I’ve been following another series in which the protagonist wakes up to realize she’s been reincarnated into a dating sim video game as the villainess and has to use whatever knowledge she has of the game from her previous life to not end up dead/exiled/or whatever other fantasy ending the villainess might end up with. The basic premise of I’m the Villainess So I’m Taming the Final Boss takes that premise and actually gives it some interesting characters and situations that add a little bit to the generally predictable plot and characters without taking away the comfort entertaining feel of the whole thing.
Aileen is the titular villainess who seems to have in the real worl previously but she only has flashes and moment of memories, so she doesn’t have a whole other personality to balance with her current video game based persona. What makes her more interesting is that her base personality is actually more complex than the ex-fiancee who gets dumped by the prince in favor of the heroine; she actually has some business acumen which she openly uses, she has some knowledge and respect for manners and understand a good deal of how the society in her world works, and she even appears to have some empathy for lower working-class folks. In volumes 1-2, it’s unclear how villainous she was or even exactly what happened; we do get a good picture of why she might have been the way she was (hint: it involves being a woman in a world that doesn’t really acknowledge girls as anything other than pretty possible wives).
Her prince is the typical good looking guy, but from what little we do see of him he isn’t exactly Prince Charming; he actually might be a little dumb and a little mean-spirited. The ‘heroine’, Lilia, likewise may not be entirely what she looks like; she’s definitely not the helpless sweet-heart she’s supposed to be, that much is clear. The relationship between these two is a bit interesting since this supposedly predictable factor too has some hints at least that someone wants to be a little more than simply their assigned game role.
There’s also the hint at first and then outright acknowledgement that Aileen isn’t the only one with knowledge of the game, but how much the other party has and when/if the two of them figure out they share that situation might be pretty interesting.
The final boss of the title turns out to be the Demon King, Claude, who is revealed to be incredibly good looking even by video game princely standards (the characters in the story frequently comment on how pretty he is) turns out to be Prince Cedric’s half brother who possessed magic (a bad/suspicious thing in this world) and voluntarily gave up his claim to the throne and went to live as lord of the demons at the age of 10. Aileen’s plan is to make Claude fall in love with her so the final catastrophe of the game in which he goes full demon dragon and kills her, only to be killed by hero and heroine (who apparently turns out to be some sort of holy sword maiden) doesn’t happen; turns out Claude might be a better prince given that he actually seems to care about his people and is willing to work for them, meaning he and Aileen have this in common which might just be enough to start an alliance that naturally hints at the possible something more.
I like that Aileen is smart and not afraid to use it, and that she’s willing to work to get what she wants. Claude’s a little less interesting since he seems a little naïve but watching him and Aileen work together to show the world not to discount them, and yes, the romance element is there too, but it seems like once they figure themselves out, it’s going to be a pretty sweet story.