By Kawausoutan and Murakami Yuichi. Released in Japan as “Ouzumou Reijou ~Seijo ni Hirateuchi wo Kuratta Shunkan Sumō Budatta Zense wo Omoidashita Akuyaku Reijō no Watashi wa sute Neko Ōji ni Chanko wo Furumaitai Haadosukoidosukoi~” by Earth Star Luna. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Adam.
One of the more famous Monty Python sketches, written by Eric Idle, is called “Nudge Nudge”. In this sketch, Eric’s character accosts a businessman played by Terry Jones, implying through innuendo and double meaning that the businessman and his wife are sexually active. Throughout the sketch, Terry’s character endures, looking thoroughly frustrated and fed up at Eric’s constant snide jabs and double entendres. I mention this because that’s sort of how I started feeling midway through Grand Sumo Villainess, a book that is trying to be funny but mostly ends up being thoroughly exhausting. The author has a central idea and desperately wants us to realize what a fun idea it is, but it’s ONLY that one idea, with nothing else to it, and so unfortunately the book ends up being a one-trick pony. None of the characters have depth, nor are they meant to.
This is a villainess book, so you know where we start. The prince and his newfound girlfriend accuse Floortje, his fiancee, of horrible crimes and he breaks off their engagement and prepares to have her executed. This comes as a surprise to Floortje, who genuinely hasn’t done anything, but everyone around her seems to be brainwashed somehow into following the lead of the “heroine”, Jaromíra. Then suddenly Floortje gets memories of her past life in Japan… where she was dedicated to being a sumo wrestler! Suddenly, despite having the standard villainess body, she gains the power to defeat those around her! What’s more, “sumo” seems to be an ability rather than just a sport here, as it also has magic powers, can convert into wind and lightning, and honestly can do most anything at all. Now it’s time for Floortje to strike back!
Let me briefly mention the things I liked. The start of the book, when the concept is fresh, is pretty fun. The names of the heroines, being Dutch (Floortje) and Czech (Jaromíra) I quite liked as well. That’s about it. Floortje ends up being pretty one note in regards to sumo, which is basically the standard “OP power that can do anything” that we see in a lot of isekai. She also has a bit of a shotacon streak to her, something else I didn’t enjoy. Her ditzy maid is basically there for Floortje to abuse and threaten, though fortunately she never actually does anything. I will grant you that the maid’s eventual role in the story was pretty clever, but again: exhausting. All the antagonists follow the same shonen path: enemy, get defeated in sumo, friend. The only attempt at depth is near the end with the final Big Bad, and even then it’s somewhat undercut by the epilogue.
There’s a sequel to this, Grand Sumo Villainess Z, which I assume we’ll eventually be getting. But honestly, this is for villainess completists only. Even sumo fans might be annoyed at how it’s used here as “magic”.