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WIP Only Villains Do That by Webbonomicon - Original

Discussion in 'Other Fandoms Review Board' started by Galen, Jun 23, 2021.

  1. Galen

    Galen Fourth Year

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    Title: Only Villains Do That
    Author: Webbonomicon (D.D. Webb)
    Rating: PG-13
    Genre: Isekai - parody
    Status: WIP - regular updates
    Library Category: Original Fiction
    Pairings: None so far
    Link: https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/4...n-which-the-dark-lord-technically-doesnt-push
    Summary:

    While waiting on an Akihabara train platform one day, ordinary high schooler Yoshi Shinonome was suddenly plucked from his normal life in Japan and whisked away by a beautiful goddess to Ephemera, a world of magic and adventure, to serve as her Hero and drive back the evil Dark Lord.

    This is not his story.

    Standing nearby at the moment Yoshi was isekai'd was a man named Seiji - a rude, cranky, misanthropic musician who was not at all pleased to find himself also snatched up and transported to Ephemera by the goddess's wicked sister, Virya. According to this self-proclaimed Goddess of Evil, the whole fantasy adventure thing was a game she and her sister played to stave off the boredom of immortality, and since the good goddess, Sanora, had picked her Hero...well, Virya needed a Dark Lord.

    A grown man with his own career and ambitions, Seiji has no interest in playing. Unfortunately for him, the call to adventure was not a request. Now, he must conquer Ephemera and defeat the Hero...or Virya promises to make him beg for the release of death before granting it. Playing along for his own survival, Seiji nonetheless is under no illusions who his true enemy is, and it's not the naive young would-be Hero from his own world.

    Placed in an impossible position, Seiji must make enough progress toward world domination to keep his sadistic patron goddess off his back, but not so much that he can't strike an accord with the forces of Good and convince the Hero Yoshi that it's the goddesses who are their mutual enemy. Forced to embrace Evil without being too evil, Seiji walks the razor's edge, building his forces and biding his time till he can get revenge on the goddesses and be free of them, his only certainty that he will not be getting out of this with his hands clean.

    A Dark Lord's gotta do what a Dark Lord's gotta do.

    My review:

    Right, so I’ve been shilling this thing on our discord for the last day or so. I usually don’t post stories for review, even more so stories that are still towards the beginning stages of the plot. The few people who have been brave enough to read one of my reccs liked it, and that has given me the confidence to put it here.

    It’s an interesting take on the isekai genre: styled as a parody, but played considerably more serious than most parody stories. It takes the classic Hero and Dark Lord formula that has been tried, tested, and made unoriginal, and turns it on it’s head. As the summary said, the MC is the Dark Lord and decides to target the goddesses of the world rather than the Hero. This MC is styled as a selfish asshole, but honestly comes across considerably more likeable than you would think.

    Perhaps my favorite aspect of this story are the characterizations. The MC starts out slightly one-dimensional, but that very quickly changes. It successfully walks that fine line in isekai novels between an annoying “too-nice” character who gives many morale reasons not to kill the scumbag rapist/sex trafficker, and the unrepentant douchebag that readers instantly dislike. The side characters are excellently fleshed out, with a cast full of surprisingly interesting backstories and mannerisms.

    The magic and combat system is both interesting and perhaps a bit too simplistic at the start, but the natural ability of the MC gives plenty of room to grow and for the author to make it interesting. The signs for this are already showing.

    The plot is still fairly early, and one criticism I could make is that the pacing is slightly slower than I would like, adding a minor slice-of-life element that feels somewhat out of place.

    Overall, although it is in the early stages I would give this story a 3.75-4/5. The technical skill, worldbuilding, and characterizations are all decent. The main character’s personality shows a refreshing self-awareness. It wasn’t given a higher score because of how early in the story it is and because of the pacing.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2021
  2. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

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    I read this a few days ago. It's solid but too early to give a good rating as plans that have been set up the last 40 chapters are just starting to go into action. Interesting read though, and I'd recommend it if you're looking for something quick to read.
     
  3. Arthellion

    Arthellion Lord of the Banned ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Very solid read. Binged it today.

    the plot could be a bit tighter and I’d like more agency from some side characters but all in all this is shaping up to be a 4+ story.

    Still a bit early as has been said, but a fun read and recommend it.
     
  4. Teyrn

    Teyrn Unspeakable

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    Just started reading it. Pretty solid so far, but every time I see reference to the title I'm forced to remember that meme from BNHA's All Might.

    I confess it's making me chuckle a bit more than expected every time the meme pops up in my brain during serious moments in the story.
     
  5. Mutton

    Mutton Order Member

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    The first chapter is bad. The author wants to try and get across that the main character is a misanthrope but ends up just sounding like a woman hater himself. It picks up after that, but the MC's characterization is kind of spotty despite a reasonably fun premise. Kind of a wait and see on the rating but it is on my follow list.
     
