Sunday, November 27, 2022

REVIEW: The Scum Villain's Self-Saving System, Vol. 3 (book) by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu, translated by Faelicy & Lily, illustrated by Xiao Tong Kong (Velinxi)

The Scum Villain's Self-Saving System is a fantasy comedy danmei (m/m) story. I bought my copy of this volume brand new.


Shen Qingqiu (SQQ) has submitted to Luo Binghe (LBH), which makes him more than a little uncomfortable now that he's finally realized the book he's in has long since become a danmei novel and he's LBH's love interest.

Luckily for SQQ, there are still plenty of hidden storylines and details to save him from having LBH's undivided attention. Unfortunately, one of those hidden storylines involves LBH's father, who's so powerful that even the webnovel's original author never thought up a satisfactory way for LBH to beat him. That's going to be a problem.

I don't know that it's necessarily fair to say I loved this book more the second time around than the first, considering that my first time involved a fan translation, but it's true. The mixture of comedy, fantasy action, and surprisingly touching emotional moments was perfect. SQQ may have considered himself an anti-fan of the original novel, but it was obvious from the start that he genuinely cared about LBH, and it only became more obvious as the story progressed and he still tried to help and protect LBH even knowing that LBH's plot armor should be able to handle anything thrown at it.

As much as I enjoyed SQQ and LBH as a pair, their relationship definitely had problematic aspects. There's a "surrogate father and son" vibe to them that can be a bit squicky, and it's ridiculous how easily LBH fell in love with a guy who technically abused him pretty badly, up to the point when Shen Yuan was able to act out-of-character enough to mostly put a stop to it. That's not even getting into the main story's one and only sex scene, which reads like a violent rape SQQ only agreed to because it was necessary to save LBH and the world in general. (On the one hand, yay that, from what I could tell, readers weren't supposed to find that scene hot. On the other hand, boo that all of this series' gay sex and kissing is awful and improvement isn't even presented as an option, despite the fact that the characters genuinely care about each other and should want to improve. But that's perhaps a premature complaint best saved for the next volume.)

Even so, MXTX had me sighing over SQQ and LBH a surprisingly short amount of time after that scene. Imagine being personally able to make things turn out well for your most upsettingly tragic favorite character. Good job, SQQ.


Character and name guide, glossary, black and white illustrations throughout (the one with SQQ, LBH, and Zhuzhi-Lang was hilarious and unexpected), and two full-color illustrations.

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