There’s a surprising amount of isekai out there centered around the idea of being reincarnated as a romance game villainess. Whether she’s taming the final boss or trying to escape certain doom, the baddie-turned-heroine is a common trope. To stand out in this ever-growing field, you’ll need to do thing, if not different, then at least a bit special. And so far, Villainess Level 99: I May Be the Hidden Boss But I’m Not the Demon Lord is stepping up.
If you haven’t given this series a try yet, it’s worth your while to jump on. Here are just a few ways it sets itself apart from other isekai like it!
It Feels Like a Dating Sim
Other dating sim-centric isekai may hit the mark in their own way, but Villainess Level 99 leans fully into its fictional source material. It even blurs the lines between fiction and reality to do so, presenting the opening movie for the fictional game in its first episode. In a fourth-wall-breaking hat tip, Light Magic and the Hero credits the characters’ real-world anime voice actors as the game’s cast. (Meaning Yumiella canonically sounds like Fairouz Ai in her next life… living the dream.) You’ll also catch “screenshots” of the original game throughout the series.
Beyond that, the character designs just feel like the kind of thing you’d see in a dating sim. Just look at the trio of capture targets surrounding Alicia, the game’s intended heroine. From the primary-color-coded hair to the tough/smart/”romance me for the True Ending” character designs, these guys just look like dating sim boyfriends.
Even without her OP dark magic, the “villainess” of Villainess Level 99 would be having a hard time. Yumiella’s black hair already brings out nasty superstition in the locals. So when she’s shown to be maxed out and slinging shards of darkness, naturally people are freaked out. However, the kingdom’s higher-ups have a surprisingly open-minded take on her abilities. Even dark magic, the king and queen believe, has no inherent morals. It’s all down to what the magic user does with it.
Of course, not everyone shares this view. As the show’s full title suggests, Yumiella is suspected of being the Demon Lord. How will this suspicion balance out versus the royal family’s stance? Considering Yumiella is aiming to ally herself with the students to defeat the Demon Lord, hopefully amicably.
Like The Aristocrat’s Otherworldly Adventure before it, Villainess Level 99 takes note of its god-tier protag’s political pull. But where Cain von Silford was alternately feared and side-eyed, Yumiella is made aware of her standing rather early. And rather intelligently. Having reached the highest level humans are potentially able to reach, she is an asset to whoever maintains her loyalty.
Fans of shows full of courtly machinations and social power plays may find unexpected fun in this series. Now aware that she’s a very powerful chess piece indeed, Yumiella will have to navigate everything from tedious small talk to marriage proposals as the kingdom fends off a potential rebellion from within the nobility. Fending off the Demon Lord is just one problem — she’ll also have to fend off being married off to a husband with aspirations of seizing the crown.
Sound like your kind of show? Watch Villainess Level 99: I May Be the Hidden Boss But I’m Not the Demon Lord on Crunchyroll!