[Webtoon Wednesday] Beware the Villainess

Title: Beware The Villainess

Author/Story: Berry and Soda Ice

Artist: Blue Canna

Rating: Teen (Light Suggestiveness)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Isekai/Transmigration, Romance

Hosted On: Tapas (ENG), Kakao (KOR)

Official Link(s): English, Korean

Official Summary:

Sit back and take in this romantic tale of an angelic heroine and her devoted suitors as they vie for the depths of her love… or not. This story’s about to go through some edits! After an accident, a modern-day college student awakens as the story’s villainess, Melissa Foddebrat. She’s far from anyone’s favorite, but she IS the daughter of the duke. Determined to live it up, this new Melissa is doing things her way — antiquated society, be damned! All idiots, prepare to step aside or perish!

My Thoughts:

Beware the Villainess is easily my favorite transmigration/isekai series. There’s no other series that comes close. When the main character is transmigrated into the body of series villain Melissa de Foddebrat, she refuses to take the injustices of the original plot lying down. Instead of fawning after an unworthy thot of a prince and letting the other male leads run roughshod over the female lead while casting her as a villainess, this new Melissa decides to rewrite the story her way.

Melissa is so stinking relatable. There is no other webtoon heroine that has me torn between wanting to be her and wanting to kiss her on the mouth. Melissa meets the varied cast of characters in the novel she’s been transported into with differing emotions. The prince that mistreats her despite being her fiancé? She quickly cuts him loose. The mercenary merchant that tries to bully the female lead into complacency? She embarrasses him effortlessly. The werewolf that has no concept of boundaries or collateral damage? She beats him into shape.

It was so refreshing to come across an isekai webtoon where the female lead is like “these male leads are worthless, I won’t waste my time on them” and then she sticks to those principles. At no point does Melissa waver. These men are absolutely useless and Melissa doesn’t give them an inch. The most she does, with the werewolf, is help him become a better person. She doesn’t fall for any of the original capture targets and she doesn’t forgive them for the harmful things they do or how they behave towards the female lead – a power in her own right.

What stands out to me about Melissa is that she’s the most perfect and relatable example of a modern (Korean) girl being sent back in time/space to a medieval-inspired fantasy world. Her reactions to the misogyny of the world are in line with what we would expect and so are her aesthetic tastes. She’s also not at all swayed by a pretty face if it comes with a bad attitude. Her love interest, the beautiful werewolf Nine, makes his way into her heart by appealing to her softer side. She rescues him from an alley and he proceeds to become incredibly loyal to her as her butler. Their relationship evolves across the series to where he’s the most dependable person in her life and their love comes together so well. He realizes it before she does, something else that’s delightful.

Nine is probably my ideal Korean webtoon love interest. He’s tall, beautiful, sweet, strong, and uh… submissive. Core to his character – elevated from a minor character who’s barely mentioned in the original story – is the fact that he is not an alpha werewolf. Those would be his identical twin brother and the wolf who is one of the series original capture targets before Melissa’s transmigration. Nine doesn’t have what it takes to become the most powerful wolf in the woods but also… he doesn’t want to be. He’s devoted to Melissa, who rescued him from a bitter life, and he’ll do anything to be with her.

Do you know how refreshing that is? Webtoons – like romance novels – serve up a fantasy for the reader. Usually in these webtoons – a thing I’ve read literal hundreds of in the past six or seven months – the fantasy is in repairing a broken relationship or rehabilitating a yandere who’s too aggy to be trusted. It’s so (relatively) rare that you get a love interest that’s entirely devoted to the female lead and respects her boundaries on top of that? Nine is such a good (and hot) love interest that I actually reread the series regularly because I’m such a fan of how his relationship with Melissa develops and how deeply they love each other? (They’re also the only webtoon couple I’ve written [incredibly NSFW] fan fiction for so far! They’re #9/Breeding Kink on my still-in-progress Kinktober 2022 list.)

Anyway, I love Beware The Villainess because it is a successful and relatable fantasy. When faced with a world that is extremely patriarchal, controls or punishes everyone for straying from The Norm, and would see her losing everything over an asshole? She fights back and makes you laugh in the process. The humor in this series is frankly next level. There are so many memes – Korean and otherwise – peppered throughout the series and you can follow (and laugh) along without needing to have your fingers on the pulse of Korean pop culture. Mostly, you’ll recognize the faces Melissa makes when she’s fed the hell up and think to yourself, “god, bitch, same”.

Relatable romance and power fantasies are hard to find, but Beware the Villainess… manages to hit all of the high points? It is so satisfying, well written and paced, and I don’t even have complaints about the developing relationships across the series! It’s well worth the time sink, I think!


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