Review: My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!
Season Aired: Spring 2020
I watched it at: Crunchyroll
This show adds to the ever growing list of "Isekai" Anime that have been released over the last few years.
Isekai is a genre that revolves around a normal person from Earth being transported to, reborn or otherwise trapped in a parallel universe or fantasy world.
Usually, the fantasy world that the protagonist is transported to is based on a video game that they are playing at the time. That is, they become their game character in a reality that is based on that game.
Now, I have a soft spot for Isekai shows because I get all the game references. It turns out that all those years I spent playing World of Warcraft come in handy when viewing Isekai Anime shows.
This one, however, was a curve-ball for me because it revolves around a genre of games I don't ever play: Romance and Dating Simulations. Further, the protagonist is put into the role of the villain of the game. That is quite unusual. Typically, the main character enters the fantasy world as a hero.
I was intrigued by the concept from the start.
The Plot in a Nutshell:
The female protagonist is transported to a world based on a romance game she is playing. There, she assumes the role of the games villainess, Katarina Claes.
She quickly figures out what is going on and realizes that she's in deep trouble. She is the main villain in the story and every ending for Katarina Claes in these romance stories is bad. Some endings are simply terrible while others are very fatal.
The show then deals with her gambits to avoid each bad ending and her interactions with the cast of characters inhabiting the romance story - including the actual game heroine.
To her advantage, she appears in-world as the child Katarina Claes. So she has some years to put events in motion that will derail the natural arc of her villainess trajectory.
This take on the Isekai genre is novel and I was on board to see how she was going to avoid her bad endings.
The cast of characters is colorful and, while each does inhabit a certain romance character archetype, they are well presented with good personalities and motivations. Katarina Claes must navigate the traps each romantic archetype presents, so it's fine that we understand that the characters will not stray too far outside their archetype box.
The art was colorful, well animated and provided some sumptuous costuming and locations, as one might expect from romance fantasy.
The series started strong, however it did not finish quite as strong. It could have benefited by having more intrigue and by having escape from the bad endings a bit more challenging overall. The show does throw in a surprise at the end which helps make things a little more harrowing for Katarina Claes, and therefore more satisfying.
I was engaged start to finish, though. I did not consider dropping the show.
SCORE: 3.5 out of 5