could’ve sworn isekai otome manga and webtoons with villainess as the heroine is a niche amongst niche. Like, the type that no one really knew about until they go out of their way to look for it. So when I wrote the 13 isekai otome recommendation post, I thought I hit a jackpot in a yes-no-one-knew-about-this kinda way. Otome isekai manga is my personal slice of haven. I have re-read these titles many, many times whenever I feel in need of some fluff. Now, this genre + theme is popping up everywhere! It’s good in a way since I have more choices but it does get a bit overwhelming. Sometimes all I need is a simple shoujo manga to sit down and relax to… Nevertheless, that’s not to say there aren’t any gems in the pile.
Oh to be a villainess! These girls are but innocent bystanders and yet, the otome world is out to harm these girls. Here are some of my favourite villainess series! Includes manga and webtoon.
I got to work after seeing how popular my isekai otome recommendation post is. After Otome Hametsu’s (Bakarina <3) anime went live, the post’s popularity skyrocketed. Thank you for the 11K page views! I’m so happy my blog is getting visitors! <3 You can check out the blog post in the Blog Series box.
For this post, I’m going all out. I’m highlighting every single manga and webtoon with villainess as the theme that I have personally read. Some I’m sure you have heard of but I hope you discover some new titles too! I’m skipping the ones that I have recommended in the previous blog post. The titles are not ordered.
I wasn’t going to split the post into parts but as I finished writing my recommendation for the 7th title, I noticed that the word counter has reached 3.4K words. That’s mighty long, yo... I personally don’t enjoy scrolling a long post on mobile so I presume my readers won’t either. So this is Part 1!
1. Death Is the Only Ending for the Villainess (악역의 엔딩은 죽음뿐)
This title is somewhat new and is slowly gaining popularity. It’s to be expected because I find it really unique in how they tackle the game aspect of an otome game. Death looms over our heroine at every corner. One misstep and there’s no turning back!
The story starts with a quick summary of the title’s otome game - The Lady’s Love Project (TLLP). It is an otome mobile game that is going viral in South Korea. You play as Yvonne in the game. She’s a 17 year old girl from the countryside who discovers that she’s the youngest daughter of a ducal family. Earning the love of one of the five capture targets while fending off the villainous adopted sister, Penelope Eckart is the key to winning this game’s normal mode. Our MC (which doesn’t have a name as far as I can tell) was transported to the world of TLLP as Penelope Eckart while trying to clear the game’s hard mode. In hard mode, you play as the villainess, Penelope as you try your best to earn affection from one of the capture targets.
Failing to clear hard mode means death for Penelope in the game so our MC realized she’s in deep, deep trouble. There’s no reset button for her here, and it’s not guaranteed she’ll go back to the real world if she dies. She’s treating every step she takes as a genuine death trap. So in order to survive, she threw away her pride and picked the most embarrassing, humiliating options just so these capture targets wouldn’t consider killing her.
As the story progresses, MC realizes how similar these capture targets with her brothers in real life. Penelope’s situation mimics her troubled relationship with her real life family. Her father dislikes her, her brothers would throw insults at her. Fights and arguments can get heated and verbal abuse can get to physical abuse. My heart goes out to the poor girl in both worlds. If you find the abuse overboard and illogical, you’re not alone. I was scratching my head at the hate she’s receiving in both real life and as Penelope. Surely as a big brother, you would treat your sister better even if she’s adopted? Her reacting to every abuse she sees is justified. Penelope as a character is young so she didn’t know how best to control her temper. Besides, could you reel in your anger if your family treats you like dirt? Abuse, followed by temper tantrums then more abuse! Of course the cycle of hate is never-ending.
Luckily our MC is older and more mature when it comes to holding it in. She managed to reel in her anger as Penelope and took a passive stance towards all the abuse they threw at her. I took a look at the raws just to see if her relationships with the Eckart brothers improved and it did. From what I see, the Eckart brothers just didn’t know how best to treat their adopted sister with kindness. They are angry at Penelope for “stealing” their sister, yes, but there’s some scenes showing that they knew what they were doing towards Penelope was wrong. Seriously, the ones that should grow up are the Eckart family instead and not Penelope.
