The Fall 2020 Manga Guide
The White Cat's Revenge as Plotted from the Dragon King's Lap
What's It About?Nineteen-year-old Ruri Morikawa gets wrangled into a messy situation when her selfish childhood friend strands her in another world. To make matters somehow worse, a mysterious conspiracy then gets her abandoned in a perilous forest. Through an unexpected turn of events, she comes into possession of a mystical bracelet that allows her to transform into a white cat. Now that she's in the Land of the Dragon King, she must hide the fact that she's human—which means spending her days as a little white cat, for the time being while plotting her revenge.
The White Cat's Revenge as Plotted from the Dragon King's Lap manga is drawn by aki and adapts the light novel of the same name by Kureha. Yen Press will release both print and digital versions of manga on November 17 for $13.99 and $6.99 respectively. The light novel is available on J-Novel Club for $6.99 per volume.
Is It Worth Reading?
This is an interesting guide for me in that we're covering three manga adaptations of light novels I reviewed for the previous guide. Bibliophile Princess is one of them, and this is the second, and in both cases I've been very pleased with the results. (And in both cases the source novels are being translated by J-Novel Club.) This book adapts roughly the first half of its original novel, but it also does a nice job of compacting the less engaging portions of the story and leaning more into the humor, which makes it just as enjoyable as the novel in a slightly different way.
The story takes the basic isekai premise and tweaks it just a little in that our heroine, Ruri, is one of several people summoned when the summoners were angling to just get one. They immediately assume that Asahi, the childhood “friend” Ruri's been saddled with from toddlerhood, is the girl they were after, the so-called Priestess Princess. They make this assumption because Asahi has platinum blonde hair, not realizing that Asahi dyed her hair to look like Ruri's natural color (Ruri's mom is, I believe, French) and that Ruri's wearing a wig. Of course, we figure out within a few chapters that Ruri probably was the one they wanted, but it's just as well that they screwed up because Nadasha, the kingdom they were summoned to, is basically the worst.
That's according to Chelsie, the old lady whose house Ruri ends up in when Nadasha ties her up and chucks her out after she's framed for plotting against Asahi. (Somehow whenever Asahi's around everyone treats Ruri like garbage.) Apparently Ruri is a “Beloved Child,” meaning that fairies adore her, but since Nadasha is biased against demihumans and basically kidnapped Ruri, she's very happy to have gotten away – but mostly because it means she's finally rid of Asahi. If this all seems like a lot of summary, that's because the main part of the story really hasn't started yet – this manga volume adapts the set-up portion of the novel. That's not to say that it isn't still interesting, but it's much more concerned with getting Ruri to the point the title is talking about and worldbuilding than actually advancing the story of Ruri being a Beloved Child in the palace of the Dragon King. That should all get going in about the third chapter of volume two, judging by the pacing of this book.
Happily the art for the volume does a very nice job of playing up the sillier aspects of the story for humor and the little fairies and the giant hog Ruri befriends are all adorable. The character designs also improve on the original novel's illustrations, turning them softer and more expressive; the Dragon King himself is much cuter than he was originally. If you can wait for the main plot, or want to wait to grab this with volume two, this is a fun female-oriented isekai fantasy, and definitely one where the visuals add a little something to the original plot.
Funny how so shortly after I felt let down by The Saint's Magic is Omnipotent, The White Cat's Revenge as Plotted from the Lap of the Dragon King fell into my lap, giving me everything I wanted from other series but didn't get.
Much like in Saint's Magic, Ruri is summoned alongside another girl and quickly pushed aside in her favor. Much like in Saint's Magic, she retreats from the palace, albeit involuntarily this time, and discovers she is far more powerful than she imagined. Unlike in Saint's Magic, however, she has goals, ideas, and a personality. That goal? Revenge on her lifelong tormentor Asahi and the people who framed her!
Revenge stories are another rapidly-growing isekai genre, including Shield Hero and the soon-to-be-adapted Redo of Healer, but this has got to be the gentlest revenge story I've ever seen. Ruri could easily destroy the people who hurt her along with their whole country, and almost does so without realizing it, but prefers something a bit more personal and a bit less destructive. She's the kind of heroine I prefer in my shoujo manga: independent, resourceful, and kind without being a doormat. I especially enjoy her relationship with Chelsie, the elderly woman who eventually becomes her mentor.
The world she ends up in doesn't offer much in the way of innovation, but there was one particular thing about it I loved to see: no game mechanics. There's no talk of levels or hit points or skills, just good old fashioned dragons, beastfolk, and fairies. It's a huge breath of fresh air. Plus, while slavery does exist in this world, it's more a hazard she has to watch out for and not an easy convenience to provide her with more party members.
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