‘My Next Life As A Villainess’: Finally, A Wholesome Isekai

by Sage Ashford

This is the part of isekai popularity people should have been holding out for. For years we’ve seen overpowered male protagonists become transported to a new world where they’re immediately fawned over for their skills and mastery. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a few of these shows — certainly in the past I’ve come to love more than a few, like Wise Man’s Grandchild and Knight’s & Magic. But now we’re starting to get twists on this obvious idea, and it’s working out for the better for everyone.

My Life As A Villainess follows the story of Katarina, an annoying brat of a princess until one day she falls flat on her face, and suddenly remembers: she was once a teenage girl from a different world! As she regains her memories, she realizes the world she’s in is identical to a game she played from her old life, but there’s one problem. In every ending of the game she played, Katarina was either exiled or killed! Surrounded by destruction flags, is there any way for Katarina to turn her life around?
The concept alone is already genius, taking the so-called “flags” gaming is known for and using them as a source of conflict for the plot is an inspired decision. But what follows afterwards is what makes the show work. Katarina is so desperate to save herself, every decision she makes winds up making the people who are supposed to reject her fall in love with her instead.

It starts with Prince Geordo, who promises to marry her because he’s the reason she tripped and hit her head. Then it spreads to Geordo’s brother, who comes to live with her. Originally meant to become cold and a bit of a lady’s boy because everyone pushes him away, Katarina showers him with love and affection, leading him to become a caring, protective younger brother.
But that’s not enough for the ravenous Katarina. Over the course of three episodes, she pulls all the characters of the “game”, male and female alike, into her harem. What makes this different from most harem series is no one’s falling in love with her for no reason; both intentionally and unintentionally she works to make everyone around her feel welcome and cared for.

People fall in love with her because of her own actions, even though she doesn’t realize she’s doing it. This has resulted in the fanbase bestowing the name “Bakarina” (Baka being Japanese for stupid or idiot) upon her, but it’s a title she’s gained purely out of love. It’s impossible to dislike the character, or really anyone in the series. Rather than watching this for the sake of drama, this comedy’s true value is in giving viewers the most pure half hour they’ll get for an entire week.

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