I’d Rather Have a Cat Than a Harem! Reincarnated into the World of an Otome Game as a Cat Loving Villainess, Vol. 1

By Kosuzu Kobato and Hinano Chano. Released in Japan as “Sonna Koto yori, Neko ga Kaitai ~ Otome Game no Sekai ni Tensei Shimashita ~” on the Shousetsuka ni Narou website. Released in North America by Cross Infinite World. Translated by Jenny Murphy.

As always, the first question you should be asking yourself is “what makes this different from every other villainess book?”. In this case, there are multiple answers. The first is that it is not just our nameless Japanese heroine who dies and reincarnates as the villainess, her entire family also died and has reincarnated as her villainess family! They all gained their memories when they were ten years old, so Amy has a built-in loving support structure. Secondly, she and her mother both agree that they want her to avoid the fate of the otome game, and decide to do this by… fattening her up, so that she’s too pudgy to be a bride. Before you ask, yes, this is handled quite positively, and ends up having huge benefits to her healing magic powers. Third, and most importantly, she loves animals, and they love her. Especially big, big cats. I mean, it is the title of the book.

One more difference from other villainess books: Amy is rather shy and retiring, and the idea of getting engaged at the age of ten would likely fill her with horror even if she was not trying to avoid a Bad End. Unfortunately for her, the fact that she’s not trying to gain favor with the third prince and instead wants to gush about animals is what makes her attractive to him. It also helps that she manages to save his wounded pet owl with her magic. As the book goes on, we start to see that, while Amy may be content to hang around her family and play with her cat all day, the world has bigger plans for her. She’s discovered four of the six ‘capture targets’, and they’ve insinuated themselves into her life. And there’s a girl walking around who looks exactly like Maria Campbell, and we know what THAT means. Can Amy still avoid her doom?

As I said earlier, I was a bit wary when I heard part of the plot is “let’s make you chubby so no one will want to marry you”, but in context it’s treated really well. Amy is super healthy and active, climbing trees and roaming the land with her giant cat, so even keeping the weight on her at all is a challenge. What’s more, and the reader realizes this even if no one else does, gaining weight is clearly what leads to her having much stronger magical power than anyone else her age… or even above her age. Amy feeling bad that she can only heal a 2-inch cut on someone’s face, and everyone else reacting “You healed a wound from a monster and didn’t even leave a scar?!?!” is fun. There’s also a character introduced towards the end, Letizia, who is a delightful cliche of a tsundere, in all the best ways. I definitely hope we see more of her.

Honestly, this feels more like a slow life book than a villainess book, especially as we’ve only seen glimpses of the heroine. But it was a lot of fun, and had enough interesting variations to make me recommend you add it to your 70-foot-high pile of villainess books.

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