Well, here’s a first. I’m actually reviewing a manga adaptation of a light novel series where I’ve read the source material (shocking, I know)!
The I’m in Love with the Villainess light novel series, by Inori, has become a favourite of mine, thanks to the quippy dialogue and cute romance between the two main characters. So, I was very excited when I heard that the books were getting a manga adaptation by Aonoshimo.
Did the adaptation live up to my high expectations? Let’s dive right in and find out!
Rei Ohashi is a regular office worker who’s life is tragically cut short while she was in her prime. By some miracle, she finds herself reincarnated into the world of her favourite otome game, and as the main character, Rae Taylor, no less.
As Rae, she now possesses powerful magic abilities and is attending a prestigious magic academy that caters to the scions of noble families, despite being a commoner. In the game, Rae attracts the attention of and is romanced by one of the three princes who attend the academy with her, but this Rae has zero interest in any of them. The character she has been obsessed with since she first picked up the game is none other than the game’s villainess, the arrogant and spiteful Claire Francois!
Completely ignoring the male love interests, Rae sets her sights on Claire and will stop at nothing to be near her, despite Claire’s best efforts to bully her. Will Rae be able to win the heart of her tempestuous lady love? Or will Claire completely loose patience with her antics and find a way to get rid of Rae for good?
There are a lot of shojo isekai series that have the main character replacing the villainess of a game or novel and then using their knowledge of the world to do good and become a person who everyone adores. I think the focus on the villainess in these works stems from the fact that the villainess characters tend to have more personality than the heroines in these kinds of games. They also have more to loose if things go poorly for them, frequently winding up dead in the game or book’s intended ending. These factors make it more fun and interesting to have the main character assume their role, rather than the part of the sweet and innocent heroine.
I’m in Love with the Villainess is a series that is all about giving the villainess her due, celebrating her good and bad qualities in equal measure. On the surface, Claire isn’t a very likeable character. She starts out pompous and self-centered, insulting Rae without a second thought and quickly stooping to bullying when she feels Rae has slighted her. She’s also extremely entertaining and adorable when she’s flustered, which happens often because Rae will not stop declaring her love for her. She does have some noble characteristics, as well. She holds herself to high standards and is willing to take action to uphold her convictions. It doesn’t take long to understand the appeal of someone so strong-willed and open with their feelings, and I soon loved Claire just as much as Rae.
Poor Claire doesn’t know what to make of Rae’s determined pursuit and constant declarations of undying devotion. Due to her position as a member of the nobility, she naturally assumes that this is all a ploy to try and win her favour and take advantage of her wealth and connections. She isn’t buying Rae’s love confessions for a moment. For her part, Rae just wants to be near Claire and doesn’t have any real expectations that Claire will ever return her affections. Claire is canonically supposed to be in love with the country’s second prince, after all.
With Claire going so untrusting and Rae seemingly not taking anything seriously, it’s bound to be a rocky road ahead for their romance. Thankfully, it’s so much fun to watch Claire attempt to scheme and gain the upper hand, only to have Rae smoothly turn the tables on her, that I’m more than happy to watch them bicker and chase each other around in circles, for now.
Rae and Claire’s banter was my favourite part of the novels, and it’s just as hilarious here. Claire will say something nasty or purposefully trip Rae, and Rae will not only take it with good cheer, she’ll find a way to twist Claire’s words and actions around to suggest that Claire returns her feelings, much to the other girl’s chagrin. If anything, it’s even funnier in the manga, since I can see Claire’s shocked and mortified expressions as she watches all of her best laid villainous plans ultimately backfire on her.
This is one manga adaptation that completely lives up to the original and I encourage any fans of the light novels to check it out. It, of course, doesn’t contain as much detail as the novels, but I found that being more streamlined helped with the flow of the story. In short, this is just as good as the novels, if not a bit better. If you’re a yuri fan looking for something light-hearted and humorous, definitely give this manga a try!
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10
For more information on this manga, visit Seven Seas Entertainment’s website.
What did you think of this manga? Do you prefer the manga or the light novel? Let me know in the comments!
Be sure to check out some of my other recent yuri manga reviews:
- The Whole of Humanity Has Gone Yuri Except for Me Review
- Superwomen in Love! Honey Trap & Rapid Rabbit Vol 1 Review
- Roll Over And Die (Manga) Vol 1 Review
- Dear NOMAN Vol 1 Review
- Alter Ego Review
If you enjoy reading my reviews, please consider supporting me through Kofi.