I foresee the future plot will have the Eckart brothers and the MC’s real life brothers reconcile with their feelings towards the MC. I’m intrigued from what I read so far. This title is a great read so do give it a try!
2. Beware of the Villainess! (그 악녀를 조심하세요!)
This webtoon had me in tears. My sides ache every time the author referenced a pop culture I’m familiar with. This webtoon is more on the comedy side where the capture targets are useless brats, so she’s forced to (wo)man up.
The MC was dropped into a popular romance novel called The man I love. The female lead is Yuri, a commoner who was found to possess magic in her. As such, she was quickly adopted as the baron’s daughter. There are four male leads in this story - the crown prince, a sniper(?), werewolf(?), and a… really rich dude(?). I added a ton of question mark because I am seriously not sure how to label these characters.
As everyone vies for Yuri’s love, the villainess will be there to obstruct it. This is whom the MC has reincarnated to, Melissa Podebrat. Her eyes are sharp and thin, her forehead is super wide… She’s described herself looking like a shiba inu but honestly, I think her features are just so adorably villainous. She looks like a second Bakarina. Since this is a villainess webtoon, the plot will be about Melissa trying to dodge the bad end, yea? Nah, Melissa in the novel gets to live her life as a duke’s daughter lavishly if she gets the bad end.
Wait... Then what’s the purpose of this webtoon then? There’s no stake, no tension, no… hidden plot to progress? This can’t be right. There must be something to write home about this webtoon! Yes, there is. Melissa may have nothing to lose regardless of being a good or a bad person towards Yuri, but she’s had ENOUGH of these male leads.
First, the crown prince, Ian Vassilios. Ian is her fiance which she’s dying to get rid of because he’s a womanizer. He would invite her over to the palace to watch while he frolic with a different lady. The sniper and younger brother, Jake Podebrat is a jackass. He behaved selfishly and always inconvenienced others without a second thought. The werewolf, Jack Forton is a mannerless brute who wouldn’t hesitate to smash things up because he feels like it. Lastly, Peacock Melody is a rich merchant who wouldn’t hesitate to flaunt his wealth like an oblivious as*hat. Also, he’s a yandere. There’s every bloody reason for Melissa to hate these four. She knew she won’t be going down the villainess route but damn, these men are so annoying to her (including her dad, the Duke).
So we watch Melissa play her straight guy act as she lash out sarcastic and sassy remarks to these men. Each panels are drawn hilariously straight while the men just keeps playing dumb. It’s no wonder Melissa gets high blood pressure just by talking to these idiots. Seriously, this is a great read. I’m on board just to see Melissa whack these idiots into submission.
3. Virtues of the Villainess (악역이 베푸는 미덕)
While most stories start off with someone from our world who died from an accident by truck-kun or from overworking, this webtoon starts off with having the villainess discovering that she is actually a character from a novel!
Ginger Torte and Lerajie Atlanta have been friends for 10 years. Their relationship is not exactly smooth sailing since both are always at neck with each other. One day, Ginger had enough when Lerajie allegedly seduced her fiance Kishon Mickelson. Granted, Kishon is a spineless, adulterous man who couldn’t even make up his mind between the two ladies he fancy. Ginger should have given Kishon to Lerajie and nothing of value would have been lost. (This is my personal opinion and had nothing to do with the plot summary)
Alas, Ginger still fancies Kishon so she’s really, really mad that Lerajie one-upped her. She vowed to become a villainess to ruin Lerajie’s life. She hasn’t got a clue how to do that… until she picked up a romance novel that she stopped halfway. Ginger stopped reading it since the characters from the book had the same names as her and Lerajie. But the more she scans the book, the more likely that the novel is talking about her current situation! Ginger is convinced the novel foretells the future… or rather, her future. Using her newfound knowledge, she began to twist situations that favour Lerajie to favour her instead. According to the novel, the next man Lerajie will attract is the enigmatic prince, Izana. Ginger then aims to pull Izana to her side to get back at Lerajie. But Izana has a secret of this own too...
