Cross-Dressing Villainess Cecilia Sylvie, vol. 1 | Review
Cross-Dressing Villainess Cecilia Sylvie, vol. 1
Original story by Hiroro Azikura
Artist: Shino Akiyama
Character Design: Dangmill
Yen Press, 2022
Grade 8 Up
Take one isekai set in an otome game.
Add one reincarnated villainess set to make sure she avoids the dreaded “bad end.”
Then add one Ouran Highschool Host School Club-esque scheme.
What do you get?
Cross-Dressing Villainess Cecilia Sylvie!
Where our main character believes that the only way she can avoid the bad end that she’s fated to have is to masquerade as a boy in order not to become a Holy Maiden and, well, die.
When she dies in a fire, high schooler Hiyoro discovers herself reincarnated as the villainess, Cecilia Sylvie, in a world inspired by her favorite otome game. (Otome games are story-based Japanese video games that are targeted towards women, where one of the goals is for the female main character to develop romantic relationships with one of several male characters. Basically, it’s a dating sim.)
Determined not to die twice, Cecilia decides to become a hero and ditch the romance trope altogether. Not only does she try to get the main couple, Lean and Jade, together to ensure a good end, Cecilia becomes “Cecil,” which includes wearing a wig, binding her chest, and living as a boy. This way, she can avoid the terrible fate she was destined to have in the game. The only person who is aware of Cecilia’s bizarre plan is her adopted brother, Gilbert, who already knows this is a terribly bad idea. Poor Gilbert ends up having to deal with the brunt of his sister’s decisions, while acknowledging how dense she is to her situation. Also, not helping matters is that Cecilia (or rather Cecil) plays her role as a prince at their school very well.
Perhaps too well.
Girls fall in love with her, boys envy her, and her brother thinks she’s an idiot, which she’s really not. But the situations she puts herself in are pretty dumb.
However, all well -thought-out plans (if we can really consider this is one) tend to have one flaw. The flaw in Cecil’s plan is Crown Prince Oscar, who discovers that Cecil is in possession of a handkerchief that belongs to his former betrothed, Cecilia, whom he hasn’t seen in twelve years. Now Cecil has unwittingly become Oscar’s rival for Cecilia’s affections, while sharing a dorm with him, because why not?
It’s an otome game!
So am I, but it’s a fun ride to be a part of.
The story is funny and has very laughable moments as Cecilia tries to navigate through her insane plot.This manga was adapted from the light novel of the same name (as most isekai are), and the artwork was beautifully done, illustrating the madness of Cecilia’s adventures. Adding to the fun is when Cecilia discovers that the main heroine, Lean, is a fujoshi (a female fan of Boys’ Love or BL) and is imagining the male students in romantic situations. Another factor to add to the craziness of Cecilia Sylvie.
The one gripe I have is that this trope has already been done numerous times, and there’s really nothing original about this story. It is very similar to its isekai predecessors, with the twist being that the cross-dressing is not the focus of the story. It’s a story of a girl trying to live her best life without adhering to the rules of her new world, and trying to have a happy ending like everyone else.
But now with her former fiance in the picture, only time will tell if her plan will work, if love is in her future, and if she can get herself out of situations that could’ve been avoided. Overall, I recommend giving Cross-Dressing Cecilia Sylvie a chance. It is a fun experience to read, with the only downside being that the reader will find themselves comparing this story to others in the otome trope.
About Renee Scott
Renee Scott is a young adult librarian based in NYC, as well as a dedicated otaku and gamer. She is a lifelong fan of comics, anime, and manga. She can be found on Twitter at @libraryladynyc, and on her review blog, The Library Lady of NYC Reviews.
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