There’s a new term popping up on the scene and it’s Akuyaku Reijou, but what exactly is it? It’s not exactly a new idea but rather a character trope that is growing in popularity when it comes to different shoujo mediums. As such, we think it’s important for you to learn what Akuyaku Reijou are and why they matter. Hang tight as we dive right in!
What is an Akuyaku Reijou?
The question should really be “Who is an Akuyaku Reijou?” The term “Akuyaku Reijou” refers to a character trope that many of you should be familiar with if you have have ever read or watched something in the shoujo genre. Akuyaku Reijou are the girls who tend to bully our main charactes that many of us root for. Akuyaku Reijou tend to be the catty types who are often better than our rather plane Jane main characters, but they are written in such a way that gets you to hate them. Sometimes Akuyaku Reijou characters are pushy. Sometimes they are obnoxious. Sometimes Akuyaku Reijou charactes try to kill the heroine!
If you’re still at a loss about who Akuyaku Reijou are, let us give you a few examples.
Rika from Amnesia: Memories
- Platform: PlayStation Vita, Steam
- Publisher: Idea Factory International, Goczus, Inc.
- Developer: Idea Factory
As the main character, you awake only to find yourself in the hospital with no memories and only a cellphone as your guide. Orion, a spirit, is linked to your lost memories. As such, Orion declares that he cannot leave your side until he helps you regain your lost memories. With Orion, you will have to interact with other characters without revealing that you have amnesia in order to find clues about your own life.
Starting off with a rather popular otome game, Amnesia: Memories’ Akuyaku Reijou is manifested in the form of Rika, the president of Ikki’s fan club. Rika is voluptuous, well-mannered, full of class, and many things that the main character is not. In some routes, Rika is a friend to the heroine while in Ikki’s route and Toma’s route (due to a misunderstanding), Rika and the fan club bully the heroine out of jealousy and spite in order to get the heroine to break up with Ikki. This is a common trait amongst Akuyaku Reijou that we’re sure you’re all too familiar with! In one route, Rika even attempts to push the heroine off of a cliff to her death!
Ito Mika from Zettai Kareshi (Absolute Boyfriend)
- Mangaka: Watase Yuu
- Volumes: 6
Izawa Riiko has confessed to many a boy only to be rejected time and time again. Heartbroken by her latest confession, Riiko finds herself on a website advertising a Nightly Lover figure. Thinking it’s a bluff, she signs up only to be surprised when this new robot is delivered to her door and declares himself her boyfriend! Riiko is instantly struck by how good looking he is and thinks it’s too good to be true considering how skilled he is on top of being smart and sweet. Of course, she’s brought back to reality when the salesman declares Riiko’s new Nightly Lover, Night, costs a million dollars, which Riiko certainly does not possess!
Next up, we want to mention a rather well known shoujo manga by an especially well known shoujo mangaka! Ito Mika plays the part of the Akuyaku Reijou in Zettai Kareshi. At the start, she appears to be Riiko’s best friend, but as it is later revealed, Mika actually steals away all of Riiko’s crushes just for her own self satisfaction. In fact, she even tries to steal Night away, which ends in failure. Watase Yuu actually likes to write in Akuyaku Reijou as a common character trope in many of her manga and Mika is definitely one of the notable ones! Who expects to be deceived by their best friend over the course of many years just so their best friend can feel like the superior girl even when she has everything?
Why Do Akuyaku Reijou Matter?
You are definitely wondering why Akuyaku Reijou matter at all, aren’t you? Well, aside from being a common character trope in the shoujo and otome genres, Akuyaku Reijou are actually gaining in popularity as characters. Some people even more closely identify with them than the heroines (who, let’s face it, can be boring and lacking in personality). Sometimes, you just want to root for the villainess, don’t you?
Akuyaku Reijou are even becoming the main characters of their own series despite still being in opposition to the wonderful heroine who is sure to win out in the end! If you’re looking for something different than following a rather annoying shoujo heroine, why not check out a series about Akuyaku Reijou? Some people root for Akuyaku Reijou characters, too!
Calendula from Dareka Kono Joukyou wo Setsumei Shite Kudasai! (The Duchess Of Rosia -A Contract Marriage? How Did This Happen!?-)
- Mangaka: Kinosaki Kazura
- Volumes: 11+
Life for Viola is rather simple even though her father is an Earl as her kingdom was struck by famine and her family is poor. Things change when a rather wealthy duke named Cersis from the kingdom of Rosia approaches Viola with a marriage proposition. Cersis has a condition; Viola will be his contract wife who will ward off any marriage offers so that Cersis can continue having his affair with his girlfriend, Calendula.
In this fun web manga featured on Renta!, we have Calendula, the girlfriend of the Duke of Rosia. She’s mean spirited, arrogant, greedy and manipulative in contrast with Viola who is sweet, free spirited, and kind hearted. However, Viola actually roots for Calendula in the manga as she has absolutely no interest in Cersis as a lover, so she usually pushes Cersis to hang out with Calendula, even when everyone else absolutely hates Calendula. It makes for an extremely odd yet comedic dynamic during the manga, if we do say so ourselves!
Villainess from Akuyaku Reijou Ni Nanka Narimasen. Watashi Wa『Futsuu』no Koushaku Reijou Desu!
- Author: Mei.
- Chapters: 465
Our main character finds herself transported into the otome game she was playing on her death bed and became the character of Villainess, a girl who bullies the heroine throughout the game. Villainess has many endings that vary from exile to death. Knowing full well how the course of her life will playout, Villainess will do all she can to change her future so that she can either live a peaceful life in exile or find the one good ending to the game.
Lastly, we wanted to bring a web novel where the Akuyaku Reijou actually plays the main character as this is becoming a popular trope in light novels in Japan! Known merely as “Villainess,” our main character sets out to right all of the wrongs that lead to Villainess being an unsavory character whose path will end in death. She’s actually aiming for the exile option, if she can help it. Thus, we see her trying to fix all the wrongs and strive to survive right from the beginning as a child starting with amending her family relations. It’s a completely different point-of-view, but what a story it tells! It’s hard not to root for the Akuyaku Reijou, no?
The Future for Akuyaku Reijou
To add onto the popularity of Akuyaku Reijou, it has just been announced that we are getting our very first anime featuring the Akuyaku Reijou character trope as the main character: Otome Game no Hametsu Flag Shika nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei Shiteshimatta... (My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!). Otome Game no Hametsu Flag Shika nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei Shiteshimatta... features an Akuyaku Reijou main character who is striving to do all that she can to find the only route in which she survives in all while playing a character type that is exactly the opposite of her past life! You’ll want to check out this anime when it comes out. We’re hoping it changes the trend of (crappy) shoujo anime! For more information, check out our news page, which is updated with all new information as it comes.
Hopefully after reading this article, you’ll have a better understanding about who the Akuyaku Reijou is and maybe gain a better appreciation for them. We hope to see more series with this trope in the future as it gains popularity amongst Western readers, but for now, it’s a rather niche market that we can only spread the word about.
What about you readers out there? Can you think of any Akuyaku Reijou characters off the top of your head? Do you relate to any Akuyaku Reijou characters? Share your thoughts in the comments below! Once again, thank you joining us here at Honey’s Anime. Mata ne~!