7th Time Loop: The Villainess Enjoys a Carefree Life Married to Her Worst Enemy!, Vol. 1

By Touko Amekawa and Wan*Hachipisu. Released in Japan as “Loop 7-kaime no Akuyaku Reijou wa, Moto Tekikoku de Jiyuukimama na Hanayome (Hitojichi) Seikatsu wo Mankitsusuru” by Overlap Novels f. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Julie Goniwich. Adapted by Aysha U. Farah.

The word ‘villainess’ has always had a loose definition to begin with, coming from a theoretical character in an otome game that never really existed, and usually being some variation on “mean girl”. Even that doesn’t really apply anymore. The villainess, for the most part, now seems to be any young woman who gets publicly shamed and has her engagement broken by a prince. We meet Rishe here, and there’s certainly no sign that she’s done anything wrong, but the script nevertheless plays out as we know it. Of course, as the title of the series implies, this is not her first rodeo. This has now happened to her SEVEN times. Perhaps she’s been reading a lot of villainess novels as well, and they’ve all blended together so much she keeps coming back to them. Amusingly, the “why” of the loop is irrelevant – it’s there to make her more awesome.

As noted above, Rishe Irmgard Weitzner is publicly shamed by her fiancee, who calls off their engagement to that he can marry Mary, a poor girl new to nobility. Having now done this SEVEN times, and knowing her parents will shortly be disowning her and barring her from the house, she tries to bolt back home to grab her things before this occurs. Unfortunately, she runs into Arnold, the Crown Prince of a different country, who had also been attending. He’s fascinated with her, mostly as she doesn’t seem to have any awe of him at all. Indeed, she wants nothing to do with him – every single time loop she’s lived to the age of twenty and died, and it’s either indirectly or directly because of him. This time, though, something new happens – he wants to marry her. Maybe, if she goes along with this, she can find out what makes him want to wage the war that keeps killing her…

I had a ball reading this. Rishe is definitely on the “smart” end of villainess protagonists, mostly as she’s lived 5 years of a different life seven times. First she was a merchant, then an apothecary, etc. She even disguised herself as a man to become a knight… but Arnold ran her through. In this particular loopy, Arnold seems, around her, to be the standard shoujo manga love interest. Unfortunately, he also seems to have a destructive streak about him, and Rishe can’t quite figure out what’s behind it. The antagonist of this book is his younger brother Theodore, who seems to be the stereotypical “evil sibling” but also turns out to have greater depths than anticipated. I also liked how many of the characters in the show who are seen to be “betraying” someone are doing so because they’re poor and desperate – this book is not afraid to show us the disparity in class.

At the end of this volume, Theodore may have resolved some of his issues but Rishe is still a long way from learning the truth about Arnold. I definitely look forward to more volumes of her finding out. Recommended for villainess fans, romance fans, and mystery fans.

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