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.
The anime is currently airing as I type this up, and it’s quite enjoyable, if very low budget. It’s also doing something very sensible, which a lot of series are doing lately: it’s adapting the manga, not the light novel. This is obvious if you watch any scene with Alicia, who is simply far more sympathetic and nice in the manga than she ever was in the LN. I’m not sure how the manga resolves the Alicia plotline, if it’s even gotten to that point yet, But I remember how the light novel did, with Alicia essentially under house arrest, and still traumatized by the finale of the first book. And, as it turns out, the author was rather jealous of how Alicia was handled in the manga. And so, after taking a couple of books off, Alicia returns for this new book. Unfortunately, this is still the light novel version of Alicia, which means that the reunion is more pathetic than anything else.
After resolving issues with her alternate universe self, there’s not really much standing between Yumiella and Patrick’s wedding… except for Yumiella, who suddenly realizes that a large wedding is exactly the sort of thing she doesn’t want. Given this, she naturally decides to fly to the moon. This doesn’t work out, so instead she plummets into the neighboring country of Lemlaesta… which you may recall is the country that Patrick’s mother despises. There she meets a man named Gilbert, who looks a lot like Patrick. And he has the same name as Patrick’s brother, something which Patrick just told Yumiella before all of this insanity happened. Naturally, she doesn’t recognize him. Incredibly, she also manages to fool (?) him into thinking she’s not Yumiella. Can the two densest people alive possibly manage to stop a war?
How much you enjoy this book may depend on how much you can tolerate Yumiella being even more of an airhead than usual. The anime reminds me just how far off the rails she’s gotten since the first volume, and she now rarely if ever manages to descend to anything resembling reality. There are a few times when I just wanted to throttle her, particularly when she tried to jump to the moon to run away from her problems. On the bright side, sometimes Yumiella being this dense really is very funny, and once you get behind the idea that she and Gilbert don’t know who the other one is, despite the 87 billion clues each one has, you just roll with it and laugh. And yes, Alicia comes back. More interesting than her actions in this book (which are predictable as hell) is the fact that she’s being trained to be a weapon that will be deployed in case the country’s bomb (Yumiella) goes off. I’d feel bad for her if it weren’t for, well… (waves hand at everything Alicia does in this book).
I didn’t even mention Yumiella measuring her new level, which leads to some of the best jokes but also sets up the final confrontation. Oh yes, and Yumiella sprouting wings like an Evangelion shout out. In any case, despite Yumiella starting to get a bit *too* dense, this is still a series I enjoy.