My Next Life as a Villainess isn’t great. It’s a fine typical school comedy with a surprisingly inventive premise, but that’s actually where it loses me. The comedy is whatever and the characters are interesting enough but something almost offends me about this show. The initial idea got me hooked and I was excited to binge all 7 episodes, but I’ve been seriously let down by its wasted potential.
Quickly into the first episode, it’s revealed that the main character, Katarina Claes, lived a previous life as your run of the mill otaku who died at 17 and has now been reincarnated. The catch, she’s been reincarnated into the world of a dating sim she played in the real world. Though her character is of royalty, the character she portrays is the villain of the game who dies or is exiled in every ending, and the rest of the series is dedicated to her trying to prevent this by stopping the heroin from falling in love with the love interests and causing one of the endings that lead to Katarina’s death.
The problem I find with this premise is that it’s never well explored, even 7 episodes in. One of the most interesting possibilities with the premise is that the main character is a mental 26 year old in the body of a 9 year old, and a 34 year old in the body of a 17 year old later in. Considering she should be more mature than and have knowledge than her peers from playing the game previously, you’d assume that either she’d have some really well thought out understanding of the game or be able to navigate her social life well, being twice the age of her social circle. If anything, Katarina is one of the least intelligent and mature people in the whole cast. Her brother needs to save her from rape on multiple occasions and she has absolutely no clue. When people crush on her or her friends she is completely oblivious despite everyone around already understanding the situation. The first 1 or 2 episodes give the idea that Katarina knows what’s going on as she immediately starts keeping tabs on all of the important characters, though this is more a result of her outgoing personality than social skill. She never even makes any intentional progress towards not dying, which you’d think would be a top priority, but I’ll get to that in a second.
The main motivation for the show, Katarina avoiding death, is seriously neglected. Since we don’t actually see much of her own thought (She monologues/thinks out loud less and less until episode 4ish when she stops completely), Katarina almost never personally acknowledges the idea that she’s in a game after episode 2. Even the head council has absolutely no valuable input after the first 3 episodes, only contributing by… thinking the best course of action is growing vegetables? This is the worst way you could give a character a hobby as it completely thwarts any possibility for character development and leaves it up to broken logic instead. Anyways, the 2 biggest pieces of progress made towards preventing any of the endings is made by complete accident and only ever acknowledged by the head council whose only input is “phew, glad she accidentally did a good thing”.
This is what got to me most about the show, there’s this really interesting premise that could be explored that’s just forgotten after the first couple episodes. The show doesn’t have to be some masterpiece filled with complexity and well thought out intricacies in the yada yada you get it. It’s a popcorn show that’s meant for a more casual viewing experience, and if it dedicated every episode to fixing this problem, it would be a fundamentally different show. However, the complete lack of effort is what makes this show such a waste. Lots of “kids” movies like WALL-E explore seriously interesting ideas so that everyone in the family gets something out of watching it. There is none of that here. This is one of the most interesting premises I’ve seen in a while and I think they could at least take advantage of it enough to make the show more than a dime-a-dozen generic comedy, but no. You can turn your brain off and watch a silly comedy, I can more than respect that. But a show wasting all of its potential because the writers can’t be bothered to try is what bothers me.
I’d definitely recommend watching Otome Game no Hametsu Flag. As much as this post was focused on picking apart its lack of good qualities, that doesn’t mean it has none. Though the characters are simple, that’s part of why they’re so charming and enjoyable. The setting and role of our main character allows for all of the romance and character interactions to be centered around her without it being a harem, providing for a unique “romcom” that breaks the mold in more ways than that. It’s not a bad show by any means, I just think it could’ve been much better.
This didn’t really fit anywhere but I wanted to include it anyways