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Villainess Level 99 GN 1


Villainess Level 99 GN 1

Eumiella is less than thrilled to realize that she’s been reborn as a character in a game she played in her former life as a college student – and the hidden boss at that. Determined to avoid the bad end in store for her, she decides to hone her skills and then lay low once she’s sent to the school where the heroine and love interests are. Unfortunately, she’s a little too good at honing her skills, and before she knows it, she’s hit the unheard-of level 99. Now the heroine and her boys not only notice Eumiella, they suspect her of being the demon lord herself!

Villainess Level 99 is translated by Hengtee Lim.


You know what they say about the best-laid plans. Eumiella is fast discovering that that’s more than just a comfortable aphorism because as a little girl, she realizes that she’s somehow moved from her life as a Japanese university student to being a character in an otome game with RPG elements that she used to play. And naturally, she’s not just any character: she’s the hidden boss whose true nature only comes to light once the heroine and her romantic interests have unlocked the story’s endgame. Like many a reborn character before her, Eumiella has zero interest in living out the bad end the game has planned for her, and so she sets out to thwart the system.

By this point we’re all very familiar with the conventions of the genre – Eumiella awakens to her memories, sets out to course correct, and somehow things go sideways. There’s a bit of a shift in that the game she’s been reincarnated into is equal parts RPG and otome game, but even that’s hardly new, right down to the fact that Eumiella was more interested in the RPG bits; Kanata Satsuki‘s light novel series also features an RPG and Sarasa Nagase‘s has a heroine who is somewhat less versed in the otome game that she’s reborn into than is the norm, with both of these series merely being one example of attempts to subvert the trends they represent. None of this is intended as a statement on the quality of , however; rather they simply go to show that the reincarnated villainess story has very few truly novel twists left to play with.

But even if original author Tanabata Satori is working with a well-worn playbook, manages to be an enjoyable story. Eumiella is a heroine who is both self-aware and remarkably clueless, a combination that functions to make her fun to follow. After realizing her situation, Eumiella decides that she’s got a two-pronged plan to avoid fated death: she’s going to make sure she’s strong enough not to be killed, and she’s going to fly under the radar once she reaches the main action of the game to avoid any hidden boss triggers. Needless to say, both of these initiatives fail spectacularly. Eumiella trains a little (or a lot) too well, resulting in the level mentioned in the title, and that level is so far above everyone else’s that it immediately raises the suspicions of the heroine and her love interests.

The joy of this story isn’t in the well-worn ground it treads, but rather in Eumiella herself. She’s not a particularly emotive character, and her blank-faced reactions (drawn very well by nocomi) not only unnerve everyone around her, they also ground the story by making everyone else look like an unhinged loon. Every time one of them suspects her of being evil they begin reacting like a character in a story normally would, but since Eumiella isn’t acting that way, they end up presenting as incredibly melodramatic while she just stands there looking mild. She’s fully aware that she’s in a fictional world, and she takes that in stride while everyone else continues acting like a comic book character. It makes for a surprisingly good juxtaposition.

What Eumiella doesn’t expect is that the king and queen will react to the revelation of her insane level by being politically savvy. Even if their second son (one of the heroine’s love interests) doesn’t seem to realize that currying favor with someone so powerful is the smarter thing to do, they’re very much aware, and they quickly take steps to ensure that Eumiella won’t turn against the kingdom. Both Eumiella and the author resist taking things in the direction of having her displace the heroine, and right now it’s too early to tell if this also means resisting swapping the roles of heroine and villainess, which feels like a definite point in the series’ favor, because that would have been the easiest (and most expected) outcome.

The story does fall prey to several of its genre’s pitfalls. The levels are the most obvious, but the book is blessedly free of status screens, so we can be thankful for that. The other major trope at play is one that I’ve always found baffling as someone with near-black hair and eyes – the idea that black hair and eyes are both unusual and to be feared. Satori attempts to explain it as the previous demon lord having that coloring and giving rise to prejudice against it, but it still reads as the author trying too hard to create a pseudo-European setting without understanding the sheer variety of coloring (dark included) present in Europe, especially when you include Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Other elements of the story that are well-worn are present in service of genre parody, such as light versus dark magic and the character types the heroine and love interests neatly slot into, so while they’re the genre norm, they at least serve a very clear parodic purpose.

Overall, ‘s manga adaptation is a lot of fun. It isn’t entirely unexpected in its writing and use of genre staples, but it does everything well enough to be enjoyable, especially if you’re a fan of villainess isekai. With One Peace Books‘ publication of the manga, both the source light novels (from J-Novel Club) and the manga are now available, so you can prepare for the upcoming (as of this writing) anime howsoever you prefer – and it’s a good enough story that it’s worth reading all on its own.



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