The Villainess Stans the Heroes: Playing the Antagonist to Support Her Faves! Vol. 1 Manga Review – A Lighthearted Isekai
Title: The Villainess Stans the Heroes: Playing the Antagonist to Support Her Faves!, Vol. 1
Author: Yamori Mitikusa, Kaoru Harugano, Tsubasa Takamatsu
Release Date: March 21, 2023
Publisher: Yen Press
The Villainess Stans the Heroes: Playing the Antagonist to Support Her Faves! Vol. 1 is a weird, jokey take on isekai. It plays with how we consume media to give us a unique situation of duality: being a villainess and simultaneously rooting for the heroes.
After a silly death, a woman in her late twenties who loved the mobile game Emotion Fantasy more than anything found herself reincarnated in the series’ world. As soon as she woke up, she noticed she was a seven-year-old version of the early villainess in the game, princess Eldea Euclair.
Knowing exactly how the story went and wishing to preserve the course of events faithful to their original circumstances, she decides to play the role of an enemy. While Eldea does multiple actions to help the heroes, she is a sort of puppetmaster, responsible for the obstacles in their way behind the scenes.
However, due to some divergences from the original story, she sees herself having to deal with unexpected circumstances. As much as she may play the villainess, her genuine love for the characters shows through, and her meddling alters the past of one specific boy, who happens to be her number one favorite.
What makes The Villainess Stans the Heroes a fun read is how much it jokes around with the whole concept. Handling everything in a very lighthearted manner, it offers a genuine comedy from start to finish. Privately, she breaks character and starts gushing about the individuals she stans, planning multiple ways to endorse the heroes’ journey.
Meanwhile, her favorite boy became her butler, and dealing with him can be complicated. He’s the one person who understands her true self better, but having his loyalty and love so clearly makes her feel like they reversed roles. As someone who was only into 2D men, romance is also a touchy subject for her, making her a little too pure to handle his advances at times.
During the first volume, she gets to the final stages of acting as a villainess and can finally enjoy herself while living apart from the main story of the hero party. With all the riches she accumulated through multiple investments in the world’s industries, she can now follow them from afar and try to see the world for herself without worrying too much about her impact on the story she loves so much.
Seeing her deal with the unexpected consequences of everything she did in this world can be fascinating sometimes. Though the story has a few points lacking clarity regarding what she did to be considered a villainess, it hints at some tragedies being inevitable situations beyond her control and some of her misdeeds as a way to promote the protagonist’s growth.
Finally, the artist Tsubasa Takamatsu does a great job at the paneling and conveying the raw emotion of the characters’ expressions. What would already be a funny quip gets even better with the exaggerated faces, especially those of the protagonist or when her butler acts cool to tease her. Even with a slightly generic art style, it works well whenever it wants to show emotion.
The Villainess Stans the Heroes: Playing the Antagonist to Support Her Faves! Vol. 1 is a funny take on the concept of being reincarnated in a game world. The lighthearted, silly tone makes it a fun read through the whole volume, and I’m intrigued to see what this world still has to offer for this “retired villainess.”
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