Villainess: Reloaded! Blowing Away Bad Ends with Modern Weapons, Vol. 1

By 616th Special Information Battalion and Wuhuo. Released in Japan as “Doushitemo Hametsushitakunai Akuyaku Reijou ga Gendai Heiki wo Te ni Shita Kekka ga Kore desu” by K Lanove Books. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Shaun Cook.

Gotta be honest, I got the premise to this one mixed up. I am reading far too many of these villainess stories lately, and I had thought this was a “Peggy Sue” sent back to the past story like Tearmoon Empire. But no, it’s a “I’m the villainess in an otome game” story like Bakarina… in fact, clearly inspired by Bakarina in many ways. That said, while this is mostly light fluff, the choice of the author to start things off with an ominous, bloody prologue filled with death and a genuinely evil villainess for once had me raising an eyebrow… then raising the other when it’s never brought up again. Instead, for the most part, this is a pretty fun story of a military otaku, brought into an otome game world, who, like Katarina, tries to avoid her bad endings that will happen in ten years time. *Unlike* Katarina, she does so by making lots and lots of guns.

After the ominous introduction I mentioned before, we’re introduced to Astrid, a promising 4-year-old with a lot of magic talent and the daughter of a duke. She also, as you may have gathered, has memories of a previous life in Japan…a college girl who was a serious military otaku. What’s more, she knows this is the world of an otome game she once played… and that, yup, she’s the villainess who gets exiled in the end. As with Katarina, the idea of “being nice to everyone and not being evil” rarely occurs to her (though it does on occasion). Instead, she’s going to be spending time figuring out how to introduce rifles, pistols, shotguns, and grenade launchers via the power of magic, imagination, and the spirits that end up doing whatever she wants. Now if only she could avoid all those pesky love interests, who for some reason seem even more fascinated with her.

Obviously, there’s a lot of Bakarina here. The heroine is clueless about why all the love interests seem drawn to her, though Astrid is slightly more self aware… but that’s only a matter of degree. I’d argue that another good comparison is The Eminence in Shadow, as you see Astrid for most of the first half of the book just go nuts making and using all kinds of weapons, to the horror of her maids and family (with the exception of her mother, who seems to know everything Astrid is thinking… mostly as her poker face is terrible). The first half of the book is better than the second half, which shows Astrid as a six-year-old and then eight-year-old, going through school, studying advanced blood magic methods, helping other students, and trying to figure out why the prince in her class won’t leave her alone. In other words, it has far less dakka, and that’s not something you want to hear from a series like this, which depends on its gimmick of “Astrid’s Got a Gun”.

Still, it is interesting enough that I’ll pick up a second volume. Astrid desperately needs an injection of common sense, as she researches ways to affect the brain so that she won’t suffer from PTSD when she has to kill people to avoid exile. Realizing that she’s only creating her own fate now rather than avoiding it is beyond her narrowly focused mind, alas.

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