is classist (and described as such, to the point that when Slowe helps a commoner figure out how to use magic, it’s a big effing deal) but does allow for nice property-damaging mage battles. And the girls are cute.

So it’s not terrific, and I could do without the fat shaming embedded into the premise, but for the most part I found this book quite readable and the protagonist a fun guy. I’ll be picking up the next volume.

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