  6. Teyrn

    Teyrn Unspeakable

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    A woman hater? Seriously?
     
  7. Mutton

    Mutton Order Member

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    Yes, the entire opening sequence is something straight out of an incel fantasy playbook. It's bad!
     
  8. Jarizok

    Jarizok High Inquisitor

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    I’m on chapter 17 and must have missed the woman hating vibes.

    The story’s been enjoyable but nothing’s really stood out as something I’ll remember this story by if I were to stop reading now apart from the premise itself.

    I’d solidly Almost Recommend this for now.

    Mighty convenient that that one random guy they killed happened to have a spy glass on him huh?
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2021
  9. Teyrn

    Teyrn Unspeakable

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    I'd give it a solid 3.5/5 as of chapter 36. The ramp up time is slow as hell, but it's well written so far.
     
  10. Othalan

    Othalan Death Eater DLP Supporter

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    Considering the whole thing was a test set up by the two goddesses to see how the two characters reacted to an obnoxious person, I'm not really getting the connection. Besides, are you trying to claim that is an unrealistic depiction of a person? Because I can assure you I've met a number of people, both men and women that are easily that irritating, stupid and entitled. But don't take my word for it, the internet is full of "Entitled People/Karen" stories and videos, free for you to peruse.

    Seiji disliking the girl on the platform for being an asshole doesn't make him a woman-hater any more than him thinking Yoshi was a loser makes him a man-hater. Also note that not one of the other women in the story are presented that way.

    People are individuals, not ideological talking points. The sooner you learn that, the sooner you'll realize that living without choosing to be offended by everything is actually pretty nice.

    Anyway, I've read all the way up to chapter 42 and I've quite enjoyed it. It's a nice subversion of the usual Isekai tropes, with a fun, engaging writing style.

    4/5 so far. Would recommend.
     
  11. Arthellion

    Arthellion Lord of the Banned ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    This also ignores the later character growth the protagonist experiences regarding women but yeah. I’ve met people like both the girl on the platform and the protagonist on the platform.

    Also worth remembering this is a Japanese protagonist. Different cultural values and stuff.
     
  12. GiantMonkeyMan

    GiantMonkeyMan High Inquisitor

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    The opening, both the train platform with the clichés and the meeting with the goddesses, is definitely, in my opinion, the weakest part of the story but it quickly finds its feet.
     
  13. A Lizard By

    A Lizard By Any Other Name

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    Enjoyable read so far, binged most of it in one go. I'd say my only real complaint is that most characters are basically speaking with the same voice. Unless the author decides he wants someone to sound really dumb, everyone Seiji meets comes across as a politically-minded master of the euphemism and/or a history professor. Even the pre-teen gutter children are incredibly well spoken, despite the author's attempts to dumb them down with accents.

    Well, that and while I appreciate the author's recent interest in feminism, people who've been systematically abused and oppressed their entire lives don't generally just up and decide to turn and bite the hand that feeds, barring a complete paradigm shift in the status quo. Most people make decisions based on fear, but abused people even more-so. Despite someone offering them revenge and freedom, these people have absolutely no reason to believe their lives will improve by following Seiji, but every reason to believe their government/criminal overlords will hunt them down and make their lives much, much worse.

    The Alley Cat may have been repossessed, but is that really a good enough reason for these women to pit themselves against forces they know they absolutely cannot contend with just because a wizard told them it was fine? I understand the madame doesn't have many options, but is there some reason the women can't just... work for another brothel? After all, what reason do they have to take a Lord at his word? Devil you know, and all that.

    (I'm happy to be corrected here, mostly just speaking anecdotally about my own experiences with people who've been abused.)

    Other than that, Seiji's absurdity is what's kept me interested in the story thus far, and I appreciate the author's attempt to make it clear he's not that good at this.
     
  14. Agayek

    Agayek The Cursed Child DLP Supporter

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    You're not wrong, but there's an extra dynamic you're not considering, I think.

    Seiji isn't "a wizard", he's The Dark Lord.

    He is the embodiment of the most feared and powerful myth in their entire society, the latest in a long, long line of dudes who have swooped in, murdered everyone who got in their way, and proceeded to completely upend the entirety of their society multiple times. There's every reason to believe that not only can he tear down the society that shits on them, but that he will, regardless of what the girls choose there. It'd be kinda like if you're hanging out with a passing acquaintance when your landlord comes asking for rent, only for your buddy to pull off a mask and reveal he's actually Sauron, then he tells you you don't have to pay rent anymore.

    Add that onto the good will he's inspired from his healing efforts, and it's a pretty potent combination to inspire loyalty.
     