Ginger is a coy, bratty lady befitting of her title villainess. Her schemes aren't super smart, just really logical steps one would take in the current situation. Her motive is fueled by anger towards Lerajie but in the end, she too was taken in by Izana’s charm. Lerajie herself isn’t good at heart either. Both ladies aren’t any better than the other, so don’t bother reading this in hopes of finding some good in them. I wouldn’t say this is a terrible read but it’s intriguing to see Ginger doing her thing.
4. Seduce the villain’s father (악당의 아빠를 꼬셔라)
The title for this webtoon is placed first in my list of “too-embarrassed-to-recommend-in-person”. Like, seduce the what now? I feel embarrassed to pronounce the title out loud… Please friends, come back! The plot for this webtoon is not what it seems! I wasn’t going to add this in the recommendation list but despite the MC not being a villainess, this story is really good.
Princess Yerenica of the Lebovny Kingdom had pink hair and a cute face. She was taken hostage by the Belgoat Empire which boasted superior culture, magic and power. Everyday, whenever the Emperor of Belgoat is scheduled to meet her, she would tell him this -
Father, would you marry me?
No, she does not have a papa complex. You see, Yerenica is one of us before she is reincarnated as the youngest princess of Lebovny. She loves reading web novels and one day, died in a bus accident. To her surprise, she got reincarnated 20 years before the start of the web novel she was reading in the bus titled Brisney wants to be happy. In the web novel, the Emperor of Belgoat marries Elard, a powerful magician from his empire. Their union would one day give birth to the villain in the story, Deckarb Belgoat. Said villain would then kill his father with the black magic taught to him by his mother. To make matters worse, this is the start of a tragic story which caused all of the older characters (parent generation) to perish save for the younger generation. Thus, she is adamant on stopping it. After all, she’s 20 years ahead of the novel. That puts her at risk!
She first noticed that she is in the novel when her new sister is named Tezevia and her knight escort is Fernandis. The prelude in the novel starts when Tezevia is kidnapped by the Belgoat emperor while pregnant with the novel’s female lead, Brisney. So Yerenica’s conclusion to solve this is to prevent her sister from being kidnapped. Everything is going smoothly when she manages to hide Tezevia from Belgoat forces storming the palace. Unfortunately, instead of her sister getting kidnapped, she got kidnapped instead! Yerenica then decides that her next step should be preventing Belgoat’s emperor from getting married by seducing him. This not only secures her future, it prevents the story’s misfortune as well! Yes, atta girl. Thus the title of this webtoon. The Belgoat’s emperor is the future father of the villain, which is why she’s calling him Father.
So here we are, watching Yerenica working her cute charms on her kidnapper in hopes of preventing the plot of her favourite web novel. Yerenica’s adorable and I really like her happy-go-lucky attitude. Since she’s declared out loud that she likes Father, he would keep teasing her about it. He thinks he is immune to her charms since she’s like an oblivious little sister, but little did he know he has already fallen for her… (lol). Y’all gotta read this now, I’m telling ya.
5. The Villainess Will Crush Her Destruction End Through Modern Firepower (どうしても破滅したくない悪役令嬢が現代兵器を手にした結果がこれです)
I honestly think this is a not-too-bad of a villainess manga. I find it strange that the MC would focus on getting firearms since I don’t think the fairer sex can appreciate it. This IS shoujo, right? It’s tagged as shounen though. Hmmmm…
I dropped this in the beginning because I couldn’t relate to the plot at first. But I wanted to keep an open mind to write this post, so I picked this manga back up. Since there are more chapters for me to read, I came to the conclusion that this is pretty decent IF you enjoy watching the MC learning magic for the purpose of shooting her enemies down. Astrid Sophie von Oldenburg is the only daughter of Duke Oldenburg. When she’s 4 years old, she fell down the staircase at home and hit her head. Memories of her previous life came flooding back. In our world, she’s a college student with a penchant for firearms, tanks, etc. She’s a military otaku, and she has just noticed what world she’s currently in. This is the world of the otome game Wish upon a shooting star and she’s the villainess! The game starts in the magic academy she’ll be attending with the capture targets, including the first prince. Her job as the villainess is to bully the heroine and ultimately, get banished from the country.
