Title: Villainess Level 99: I May Be the Hidden Boss but I’m Not the Demon Lord Vol. 1
Author: nocomi (manga), Tanabata Satori (original story), Tea (characters)
Publisher: One Peace Books
Genre: Fantasy, Isekai, Otome, Comedy
Publication Date: August 15, 2023
A girl dies in the real world although we don’t know how. All we know is that she has been thrown into an Otome RPG called Light Magic: A Tales of Heroes or LH for short. She was reborn as Eumiella Dolkness, a girl from a regional noble family with black hair and black eyes. The black hair is an ominous trait as it is associated with The Demon Lord and/or evil.
As Eumiella, she realizes that in the game’s story, she becomes the hidden boss and that she is killed after the heroes’ party levels up to maximum. Her plan is to avoid the events of the story and live a peaceful life. The first step is to become ultra strong so by using an XP amulet, a monster summoning whistle, and a dark dungeon within her family’s region, she power levels all the way up to Level 99.
The problem is that her father sends her off to an academy because he orders her to marry into high standing for the sake of the family. There, she runs into those who would become the heroes. When taking a level assessment, she registers as 99 which causes a lot of controversy but after she is proven to be that level by The King, everyone changes her tune. Now she has become Miss Popularity. The Queen even goes so far as to invite her to join the Demon Lord Elite Squad who will be the ones to save the land when the Demon Lord is reborn in two years’ time.
Her dream of a peaceful life and avoiding the heroes just got thrown out the window!
I believe the story section sums up Eumiella nicely. She’s just a girl from another world who wants to avoid the story and live a life of peace and quiet. She’s a bit timid and shy because of that and expresses herself a lot through inner monologue. The only thing that makes me wonder about her character is the fact that there are several scenarios where she had the opportunity to just isolate herself and, yet, she opted not to. Asking the King for a life of peace and quiet and then saying she would join the elite party is counterintuitive. When she met a high-ranking daughter of the extremists, she had every opportunity to reject an audience with her and decided not to. She wants peace and quiet but she throws herself into situations that disrupt that willingly. It’s kind of baffling but then again, if she truly did, this manga would mostly take place in some quiet little villa and would be filled with page after page of her feeding rabbits or something. I just find the character pretty polarizing between desires and actions.
Alicia is the game’s main heroine. She’s a commoner who was let into the academy because she is a rare light magic user. In the game’s story, she is the one who vanquishes the demon lord so it’s not too difficult to see that the King and Queen have advanced knowledge of the Demon Lord’s rebirth so they arranged to have someone like her join all for the sake of making sure she’s in the Elite party. Alicia plays her part well until she’s around Eumiella. That’s when she becomes rather scared and/or suspicious of her. A bit of mystery!
William is a master swordsman who is a bit hot-tempered and meat-headed. He’s the type that will just blurt out accusations without proof and get annoyed when you try to prove him wrong. However, at this point in the series, he’s only level 5 and pigheadedly challenges Eumiella to a duel to see if she’s truly level 99. Spoilers… it doesn’t end well for him as you would imagine. Outside of this initial run-in, there isn’t much that he does. I’m sure we’ll see more of him in future volumes but right now… what you see is what you get with him.
Edwin is the second prince of the nation. He’s also a swordsman and is, apparently, more gifted with the blade than William (although anyone would be after that initial display). Edwin is very sharp and direct with his tongue and, at one point, shows that he’s a bit slimy by going behind Eumiella’s back… using his influence in an attempt to do something about her presence. For nobility, he’s not very noble but that’s kind of how these things go. Royal family members without egos don’t make for interesting characters.
Next is Oswald the supposed genius mage because he can use all four types of elemental magic. In typical RPG fare, there is Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water (sorry… no Heart). He can use all four but there is also Light and Dark magic, too but those are extremely rare. He has a high attitude about him as well as he considers himself a genius just because he knows all four elemental types. Another noble with an ego. Kind of run-of-the-mill but he gets the job done for his purpose.
The first volume was really interesting! Unlike most “Reborn in an Otome game” stories, this doesn’t really focus on the Otome part of it. It treats this as a standard fantasy isekai. The main character, Eumiella, is like a breath of fresh air because while she does carry the trope of being overpowered, she doesn’t really want to get mixed up in the story; however, circumstances beyond (and sometimes within) her control make that impossible which adds a nice comedic element to the series.
As I said in the Characters section, the angle of wanting to have a peaceful life and then going against all of that through the choices she makes almost seems like a forced plot as it doesn’t really match the character’s mindset. That would be the only real flaw I can find here as everything else is really superb. While the main cast of characters is a bit run-of-the-mill, it’s what you would come to expect from high-ranking nobility in a fantasy setting. A saving grace is that the King and Queen are, at least, humble although they do have their ulterior motives which Eumiella is quick to sniff out.
From a fantasy aspect… partying up with heroes to destroy the Demon Lord is about as basic as it comes but this series has something special about it that makes it interesting and endearing. Tropes aside, I really enjoyed this first volume and think that if you want an isekai that kind of borrows from the otome genre but twists it into its own thing then this is a great series to check out!
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This item was provided for review by One Peace Books