  15. A Lizard By

    A Lizard By Any Other Name

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    Fair enough. I suppose I get the feeling from the story that The Dark Lord is more of a myth than a real thing anyone alive has ever had to worry about, as it seems mostly glossed over by every character but Seiji.

    Proclaiming yourself The Dark Lord almost seems like walking around calling yourself Vlad the Impaler. Sure, most people have heard the name and at least vaguely associated it with the horrible shit he did, but who's going to trust a guy calling himself that just because he impaled a few people?

    Or more accurately, it's like saying this guy went around in disguise giving out incredibly expensive cures (because technically Seiji's OP heal spell can be bought or earned through random gacha rewards) and then impaled a few people. The truest identifier he has is probably Biribo, though familiars aren't entirely unheard of either.

    I could very easily see them being so terrified of his immolate spell they follow him out of fear, but it seems they're essentially throwing in their lot with ol' Vlad because he was nice to them for awhile and then let them exact revenge on their abusers. That makes sense if they don't care about the whole Dark Lord thing, but if they do care about that... at the end of the day, he's still Vlad the Impaler. In all likelihood, he's going to impale the hell out of you and everyone you love because that's kind of his thing.

    So to me I guess the disconnect here is if these people recognize and fear The Dark Lord, why is it played like the people who choose to follow him are doing so because he's a nice guy when they should know damn well that's like making a deal with the devil? The way I see it:

    They're following him out of pure fear, and I didn't pick up on it or it's not displayed well.
    They're following him because he's not actually The Dark Lord, right?
    They're following him willingly despite knowing he's The Dark Lord, against all common sense and likely for various reasons. (It's better than being a prostitute, revenge, etc. in which case I'd prefer some acknowledgement they're basically agreeing to the deaths of everyone they've ever known or might come to know)

    It only gets worse when you toss in all the religious context. (Continuing with the analogy to Christianity) It's like Christians just deciding to abandon their religion because Satan's champion healed them, and fuck God he never did anything for me anyway. There's nothing in the world that makes people dig in their heels faster than religious bullshit, but the literal embodiment of Satan's will shows up and these Christians are just like "guess we're Satanists now"? If their religion is so unconvincing it can't even convince the lowest peasant not to convert, I question the point of it in the first place.

    Seems like Seiji's internal monologues are usually the only thing in the story that actually acknowledge he's supposed to be the bad guy. Not sure if the author will ramp up the Evil soon, but so far I'm mostly just getting the feeling he wants to have his cake and eat it too with a protagonist that's Evil on paper while essentially white-knighting the entire world.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2021
  16. Arthellion

    Arthellion Lord of the Banned ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    @A Lizard By


    I think you're ignoring the culture of this world too much. Like in our world, I think what you're saying would have more weight. But in this context, the geographic area he's located in...there isn't a moral quandary regarding the dark lord. You read the philosophy and culture of the "dark goddess" races and locations and you see they are a culture of improvement through struggle.

    This is less good vs bad and more horde vs alliance.
     
  17. A Lizard By

    A Lizard By Any Other Name

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    Perhaps, though when it's cited as the struggle of Good vs. Evil you could see why I make that distinction. Maybe it should have been red vs blue if the author wanted one side to not seem objectively wrong, but I guess that might just be my own inability to discern the subtext.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2021
  18. A Lightning

    A Lightning Seventh Year

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    I thought this was okay. The unique aspect to this story is going to be the part where Seiji figures out how to exploit the world's mechanics to make it possible to fight against literal goddesses. Otherwise, "reluctant dark lord" is sort of an isekai subversion, I guess, but I still feel like I've read this sort of story before. Sadly, the early parts of this story are moving far too slowly to motivate me to keep up with the regular updates.
     
  19. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

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    The MC's opinion on people

    From the latest bonus chapter I think the takeaway is that it's intentionally named Good vs. Evil, even though it means nothing. One of the heroes summoned was unquestionably worse than the Dark Lord he faced, but he was still revered by the Good side cause the victors rewrite history and all. They benefit cause it means they stay in power, but if they start questioning things it falls apart.
     
  20. Tutorial Boss

    Tutorial Boss Seventh Year

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    Why is this story rated so lowly? A lot of the written reviews don't seem to be too negatively biased towards it. Honestly, when I read it, it seemed pretty good - well written enough with no common grammatical issues. The prose doesn't stand out, but it does its job, and it has some pretty compelling arcs. The first major arc's resolution ended pretty good with decent action and pretty cool politcking. The setting is fairly interesting with some cool elements like the goblin society, and it's not like the story hid the fact that 'good' and 'evil' are just labels that the goddesses picked for each other in their playground. Is it really just that heavy on first-chapter attrition?
     
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