To be fair, that sounds pretty decent for a bad end but to Astrid, this doesn’t sound good at all. To counter this, Astrid decided to polish her magical skills to the utmost before she enters the game’s scenario. With that in mind, Astrid begins training to create firearms and bullets with magic.
Astrid spent a good chunk of her time (19 chapters~) creating otherworldly weaponry that even got her spirits warning her it’ll tip the world’s power balance. She created a handgun first followed by the bullets, all of which are powered by the otome world’s magic laws. She’s happy indulging herself in something that she’s good at so Astrid is always all smiles as she shoots things down. It gives a feeling of moe fluff which is pretty nice, until you realize she won’t hesitate to shoot at humans with live bullets. It’s to survive her bad end, so it’s okay… right? This is based on the light novel so you can try that out if the manga is too slow.
6. The Most Heretical Last Boss Queen Who Will Become the Source of Tragedy Will Devote Herself for the Sake of the People (悲劇の元凶となる最強外道ラスボス女王は民の為に尽くします)
There’s only 3 chapters when I wrote this blog post but I really like what I’m reading here. The art is really clean and pleasant to look at.
Pryde Royale Ivy, our protagonist is the future queen of her matriarchal country, Freesia. When she’s 8 years old, memories of her past life came rushing back to her. As she clutches her head in horror and pain, she’s reminded of the scene leading to her death in our world. She died in a traffic accident as she was thinking to replay the otome game she’s reincarnated to, To a beam of light with you. In said otome game, she would assume her throne as queen of the country and bring it to ruin within 10 years, after which she’ll be assassinated by the capture target. In this world, citizens of Freesia have special abilities. The most valuable ability in this country is the power of recognition, which only the heir to the throne possess. Pryde remembering the game’s scenario thanks to her previous life was misunderstood as said ability. Little did she know that her remembering the game’s plot is pulling her towards fulfilling it…
While most villainess manga had a lighthearted mood to it, this series chose a heavier mood. Pryde from the game uses her power of precognition for terrible things. She treats her servants harshly and bullies her adopted brother, Stayle. Since she was reincarnated, she began reflecting on “her” actions. Pryde’s action may not be her doing, but she still remembers them as if she’s the one doing the heinous deeds. She started looking out for her family and being empathetic towards Stayle’s situation. Her servants started calling her angelic as opposed to a brat. Obviously this did nothing to assuage her fears of her impending doom in the coming 10 years…
Only 3 chapters so there’s not much plot to talk about. It’s really good though!
7. The Villainess Reverses the Hourglass (악녀는 모래시계를 되돌린다)
Before jumping right in, you need to know that this webtoon is about revenge. There is romance, but from what I notice it takes secondary importance. All in all, from what I read the plot is basically the villainess enacting revenge towards her sister (which is equally villainous).
Aria is a poor commoner born to a prostitute but she’s lucky. She was born from Count Roscente and her mother’s union, and he’s generous enough to let them live lavishly as Aria Roscente and Countess Roscente. Aria’s father had a daughter, Mielle and a son, Kain. With Aria in the picture, Mielle is now the younger sister. Obviously Mielle didn’t like this new big sister of hers since she considered her big sister as descended from plebeians. Thus, unknown to both Aria and her mother, Mielle would do all sorts of underhanded tricks to bully and push all blame to Aria. Mielle even murdered Aria’s mother through poisoning then pushed the blame to Aria. This led to our protagonist having her tongue chopped off before dragging her off to the guillotine.
