Review: The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System

Date 2019-06-05
Language Chinese
Media Novel
Original Title 人渣反派自救系统
Author Moxiang Tongxiu (墨香铜臭)
Original Status Complete
Translation Status Complete
Romance? M/M

Spoilers for sexual content at the end of the book



  • Strong, funny narrative voice
  • Meta commentary that will be far too relatable to anyone who's read a typical qidian harem novel
  • Surprisingly touching and heart-breaking backstories in the extras that give side characters more depth


  • Shen Qingqiu being an unreliable narrator means that the main pairing feels really one-sided upon first read.

This fucking book. It is so hysterically funny and meta, and while your guard is lowered from the laughing, it stabs at you with knives and feelings. I love Shen Qingqiu as a narrator, his outrage at all the bad villains, the plot holes, and best of all: his complete obliviousness to his own attractiveness as well his own feelings/emotions.

The main premise is that after Shen Yuan dies of food poisoning from eating expired ramen, he transmigrates into the body of a cannon fodder villain named Shen Qingqiu in a book he used to constantly criticize. As someone who has spent more time than I really should have reading the same harem novels that Shen Yuan lambasts, I felt a real kinship with Shen Qingqiu's snarky commentary on the state of the braindead villains and the ridiculous plots.

"You think you can do better? You're up!" In this new world, Shen Yuan has to try his best to avoid the original Shen Qingqiu's fate in the books, and in the process, turns a harem novel into a BL novel when the protagonist falls in love with him.

The central pairing: Luo Binghe/Shen Qingqiu. Shen Qingqiu (Shen Yuan) is a snarky modern day dude just trying to survive in a fictional world of cultivators and demons, and along the way he develops feelings and attachments. Luo Binghe is in a lot of ways the typical yandere love interest - overpowered (by design and for meta reasons), obsessive, possessive, and intense in his pursuit of Shen Qingqiu. If you can look past any objections to Luo Binghe's yandere-ness, however, this is a ship worth reading for the slowburn of Shen Qingqiu's feelings - from oblivious denial, to attachment, and then his reluctant confession. His feelings are something that sneak up on Shen Qingqiu, and it's so amazing when he realizes it. From a personal preference point of view, I love misunderstandings and pining that happens due to one character's obliviousness, so Luo Binghe's angst worked really well for me in this book too.

On Extras: For most c-novels, the extras are nice fluffy epilogues that you can do with or without, but that is not the case for Scum Villain. SVSS's extras add a lot of dimension to the secondary characters, and are absolutely worth reading to get a full picture of all the backstories and things going on in the background that didn't get covered in the novel. Until I reached the extras, I had no idea why everyone was crying over Original Shen Qingqiu, who by all accounts sounded like The Worst. Then I read the extras and had my heart crushed into tiny little pieces.