My Next Life as a Villainess Is the Ultimate Princess Visual Novel Escapist Anime!

That title is a mouthful, isn't it? The full name of this currently running anime series is My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! Usually, I stick to Magical Girl anime for my Japanese princess fix, but this show caught my eye due to my guilty pleasure for visual novels. It follows the adventures of a spoiled noble girl named Catarina Claes who gets hit on the head one day, which causes her to remember her past life as a modern-day high school student. She realizes that she got hit by a bus in the real world and got reincarnated into her favorite visual novel as the villain. The concept seems a little silly at first, but what follows is loads of fairy tale fun as her true personality takes over the villainous princess archetype that the fates bestowed upon her. The girl living in Catarina's body refuses to suffer the dire fate of the villain, so the voices in her head come up with elaborate schemes to change her fate through visuals that are reminiscent of Pixar's Inside Out. Her adamant refusal to live out the life of the villain allows her to grow up with all of the most admirable qualities of a fairy tale princess.


Catarina lives inside a visual novel called Fortune Lover, which is filled with all of the beautiful aesthetics of princess settings. It is a visually rich world of colorful gardens, elaborate architecture, and beautiful flowing gowns. When Catarina comes of age, she attends the Magic Academy to learn how to manipulate the elements. Magic is an everyday occurrence in this world, but it does not overpower the romantic elements of the show. Catarina is introduced to each potential love interest from Fortune Lover at various social events throughout her early years. She has a leg up over the competition because she already knows their personalities from playing the game in her previous life. Aside from the handsome princes, there are also several female characters she befriends in the world of Fortune Lover, one of whom is heavily implied to be a reincarnation of someone she was friends with in the real world.

Catarina charms each character by appealing to their desires in an attempt to avoid getting one of the many bad endings for her character. She fails to realize that her efforts have an added side effect that causes all of these romantic interests to fall in love with her instead of the game's protagonist, Maria, who she charms as well. The trope of an unassuming protagonist ending up with an entire cast of characters competing for their affections is a long-standing genre called harem anime that was popularized by shows such as Tenchi Muyo. However, it was rare for a harem anime to feature a female protagonist, which makes this a more modern take on the concept. It also has queer elements, which are trending right now with shows such as She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, due to Catarina charming her female peers just as much as the princes in her story.

Anime has changed a lot since it was popularized in western society during the '90s. Instead of action-packed "monster of the week" episodes that feature fearsome villains, many newer series provide "slice of life" storylines where we follow charming characters who get into silly conflicts that can be easily resolved with a simple conversation. Sometimes, this formula gets boring due to the lack of any real stakes. In My Next Life as a Villainess, Catarina has no enemy because she believes that she is the villain of Fortune Lover. However, once she gains control of her past memories, she turns out to be the sweetest character in the game who wins all of the love interests away from the former protagonist, Maria. As a result, any possibility of getting a "bad ending" for her character becomes null and void, but that doesn't make it any less fun to watch her panic about it as she overcompensates by being fun and charming to everyone she meets.

If you need more shows to binge in your tower, I recommend My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! for a quick princess fix. There are currently eight episodes out with new ones releasing every Saturday on Crunchyroll. The anime is based on a series of Japanese light novels by Satoru Yamaguchi that began online in 2014. It stars a charming and somewhat naive heroine who is an absolute blast to follow as she lives out her favorite visual novel, Fortune Lover, and remains completely oblivious to the fact that she has become the protagonist and can have her pick of any love interest in the game. It is the ultimate escapist fantasy for any visual novel fan.

Comments

PrincessContent said…
I’m not completely sure if I get it.
When she regains her memories about her former life, she ends up with her former self as a voice in her head?
Maybe it’s better if I just give it a watch.

The princess stuff I’m currently binging now is videos from different Youtuber who often or always do princess related stuff.

Princess Liana Rose – She is living the princess dream and all of her videos are absolutely gorgeous! Highly recommend!

The Magic Crafter – A cute mermaid Youtuber with a very unique style.

Mermaid Melissa – You’ve probably seen one or more of her videos before but they’re always great to go back to.

Jessica Vill – Lots of vintage styling and cute princess videos to be found here!

Micarah Tewers – a dressmaker who now and then makes princess dresses.

李子柒 Liziqi – Now this lady does not make princess videos per say, but she has been pretty much dubbed a princess by her fans. She makes wonderful, magical videos! Highly recommend these four videos but all of her videos are pure magic!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGQvyEjX2MM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8O3fRC4tSk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pd9GxmQbJ9U
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvmC-leoj9U

Have a nice day and stay safe! :)
Lisa Dawn said…
Nice to hear from you again! :) It does make more sense if you watch it, but the voices in her head are just like the voices in anyone else's head. They remember everything she knows about the game from her past life and her new life as Catarina and plan her decisions accordingly to prevent her from getting all of her character's bad endings.

I've been following Princess Liana for at least a year now! Her videos are so beautiful. I shared one of them on my Facebook page, but she doesn't have anything significant enough for me to write a full post about. Micarah's videos popped up on my feed recently, and I wound up binging a bunch of them. Her voice is so soothing! As far as the mermaid videos, I went through a "mermaiding" phase a few years ago and learned how to swim so I could wear the tail I ordered from Sun Tails. I haven't done much swimming since then, though.

Stay safe and take care! <3
PrincessContent said…
Ok, now I understand better :)

I came across Liana Rose and Micarah Tewers a couple of weeks ago. I agree on that Micarah’s voice is soothing. She can also be really funny.
I was completely blown away by Liana Rose’s beautiful videos! I’m really happy that I found her channel. :)
Maybe you could include her in a post that is about real people who have found their ways to live like a princess? Or about Youtube channels that have the princess magic? :)

I have wanted to start mermaiding for a while now. The hobby has gotten an upswing in my country but it’s still very hard to find mermaid fins for adults plus I don’t have the money to spend on one at the moment. I just have to practice my mermaid kick without one for now :)


Take care! <3

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