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

Entry updated 18 October 2021. Tagged: TV.

Japanese animated tv series (2020). Original title Otome Gēmu no Hametsu Furagu Shika Nai Akuyaku Reijō ni Tensei Shite Shimatta. Based on the Light Novel by Satoru Yamaguchi. Silver Link. Directed by Keisuke Inoue. Written by Megumi Shimizu. Voice cast includes Saori Hayami, Inori Minase and Maaya Uchida. 24 24-minute episodes. Colour.

Falling into a coma following an accident causes Caterina Claes (Uchida), a spoilt noble child from the kingdom of Sorcier, to remember a previous life: that of a Videogame-playing "otaku chick" from modern Japan who died when seventeen. She recovers, but her personality is now that of her compassionate past self... who realizes her new environment exactly matches that of an otome romance game called Fortune Lover, down to characters' names – and Caterina was the Villainess who bullied the heroine, Maria Campbell (Hayami). How the main characters pair off will determine her fate. At best she will be destitute and exiled; at worst, killed. Caterina plans to befriend the game's main characters to prevent the pairings that lead to "doom endings"; also studying farming in case she is forced into exile. Her internal dialogues take the form of a committee whose members comically reflect different aspects of Caterina's character.

Caterina attends an academy of Magic with the six other main characters (three boys; three girls) and by graduation (the game's conclusion) they have still not paired off – Caterina is delighted, believing it to be the friendship ending, unsatisfying in the context of a romance game but great for her. Caterina is unaware that she is now effectively in the hero role, with the other six all in love with her – a bisexual reverse harem. She has many virtues, but brains and observational skills are not among them.

This is a light romantic comedy (see Humour) with genre elements, including: Caterina and friends caught in a book that feeds off the desires of humans (see Vampires) – her friends desire Caterina while Caterina desires sweets; a temple is explored, with nods to the Raiders of the Lost Ark franchise (see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull [2008]); a fellow student was once the intended vessel for an Identity Transfer which failed because the memories received were only information, not the original's actual personality; one character, Sophia Ascart (Minase), is the Reincarnation of Caterina's best friend from her previous life.

Though Caterina uses her in-depth knowledge of Fortune Lover to solve some problems, her kindness is her main strength: in the game some of her friends were damaged individuals, but here her compassion helps them become decent human beings. An amusing Anime with a likable lead, it affectionately Parodies the otome genre, whose plots often involve a girl choosing from several suitors. It might be argued that issues of free will and nature vs nurture (see Metaphysics) are also touched upon. The story's setting is vague, but given the genre it is likely another Dimension. A weaker second season followed. [SP]


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