I’m the Villainess, So I’m Taming the Final Boss, Vol. 7

By Sarasa Nagase and Mai Murasaki. Released in Japan as “Akuyaku Reijo Nanode Rasubosu o Katte Mimashita” by Kadokawa Beans Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Taylor Engel.

This is a short story volume, but it contains the basic theme for the entire series, which is that when Aileen is doomed, or on the verge of execution, or otherwise has to work really hard to achieve anything, she’s fantastic, amazing, stupendous. When she’s surrounded by her loving husband, loyal allies and BFFs, she has a tendency to… well, there’s no getting around it, she’s a sub. The end of the book discusses Aileen and Claude’s first time, which we briefly heard about at the end of Book 6, and it’s immediately apparent that Aileen is in terrible denial about the fact that, in bed, Claude can not only wrap her around his… not-so-little “finger”, but she also just gives in to him, which embarrasses and humiliates her. And also turns her on, we’re meant to understand. If this is a surprise to you at all, this must be your first volume. That said, there’s more to this volume than that.

The short stories in this book are in chronological order, with the earliest happening after Book 1 and the latest ones taking place at the end of Book 6. Most of them are short, and it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that they were extras with a store exclusive or DVD release. There are bulkier ones, though. One goes into much greater detail about how Walt and Kyle went from the Church’s honed weapons who are there to kill the Demon Lord to his most trusted bodyguards. (If your response is “because the Church is evil, congrats, you read Japanese light novels.) Because this is an otome game world, Valentine’s Day exists, and we get to see the ladies of the book (minus Lilia, who is notably absent from most of this volume) dole out candies and chocolates to all. And, as I mentioned above, Aileen and Claude have had their first time. He’s very, very happy. She’s a wreck.

I mentioned the lack of Lilia. She does show up at the very beginning, in a scene taking place before the start of Book 1. It mostly just shows off her perfect heroine vibes that she’s deliberately cultivating. More interesting is the end, where we see all the main couples do something. Aileen and Claude consummate, Isaac and Rachel decide to elope (their parents are against it) and buy a house. Auguste proposes to Serena, who reacts in exactly the way you’d expect a furious tsundere to react. Roxanne gets reassurance that she’s not just “the top of the harem” but the only wife. And Sahra… um, exists, I guess. They can’t all be gems. But Lilia is determined to avoid her fate. She declares she’s staying “All Ages”, despite being married to Cedric. What’s more, the thing that gets her over the moon more than anything this volume is not Cedric doing anything, but Aileen re-enacting, just for her, one of the villain CGs from the game. Lilia is far more like Maria Campbell than we’d expected, adn Cedric is still coming in second to the villainess in her heart.

So that was not essential, but it was pretty fun! Claude fans will love seeing him 100% in charge here. Presumably back to more “if Aileen doesn’t fix this immediately she’ll be executed” next time.

I’m the Villainess, So I’m Taming the Final Boss, Vol. 6

By Sarasa Nagase and Mai Murasaki. Released in Japan as “Akuyaku Reijo Nanode Rasubosu o Katte Mimashita” by Kadokawa Beans Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Taylor Engel.

So I have very good news for fans of this series: not once in this volume is Aileen threatened with execution as a result of something happening out of her control. Which makes a nice change from the first five books. Indeed, there’s a very “final volume” to this, despite the fact there are at least five more books coming. All the major subplots are tied up, most of the romantic couples are now together… well, mostly (try harder, Serena), Claude is no longer being forcibly possessed and turned into a dragon, and everyone gets something to do. Indeed, that may be my biggest complaint of the volume: this cast is too big, and I hate having to go back to the cast list at the start of the volume to remember who is who. Oh yes, and perhaps the most important part of all this: Aileen and Claude are finally allowed to consummate their marriage! Offscreen, of course. This isn’t Loner Life in Another World.

