Review: Kenkyo Kenjitsu by Hiyoko no Keeki

Since I’m in /extremely/ high spirits today, I thought of releasing about half of it by writing a, dun dun dun duuun, review! Yey! Actually, to be honest, I’m both in high and low spirits today… and nope, that does not equate to average spirits — just really high and low spirits at the same time. And yes, that is possible.

And the reason for that is, drumroll, (high) I just read an amazing piece of art and (low) because I just read an amazing piece of art. T^T The difference of both is that, with the former, I really do find the series fantastic, and with the latter, because I find it fantastic, I’ve been in low spirits since I can’t read the rest of the story at all! Yet.

If you still have no idea what I’m talking about, well, I’m talking about Kenkyo Kenjitsu! It’s a Japanese webnovel by Hiyoko no Keeki about a human girl reincarnated into some kinda villain of a shoujo manga famous during her human days.


SUMMARY:

Five-year old Kishouin Reika discovers she has memories of her past life! Always pondering why her own name sounded so familiar to her when she was reborn, Reika finally remembers on her first day of elementary school! [Suiran Elementary School], the school, and her name were from a series called [You Are My Dolce].

It was an extremely popular shoujo series in her past life, to the point where it was even made into a live action drama! The series starts out when the protagonist, a commoner girl enrols as a special student into the prestigious [ Suiran Private High School ], where only the children of wealthy families attend. The commoner girl falls in love with the most popular boy in the school known as The Emperor, and becomes the target of severe bullying around the school, and the culprit of the malicious bullying was the character [Kishouin Reika], who served as the main antagonist of the series.

[Kishouin Reika], in the series is the typical archetype of a rich girl antagonist. She was spoiled, vain, malicious and lacking remorse! By the end of the series, [Kishouin Reika] gets her ‘just desserts’ when The Emperor cancels the forced engagement she had with him by declaring his love for the protagonist as well as seizing all of the Kishouin Company stocks, and exposing her father’s illegalities and corruption.

To her woe, Reika finds she had been reborn as that [Kishouin Reika]! Disillusioned and terrified by her inevitable demise, Reika swears to become the most unassuming, polite, and agreeable girl anyone could ever meet. Find out Reika’s adventures as she tries to prevent her fall!

**Summary courtesy to Baka-Updates.

WARNING: Beyond this point might contain spoilers, mild or not, and highly opinionated and biased rants, and personal theories. Proceed at your own risk.


Anyhow, without further ado, on to my rants- I mean, reviews!

First off, I knooow reincarnated plotlines in Japanese WN/LN is the major hype these days (more like, since a long time ago but just had a major booming break lately) but really! Even with that, especially to all shoujo/romance/slice-of-life loving fans out there, Kenkyo Kenjitsu is something that you should never ever miss your entire life.

The story started off kinda slow, maybe for some… I mean it’s just a bunch of narrative and monologues about the daily life of this ‘villainous’ ojousama but the dynamic and development of the characters, knowing this would happen but rooting for female MC trying her best to divert the crisis is kinda like an entertaining thing to watch/read in itself. How the author focused more on shaping and describing the characters than jumping immediately to the possibly dramatic/romantic elements of the plot… for me, that certainly ain’t boring.

url.jpg The MC, Reika, herself is pretty loveable. Sure, some readers might think she’s a coward at times… like possibly trying to avoid troubles and choosing the ‘safe’ side, i.e. avoiding the male protagonists Kaburagi and Enjou, but her resolve in doing so made up for it in some way. lol I can’t explain it clearly. It’s just that… she has a reason for doing it and so resolves in doing it. But that does not mean she’d completely go all panic mode and shut herself down otherwise though. She just prefer avoiding trouble if she can. Well, that’s a given considering she knows what would happen to her otherwise, I can’t blame her if she just doesn’t wish to bring harm upon herself and her family.

However, Reika isn’t just all that. Despite being dubbed as the ‘unattainable princess’ and/ feared by many because of her large followers/fans, Reika gives her best in bridging that gap. She is friendly and kind in nature, wanting to help people (going so far as being their spies, even if forced lol) and befriending many as much as she can, even those far below her caste. Lately, in the high school arc, she’d stand up to anything if she wants to and that is something really refreshing, after seeing her grow from being the fearful-of-the-future Reika-chan to becoming independent and saving up in case the inevitable bad end really do come. Idiotic and clumsy at times, she have that certain charm that draw people in that you just can’t help but not hate, if not love, her.

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Left to Right: Ririna (her cousin), Imamura Kikuno (follower #2 XD), Reika, Sakurako (the Japanese bishoujo with a venomous tongue lol) and Kazami Serika (follower #1)

That said, the story pretty much centres around that kinda setting. We, including the now Reika-chan, all know what would happen to the original Reika in the end. By the end of her high school life, after the then manga protagonist Wakaba enters the scene and original Reika bullies her, everything about her life — her family fortunes for that matter — would instantaneously take a nosedive. So before that happens, the now-Reika chan have to do everything she can to prevent it (even going so far as to keep giving warnings to her otousama and suspiciously reminding him that ‘heaven is watching’ thing HAHAHAHA).