Aria never knew how evil her younger sister is. She accepted that everything came to be because of how rotten she is deep down. Aria is convinced the fault lies with her. That is, until Mielle confessed to all of her wrongdoings right before she is to be decapitated. Shocked and angered from her confession, Aria prayed to God with her dying breath. She wished to go back in time to right what was wrong and save her mother. With that, her new fate is sealed. Aria is then brought back to when it all began. With her memories of the future intact, Aria vow to be asvillainous as Mielle once was to her.
This webtoon is like a long, long catfight. Except the ladies don’t pull each other’s hair and call it a day. No, it gets even worse. They are literally trying to one up the other first. Their smiles are fake and their thoughts more toxic than the most venomous snakes. Their words are all flowery to outsiders, but implies otherwise to them both. The plot is good but I really don’t feel good reading up on Aria’s thoughts. I was hoping that there’s some good in her but no, she views even the sweetest of her acquaintance as tools to further her ambitions. Hopefully this changes down the road… And Mielle! Not an ounce of goodness in this girl either, even as a young girl. Read to see if Aria will win and survive against her villainous younger sister.
EDIT: The summary above is written before reading the light novel. I have yet to finish the light novel but if you want to know my thoughts after reading it, tap to view spoiler.
I first mentioned that both girls do not have a speck of goodness in them. I was wrong. After reading a hefty chunk of the light novel, it was revealed that Aria simply didn’t know how to be kind because she was treated poorly by her mother and the men who see her as a pretty flower only. She first realized this when her tutor, Sarah invited her to her home. Everyone around Aria always approached her with bad intent so she learned to retaliate in the same way. Sarah, however, genuinely cared for her well-being along with her husband. This made Aria realize that perhaps this is what it means to be kind.
Plus, Aria isn’t inherently evil. All this while, everything that Aria did is in retaliation towards Mielle’s acts. She has never plotted against Mielle, unless it’s to protect herself. Reading the light novel made me rethink Aria's position, and Mielle’s too. Mielle in this life is a young girl led by the nose. When her carriage sabotage failed, she panicked. This led to more horrendous attempts to kill Aria. The events that happened after the murder attempts is honestly justified. But I couldn’t blame Mielle, since her age and naivety in life made it easy for adults to manipulate. Nevertheless, she got what she deserved in the end while Aria reaped the benefit of her quick thinking.
8. The Reincarnated Villainess' Dark History (転生悪女の黒歴史)
This manga feels more shoujo than most otome isekai manga out there. The pacing, the panels and the art! It’s pretty fun to read since the protagonist admitted to her chuuni tendencies even when she is reincarnated as the villainess.
Satou Konoha was a chuuni during her middle school years. She doesn’t like studying and prefers to write her delusions down. She believed that one day, she’ll get summoned to another world. So Konoha prepped her mind by writing an otome fantasy novel. Fast forward to 10 years later, Konoha is now a working young adult. While talking to her mother on the phone, she was hit by a truck due to being shocked momentarily at her mother digging up her chuuni past. The next thing she knew, she’s in the body of a character she created, Iana Magnolia.
Iana Magnolia is the younger sister of Konoha (she named the main character after herself), and she’s the villainess in the chuuni story she personally wrote, Dark History. Konoha, the angelic heroine of Dark History fell in love with Gwinoford, the male lead. Blinded by jealousy, Iana wished to murder her sister in cold blood. She opened the book said to be able to kill her sister Konoha, only to have her remembering all of her previous life’s memories. I find it super hilarious since the book she opened as Iana is titled Dark History as well. I like to think that she was so shocked at her chuuni novel, it triggered her past life.
Since remembering her life as Satou Konoha, Iana only wishes to watch her sister obtain happiness from the sidelines. However, she is also the writer of this story. There were many dangers waiting for both Konoha and Iana that she personally wrote in. Most of the evil acts were committed by Iana herself but she’s since turned good. So most of the danger is averted. Then again, Satou Konoha isn’t exactly a good writer back during her middle school years. As such, there were other silly situations that accentuated her blooming chuuni creativity...
It’s a fun read with pacing and background art commonly seen in shoujo comics. Lots of action lines too.
