By David T. Valentin
Image by Manta Comics
I had the pleasure of catching a sneak peek at the first three chapters by Manta Comics, a story about someone who finds themselves reincarnated into a story, that they themselves have read. Only problem is? They’re the villain of the story, and even worse, they also die at the end.
Determined to change her fate, the reincarnated, or as she’s now known as Lady Seria, tries her best to change the course of her character’s story arc, but finds it seems things are still playing out the way the plot originally unravels. Can she change the fate destined to her by the plot of the story she’s stumbled into? Or is her faith already sealed, no matter what she does?
While the comic is a bit confusing at first, given that it does feel like you start already in the middle of the plot as if assuming we know the world already, I’ve Become a True Villainess slowly unravels a world that’s filled with interesting mysteries, magic, and court politics, doing a bit of a 180 from the beginning that promises what seems more to be less of a fantasy and more of a romance that just so happens to take place in a fantasy setting.
As the plot moves on and Lady Seria tries her best to change her inevitable path, I was drawn in deeper to how the original story deviates from Lady Seria’s attempt at changing the plot so that she may survive by the end. By dropping little crumbs throughout the panels, you get the feeling that no matter how much she’s trying, it’s almost as if the story is adapting for her inevitable demise. There is also what seems to be the hints of Lady Seria’s rival becoming an envious villain and who is also the main lead of the original story, Saint Lina, a woman who slipped into this world from another. It makes me wonder whether Saint Lina will become the villain as Lady Seria tries her best to be the protagonist in this go around of the plot.
At first, I have to admit that I didn’t think the art style of the comic fit the beginning tone and pacing of the story. The story in the first chapter comes off as darker, mysterious and certainly intriguing. I would have liked the panels to be fuller, as they felt a tad empty. But as the story progresses, I see why they chose a more saturated, anime styled art style for the comic. I’ve Become a True Villainess steps away from that eerie feeling and steps into its more fantastical shoes, opening up its panels to great, huge castles, gorgeously stylized court yards and mysterious mountains and forests. This shift allows the comic to play with its tone, making it easy for them to add a layer of joyfulness, mystery and intrigue very much like reading a manga or watching an anime.
As we learn of the Lady Seria, I found myself rooting for her despite getting a glimpse into what kind of villainy she might commit as we are given exposition to the original plot of the story before Lady Seria tries to change the course of her faith. It sets up a character with inherent flaws, playing a little at how the villain tropes are perceived and sort of subverting those tropes at the same time.
I have a feeling I’ve Become a True Villainess is setting up a tragic love story, and given the way the comic is already having me fall in love with not only the characters but also the world these characters live in, I know I’m going to be left heartbroken one way or another.
The series is now available on the Manta app today.