Of course of courseee, alsooo… even with Reika-chan trying her best to avoid everything and anything concerning that inevitable fate (the people most especially *ahem* Kaburagi *ahem* Enjou), even despite all her efforts, we all know that she can’t completelllyyy avoid interacting with them (fufufu >:D), that of her being the alpha-female of the school and the two guys being potential love interests (I mean, why not? lol) ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

So far, romantically-speaking, nothing much happened the past 77 chapters of the novel. I mean, after all, what we’ve been focusing on is the growth of the individual characters (hence, their relationship most especially, friendly or not) before the arrival of protagonist-chan; however, HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean that there ain’t any promises of one. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) I mean, ho-ho, the little things, the little things are killing me! It’s very obvious how ze two lovely males are recognising, in their own little cutesy selves, Reika-sama who is just a bit of a klutz and clearly dense.

I guess despite all her quirks, she’s still Kisshouin Reika. How refined.

She might be an oddball in a few places, and sometimes she looks at couples with resentful eyes, but the soft-hearted and occasionally silly Kisshouin-san is somebody I really like.

But I have to say, he observes her quite a bit too. During the bird poop incident, he was smiling away.

Excerpt from: Chapter 70, Class Rep POV. Taken: https://oniichanyamete.wordpress.com/2016/07/07/reika-sama-070-class-rep-monk-boy/

“At first I was interested in the sports clubs, but…”

Suddenly, Kaburagi and Enjou glanced my way. What the heck. So what if I wanted to join a sports club.

It’s true that I don’t have a good history with mountain climbing but my P.E. results are at least average, okay! And didn’t I do pretty well during the Athletics Carnival!
It’s not that I’m bad at sports. I’m just lacking the willpower, okay.

“I’ve heard that the Suiran sports clubs lean towards the intense side. Wouldn’t it be a little harsh for you, Reika-sama?”

“Yes. I realised that it was impossible for me after having a look.”

I heard Kaburagi and Enjou quietly stifling their laughter. Annoying.

Excerpt from: Chapter 77. Taken: https://oniichanyamete.wordpress.com/2016/08/12/reika-sama-077-2/

Of course, most of ze chaps are under Reika-chan’s POV so, more often than not, most of those males’ ‘recognition’ of her is under-amplified. After all, she did develop the habit of avoiding them at all cost and thus even avoiding their gazes (although on some occasions, their gazes still do meet). Moreover, her being dense was exhibited more than once throughout the whole duration of the novel so….  >:D

The blockquoted above are just two of the many possibilities/implications. I wouldn’t mind if she ends up with no one but… it would certainly be awesome if she ends up with either one. My, what a plot twist that would be from the original plot twist. >:D I still can’t get over who that ‘he’ Maiden Class-Rep-san is talking about. O(≧∇≦)O And omo, omo, the deer-girl and Emperor spat the two had! fufufu~ Okaay, maybe I’m leaning more onto Kaburagi but… at the same time, seriously, Enjou for the win! XDDD

After all, you really can’t deny that, in some way, the two male protagonists do recognise and observe her. And, well, maybe because of my constant reading of shoujo manga these days or whatever, things like that do end up more than just that in most cases. >:D fufufu~

Or, well, meh~ maybeee just maaybeee all of it is just my weird fantasies and assumptions on the roll?  feck ( ͒˃̩̩⌂˂̩̩ ͒) ( ͒˃̩̩⌂˂̩̩ ͒)  We’ll only find out soon. Ho-ho! It was kinda expected that nothing would romantically happen at least until the HS arc after all, that being the entrance of our dear Wakaba-chan. Sooo.. we’ll just see. >:D We’ll see.

PS. Thouuugh, a third guy would be fun tooo~! mehehe ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Anyway, all I want is the success and happiness of Reika-sama~! O(≧∇≦)OO(≧∇≦)O


That said, it is because of those very reasons why I am depressed right now. I hope someone could just hurry up and translate all 258 current chapters for me. ( ͒˃̩̩⌂˂̩̩ ͒) Because, yes, the original Jap novel is already up until 258! But translation is only until 77, as of October 29, 2016 (lol). Well, I kinda understand maybe translators-san are busy buuuut… ( ͒˃̩̩⌂˂̩̩ ͒)

Note: You can read the original web novel (in Japanese) here and the English translated version here. Really, the translators did a very wonderful job in doing so, even going so far as to include notes and picture aids. After reading, please do not forget to thank/encourage them to show your support. :>

Also, while you’re at it, another recommendation: Koushaku Reijou no Tashinami (Good Sense of a Duke’s Daughter). It almost has the same premise but more on dealing with the ‘after.’ That said, it’s actually a bit more serious, that with political intrigue and conspiracies highlighted. :>

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