9. I please ask you for just one last thing (最後にひとつだけお願いしてもよろしいでしょうか)
The MC just wants to punch as*hat people and there are a lot of a*shat folks for her to punch. Yup, that’s the plot. Can I end my write up for this title here? … No? Okay.
Scarlet El Vandimion is a beautiful lady from a ducal family but her temperament is like ice. As one of the top scorers at the Royal Aristocratic Academy, Scarlett is the picture perfect fiancee to the country’s second prince, Kyle von Palistan. However, Kyle is a terrible human being. He bullies his fiancee just because he can. His goons would demand Scarlet run errands for them and mock her expressionless face. They call her the Ice Rose because she stays expressionless even if she’s being bullied or harassed. So when Kyle declares to everyone that their engagement is annulled, Scarlet is shocked. After all, she’s not expressionless because she wants to. It’s her way of holding her anger and fulfilling her duty as the second prince’s bride.
So when Kyle waltzed into the ballroom with a new bride at hand and began throwing all sorts of false accusations at Scarlet, she’s convinced that Kyle is a lost cause. Good. She had enough anyway. She put up with this miserable being for 17 years! Scarlet then threw down her gauntlet without hesitation in the most satisfying panel. Of course, she politely asked first.
She then proceeds to punch everyone. She calls those with the fat gut the nicest to punch.
You may think that this is the best thing ever to happen in an otome isekai manga but let me tell ya, the train didn’t stop there. Chapter 2 opens up with a flashback of Scarlet’s past. It turns out it’s in her blood to love bashing people up. If someone picked a fight with her, she’ll happily beat her opponent up with a smile. By beating the sh*t out of Kyle and everyone else, Scarlet wipes away her past and begins anew. This time, her path crossed with the first prince, Julius von Palistan instead. How would the plot progress now? Well, all I can say is she does a lot of punching.
This is such a satisfying manga to read (HAHAHA EAT THAT KYLE). I added the punching scenes so you can fully enjoy what I mean by the punching :)
10. Who made me a princess (어느 날 공주가 되어버렸다)
Reading this is my personal guilty pleasure, along with Abandoned Empress. One can say I am reading it for the plot and cute boys but nah, I’m reading it for the beautifully designed dresses! I would like to take this opportunity to recommend Firefly Path! It’s a proper business that creates fantasy dresses. Obviously it’s super expensive but I really enjoy admiring their designs.
Our MC died and was reincarnated into a world “Lovely Princess”, a novel described as having a tacky and childish plot. In the story, Emperor Claude fell in love with a dancer and Athanasia was born from their union. However, a misfortunate event happened (this is spoiler territory so I won’t explain it here) and Claude has seemingly forgotten about his love for this spouse and their daughter. The novel’s plot then continues to place Athanasia as the forgotten princess that the emperor never loved, while pushing for Claude’s other daughter, Jennette up the stage. Eventually Athanasia dies at the hands of her father. Terrible fate ain’t it… It just so happened that our MC is reincarnated as Princess Athanasia in her second life <3 What are the odds <3
Realizing that she’ll die at the tender age of 18, Athanasia worked hard to collect valuable trinkets and hide them from view. Her plan? To escape from the palace before she turned 18 years old. Since living in the outside world requires money, this is her trying to build up some cash to live as a commoner. One day, while dutifully chasing down any trinkets she could (ahem) steal, she accidentally wandered into the emperor’s palace. Her father noticed her existence (he was leaving her alone previously) and began inviting her to meet during tea time. Athanasia was going to live quietly without attracting his attention but since this failed, she chose Plan B instead - butter up her dad with cuteness! Spoiler alert, it worked.
Read for Athanasia, stay for the magician boi (and the great looking art). Wait, this didn’t really fit the villainess theme. Hmm, you’ll forgive me after reading this webtoon, right? I love this webtoon so much I’m always trying to find ways to talk about this title somewhere...
All in all
10 titles done with a total of 4.7K words. Phew. Look forward to the next part! I’m already done choosing what titles to recommend in the next part :D