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I've Become a True Villainess: Fun But Risk-Free Romantasy Audio Drama

Manta and Meet Cute's I’ve Become a True Villainess audio drama is fun and pleasant enough but doesn't take enough risks with its storyline.

I've Become a True Villainess is the first audio drama series from digital comics and novel publisher Manta in a co-production with Meet Cute. Rebecca Rose plays a nameless graduate student who dies in a car crash and wakes up as the villainess in the romantic fantasy (or romantasy) novel she had been reading. Now, she has to stay in character but do things differently to avoid her fate in the book, which is death. Hilarity ensues, though not enough.

I've Become a True Villainess
Comics graphic: Manta Comics

The appeal of the series is founded entirely on the voice work of series lead Rebecca Rose, who imbues the protagonist and Seria with the right mix of boundless enthusiasm, incredulity, sarcasm, and sass. Her voice is the one the listener needs to hang onto and be charmed and entertained by to carry them through the series. Rose makes Seria's inner thoughts funnier than they are, teasing nuances and subtexts that lean into the (anti-)heroine's detached bewilderment. In short, she's hilarious. The rest of the cast seems to follow her lead in the cheerful relish and camp they bring to their performances.

I've Become a True Villainess
Podcast graphic: Meet Cute/Manta

The actors in I've Become a True Villainess are flawless in their delivery. They embody the feel-good ethos of Meet Cute productions. The production is technically flawless in its use of music and minimal sound effects. If there's any flaw, it's in the story and the genre. The story is a variation of the Isekai story, where a hero ends up stuck in a fantasy world that they know better than any of the people in it. The Korean variation for female audiences has the heroine end up in the romantasy world they're fans of. This romantasy Isekai story is literally every other Korean web novel or webcomic series now. It's just as well that I've Become a True Villainess is the first English-language audio drama podcast in the genre.  The one technical flaw in the script is its dependence on too much "telling" and not "showing." It's perfectly fine for the heroine to narrate almost everything that's happening, but it would have been more dramatic and interesting to hear it happening with the other characters interacting more with the heroine. It's a bit of a waste of additional cast when the main actress could just read the whole story as an audiobook.

The biggest flaw of I've Become a True Villainess is that it doesn't take the story as far as it can go, never fully committing to the chaotic comedy a modern 21st-century woman could cause in a medieval and unfeminist world with caste systems and magic. Rather than start a revolution, the plot of all these stories always pulls its punches and keeps the incoherently conservative attitude of too many romance stories when it could be truly surprising and subversive on top of funny. The heroine here never becomes a real villainess or even truly disruptive – she's just a little naughty.

I've Become a True Villainess is on podcast platforms like Apple, Spotify, and Amazon Music.

I’ve Become a True Villainess

I've Become a True Villainess
Review by Adi Tantimedh

The first English language audio drama podcast adaptation of a popular Korean romantasy genre where a modern woman wakes up as a character in her favourite romantasy book and has to change events to avoid dying horribly is a fun production with a great lead performance and supporting cast who nali the tone of sparkly gleeful humour. However, the story itself, like all other stories in the same genre, stays conservative, doesn't rock the boat, and doesn't fully embrace the potential for comedy chaos.

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Adi TantimedhAbout Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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