The Otome Heroine’s Fight for Survival, Vol. 1

By Harunori Biyori and Hitaki Yuu. Released in Japan as “Otome Game no Heroine de Saikyō Survival” by TO Books. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Camilla L.

This is another one where I had a different idea of what it was going to be like before I read it. When I typed up the premise in Manga the Week of, I said it was an Otome Game Reincarnation Meets Survival Game. Which… is not inaccurate per se, but I think fans of both genres are going to find this a little less than what they were hoping for. For otome heroine fans, while there are multiple reincarations and a villainess to go with our heroine, it only becomes relevant at one point in the story. As for the survival game, that comes right at the start and then is mostly setup for future volumes. As for what this actually is, well, it’s an attempt to tell a “dark” otome heroine story, featuring a heroine who learns how to kill in order to survive. That said… it’s a stat head book. If you’re the sort who can’t get enough of people raising their STR stat +1, you’ll be in clover.

Alicia, an orphan who is trying to live like a plucky young girl despite the orphanage being a Pit Of Evil, is accosted one day by a madwoman. She says this is actually an otome game, and Alicia, the heroine, is destined to be the secret daughter of nobility and end up at a school with multiple men vying for her. The other woman tries to use a magic crystal to transplant her soul into Alicia’s… which only partly succeeds, then Alicia, being a desperate 7-year-old, kills her. Now that Alicia has the woman’s knowledge of this world… and, it’s hinted, a healthy dose of nihilism… she returns to the orphanage, where she was about to be sold to some pedophile, kills the old woman running it, and flees. As she walks through the forest and cities of this world, she gradually works out how magic really works in this world, self-trains, gets help from a few allies, and gradually grows incredibly overpowered. Despite this, she never loses her new personality.

As you can likely guess, someone’s been watching a lot of the “dark magical girl” shows and thinking “hey, I can do that”. And, to be fair, they can do it pretty well. The usual complaining about stats aside (and believe me, it’s very annoying), Alicia, later Alia, is an interesting protagonist, whose influx of memories from the woman who attacked her helps to ward off accusations of her being nothing like any other 7-year-old out there. The same applies to Elena, the future Villainess of this world, who is also, separately, trying her best to avoid her fate in the game. Frankly, the meeting between Alicia and Elena is the highlight of the book, and the final scene may not be yuri (they’re both too young, leaving aside their mental age), but it’s fraught with doomed Birdie Wing-style dramatics, as one pledges to do one (and only one) thing to help the other no matter what, and the other promises to kill one (and only one) person for the other no matter what. It was damn cool.

That said… again, hope you like stats. I’m definitely reading the 2nd book, though, which may have a new cast, given our heroine fakes her own death at the end of this one.

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