Synopsis: Most people would prefer being the protagonist of a world full of adventure, be it in a game or in another world. But, unfortunately, a certain girl is not so lucky. Regaining the memories of her past life, she realizes that she was reborn in the world of Fortune Lover—one of the games she used to play.
Unfortunately, the character she was reincarnated into—Katarina Claes—is the game’s main antagonist, who faces utter doom in every ending. Using her extensive knowledge of the game, she takes it upon herself to escape from the chains of this accursed destiny.
However, this will not be an easy feat, especially since she needs to be cautious as to not set off death flags that may speed up the impending doom she is trying to avoid. Even so, to make a change that will affect the lives of everyone around her, she strives—not as the heroine—but as the villainess.
Given the current state of anime, I know a lot of people might be experiencing isekai fatigue right about now, and I thought I was too, until I started watching My Next Life as a Villainess, which I’ll be calling Hamefura for the remainder of the review. Thanks to mediocre anime like BOFURI, my expectations are pretty low for shows in this genre. A reason why I felt differently about this anime isn’t because Hamefura does anything radically different than other isekai anime, it’s simply because the show seemed fun and clever, two things I personally haven’t felt about this genre since the olden days of SAO and The Devil is a Part-Timer!.
Most of that is due to the otome game backdrop that this anime was set against, which was a really nice and clever touch. Being reincarnated as a villianess in an otome game where all routes lead to doom sounds really fun for us viewers, and it is. The romance aspects of the show are definitely not sleazy or anything like that, and if anything, I’d even say that the romance is mild, compared to what I was expecting.
Laughs are what these potential routes produce more than anything, however, there’s a nice balancing act that goes on with this show. It’s funny, but I don’t think it was too goofy. It’s playful, yet there are some moments of drama that deliver the feels. There’s magic, but the fantasy aspects don’t play a huge part. Hamefura doesn’t wear out its welcome in any one facet, and I think that’s pretty impressive.
Although I enjoyed the teenage episodes more than the first three that focused on Kat’s early time in her new body, I thought the pacing was fine and the story progressed nicely. There was enough character development to keep me happy and engaged, and while the story was somewhat predictable, that didn’t make it any less entertaining for me.
A second season has already been announced, and it seems that the story is once again set up for success, especially if the girls get in on the Kat sweepstakes next season. Whether it’s because of isekai or the otome game, it’s easy to be wary of what this anime might be like, but I think the story played out really nicely, so I enjoyed it.
The story seems ripe for all sorts of interesting characters, and I feel like this is where Hamefura shined the most. We’re given a little bit of backstory for each of the characters, and while these flashbacks are over with fairly quickly, I think they end up being more than enough to get us to care about these people a little more.
As expected, Kat is the best character in the show, and because she’s funny, charming, and kind, it’s no surprise why everyone loves her. She may be dense and oblivious, yet she was always an entertaining character to watch. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her nab an award at our end-of-year yuri awards, and I think it’s well-deserved.
Kat’s fiancé (Geordo), her adopted brother (Keith), Geordo’s brother (Alan), and Sophia’s bishonen brother (Nicol) are the guys who represent the conquerable routes from Fortune Lover, and while I’m sure some yuri fans will loathe the idea of all of these guys falling for Kat, at least all of these guys are generally pretty nice and respectful. I expected to hate this reverse harem aspect of the show, but I didn’t, though it helped that Kat wasn’t interested in any of them.
The guys are all a bit different and pine for Kat in different ways, but it’s not just the guys who flock to her. The three other female characters (four, if you count Anne) are drawn to Miss Claes as well, and as you can tell by the yuri score, it’s definitely worth watching for yuri fans. Without getting into spoilers, Sophia and Mary both have their moments where you can’t help but ship each of them with Kat, and while saying that you love someone if great, showing that you love someone is so much better, and no one’s actions matched their words like Mary’s did.
Even though Mary is engaged to Alan, at no point do you get the impression that she’s anything other than a raging lesbian, but being a lady, she’s able to control herself, and she’s able to fawn for Kat in dignified ways. I’d love to say that Kat eventually reciprocates Mary’s feelings, but Kat’s either too dense or simply too uninterested to reciprocate anyone’s feelings, even Mary’s. Still, it’s enjoyable to see a girl with her own little yuri harem, but let’s hope that come the second season, Kat sees them as more than just friends.
I know some will say that I’m downplaying Sophia and Maria’s feelings for Kat, but despite what they say (especially Maria), I just viewed that as nothing more than friendship, with Mary being the one who’s genuinely in love with Kat. After all, you can love a friend, but that said, this was still one of the most yuri anime of the year so far. So I thought this cast was great, and not even the het romance was enough to change my mind.
As always, what is there to say about the animation and sound? Given the royal or noble status of the characters, it’s not surprising that the music took a more regal approach than your typical anime, and I liked it. Nothing came across as being especially memorable to me, but I never got the impression that the music was lacking, so that has to count for something. As for the animation, I think it’s middle-of-the-road, so I don’t have much to say about it. Lastly, that’s a pretty nice OP.
