My Next Life as a Villainess
Catarina is a spoiled rich girl on course to become rotten to the core. Naturally she's a perfect villainess for an otome game. As a young girl Catarina hits her head, only to remember that she was once a normal girl in our modern world, but is for some reason reincarnated in this game as the antagonist. Which is bad news for her, because Catarina knows how nearly all endings in the game involve bad things happening to the villainess - which is now her. Can she avoid her fate?
My Next Life as a Villainess didn't quite go the way I would have preferred, but I have to admit this is the kind of concept that keeps me watching anime. I almost loved it just reading the description. It doesn't get very deep, so in my opinion doesn't realize it's potential. I expected Catarina needing to constantly side-step black flag events due to clever plans, or maybe by accident. It doesn't do much of that at all, instead its more of a light hearted fluff anime with its approach, but that's fine too. It's lots of fun, and maybe better to have easily reachable goals instead of over-reaching.
I thought My Next Life was strongest at the beginning. Catarina is a terrible spoiled child until her accident. Afterwords everyone is shocked how she's suddenly kind and quite likeable. Catarina wastes no time preparing for the final showdown event years in the future with the game's protagonist; the paragon of goodness Maria Cambell. In the game Maria's romantic choice determines the game's outcome, but each of the guys has some trauma beginning from childhood. Lucky for Catarina, since she's at the age to fix that. However fixing the major personality flaws in the guys has strange consequences. She further prepares for the possibility of being exiled (one of the endings) by taking up gardening, figuring she can start a career in farming if that happens. Not a typical rich-girl hobby.
If that sounds great, it is. However this results in the anime is front loading its best content. Catarina doesn't have to side step events, because she's already fixed the root cause for many of them early on. This causes two problems. There isn't much for Catarina to do thereafter, leaving the anime adrift for a while. Also everyone adores Catarina to the point where tension is absent until the last two episodes. It's suggested Catarina isn't very smart, which simplifies things since she's not clever enough to get involved in complicated plots.
I liked the story more than expected. It's enjoyable just to see where it goes at first, but also expands on Catarina's life before arriving in the game, how that is entwined with a friendship, and gives a deeper meaning to all of it. It's a nice detail I think added a lot. Aside from meandering for a few episodes, the biggest drag is a recap episode recap near the end. Otherwise My Next Life as a Villainess is good stuff. It has enough fun and imagination to make it worth watching, but don't expect much more than that.
Mary: It'll be better with two girls
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