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Strongest Survival by Otome Game's Heroine by Harunohi - T

Discussion in 'Other Fandoms Review Board' started by Sesc, Jun 7, 2021.

  1. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

    Dec 20, 2007
    Blocksberg, Germany
    Title: Otome Game no Heroine de Saikyou Survival/Strongest Survival by Otome Game's Heroine
    Author: Harunohi
    Rating: T
    Genre: Otome-inversion
    Status: In-Progress
    Link: Light Novel book 1+2
    Link: Webnovel book 3 (google translate)

    Summary: I am ā€œIā€. I am Alicia, and nobody else. An Otome Heroine decides she will do what she wants, and not what the world says she should.

    This is the best anti-otome I've come across. The premise is simple enough: One day, orphan Alicia is attacked by a stranger, and learns she's in an otome game, secretly a noble, and supposed to play the part of the Heroine. She is outraged that her life should be pre-determined, and decides to do everything she can to become strong, so that she can tell the whole world to fuck off.

    With the knowledge about the world and its ways of fighting, she sets out into the wild, and trains herself to learn magic and fighting skills. She does her best to stay away from nobility, but naturally, that doesn't quite go as planned. The story develops from there.

    I feel this story really does the genre justice. It's never playing the "we are in an otome game" for laughs and goofiness, but treats it as a real world, with real people who might die and real kingdoms that may fall, and that does wonders to make it gripping and bittersweet, when people desperately fight against fates that seem pre-determined and inevitable.

    Aside from the many action scenes -- Aria/Alicia basically becomes a killing machine, who only separates people into "friend" and "enemy", the latter of which get annihilated -- the by far best part, for me, is the relationship between the Princess Elena (secondary Villainess) and Aria.

    Elena might in fact be my favourite character, period, she reminds me of a young Navi from Remarried Empress -- so very alone, because she's the only one who sees how unfit the idealistic crown prince is to lead the kingdom, sacrificing her childhood to receive the education to lead the kingdom herself, despite knowing she'd have to remove her half-brother, whom she likes, all because she loves her kingdom and fears the civil war a weak king like him would inevitably bring.

    Aria becomes her protector, her friend and right-hand throughout the webnovel; they recognise kindred spirits: Doing what needs to be done in order see the outcome they want coming true, sacrificing everything, including themselves, to get there, and as a result, walking lonely paths very different from the other children. Their scenes are a highlight, whenever they appear.

    In terms of meta-criticism, the author really isn't pulling punches in denouncing idealism -- in this world, idealists are people who can afford protection by those they decry as barbaric. Alone, they get killed, and in leading position, they get people killed. It's a rather nice take, and of course this accusation is the running theme, when finally a (sort-off) Heroine does show up, who's all about being cute and fluffy and wants the crown prince to live in cloud castles together with her.

    What's the downsides? Somewhat par-for-the-course, the worldbuilding is a huge infodump, intersparsed whenever it's necessary. Additionally, the story is really slow to take off -- I enjoyed seeing Aria going from literally zero to hero, without cutting corners, but it does mean chapters upon chapters of training while hiding in the woods. And naturally, it's still using otome/DnD-style game mechanics and stats, so you're treated to numbers and skill trees everywhere when Aria is fighting.

    The first two books have been published as Light Novels and fan-translated, and are quite readable, if somewhat Russian on the occasion (articles are optional), the webnovel is much further along in Japanese. I read it with google translate. It works quite well, and it's definitely worth it, because most of the Elena scenes are in the following volumes.

    If you like a MC rebelling against fate, and/or like a strong, ruthless female MC who goes shredding monsters, people and assassin guilds, and/or like a coming-of-age story, and/or simply like otome inversions, you might give it a try. There's really much to like here.

    A well-deserved 4/5 that would be a 5, if a full translation existed.
  2. thattin

    thattin Second Year

    Feb 20, 2013
    I've read the first book and half the second and it was ok? I don't think it's that good though. It just doesn't do anything interesting with the original premise or seem to go in a direction I'm particularly interested in reading? I can't take combat maids seriously, the way she immediately signed up to be one felt jarring and the weird skirt flipping scene is where I gave up.

    2/5 Maybe it gets better later?