With an anime adaptation currently airing, some of you may recognise this new Kodansha title I’m Giving the Disgraced Noble Lady I Rescued a Crash Course in Naughtiness: I’ll Spoil Her with Delicacies and Style to Make Her the Happiest Woman in the World! Surprising no one, this is a manga adaptation of Fukada Sametarou’s original light novel series but does it prove as entertaining as the anime? Let’s take a look!
The story follows protagonist Allen Crawford, a powerful page who hides himself in the middle of nowhere away from other people. Due to his fearsome power, he’s known as a “Demon Lord” by people in the neighbouring town, which makes him even less inclined to involve himself with the residents. However, fate has other ideas and it’s not long before Allen’s mundane lonely days end…
One day Allen is wandering through the nearby forest when he comes across a collapsed woman and then encounters the knights who have been pursuing her. Allen recognises her as Charlotte Evans, a princess from a neighbouring country who is wanted for having committed various crimes. Of course, Allen has no intention of handing over the girl while he can’t hear her side of the story and quickly hypnotises the knights and sends them on their way, none the wiser to the fact that he now has custody of their target.
When, after some first aid, Charlotte wakes up, Allen learns that she’s been framed by her ex-fiancé who is the prince of the neighbouring kingdom! Due to being adopted into her family and seen as an illegitimate child, Charlotte had no one to come to her defence and everyone simply believed that she’d plotted to do terrible deeds like murder the king. Allen, having been betrayed in the past, can tell when someone’s lying and immediately recognises that Charlotte is telling the truth about her situation. As she has nowhere else to go, Allen invites Charlotte to stay with him and work as a maid, thinking that she can use the chance to get her bearings and then later move on.
However, only a couple of days into their new living situation, it’s becoming apparent to Allen that Charlotte has had a horrible life filled with abuse from her supposed family. She’s never been given the chance to enjoy herself and has no idea what to do with the spare time her new situation gives her. So Allen decides he’s going to have to give this girl a crash course in everything naughty so she can experience the better things in life!
I’m sure for some of you the word ‘naughty’ leads you to think this series is about to take a sharp turn into ecchi territory, but have no fear as that’s the furthest thing from its mind. What Allen really wants to do is spoil Charlotte rotten, starting with letting her eat dessert and tasty snacks for dinner! Yes, Crash Course in Naughtiness is all about letting Charlotte enjoy all the fun things she’s missed out on so far.
More than that, the series is about letting Allen and Charlotte develop a close-knit bond as two people betrayed and hurt by their loved ones. Clearly, neither of them knows how to interact with others (which is part of why Allen lives away from town), but perhaps together they can figure it out. Certainly, they’re both deserving of some love after all that they’ve been through and it’s heart-warming to watch them figure themselves out. Particularly Allen who has embraced the demon lord namesake and thinks of himself as corrupting Charlotte, when deep down he really cares about her mental health and wellbeing, which is not something you can usually say for series like this!
As mentioned earlier, this is a manga adaptation of a light novel series by Fukada Sametarou. The manga has been handled by Ichiho Katsura (who has a few other series to their name but nothing else available in English) and I think this is genuinely one of the better ways to experience the story. Even compared to the anime due to the pacing being a little faster, meaning it doesn’t linger on any given gag for too long.
The artwork is detailed, expressive and most of all very charming. As opposed to the source material, a lot of the jokes land better here where you can see the expressions of the characters, which Katsura has done an excellent job of capturing. Given most of the first volume is set at Allen’s mansion with only a single other character besides our duo popping in occasionally, it’s a real testament to the art that this stays engaging the whole way through because it could very easily have been dull in places.
The original light novels are being released in English thanks to J-Novel Club, but the manga has been licensed by Kodansha under their Vertical imprint. This release is translated by Jan Cash and it’s in keeping with the light novel translations in terms of names and terminology. There are quite a few cat puns due to a catgirl postal worker who often visits Allen, which I think Cash handles well without letting them get too repetitive. This release also includes several colour pages and a short story written by the original author at the back of the book, which is a real treat, especially for existing fans of the series.
While the light novels concluded with 3 books, this manga is still ongoing in Japan with 7 volumes. In English, Kodansha has #2 scheduled for a release in November, with Volumes 3-5 following on a bi-monthly schedule so we’ll certainly be getting through this one at a fast pace.
Overall, I’m Giving the Disgraced Noble Lady I Rescued a Crash Course in Naughtiness Volume 1 proves an engaging and charming read. There’s a lot to like here as we watch two dorky leads get to know one another and learn to enjoy life in an environment that’s safely away from all the hardships they’ve faced in the past. There’s a lot more depth here than the premise would have you believe and I look forward to seeing how these two characters develop going forward.