At this point, there’s no anime fan left that hasn’t seen at least a single isekai. These stories where characters go from a normal world into a fantastical dimension have become more and more popular over the last few years.
There’s not a season that can go by without them, sometimes without multiple. Some are flash in the pans that last a single season, others become long-running franchises. It helps when the story has something that helps it stand apart. My Next Life As a Villainess is a series like that—it has the most unique premise for an isekai for the Spring season, and as a result it’s quickly becoming one of the more popular series. Here’s everything needed to get into the new series.
10 WHAT IT’S ABOUT
My Next Life As a Villainess decides to mess around with the idea of an isekai storyline. The main character is the daughter of a duke that’s been living her life as a spoiled royal brat for years. But when she falls and hits her head, she suddenly remembers her old life. In that world, she was an otaku playing a video game…that’s exactly like the world she’s in now. In that game, every outcome featuring her always led to a horrible ending of being killed or exiled.
9 WHO’S THE MAIN CHARACTER
The main character is Catarina Claes. As a former otaku, her life was devoted to playing video games and trying to capture every pretty boy in an otome game possible. Though her old self was originally a total jerk, she eventually woke up and became herself again. The “new” Catarina Claes is thoughtful, kind, and obsessed with eating as many sweets as possible without seeming like an embarrassment to her family as a member of the royal class.
8 IS THIS A REVERSE HAREM?
Absolutely not. The premise might make it seem like one, but that’s only until the series actually starts. And for it to be a “reverse” harem, the men would have to be the only ones involved in the storyline.
But Catarina has the denseness of a black hole, and everyone is pulled into her event horizon. Her proactive nature often leads to her helping people with deep seated trauma, resulting in men and women alike falling in love with her.
7 THE MAIN CHARACTER…ISN’T SMART
Most harem protagonists aren’t well known for being quick on the uptake. But this series actually leans into that fact, having everyone else acknowledge that Catarina isn’t the smartest person around. Her love interests all openly compete over her while she moves through her days completely unaware. The fan community has lovingly given her the title “Bakarina”, to refer to how dense she is.
6 WHERE EVERYTHING TAKES PLACE
The anime starts with Catarina regaining her memories at the age of eight years old. The series doesn’t immediately skip to the teen years though, but instead introduces all the characters as young children, before giving us a time skip. The characters then start to attend a magic academy, where they meet the “protagonist” of Fortune Lover, Maria Campbell. The school is meant to be for royals, but they will occasionally let commoners in if their magical talents are sufficient, and Maria is a powerful light magic user.
5 HOW LONG IS IT
For anyone who was wondering, My Next Life As A Villainess is scheduled to run only twelve episodes. This doesn’t seem like a lot, but actually the main storyline for the first part of the series isn’t terribly long. For people worried about whether they could get a complete story, the manga has already displayed that there’s an easy endpoint the show could end on which could easily be reached within the time the story has.
4 DOES THE MAGIC COME INTO PLAY?
All of the characters eventually find their way to the magical academy where the game is set. All of them display some level of magical ability, but it isn’t that kind of story. Magic is scarcely used for the majority of the storyline, and is mostly used as a way to get all the characters to attend the same school where Fortune Lover is meant to take place. Otherwise Katarina could simply attend a different school.
3 COUNCIL OF CATARINA
One of the more unique aspects of My Next Life As A Villainess is the inner thoughts of Catarina, which are guided by a group of kids known as “The Council of Catarina”.
They are Chairman Catarina (who wears a fake old man mustache), Smart Catarina, Cowardly Catarina, Happy Catarina, and Fearless Catarina. The five of them work together to figure out ways to avoid the dangerous destruction flags that await Catarina if events follow the path of Fortune Lover, the otome game.
2 DOES ANYONE DISLIKE CATARINA?
The original version of Catalina was a girl with a mean streak who trampled all over commoners and anyone who annoyed her, making it easy for the characters in the game to have her exiled. But the version of Catarina we see is essentially beloved by everyone. Well, except perhaps for her mother, who seems to be quite frustrated by the fact that her daughter is supposed to be a royal but has developed an awful habit of climbing trees, farming vegetables, and being a glutton for any sweets she sees.
1 IS THERE A TRUE VILLAIN?
The show itself is supposed to have Catarina as the villain. But since she has the memory of her old life, she’s completely turned around and become someone too reliable and too nice to be an actual bad guy. Without her, the story lacks a proper bad guy. The narrative tension comes from the lead character attempting to dodge as many destruction flags as possible, without realizing that everyone around her is vying for her affection.
My Next Life As A Villainess is a great new anime. Here's what you need to know going in.