My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! – 1st Episode Review
For More Spring Anime Reviews check out our Spring 2020 Coverage Guide!
Synopsis: Wealthy heiress Katarina Claes is hit in the head with a rock and recovers the memories of her past life. It turns out the world she lives in is the world of the game Fortune Lover, an otome game she was obsessed with in her past life… but she’s been cast as the villain character who tries to foil the protagonist’s romances! The best ending the game has for Katarina is exile, and the worst, death! She’ll have to find a way to avoid triggering the flags of doom, and make her own happy future! The misunderstanding-based screwball love comedy now begins! (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: There’s no denying it: My Next Life as a Villainess has an absolutely fun premise. Finding yourself reborn as someone destined to be defeated? Someone who’ll have everything taken away from them by the true ‘hero’ of the story? That’s scary, funny as hell once our heroine tries to change her destiny, but immediately gripping an idea none the less. It’s oozing with potential conflict that, if played right, could be exploited for endless numbers of Light Novel volumes. Unfortunately for as fun a premise as Villainess offers, it has no trouble undermining itself less than halfway through its very first episode.
Linny: Full confession; I am someone who was so intrigued by the premise of the series that I looked into the manga adaptation of the light novels as soon as I discovered it was available out here. The show summary gives off this vibe that not only will there be lots of laughs and fumbles but Katerina herself is going to have to face all manners of obstacles to avoid a terrible ending. If you enjoy and adore characters who get easily flustered, constantly overthink and get too worked up over everything, then Katarina will win your heart. Her tomboy-ish mannerisms clashing with her nobility background, her constant misunderstandings and her panicked devotion to avoiding exile or death has its charm. I myself did find it adorable when I first dove into the series. However, as someone who was hoping to see some really clever twists in the obstacles she faces, I was thoroughly underwhelmed and would like to warn anyone else who goes in with similar hopes.
Tom: Don’t get us wrong. There’s some fun to be had. Some sequences just work, no matter how neutered the main conflict is. Seeing Katarina internally debate various versions of herself over how to proceed or watching as her frequent misunderstandings only make her the master of her own misery is fun. But everything feels a bit “what’s the point?” once it’s revealed that the whole reason Katarina suffers in the game’s possible endings is because, well, the original Katarina was a terrible person, who actively tortured the game’s heroine. All our lead has to do is, well, very simply, not do that. Heck one of her internal selves even acknowledges this!
Linny: Indeed, Katerina’s problems have such a simple solution. In fact the episode makes it so obvious that a LOT of the wrath Katerina incurs is because the original Katerina was a horrible and cruel person. By simply being a kind person, not only will she be able to solve a lot of the problems, some of them would even just simply not exist. So don’t pick this show up if you want to see Katerina have to face and solve all kinds of unique and unusual problems. Instead, watch this if you want to see Katerina overthink or misunderstand situations and make things far tougher for herself than they ever actually are. This is a show about misunderstandings but definitely not about any challenging tasks in order to avoid doom. So if you’re just in it for silly laughs, then by all means, please dive in.
Tom: Villainess is a good idea that lacks the proper execution that would make it all it could be. Right now it’s simply fine, but forgettable comedic shenanigans. If that’s all you need have at, but if you wanted something a bit more of a riot, and more memorable, Villainess ain’t going to cut it.
My Next Life as a Villainess is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com