Only Villains Do That
- Traumatising content
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.
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I love to read stories about quirky MCs done right, in here we have a character carefully picked for being an arrogant asshole who believes himself to be above everyone
If you had to live near him he would be absolutely insufferable, but positioned against a world full of brutish assholes and self righteous heroes we can actually root for him
The MC is half japanese and half american, which allows him to throw otaku culture and pop culture references with ease, and he is an interesting subversion of the regular isekai MC, in a sense he subverts the mold so much the mold becames whole again
He is not an otaku loser dreaming about becoming OP in another world... nope, he is stuck at a dead-end job and dreams about movig to murica to become a sucessful musician... so he is a retailer loser dreaming about becoming an OP musician in another country, and that is a completely different thing (or so he says)
He knows about videogames, pop culture and anime but constantly tells himself is just superficial knowledge that doesnt make him an otaku, nope, he just happened to absorb it by cultural osmosis via not being surrunded by otakus all the time, yep, he simply happened to stumble upon that knowledge, capisce?
He actually has a social life, he goes outside, he meets people... and so far there have been no mention of friends or family BUT HE IS NOT A LONER LOSER OK?
Instead of embracing the spirit of justice and good his mean spiritedness is the vehicle that can enable him to grow as a person, by helping him channel the assholeryness required to change the new world for the better, even if he has to crush them first
There is also the fact that if he manages to improve this world by taking it over, then it means he was right all along, his desire to fix the world pairs perfectly with his desire to validate himself as superior to everyone
Being an asshole is his method, and the world is so grimdark it works, the world building is prety nice too, with an angle of floating islands and alien ecosystem that feels absolutely fresh, so far crafting, architecture, cuisine and economy have been heavily affected by the environment, making those alien ecosystems a functional part of the world, instead of merely flavored background
The magic system is nice too, very straightforward to avoid info dumps, but with enough space to abuse it in the name of OPness
In a kind of meta the goddess choose such an ass to be her dark lord because she was bored of the regular flavours of good versus evil and wanted something more snarky and self absorbed, thats the audience this is made for: people who already had enough dosis of common heroes and villains and want to read something more focused on the style of the execution
This is a comedic deconstruction of the "taken by a goddess to a fantasy world." More in line as a parody than a satire.
Having read The Gods are Bastards, seeing this appear in my email out of nowhere became something of a pleasant surprise.
Webb, for the most part, is basically a professional author. It's mind boggling trying to visaulize the anount of time it took organize, write, and color TGaB, in which case I'll stamp it as +10,000 hours of experience. Why is that important?
Because, silly, if an author trying to manage dozens of characters, a world, goals, ambitons, backstories, sideplots, suddenly decides to write something that's magnitudes simpler, say, Only Villains do That, then you bet your sweaty right testicle I'm gonna read it. It would be like a concerto pianist deciding that playing for the Vienna Philharmoinc has been a bit draining lately, so they decide that, "hey, maybe I should perform for kids birthday parties!"
That's right, and you get to read it for free.
The main character serves as a chucklefuck protagonist, (what does that mean? I don't know, don't ask), he's funny, human, and has a personality (gotta cover all those bases, ya'know?). The reluctant and spiteful protagonsit that we get to tag along for, and hey, this is the only metro to burn time station, so settle, broseph. I can already see some issues showing up for some readers in the first few chapters, and I have an answer so that the author doesn't have to waste time answering others: This is the character's thoughts. We're learning what his attitude is towards otakus and nerds, and of course we see that he's hypocrite as well which is to be expected in a well thought out character.
The world building so far isn't Dune levels of nerdom, but it serves as a device to anchor the story which is focused on the main character trying to deviate from his goddess' plans and attempt to kill her like any other resepctable dark lord.
world building's unique with its own taboos, cultural norms, yadayada. Not generic and well thought out for being a world where earth and stone is precious.
Grammar's on point.
Characters are working.
Bribe office is closed, please leave cash-money in slot.
Style is Webb.
Story has a variety of humor, from gallows to interplay between minion and master.
(Psst, hey, Webby, you ought to copy pasta TGaB's onto RR as well, more readers can't hurt? (Unless it's verbal abuse then kinda. But then again. Abuse is a two way street (beat them with your good hand!)
I hope you're feeling better, my dude. Your talent is...chef kiss
A selfish, musician protagonist who doesn't like doing what he's told is isekaid by an evil goddess to a fantasy world along with a kid hero who is selected by a "good" goddess. He is also forcibly given a familiar.
This book throws off the usual Isekai theme where the protagonists are excited to be transferred to a magical world. The motivations of the protagonist are easely understood and being selfish is a great flaw to play with, especially since the hero's final boss will be the goddess who summoned him - it helps to immediately establish that sorta thing in the beginning for readers to know.
