My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

Genre(s): Isekai, Comedy, Romance, Reverse Harem, Shojo

Age-Appropriateness: 12+ (mild language)

Platforms: Crunchyroll

Episodes: 12

TheAwersome Rating: 8.7 / 10 (An absolute joy)

Premise: After a head injury while climbing a tree, a young girl regains the memories of her past life and realizes that she has been reborn in the world of Fortune Lover—an otome dating game she used to play. Unfortunately, the character she was reincarnated into—Catarina Claes—is the game’s main antagonist, who faces utter doom in every ending. Using her extensive knowledge of the game, she takes it upon herself to escape from the chains of this accursed destiny that awaits the noblewoman at her magic high school.

TheAwersome’s Thoughts: This landed right in that sweet spot of hilarious, stupid, and sincere. It was so refreshing to have our main protagonist (who’s trying desperately to avoid being killed as the villain) be such a different character than what you normally see. Rather than obsessing about getting back to her own world, or overthrowing some Demon Lord, she’s just doing her darndest to make sure she’s not the reason for anyone’s Tragic Backstory™. She’s so single-mindedly (and simple-mindedly) focused on it of course, that she’s oblivious to how these actions change how the game’s love interests perceive her.

Ordinarily I’d say “Great, harem isekai with a dense protagonist? No thanks,” but Harbour and I loved this so much and had stupid giddy grins on our faces at the end of each episode. It definitely helps that there aren’t any of the stupid “accidental ecchi” scenes that usually plague the aforementioned genre. Catarina is so delightfully earnest and pure in her actions that it’s hard not to fall in love with her. Probably why she won 2020’s “Best Protagonist” in Crunchyroll’s anime awards.

TLDR: A hilarious, wholesome, and delightful time in a very Disney princess-esque setting.

A second season is airing in July 2021, so we’ll see how that goes!

It was wonderful to have a harem protagonist that wasn’t a blank slate. Catarina has a very strong personality and distinct character who ACTS and isn’t just a vessel for the viewer to project themselves onto in order to experience the harem. Instead, she’s a strong-willed, earnest, pure-hearted individual with such a strong focus/obsessive behavior that she’s endearingly oblivious to most of the subtle (and not-so-subtle) hints getting thrown at her. Which, considering how her entire situation and character largely mirror Harbour’s in her early college years, made it inevitable that we’d fall in love with her.  

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