We pick up right where we left off, with everything having gone wrong and Amelia having won. That said, Aileen doesn’t know the meaning of the word quit: indeed, to everyone’s shock, she notes that if she can’t rescue Claude she’s going to have to kill him. In order to save the day everyone will have to do their best, despite the fact that one heroine is in a coma, one heroine is being a tsundere, and one heroine is still convinced that this is a game and that she doesn’t have to care about anyone as a person at all – though you get the sense she’s lying through her teeth. As for Aileen and her faction, well, she handles things like she always does, with brute force and blunt objects. Indeed, looking back to the past of Amelia and her sister, we meet Grace Dark, Claude’s mother, who turns out to be a lot like his current wife.

As with the previous few volumes, I’m fascinated with Lilia, possibly the best “heroine” in a villainess book not named Maria Campbell. Out loud, she’s the same as always, talking about backstories and routes opening up (Aileen does this as well, and the two are frankly far more alike than Aileen would like). Deep down, her feelings for Cedric are wavering, not enough that she’ll confess to him or anything (honestly, you get the sense she’d rather be in a bisexual relationship with Aileen and Claude), but because she’s going off to be brutally murdered by Amelia, and knows that saying “I’ll marry you when I return” is the biggest death flag there is. Unfortunately for Lilia, she’s surrounded by much better people than her, who can also work miracles, so rumors of her death become the reality of her wedding. Which, honestly, she’s a bit bitter about.

So, the end! Aileen is married and has now consummated her marriage! What could be next? Oh, short story volume? Right. Short story volume.

I’m the Villainess, So I’m Taming the Final Boss, Vol. 5

By Sarasa Nagase and Mai Murasaki. Released in Japan as “Akuyaku Reijo Nanode Rasubosu o Katte Mimashita” by Kadokawa Beans Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Taylor Engel.

I am a great fan of this series, which is one of the best in the Villainess genre. That said, reading every volume can be stressful and exhausting. More than any other book, you get the sense that if Aileen relaxes at all, takes her foot off the gas one little bit, she’ll immediately be executed. There’s never any downtime in these books. Hell, that’s the running gag at the start of this volume, before things inevitably turn serious: she can’t consummate her marriage because plot keeps happening. And the plot really, really wants things to happen the way the games were written. Interestingly, for once no one talks about trying to execute Aileen here. That said, they do say that Claude has to marry someone else, and also that he will be turning into a demon. You get the sense the implication is there. But yes, here we go again, time for Aileen to fight fate, and this time even her allies are seemingly turning on her.

Aileen and Claude are now back home after the events of the last book, and are ready to consummate. Sadly, even if the plot weren’t getting in the way, Aileen’s still too nervous about sex for anything to happen. But things do happen, and they’re interrupted by the arrival of Luciel, a demon who claims to be Claude’s father, and refuses to recognixe Aileen as Claude’s wife. What’s more, the nearby Kingdom of Hausel is having a Bridal Royale, with the winner getting to become the new ruler… oh, and also getting Claude, of course. Honestly, this is sounding a lot like the plot of the fourth game, to be honest, but there’s one slight problem: the fourth game took place six hundred years before the first three! Is fate out for Aileen’s head so badly that it will redo everything to get the ending it wants?

I hate to inform you, but this is a two-parter, so we don’t get all the answers in this first book. That said, the answer definitely appears to be “yes” so far, as Grace Dark, the antagonist of this book, is going around trying to get the “real” heroines back on their routes. She’s only mildly successful in this regard. Sahra is a pushover, and mostly goes along to help Ares. Serena knows this is fishy, but is at present so disgusted with Auguste’s waffling that she’s prepared to be a traitor. And Lilia just finds the whole thing hilarious, of course. And then there’s Aileen, who spends the whole book running around putting out fires, getting kidnapped, crashing a wedding, and generally being as badass as possible. Which is fantastic, that’s why we read these books. It’s just there’s is, as I said, the problem that if she ever stops for a breath everything she loves will be destroyed.

So yeah, very good book, but read it when you’re ready to be tense. I will say that so far Aileen has not died. We’ll see what the 6th book brings.