Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte: Disc EX

By Suzu Enoshima and Eihi. Released in Japan as “Tsundere Akuyaku Reijou Liselotte to Jikkyou no Endo-kun to Kaisetsu no Kobayashi-san” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Minna Lin.

The “Disc EX” should tell you exactly what you’re getting with this volume. This is not a new volume in the series per se, nor is it a sequel or a side story. Even as a collection of short stories, that description feels inadequate. It’s the sort of bonus content you get when a game has done well and the creators are taking a victory lap. It’s not going to have any drama or threats – indeed, the one scene where there is a brief threat of actual consequences is quickly resolved by simply deciding to ignore the problem. Instead, you get exactly what you want from a fan disc – more of the cast being themselves. More of Lieselotte being tsundere, more of Sieg being overwhelmed by how cute she is, more of Endo and Kobayashi narrating out loud (even when they’re in the actual world itself). You don’t have to read this. But it will bring a smile to your face.

The goddess Lirenna has made things so that Endo and Kobayashi can be there on the day that Lieselotte and Siegwald’s wedding day, as we saw in the final scene of the 2nd book. They have most of the whole day there, so while there they ask about various things they didn’t see or missing pieces from the first two books. We hear about Lieselotte’s Memoir, which here is a simple diary of her last few years but in the fan disc at the end of the game Endo and Kobayashi played it was a dark chapter that showed you what Lieselotte was really like and drove home the tragedy. (We don’t get excerpts from the bad diary, that would be depressing, and against the premise of this book). After various short stories show off the supporting cast, the two are wed, and Endo and Kobayashi return to Japan permanently – except the game now has a video epilogue from its cast.

As I hinted above, the most interesting part of the book is where Endo and Kobayashi express surprise that Fiene gave in and got engaged so fast, as they know that she’s suffering from subconscious trauma due to being Eve and having her husband (Adam, aka Baldur) murdered in front of her by Kuon. They debate telling her about this, but realize that there’s really no good reason to do so, and a few good reasons they should not, so they just… don’t. I appreciated this. No need to lift lids off cans of worms. I was also amused at the side story devoted to Leon, and why he showed up with everyone at the final battle. The cast are all frustrated that they don’t know why, but we all know why – he’s madly in love with Fiene’s mother. I suspect he might eventually wear her down, but this is – again – a fun little bonus that readers know about but most of the cast don’t, which fits the fan disc theme.

I’d have liked more about Endo and Kobayashi’s relationship – they’re on first name basis now, but that’s about it – but this is fine. As a volume likely only commissioned because of the anime, it does its job quite well, and fans should be pleased.

Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte: Disc 2

By Suzu Enoshima and Eihi. Released in Japan as “Tsundere Akuyaku Reijou Liselotte to Jikkyou no Endo-kun to Kaisetsu no Kobayashi-san” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Mikey N.

One complaint a lot of people have about villainess novels it that it seems highly unlikely that the heroine would really be so oblivious not to realize that the original premise of the series went off the rails the moment she started making everyone fall for her/becoming an adventurer or world leader instead/sipped tea in a prison cell while bullying her ex, etc. But let’s face it, when you know the script, it can be hard to improvise. It may be a bad end, but dammit, at least it’s a straight line. So I don’t blame Endo and Kobayashi for thinking that, even though they’ve improved Lieselotte’s life vastly, they still have to deal with the whole evil witch possessing her. Indeed, the first half of the book sets us up for just that. But what follows is… well, it’s a lot less satisfying from the perspective of a game fan, but it’s a heck of a lot funnier for us, the reader.

