421st G-View: My Next Life as a Villainess

I lost interest in het harem shows after Kampfer. I still enjoyed it in a “It sucks but is fun” kind of way (Mainly for the yuri of course). Reverse harems I had less interest in even though I know some feature at least one lesbian infatuated with the female lead. the following show did something different. “What if we combined both to create a bisexual harem with a female lead?” They had my attention with a female lead. I waited for the right motivation before deciding whether to dive in or not. The motivation eventually came. Question is whether I made the right choice. Find out as we take a look at My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom.

My Next Life as a Villainess Cover

Alternate Title: Otome Game no Hametsu Flag Shika Nai Akuyaku Reijō ni Tensei Shiteshimatta… (Japanese)

Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Harem, Isekai, Magic

Themes: Bisexual, Hetero, Yuri

G-Rating: 9/10

Plot Summary: After hitting her head particularly hard one day, Duke Claes’ daughter, Katarina (aka Catarina, aka “Bakarina”), suddenly recalls all the memories of her past life: that of a teenage Japanese girl. It seems in her past life, Katarina was playing a video game very similar to the life she lives now right before she died. She is now Katarina Claes, the antagonist of the otome game, who nastily hounded the protagonist until the end. Knowing all the possible outcomes of the game, she realizes that every single possible route ends with Katarina being murdered or exiled. In order to avoid these Catastrophic Bad Ends, she has to use her knowledge of the game and her own wiles, starting with breaking off this engagement with the prince.

Catarina's eggplant pajamas

This pic tells viewers all they need to know about Katarina.

Let us not waste any time. The main reason I loved the show as much as I did was the ladies. The guys are cool too, my favorites being Alan and Keith, and had their own hilarious moments (mostly their reactions to Katarina’s thoughts and actions) but it was the ladies who stole the show. What better place to start with “Bakarina” herself. Best way to describe her is a “lovable and oblivious dork”. She is very kind to everyone, will bravely face danger head on even if she is not aware of the threat, will always choose to reason with people over violence, has a bottomless pit stomach reserved for tea and especially sweets, is subconsciously bisexual herself (with a preference for girls of course), has many mental meetings and of course is hilariously oblivious to a fault. All of her traits combined form a protagonist who follows familiar harem tropes but there is a twist every time. Allow me to explain by kind of spoiling how she wins over one guy. I will not reference the lad by name.

This boy was originally a macho tsundere in the otome game. He was rough, confrontational but secretly had low self-esteem. He confronted Katarina one day, challenging her to a duel. The duel itself was already different from the norm. Not only that but after beating him he DID NOT THROW HIMSELF AT HER FEET RIGHT AWAY! One of the het harem tropes that annoys me the most is the love interest immediately falling for the protagonist after losing to him or her after ONE BATTLE. He/she does not take time to get to know the protagonist better. Nope. Decides right there this person is to be their soul mate. In this show, although the boy not only challenged Katarina time and again but is shown getting to know her better. THAT ALONE was praiseworthy. It meant the infatuation was EARNED!

There are other familiar ways she gets a guy or gall to fall for her but in each one the suitor’s craving for The Baka One’s sacred garden is justified and not “because the plot said so”. That and the hilarious high jinks afterward either from the suitors’ attempts to court their lady love and said lady’s innocent obliviousness failing to receive blatant romantic advances each and every time. Describing them in this review does not the comedy of this show justice. As I said in my first impressions of the show it takes the familiar and adds excellently executed humor to help spice things up for the better. Granted, comedy is subjective, as always. What I find gut busting some may chuckle or not get at all. Such is life after all.

Inner Catarina Emergency Meeting

Two of several Katarinas inside her head.

Besides the hilarity outside there is also some of my favorite parts of the show. Katarina’s meetings of the inner mind featuring several mini Katarinas representing different parts of her personality (My favorite is the mustachioed Judge Katarina) often deliberating what course of action to take to avoid all potential Death Flags while failing to realize a lot has changed in front of her. Most of the time her worries are exaggerated but every now and then they are justified.

Catarina protecting Maria again

Katarina may not be as magically skilled as her harem but she excels in other areas such as her bravery.

As mentioned in the summary this is an isekai (other world) show starring someone who died in “our world” and was reincarnated in another one, usually fantasy themed. One common trope is the protagonist for plot reasons is overpowered or easily maxes out her abilities. Katarina throughout the show is nowhere near as adapt at magic as her suitors or fellow students at the Magic Academy. However, as I alluded to while describing her there are other areas she excels such as her bravery and instinct. Her knowledge of the otome game the world is based on comes in handy to guide her to important events also. While events on the show do not play exactly like in the game for various reasons they are similar enough for her to often be at the right place at the right time inadvertently raising her affection meter with her suitors.

