Akuyaku Tensei Dakedo Doushite Kou Natta
Translated title: I Reincarnated into a Villain, but How Did It Become Like This...
Publisher: ArianRose (Frontier Works)
Books released: 3
Manga adaptation?: No
Anime adaptation?: No
Synopsis: An ordinary Japanese girl is reincarnated into the world of an otome game she played briefly and realizes she will become the future villainess, Eliza Kaldia. Since Eliza gets executed in the game with her entire family when their heinous crimes came to light, she decides to change her fate... by poisoning them all.
After the kingdom determines she could not possibly be the culprit, an earl is sent to manage her domain and educate Eliza to be the future lord. There are no gifts or magic, and this world is cruel and rough, far from the fairy tale atmosphere of the game. Eliza must now survive her childhood and prepare to lead her domain, all the while dealing with the conspiracies from within the kingdom and threats of war from without. Will she be able to last until the start of the game's events? How will her sacrifices to survive change her?
My spiel: This kind of story probably falls more into Cross Infinite World's wheelhouse, but eh. Despite the "reincarnation" and "otome game" buzz words in the setting, 99% of the time this is a pure political/warfare drama. This isn't misery porn, but it's a very gritty version of the typical sparkly, rose-filled otome game. If I had to make a comparison, I would say this is Bakarina x Realist Hero, but set in Grimgar; another way to put it, if you can see Faraway Paladin as a grounded, straight version of the isekai fantasy hero concept, this book is similarly a grounded version of the otome game reincarnation concept.
Eliza adapts, and well, but not without losing something in the process. Aside from the usual plot/relationship conflicts, she's also constantly dealing with her few memories of her evil family, the aftermath of their rule and reputation, and the costs of becoming a suitable person to lead her domain at such a young age.
It's very easy to sympathize with Eliza's plight and mourn the person she becomes in her efforts to make up for the crimes of her family. At the same time, it's also easy to celebrate her victories that come from the hard work and pure effort she puts into her new life.
There are also wolf-dragons!
I read the WN that's been fan TL'd, but the LN summaries seem to deviate a bit from the WN, so I'm not sure how close my experience would be to the books :o