The writing style is simply superb, sentences flow well, grammar is perfect - one can definitely tell right away from chapter one that Webbonomicon is a talented, skilled author.
Overall - a very catchy start, want more!
For those who are familiar with his work elsewhere, D.D. Webb delivers once again on his strongest points - banter and worldbuilding. With a focus on a delightful asshole of a protagonist, the world of Ephemera brims with potential.
Style: My cup of tea. Well read on the style's tropes without being bogged down by them, the text flows delightfully.
Story: Intriguing. It's not by far the first time we see things from Evil's perspective, but what we have is a smidge rarer: uncaring evil here concerns Evil itself.
Grammar: No grammar errors of note. Seiji has a verbose speaking style, but you can somewhat tell that's more due to character than thesauritis on the author's part.
Characters: They're great! Shinonome invokes my pity, Seiji my laughter, and the rest... You'll have to read for yourself.
Yes, I know "Oh look, all 5 stars, this must be a real critical reader, huh?". Listen, I've been around the block when it comes to stories like this, my total Xianxia reading time (if counted on hours) goes into the several months and it's dwarfed by my time with manga/ light novels, to the point I've seen all kinds of seemingly fresh takes fall flat, and this hasn't happened here. Webb knows his stuff, and delivers. Give it a read, won't you?
Intelligently written, unique and reasonably intelligent MC, and characters that each feel like their own individuals.
The writing gets in as much detail as it needs to progress the story and add memorable flavor without bogging things down.
No grammatical errors have stood out to me, and I'm usuall nitpicky about that sort of thing.
Still early in the overall story, but things are moving and I have high hopes for where they go.
Love, love, love the story! Personally, it took me a few chapters to really fall in love with it, but when I did, oh boy, did I fall hard! The world building is unique and fresh, characterization superb, humor outstanding, I love everything about it! I am SO curious where is the story going. 10/10, highly recommend.
To avoid spoilers I'm going to start with a metaphor. The metaphor is 2 paragraphs long.
Basically Steve and Alex are plucked from another world by the enderdragon, and have a little conversation with separate sides of her (Steve gets the tail end) instructing them about the rules of the slyblock map they're about to enter. This skyblock isn't your usual minecraft adventure, as the world is already built and populated, but you can tell it's a skyblock map from the way everything is built out of a material doesn't burn and is spontaneously generated on the block like some cobblestone generator type tree. The cobblestone is even used for food and also to season the food. It's quite delicious in the right flavors.
Per the Enderdragon's Beehole's rules, Steve is the villain of the story, so upon spawning he immediately sets out to violently negotiate his place as the BMIC. He does this using words. Shocking, I know, but there aren't any trees inside the starting castle so he can't exactly punch a tree to make a wooden sword. Speaking of wooden swords, it's dangerous to go alone so stay in and give this story a read. It's pretty great.
It features awesome one-liners and banter, wonderful world-building, rich and complex characters, a protagonist who attempts to make rational decisions from his perspective, and explains why he's making those decisions, and delivers on the game-like aspect in a way that's fresh and creative. The system isn't a message on the fourth wall like many RR stories have, it's a talking lizard instead. His name is //// anyway, that's it for this review, if I haven't convinced you to read it, go read the first chapter and that'll convince you to read the rest of the story and maybe even some of DD's other work.
Webb is an experienced web novelist although this is his first story on RR itself. Having read some of what is to come and spoken with him during the drafting of this story, I am excited for what is to come.
I know from his prior work that he has impeccable grammar and is amazing and writing a wide variety of characters with different views, voices, motivations, and styles to existing.
I am looking forward to reading more as should all of you.
It’s a nice premise, you don’t see Isekais where the MC is the villain and/or resents whoever put them there very often, and it certainly delivers on what it promises.
Amazing worldbuilding shows that it’s not a generic European fantasy while having cultures which so far make sense to be there. The characters could use some fleshing out and the story isn’t too intricate but we aren’t too far in with not insignificant amounts being spent on the MC finding his feet; the groundwork is there for further developments so I expect that to change soon enough.
Characters are done well. World building is on point. Prose is great. Good humor too. Only problem is that the MC starts out feeling a bit one dimensional, but the nuance in his character definitely grows over time, especially in the most recent chapters.
I've been reading Webb's work (The Gods are Bastards) for roughly 5 years now, and as much as so love TGAB I think this story might be better. At the very least its far better than TGAB was this early in its run. Really amazing to see how much Webb has grown as a writer.
Let me hit that beat about how long I've been reading Webb's work one more time. TGAB was first released in 2014, and ran with a consistent update schedule for 5 years. Webb is new to RR, but he's one of the longest running and most accomplished web serial writers on the Internet, up there with wildbow. He's experienced in a way very few other authors on this site are, and that definitely shows in the quality of this work. Given my experience with TGAB I strongly suspect this story will only get better with time.