Going back to the harem each guy and girl has a story to tell with their own personal struggles to confront. Most of them face gain the confidence to overcome them thanks to Katarina’s support. While some suitors’ stories are straightforward others have quite the emotional luggage, yes. The drama may be low for the most part but every now and then the mood will most certainly change.

Almost to the main event. Let us go over the presentation. Colorful and well done. There is not much I can add. It looks and sounds pretty good. The OP is funny and enjoyable while the ED is serene. There is not much to go in great detail in because I did not see anything worth complaining about visually or musically.

NOW we can get to the ladies.

Catarina and Mary

Mary.

Ah yes. Something I forgot to mention. The first 2 and 1/2 episodes mainly take place during Katarina and the gang’s childhood, introducing viewers to our lovable lead and her merry band of love interests. First up is Mary. Put simply she is the most open in her desire to make The Baka One hers and hers alone. It was their shared love of gardening that drew them together. Her dedication and lengths she goes for Bakarina, plus her majestic arsenal, are what make her my favorite suitor.

Catarina and Sophia

Sophia.

Next is Sophia. Possibly the most adorable of the ladies…and possibly the most devilish depending on who one asks. It was their shared love of fantasy and romance novels that drew them together. In fact Sophia became more interested in certain romance genres thanks to Katarina, yes. One of the guys is her dearest onii-sama. Keep this in mind. Right. There is nothing else to add about this cutie. Nothing at all, nope.

Catarina and Maria

Maria.

Later in her young adult years Katarina would meet Maria, the main protagonist of the otome game and the one whose fate was the most intertwined with hers. Maria is the purest of the ladies, meaning she loves Katarina as much as the rest of the harem but her attempts to win her heart are the least, shall we say, “tainted”. She is a sweet flower who bares no ill will to anyone, which is both good and bad. Fortunately a certain baka and her harem are there to help her become stronger.

While I love all ladies I imagine some viewers will prefer one over the others. Most of the side-characters are fun to watch also. Some are quite important. Keep a close eye on a select few.

Overall My Next Life as a Villainess was a heck of a lot better than I first thought. Heck, it is one of the best harem shows I have seen thus far and, guys aside, the closest thing to the yuri harem anime of my dreams. It is also one of my favorite female lead isekai shows. Yes, there haven been side yuri harems and stealth yuri harems but my dream is a 22+ minute episode anime centered around a lesbian harem and marketed as such. The main protagonist is excellent. The harem guys and gals ,especially the gals, are great. The presentation is very good and the isekai and fantasy stuff are well done. Highly recommended to people looking for a different kind of harem and not one starring a lead who is either too cocky or too puny.

As readers would expect from reading this G-View I am excited for the second season!

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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21 Responses to 421st G-View: My Next Life as a Villainess

  1. I agree with everything you said completely, so I don’t have much to add. All the girls are wonderful, and the boys are decent too, though my favorite is Alan and Keith is a good boy. If any of the boys were to win, it would be those two in that order. However, the yuri route is the one we all would prefer, and while any of the three would be wonderful, I have my heart set on Maria. She seems perfectly compatible with our Baka, and strongly makes her love for her known, but in the least aggressive way. As you said, she doesn’t wish any of the others ill will, is kind and sweet to them all and even considers them her good friends. Yet she has absolutely no reservations about telling her straight out how she feels, and thus encourages the others to add in their bids as well. Kat already has her mother’s approval too, so it’s kind of a perfect match, especially considering Kat would be in sweets heaven for life.

    That said though, Mary is the MVP of the harem and I absolutely admire her devotion and proactive approach to win Kat over. She’d be my second pick. Sophia should not be underestimated either however, and is quite crafty when she wants to be and she’s my favorite girl look wise too. There surely isn’t some other reason she could be a contender for our Baka, not at all. 😉 This was definitely my favorite of the season and I’m very excited to see what season 2 will bring us.

    Liked by 3 people

    • OG-Man says:

      As many of us have repeatedly deduced Maria is the most compatible wifey of the four so her EVENTUALLY winning The Baka One’s heart would be expected and wonderful at the same time.

      #TeamMary4Life!

      Yup. Nothing else to add about Sophia…

      Season 2 hype!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. tbiscut74 says:

    I’m watching the Dub, so I’m half way through but I’m really liking it so far!

    I think my favorite parts of the childhood segment was when ever she’d climb a tree! She looked so cute! “Like a monkey.”

