Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
Accomplishments of the Duke's Daughter
When a young woman is killed in a traffic accident on her way home from work at a tax bureau, she suddenly finds herself transported to the world of the otome game she was playing the night before – but instead of the heroine, she's been reincarnated as the bad guy! Using her knowledge of the game, “Iris” manages to avert personal disaster and decides to rebuild her life with her modern-day economic know-how. This is one mean girl who isn't going to let her perceived reputation stop her from being a heroine!
If the male-oriented isekai story tends to land our reborn boy protagonist in a position where he becomes the king of his own personal harem, then the female-oriented version is that she gets plopped down in the middle of her favorite otome game. The catch? She's not always the heroine. In part that's what made Cross Infinite World's release of Obsessions of an Otome Gamer so interesting, but Seven Seas' release of the manga version of Accomplishments of the Duke's Daughter, based on the novels of the same name, is an entertaining look at another angle of the genre.
The story follows Iris, a teenage noblewoman who, in the game, acts as the mean girl to the player character. When the nameless office worker is run down by the inevitable runaway truck (rules for driver hours and health being nonexistent in manga), she finds herself opening her eyes as Iris in the heroine's triumphal scene. For Iris, however, she's just lost her fiancé, her brother has turned against her, and she's being blamed for the actions of everyone, not just her own snide and cutting comments. This new Iris not only can see behind the actions of her in-game predecessor, but she also knows what's about to happen to her if she doesn't act quickly: a lifetime in a nunnery. Since she has no interest in that, she takes steps to ensure that she'll have a very different ending than the one dictated by her role as game antagonist.
What follows is a bit like a reverse harem version of How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom. Iris talks her father into sending her to their home fief (they've been in the capital) as the fief lord, and from there she sets about reconfiguring the tax system, reinvigorating the economy, and introducing chocolate to her new world. Because in her previous life she worked in a tax office, she's got the insider know-how to make things work, and she's in a good position to truly make her fief prosper…which maybe could lead to a resumption of her lost fiancé's affections, or at least the eye of his princely brother.
That's the long game, however. In this volume Iris is mostly concerned with staying out of the nunnery and getting things off the ground, and to that end she sets about assembling her loyal retainers, who are of course mostly male. (And attractive.) This is where things begin to feel a little less cohesive. Apparently before she fell for the prince she was engaged to, Iris was a kind, compassionate person who spent most of her time rescuing street children from the slums. Those are the people she turns to now, as all of them work either for her family or in closely related areas. It makes sense that they'd be devoted to her, and to a degree it also makes sense that Iris would have undergone a drastic change in personality upon hitting teenagerhood and falling in love, but these all become things that we're told rather than shown. It would have been much more effective to give us more detailed flashbacks than we get and to really see how good a person Iris was before the events of the game, because as presented, we can't tell how much of this character is “Iris” and how much is the woman who took over her role. The fact that none of her retainers/friends, who have known her since their mutual childhoods, remarks on how she seems different or asks anything about what really brought on her sudden knowledge of finance and urge to put it to use smacks of underdeveloped writing.
That really is the biggest issue facing this volume. It feels like a novel adaptation, which is to say that it's painfully obvious that things are being left out. There's very little character development or sense of who Iris is as a person, and the events just pile on without any effort expended to give them much importance. Iris' conversation with her father is the best part in terms of story flow because we really get a sense of what's going on and what preceded it; the rest of the volume feels a bit like an outline. Dida, one of the potential contenders for Iris' heart and one of her bodyguards, feels like the most developed character, followed by Lyle, the other bodyguard, but Tanya, ostensibly the most important of the “friend” players, feels like a mere stereotype of the over-devoted maid.
Suki Umemiya's art is pleasant and does a decent job with the difficulties of adaptation, but nothing especially stands out about it. The color art is a bit better than the interior black-and-white, but overall she does manage to capture the characters and the world. Unusually for Seven Seas, there are a few minor typos within the text, but nothing too glaring. All in all, Accomplishments of the Duke's Daughter could have been a lot more than it is, but still manages to be a decent read. It isn't ground-breaking and definitely feels like an incomplete adaptation, but it is a different kind of isekai than we've been getting in English, and if you're a fan of the genre, that makes it work checking out.
Overall : C+
Story : C+
Art : B-
+ Interesting take on the genre, Iris's plans are solid, nice cast of characters
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