Villainess Level 99 took an actual threat with its first episode, as a result of should you weren’t in on the joke, it may have fallen very flat. Rather than beginning with the precise story, we’re as an alternative handled to half an episode of the dullest otome recreation conceivable: plucky and fairly commoner Alicia is the one one who can use gentle magic and thus the one non-noble at her fancy new college, and he or she rapidly proves that she’s all sweetness and sugar whereas assembly the three smartest and hottest boys at school. I play a whole lot of otome video games, and it virtually made me gag – however that is the purpose. The opening gambit is designed to point out us how misplaced the precise protagonist of the present is, as a result of whereas she might have performed it in her earlier life, she wasn’t in it for the courting sim or story components. No, the lady who’s now Yumiella Dolkness was a hardcore stage-grinding fiend of a gamer, so discovering herself reborn right into a sickly candy otoge is sort of presumably one of many cruelest methods somebody may have performed on her.
But that is additionally what makes this sequence work. As a fan of the unique gentle novels, I’ll be the primary to confess that these two episodes, whereas nonetheless faithfully adapting the plot, aren’t almost pretty much as good because the books, however they cannot all be The Apothecary Diaries. And one factor that this totally nails is Yumiella herself. Ai Farouz’s deadpan supply is ideal; it reveals us how blasé she is about your complete state of affairs. Yes, she’d very very like to keep away from turning into the hidden boss, and no, she’s not thrilled about dwelling as Yumiella, however principally, she simply desires to be left alone to do her personal factor. She particularly desires to keep away from the sport’s 4 most important characters, not solely as a result of they’re the most certainly to kill her, but in addition as a result of she simply would not care about them. She simply desires to reside as a background character, kill the demon lord if essential, and get on with issues.
It’s by no means that simple, although, is it? Poor Yumiella has shot herself within the foot, as a result of she’s such a stage-grinding nut that she unintentionally acquired herself to max stage simply attempting to determine a technique to survive the sport plot. And that is the place issues actually start: Yumiella mistakenly outs herself as tremendous highly effective and earns the speedy ire of everybody round her, particularly the 4 leads. And if it have been simply that, it could have been sufficient – this present takes macho posturing and anguished screams of defeated man tears to a brand new stage as Yumiella handily defeats/humiliates all three capturable characters. Seriously, these screams are artworks, particularly Edwin’s when his try and get Yumiella expelled is foiled. Although possibly William’s is healthier as he is flung throughout the coaching floor? It’s onerous to say.
But injured delight is not the precise concern right here. There’s very a lot an underlying theme of prejudice that’s peeking via the chibi pictures and the male leads’ posturing. Everyone finds Yumiella upsetting by her mere existence, and hints of that come via after they all deal with her as “you, with the black hair.” Notably, she’s the one darkish-haired character in any scene, and her dad and mom are so disgusted together with her coloring that they’ve by no means even met her, abandoning her of their nation manor shortly after she was born. Her darkish magic additionally causes worry, and plenty of props to the magic instructor, who instantly tells everybody to not assume she’s evil for her seems and magical affinity. She’s the only voice of cause in your complete solid, the one one who stands as much as the pinnacle of the college and the prince after they need to expel Yumiella. That not solely makes her the lone individual on Yumiella’s aspect (and let me remind everybody that she’s in all probability about fifteen, so an precise youngster so far as anybody is aware of), but in addition the one one pondering forward. Yumiella notes that the dominion could be insane to let a stage 99 darkish magic person go to a different nation. Surely, that is one thing that Edwin ought to know, which begs the query of how a lot the sport influences folks’s actions.
And that is the query most of those reborn-in-a-recreation tales deal with: is the sport nonetheless being performed, or are these actual folks dwelling their lives? Yumiella is not in a spot the place she’s able to query any of that; she’s simply accepted who she’s alleged to be when it comes to how her new world sees her. But it is one thing that bears listening to as this goes on, as a result of she does discover that some timeline points have occurred, and we will see just a few background characters getting extra discover than others. This is not good, however it’s doing a ok job to make it enjoyable with the potential to be extra.
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