    I’m so glad she’s not OP. I’ll be honest, I hate OP protagonists. Its just that its like every anime has to have an OP protag now a days, there’s no tension in the story. There is only 2 exceptions for me, Ainz Ooal Gown from Overlord and Saitama from One Punch Man.

    Anyway I look forward to the rest and season 2!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. philipbaxton says:

    I liked all the harem but Maria was best girl by far for me. I liked Mary for her desire for Bakarina but outside her obsessive love there wasn’t much there for me to ever believe it’d go pass that with those two. Sophia is cute but I didn’t feel much for her. I guess my opinion is a bit bias considering how great Maria is in the LN and I love her VA. Great show.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. FantasyGirlKanna says:

    Definitely definitely loved this show, for the reason, as you said, this is a different kind of harem. A female lead is a great plus because they could’ve done it with a male lead (as usual) but didn’t so…yay! And I love how Katarina really shows her interest in the 3 ladies more than the guys haha.

    Both Mary and Maria are still the best girls for Katatrina in my opinion. Though I still do wish they made Mary a proper episode. Sophia is more like her soulmate :D.

    Overall, it’s a very great show and I’m really looking forward to Season 2.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Rare seeing female led harem anime, ESPECIALLY ones centered around yuri or strongly featuring lesbian suitors like this one.

      All four ladies are viable wifeys. Mary and Maria are the strongest contenders for sure whereas the other two depends on what their next moves are.

      Many of us are, yes.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Love your review! This series is just super charming and I love Bakarina way too much! I love how endearing Bakarina and her harem was and the only character I still feel indifferent about is Nicol as he just had a lack of presence. Keep up the great work!

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Nicol lacking presence is the point. He’s the silent and mysterious type. That’s his thing. I agree with you though. He’s the least interesting of the guys, but again it’s intentional.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. LuzeP says:

    The show is very refreshing. I enjoyed every episode of it. The chibi episodes were so cute and fun. Bakarina, oh boy, she certainly lived up to her name. But that’s why we love her. As I said before harem protagonist always the most oblivious one. Mary is my favorite. Yes I knew the plot is going for Maria, but Mary definitely worked the hardest. Also she has an awesome body. We still can’t underestimate Sophia. The guys were cool. No obnoxious guy so that’s a plus for me. Keith is my favorite. Catarina “I can’t believe I killed you with my butt” still cracks me up. So yeah, 9/10 for me too. Waiting patiently for season 2.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. philipbaxton says:

    I am a bit disappointed the anime toned down how gay Maria’s confession was. I suggest reading the manga because it’s twice as gay as the anime with more touching between the two.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Zack says:

    I’ve yet to finish this series, but from the episodes I have seen it was a fun and enjoyable series. Catarina in particular was fun to watch just for how clueless she was to everyone’s crush on her. And it’s hard to choose which of the girls I’d want to ship her with. As for the guys: maybe Alan. Out of the male harem member he was the one I liked the most.

    By the way, for anyone who wants a similar series, I would recommend the light novel series I Favor the Villainess. Like this series, it has a character being reincarnated into an otome game and has a villainess protagonist (although in this case she’s more of a secondary protagonist). And the best part is that protagonist is a lesbian rather than ambiguously bisexual like Catarina. Also, the series isn’t a harem like this one. In fact, it’s more of an anti-harem in that the game the protagonist is reincarnated in originally was a harem with three princes to choose from. However the protagonist isn’t interested in any of the princes, and prefers the game’s villainess (hence the title, I Favor the Villainess). Anyway, sorry for going on about a series that had nothing to do with My Next Life as a Villainess. I just thought it would be a good recommendation for anyone who liked Next Life as a Villainess.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Drop by after finishing the show if you like to share your final thoughts.

      I am aware of the latter. Many of us hope it will one day get an anime along with various other manga and LNs like Sexiled.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. 幽霊の百合 says:

    Nice review, touches on all the high points. Personally, I found Maria a bit flat, which I suppose is actually good character plotting since she was the protagonist of the “original” otome. I will remain in the minority finding Sophia the most charming. I look forward to a sequel.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. yurimylove says:

    “takes the familiar and adds excellently executed humor”, well said! Looking forward to S2.

    Like

  11. K says:

    Great review! This was a very entertaining, wonderful show and I loved its take on harem tropes. Since another season’s on the way, I can’t wait to see what kind of doom awaits our Bakarina since she would be moving into uncharted waters.

    There’s something to like about each member of The Oblivious One’s harem. Re: the dudes, Keith’s my favorite with Alan being a close second. As for the ladies,while Maria seems the most compatible for Catarina and Mary makes her intentions well known, I am quite a sucker for Sophia and as such i be rootin’ for her. She has a certain something the others don’t after all.

    Liked by 2 people

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