Forget Being the Villainess, I Want to Be an Adventurer!, Vol. 1

By Hiro Oda and Tobi. Released in Japan as “Tensei Reijou wa Boukensha wo Kokorozasu” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Kim Louise Davis.

A lot of these Reincarnated Villainess titles are deconstructions of romance novels and games. It’s baked into the premise, really. That said, some are more deconstructing than others, and it’s usually when we see the sharp edges of the original plot poking out that we get the most rewarding reading. Our heroine here is not as eccentric as other villainesses we’ve seen, and she has even revealed her secret to a few people. She’s doing all the right things. But there’s still something that’s really trying hard to have events go the way that they did in the book she read back in Japan. And if that involves breaking reality to “fix” things, well, that’s life. It ups the stakes a great deal. Especially when you realize that there’s a heroine here as well… and she’s not going to be falling in love with the villainess anytime soon. This heroine is going to get her happy ending if it kills her. Or, more accurately, if it kills our protagonist.

Serephione is a young noble girl who has memories of her past life in Japan, where she read a fantasy novel set at a magic academy. In this novel, the commoner girl heroine wins the hearts of everyone around her despite the best efforts of the powerful mage … Seraphione. Yeah. To prevent this, our girl decides she’s going to avoid the magic academy altogether. This is not as easy as it sounds. She’s loaded with powerful magic. She’s bonded with the Heavenly Beast of the West, a powerful familiar. All signs point to her following the book’s plot. But Seraphione is stubborn, and is not above asking her guardian beast to cheat the system. Now the “magicless” Seraphione is at the knight school instead, making friends and breaking all sorts of records because trust me, she’s hella strong too. But has she REALLY avoided her fate?

The other really good part of the book is Seraphione’s grandmother Erza. The Author mentions in the afterword that they had been taken to task in their last book for not giving the heroine a powerful female role model, and that’s certainly what Erza is. Indeed, the entire family seems to be known for being ludicrously OP, so one one is going to think twice about Seraphione being able to do things like one-shot knock out princes from another country with her mad combat skills. I also liked how the grandmother also starts training her other friends up, not wanting to see any knights who are unable to use both their combat power and their feminine wiles to get what they want. Though perhaps training everyone in poison resistance – by poisoning them ALL THE TIME – is a bit much.

I’m sure by now everyone who reads my reviews of Villainess books is rolling their eyes, but it really is a genre that I love. This one especially caught my eye because of the way that the narrative is trying to bend back… which may or may not be the fault of the seemingly naive and selfish “heroine” (who is named Maribella, which is not Maria but close). I’m adding this series to the stack.

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