By Satori Tanabata and Tea. Released in Japan as “Akuyaku Reijō Level 99: Watashi wa Ura Boss Desu ga Maō dewa Arimasen” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by sachi salehi.
Sometimes I am surprised when a book is not QUITE as cliched as I expected. This is a Villainess book, and the first novel had the supposed heroine of the game as the antagonist, so I was naturally expecting her to break out of prison and be an antagonist again. But no, she’s still there, still not recovered from mental trauma, and isn’t in this book at all. (As it turns out, the webnovel version of this book simply killed her off, but I assume the Kadokawa editors asked the author not to do that.) Instead, the “heroine” role is filled by Yumiella’s “friend” Eleanora, a girl so naive that you can sometimes hear the wind whistling through her head, and that works fine. Plus it’s not like we don’t have other cliches waiting in the wings. Eleanora’s father is trying to topple the kingdom, and he’s gathered all the evil nobles together to do so. What a bad guy… OR IS HE?
Yumiella and Patrick have graduated, and she is now returning to her county in order to run it now that her evil parents have been exiled. Patrick, of course, comes along, and seems to be trying to tell her something about the nature of their relationship – what, she can’t possibly guess. Unfortunately, the county is a mess, with poor roads, high taxes, and unhappy people. Fortunately, Yumiella may have very little common sense but she is quite compassionate and also ludicrously powerful, so she sets about fixing things immediately. Minus a few eccentricities. Like selling wooden swords. Unfortunately, she also happens to come across the evil plan I mentioned above, and has to tell the King about it and deal with the fallout – the fallout mostly being that, as the one behind all of this, Eleanora’s father is probably going to be executed. Which would make Eleanora sad.
The core of this book is the classic “two characters think they are having one conversation, but they are really having two conversations that do not interact”. Yumiella can be surprisingly obtuse, and it takes the entire book – during which she walks around with an engagement ring on her finger and also during which invitations to her wedding are being mailed out – to realize that Patrick is in love with her. We get a bit more of her past in Japan this time around – namely, that she was a massive chuuni, and in middle school she used to wave around wooden swords and also wore an eyepatch. If you think of Yumiella as Megumin from KonoSuba, you won’t be too far off. Thankfully, Patrick is NOT Kazuma, and therefore can be there to stop her worst ideas, like regarding the barrier stopping the church from dark magic attacks as a rival she has to destroy. Though, um, later she does indeed destroy it.
This remains fun if you like this sort of character, with the only real issue being that it was far too long. Hopefully the next volume will be a bit snappier.