Living Two Lives, Telling Two (Competing) Stories
- Mangaka : Comedy, Fantasy, Gender Bender, Romance, Shoujo
- Publisher : Dangmill, Akizakura Hiroro, Akiyama Shino
- Genre : Yen Press
- Published : April 2022 – Present
We’ve talked a lot on Honey’s Anime about the wonderful potential of shoujo manga in 2022, and particularly the otome isekai genre. This reincarnation genre includes series like the well-known comedy Otome Game no Hametsu Flag shika nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei shite shimatta… (My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!) and the recent must-read Higeki no Genkyoutonaru Saikyou Gedou Rasubosu Joou wa Taminotameni Tsukushimasu (The Most Heretical Last Boss Queen: From Villainess to Savior).
Akuyaku Reijou, Cecilia Sylvie wa Shinitakunai node Dansou suru Koto ni Shita. (Cross-Dressing Villainess Cecilia Sylvie) offers an interesting twist on the otome isekai story by having the main character disguise herself as a boy to escape her doom as this game’s villainess. The game’s setting has a complex backstory and some surprisingly dark elements, raising the stakes for Cecilia if she wants to survive her seventeenth year.
The irony that this double-life feels like two wholly different stories is not lost on us. Like a child stubbornly trying to hold two magnets together and wondering why they’re repelling each other, we feel like the two halves of Akuyaku Reijou, Cecilia Sylvie wa Shinitakunai node Dansou suru Koto ni Shita. (Cross-Dressing Villainess Cecilia Sylvie) would be better off far, far apart.
Join us today on Honey’s Anime as we discuss the manga adaptation of Akuyaku Reijou, Cecilia Sylvie wa Shinitakunai node Dansou suru Koto ni Shita. (Cross-Dressing Villainess Cecilia Sylvie)!
Like the vast majority of otome shoujo isekai, the setup for Cross-Dressing Villainess Cecilia Sylvie needs little explanation: a privileged princess awakens to her memories and decides to avoid her disastrous doom in her beloved video game. That’s not a criticism of this particular story, of course — shounen isekai have been doing the same-old “truck-kun + reincarnated hero” shtick for years, and thankfully Cross-Dressing Villainness speeds through the opening quickly.
The dark game world of “Holy Maiden of Vleugel Academy 3” involves “maiden candidates” who must win the affections of a chosen Knight who will bestow precious artifacts on their chosen girl. In turn, this girl will become the next Holy Maiden charged with protecting the peace of the realm; standing against her are vicious “Obstructions” — RPG-style enemies that are possessed by evil magic and can only be defeated by a chosen Knight or a maiden candidate.
We really liked this surprising grit, along with the inclusion of RPG elements like “tutorial battles”, which are rarely seen in the otome isekai genre. Disguised as a dashing prince, our main character Cecilia enters the titular Vleugel Academy and accidentally becomes one of the Knights after intervening in the “tutorial battle”. Cecilia’s goal of keeping her real gender from being exposed is under threat now that she’s become the object of every girl’s fascination! If she’s found out, she’ll be roped into becoming a maiden candidate, and fast-tracked to one of her many “bad endings”.
Unfortunately, Cross-Dressing Villainess Cecilia Sylvie stumbles while attempting to mesh this darker storyline with a light-hearted comedic tone. Our main character is air-headed but lacks the charm of Katarina (All Routes Lead to Doom), nor does she possess the strength and determination of Pride (The Most Heretical Last Boss Queen). The tonal whiplash between Cecilia’s comedic life as “Prince Cecil” and the narrative of a serial killer hunting down the maiden candidates is disorientating to say the least.
This consistency problem extends to the artwork, too. Cross-Dressing Villainess Cecilia Sylvie has a flowery feel that nicely complements the shoujo vibes, but jars against graphic scenes such as Cecilia’s real-world death in a terrible fire. An over-reliance on info-dumping also means many pages are covered with text boxes explaining the minute back-story of a character we’ll only see for a few pages, distracting the reader from the art itself.
Why You Should Skip Akuyaku Reijou, Cecilia Sylvie wa Shinitakunai node Dansou suru Koto ni Shita. (Cross-Dressing Villainess Cecilia Sylvie) [Manga] Vol 1
1. Everything And The Kitchen Sink
Comedy? Romance? Murder-mystery? Cross-Dressing Villainess Cecilia Sylvie decides to be all these genres and more at once. Every other page switches tone, without the finesse required to make such alternating genres feel cohesive. We applaud the idea of adding a darker storyline to the standard otome isekai fare, but the comedic beats don’t quite hit the mark, and feel disingenuous against such a macabre backdrop.
As presented, Cross-Dressing Villainess Cecilia Sylvie is like ordering a Subway sandwich with every ingredient in the store — we’re left with a stomachache and a disappointing lunch break.
Ultimately, Cross-Dressing Villainess Cecilia Sylvie feels like a glass of oil and water, always touching but never mixing. Comedic scenes about cross-dressing and almost-BL romance whiplash sharply against the threat of a serial killer and monstrous fantasy enemies. Perhaps the light novel was able to walk this delicate line better, but as the manga adaptation stands, we wish the story had stuck to a consistent tone overall.
Do you agree with our review of Akuyaku Reijou, Cecilia Sylvie wa Shinitakunai node Dansou suru Koto ni Shita. (Cross-Dressing Villainess Cecilia Sylvie)? If you’ve read the manga or the light novel, we’d love to hear from you down in the comments below! And as always, thank you so much for reading!