As I said, the start of the book makes it seem as if the Witch possessing Lieselotte and forcing a bad end is still very much in platy. Toward that end, not only does Sieg have to keep his fiancee happy, but they also have to recruit the other two love interests… only this time without them falling for Fiene, who already has a boyfriend. What’s more, they suddenly realize that if this isn’t a game and they aren’t limited to the school grounds, they can ask actual adults to help! Meanwhile, Endo and Kobayashi are also getting ready for the culture festival, and fending off the idea that literally everyone thinks they’re already a couple. Unfortunately, when Kobayashi’s older sister arrives we get one of those classic “I came in halfway through the conversation and completely misunderstood everything” moments. Can they save Lieselotte AND manage to confess to each other?

I’m trying not to spoil, but I have to admit, possibly the best part of the book is the appearance of the witch, and who she really is. As a climax to an otome game plotline, or a major supernatural battle, it’s abysmally awful, but I was laughing my ass off. This also helps, though, as it makes the final part of the book, back in Japan, be far more about Endo and Kobayashi’s misunderstood feelings rather than about the possessed Kuon trying to forcibly take back his long lost love even if it means destroying the world. I also appreciated the fact that in the end they get to have Lieselotte in THEIR heads explaining exactly what they’re missing… as well as the “witch”, who does sort of help. I guess. It’s a satisfying conclusion to a book that was always meant to be more fun than dramatic.

This is the final volume, which feels about right. Dragging this out would lose the impact. At two volumes, it’s a great read, especially if you’re looking for a villainess novel but also love Twitch streamers.

Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte: Disc 1

By Suzu Enoshima and Eihi. Released in Japan as “Tsundere Akuyaku Reijou Liselotte to Jikkyou no Endo-kun to Kaisetsu no Kobayashi-san” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Mikey N.

It’s interesting to come across a series where the villainess ends up being one of the less interesting parts of it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine; it was highly enjoyable seeing Lieselotte stubbornly embarrass her way towards happiness. But once you get her schtick, as the “gods” Endo and Kobayashi point out, there’s not much more still to say, at least not in this volume (the last chapter of the book is another story, and tells me she may play more of a role next time). But I was more interested in the ways that this ordinary villainess story is also somewhat broken. From a heroine who feels like she belongs in Hatoful Boyfriend to a game that seems to be encroaching in the real world. And then there’s Endo and Kobayashi themselves, who manage to also bring an achingly sweet school romcom vibe to the book. This series has a lot of balls in the air, and it’s fascinating for that reason.

You know the drill. There’s this girl. Rich, haughty, princess hair. Badmouths the heroine at every turn. Doomed to be possessed and killed towards the end of the game. Even her fiancé is tired of her… until he hears the “voice of the gods”, explicitly pointing out that everything she’s doing is a classic tsundere move to cover her embarrassment. Suddenly he starts to realize how cute she is. As for the gods themselves, Endo is a high school kid whose athletics injury has left him rudderless, and Kobayashi is the upbeat broadcasting club girl who turned his life around. She’s obsessed with the game that features Lieselotte, and has gotten Endo to play it as well. However… the game seems to have taken on a life of its own. The prince can now hear their spoken commentary on the game. And they’re worried that if they screw up, bad ends will result.

As I said, Fiene is probably the character I enjoyed most in this. In the normal, non-broken game she’s a standard otome game heroine, who gradually gets stronger as the routes go on. Here she’s a broken powerhouse of a girl who can easily beat up terrifying monsters in order to gorge herself, as monsters = food. And once she too figures out Lieselotte’s deal, the two of them are cutie patooties. Meanwhile, Endo and Kobayashi, who have wandered in from another genre, are just as fascinating as their otome game counterparts, and their burgeoning romance, which neither of them dares call attention to, is adorable. That said, running into what appears to be a character from the game in real life puts a damper on their first date, and you get the sense that things are about to get even more bizarre. I suspect that the Witch trying to possess Lieselotte and the God (actual God, not high school teens gods) wandering around their world will up the stakes a bit.

This is not the sort of premise that you can extend out to multiple books, so it’s a good thing that the series is only two volumes long. It’s a good one to read even if you’re not really an otome game villainess fan.