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

A young, selfish noble girl, Katarina Claes, while hanging out with fiancé candidate Jeord Stuart, trips and hits her head, and suddenly remembers her past life as a Japanese teenage girl who enjoyed playing otome games. She in particular remembered one game, “Fortune Lover”, in which the protagonist gets to woo handsome guys like “Jeord Stuart”, but must deal with Jeord’s fiancée, the villainess Katarina Claes… oh. Oh no. Has she been reincarnated as the villainess of an otome game? And don’t those villainesses suffer terrible fates at the end of the game? In Jeord’s “good end”, she gets exiled, and in his “bad end”, she gets killed… and the same goes for the routes of her adopted brother, Keith… How is Katarina going to handle being reincarnated as the villainess of an otome game, where all routes lead to doom?

Having read and enjoyed the original light novels, I was definitely looking forward to this adaptation, and it did not disappoint. As many isekai as we’ve had so far, we have yet to dip into the sub-category of “reincarnated as an otome game villainess” isekai (there’s actually quite a few of those out there), and this should provide a nice fresh take on isekai for those tired of the usual. The concept of being reincarnated into an otome game means that a greater focus can be put on character relationships, which particularly comes into play in the second half when Katarina figures out how to deal with Keith and his route, and provides for a really sweet moment to close out the episode. The other main highlight of this show, and the story as a whole, is the comedy: Katarina may have the “advantage” of her past life’s knowledge of the game, but she’s also quite the airhead (there’s a reason the fandom refers to her as “Bakarina”) and comes up with some… interesting ideas for trying to avert her fate. The adaptation highlights all of this quite well, with the “inside Katarina’s head” moments being particularly great, and Silver Link provides some good animation to back things up. Definitely give this one a shot if you like otome games or want a different take on the usual isekai formula.

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! is streaming on Crunchyroll. You can buy the original light novels from J-Novel Club as ebooks or pre-order the paperback edition.

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