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by Rebecca Silverman,

7th Time Loop: The Villainess Enjoys a Carefree Life

Novel 1

7th Time Loop: The Villainess Enjoys a Carefree Life Novel 1

Rishe can't catch a break. After being spurned by her fiancé, she fled her home country to make a new life for herself - six times. In each case, she chose a different path to happiness, only to die at the age of twenty, five years after setting out – and each time she reawakened at the moment of being dumped. She's about to start her seventh loop, and this time she thinks she's got it figured out: each death was somehow related to a war started by Emperor Arnold. This time the plan is to stop the war before it starts, and when Arnold himself proposes to her the night of her escape, that seems like as good a way to do it as any. Can Rishe break through the age twenty block, or is she doomed to keep repeating the cycle forever?

7th Time Loop is translated by Julie Goniwich and adapted by Aysah U. Farah.


Most time-looping protagonists have nothing on Lady Rishe, with the possible exception of Subaru from Re:Zero. Typically when we read a time loop tale, the protagonist has just died and discovered themselves back at an arbitrary restart point with the chance to redo whatever it was that caused their downfall in the first place, and for the overwhelming majority of heroines, that's being labeled as a villainess and executed – just look at Tearmoon Empire, I Swear I Won't Bother You Again!, The Abandoned Empress, Reset! The Imprisoned Princess Dreams of Another Chance!...the list goes on. But things are different in Touko Amekawa's 7th Time Loop: The Villainess Enjoys a Carefree Life Married to Her Worst Enemy!. For starters, protagonist Rishe's purported crimes aren't really an issue for her; she knows Mary's lying and is just ready to move on with her life. She's got plans on how to do that, too, and she's been refining them for a while – because when we join the story, Rishe has just been reset to the night she's spurned by her jerk fiancé for the seventh time.

Whether this means Rishe's just slower to figure things out than other similar heroines or whether she's got worse luck isn't really a major factor here, because much like her accusation comes out of nowhere, her deaths aren't due to anything she's actually done – basic bad luck tends to be behind all of them, like being caught up in the outbreak of a virulent disease or in the wrong place at the wrong time. Rishe actively has been trying to beat whatever keeps killing her five years after her flight from home, and each time she's reset, she chooses a different life path, based either on timing or just her interests. But no matter what, she dies at age twenty, and she's frankly sick of it. It isn't until her sixth death – in battle disguised as a man to become a knight – that she puts the pieces together: no matter what she's doing for work, the cause of her demise is always tied into a war started by Arnold Hein, a young emperor who killed his father and went on to conquer the world.

Because she's no one's fool, Rishe realizes that the best way to ensure that this loop is her last is to stop Arnold's war before it starts. The opportunity more or less falls into her lap when, after cutting short her fiancé's declaration of her vileness (she's heard it all before), she bumps into Arnold while he's still the crown prince of his nation. When Arnold proposes to her, she decides that accepting him is the quickest way to ensure that she's in a position to stop him from becoming a father-murdering warmonger, and given all she's been through it's hard not to admire her gumption. After all, she's not only figured out that he's at the root of all of her problems, but he's also the person who very literally killed her on the battlefield in her previous loop, so she's understandably got some trust issues where he's concerned. But stopping a war (and living past age twenty) is more important to Rishe, so she's made up her mind.

A large part of what makes this book fun is Rishe herself. As I said before, she's not an idiot, and her determination knows no bounds. She's also built up thirty years of experience in different trades and lifestyles. She may no longer have the physical stamina of a knight or a lady's maid, but she has the knowledge of both of those professions, along with a merchant and an apothecary and others that haven't yet been revealed, so she's more than prepared to take Arnold on. She's also got a working knowledge of six variations of what happens when Arnold sets out on his path, so she's well-equipped to begin heading things off at the pass. Rishe very quickly figures out that Arnold's family situation is a factor in his hopefully-not-inevitable rampage, and she begins working on that as soon as she agrees to his marriage proposal, first of all demanding that she not have to live in the palace proper with his family. After all, a man doesn't kill his father for no reason, and she's not going to get caught in the middle of that mess.

Arnold himself is something of a cipher for most of the book, but it's clear to us that he's drawn to Rishe because of her unconventional nature and wide variety of skills. He can't quite figure her out, and that's appealing to him. He doesn't immediately acquiesce to all her requests, but as the novel goes on, it starts to look an awful lot like he's terminally awkward rather than simmering evil in his soul, and I'm beginning to suspect that the murder that starts Rishe's inevitable doom happens when Arnold is pushed to the breaking point, not a premeditated act. Although Rishe doesn't say as much, we can see her leaning in that direction as well, and there's an interesting sense that perhaps she's been stuck looping back in time so long because she failed at the start to get on the correct path. Perhaps she was always supposed to be with Arnold, and her loops are to get her on track.

Despite the title, this doesn't really feel like a typical villainess isekai story, and although the author uses game lingo in her afterword, this isn't game-based at all. There are a few odd typos in the book, more than I typically see in an Airship release, but overall it reads well and the illustrations are very pretty. This is simply a good time, and if you're already a fan of strong heroines and time loop stories, it's definitely one you don't want to skip.

Overall : B+
Story : B+
Art : A-

+ Lovely art, Rishe is a no-nonsense heroine with a vast store of knowledge. Some nice differences from the typical time loop story.
Typos in the text, Arnold's a bit too inscrutable.

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Production Info:
Story: Touko Amekawa
Licensed by: Seven Seas Entertainment

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7th Time Loop: The Villainess Enjoys a Carefree Life (light novel)

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