[Recommended Manga / Review] Villainess Level 99 ~I may be the Hidden Boss, but I’m not the Demon Lord~

By: Peggy Sue Wood | @pswediting

Like many other “I reincarnated into an otome game as the villainess” stories, Villainess Level 99 features a main character, Eumiella Dolkness, who has very little intent of following the main plot. One nice difference, however, is that she doesn’t have to actively fight against fate to do this. 

As the hidden boss, Eumiella needs only to avoid becoming public enemy number one by not committing any major crimes. She has been able to handle splendidly thus far by gaining support from the royal family and from the other would-be villainess, Eleonora Hillrose. 

I think that the best way to describe Villainess Level 99 is to call it a situational comedy about an overpowered reincarnator who’s trying her best to live a good life doing what she loves as a gamer (leveling up) without stepping on toes. 

She’s expressionless, like Kohina (Gugure! Kokkuri-san), has a chill attitude to avoid troublesome issues, like Tanaka (Tanaka-Kun is Always Listless), and has very little common sense for how normal people might behave. Despite having now lived twice and despite prior knowledge of what would be average for a person in this world since she played the game before she reincarnated into the world.

I have a mini-theory that the reason she doesn’t really have common sense is because she’s part of the game’s cast (even though she was reincarnated into the role). Every character that was part of the game seems to be someone lacking in brains or just weird. For example, Lady Hillrose just following what her friends suggest for her, or like the game’s male leads continuing to hate Eumiella just because Alicia thinks she could be evil. Meanwhile, non-game characters, like Patrick (Eumiella’s friend and probable love interest) or the new dean of the school, are more capable of reasoning things out. That is probably not true, but it kind of feels this way…

Regardless, forethought does not seem to be Eumiella’s strong suit as her plans for what to do when the game’s period begins mostly involve stealing the protagonists’ achievements from the RPG part of the otome game before said protags can even really learn of the issue they’ll need to overcome. 

One thing I find really funny is things that seem like throw-away jokes or events will become a setup for a later incident that hits like a punchline. For example, Alicia, the original main character of the game, regularly glares at our protagonist, Eumiella. The second time Alicia looks at her like this, Eumiella comments, ‘Just what exactly do I look like to you?’ Now, given some of the changes to the story thus far, like Alicia getting close with their romantic interests so quickly and her glaring, one might assume she’s a reincarnator too. What is actually happening is that Alicia can only see Eumiella as an ominous, pitch-black ball due to her own light powers. Alicia can’t tell you what Eumiella looks like and is genuinely shocked to learn that no one else sees Eumiella as a terrifying shadow roaming the halls. Learning that Alicia sees her in such a way makes progressing events even funnier, as we sometimes catch glimpses of Eumiella through Alicia’s eyes every now and then in the manga.

There are several other little things like this, these misunderstandings that turn into comedic moments as the story progresses, that make the story so fun to read. Like this scene:

Source: Villainess Level 99 (Possibly Chapter 14)

It really deserves an official translation and license, which it looks like it may be receiving some time in the next year or so. I hope that is the case and that it will also get an anime adaptation.

Anyway, if you are a fan of fantasy sitcoms, this series is probably for you! And, if you’ve already started reading it and/or the novel, I hope you’ll let me know what you think so far. ☺️

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