Overall, the total enjoyment score may not necessarily reflect it, but Hamefura was probably one of my favorite anime of the year so far. The otome game structure worked a lot better than I expected, and because any romance that stemmed from that was one-sided, it wasn’t an issue. Yuri fans should like Mary and how Kat wins the hearts of even the female characters, but the lack of actual romance there might leave some feeling unfulfilled. Nevertheless, this was a fun anime that gave me hope that not all isekai anime has to be rehashed fantasy nonsense, so I have no problems recommending this anime to those seeking a good time.
➕ Well-rounded anime that does a lot of things well
➕ Enjoyable cast of characters
➕ The guys aren’t as aggressive with Kat as they could have been
➖ A lot of guys vying for Kat’s affection
➖ Mary is the only girl who displays romantic feelings for Kat
➖ The friendship ending
Total Enjoyment: 7
When The Rock speaks, it’s Gospel, you had better believe.
Once again, am fully in agreement with your review, and even
your numbers would be my numbers. Much praise!
If only Kat could be less dense……
Tsk tsk. So misguided. 😀
But it’s nice that we agree about the show~
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It really is a cute idea, and a funny one, Catarina is supposed to be the villainess in this game but she is just too sweet hearted. One funny EP was when some women tried to blackmail her, and they are exposed, they run off saying something like, we don’t even know why we did that! All the characters are programmed to treat Cat as a villainess, and they don’t know what to do with a sweet heart. Cat is reprogramming everyone and destroying their fixed fate.
I kept wanting to ship Sophia and Kat but it just didn’t go that way.
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Yeah, but their friendship was so sweet. That scene in the classroom where they say goodbye to each other (Sophia and Acchan are pretty much the same person, so it counts) hit me right in the feels, man. 😀
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I have seen this one mentioned , didn’t look yuri so i heavily avoided it , glad to know there is some form of yuri , aaaaand talking about mangas again! 😂 i saw this one(side story) in shoujo ai category so , yeah high hopes for real yuri let’s say.
The otome villainess theme in mangas seems popular also , i have been reading a few that are shoujo , and im sure i have seen one that it is yuri.
Im reading one that to avoid the bad end she will literally fight vs the country it seems 😂 (expecting a loot of deaths here)
So the animation is good? Because Silver Link killed bofuri anime HARD (yes im still angry about that) , and the animation didn’t look very good on the first minutes of the demon academy anime i talked before
When I first heard of this, I expected it to be really bad, but it’s actually pretty nice~
We need more variety in yuri-ish anime. Most of these manga descriptions sound a lot more interesting than the stuff we normally get in anime. 😀
The animation is this one is alright. I don’t know if I’d call it good, but I definitely wouldn’t call it bad. 😛
Btw , the Lapis anime , im liking it a lot (depends) , they draw a line between fighting and the singing , and definitely has lesbian characters
The fight scenes make me laugh sometimes (they are supossed to be funny sometimes)
I hope they keep adding more yuri on it
The thematic from what it was shown it could leave room to more seasons
I have no idea why not more of the good yuri don’t get adapted , but well , there is hope 😂
I correct myself , i saw a shoujo ai anthology of that anime not an official side story
I still haven’t started the second episode yet, but I’ll marathon it before the season is over! 😛
Good thing i was kinda avoiding spoilers 😂 , i hope you don’t mind if i say something like “yeah this episode has yuri”
Not at all. It motivates me to get back to it already. 😀
Hi! I’m more of a danmei (Chinese BL) and an otome game fan, and I guess I’m here to give my two cents?
Talking shojo-ai, the genre never really clicked with me very much, even after trying several series. As aforementioned, I definitely lean toward BL, but that doesn’t mean I’m repulsive toward two girls together either. This show was one of the very few if not only shows I felt more than “meh” to the girl x girl pairings. The girls learning the man’s part just to be able to dance with Katarina was really dedication at its finest and quite romantic without getting physical by any means. It’s like less than lovers but more than friends, especially with Mary, but arguably Sophia and Maria too. Despite it not being a show that’s particularly targeted toward shojo-ai and yuri fans, I think this is the show that has made me like the genre more. Mary is probably bisexual. In the canon game, she was very much in love with Alan.
However, in my personal opinion, I was perfectly happy with the friendship ending. I think its emphasis on platonic relationships and Katarina’s black-hole denseness is part of its charm and sort of breaks this notion that a show has to have romance for it to actually be enjoyable, especially within the isekai genre, which is definitely oversaturated with romance, especially the horny and heteronormative kind that makes me roll my eyes, cringe, or just outright uncomfortable. I think Katarina naturally shows some signs of being an aromantic (or somewhere in that spectrum) which is an orientation that seems to be almost embarrassingly undermined and underrepresented by the media due to their perception that a show literally can not be enjoyable without some steamy romance. She seems to just have a kind of lack of interest in romance herself but is perfectly capable of loving others in an endearing but non-romantic way. Plus, she was (1) very focused on trying to survive as a villainess to really care about other people’s romantic affections and (2) even if she did love anyone, Katarina would probably question herself: is she deserving? She is the “big evil villainess” of Fortune Lover, after all! In fact, of her denseness may even stem from this subconscious mindset of “how can someone love me romantically if I’m a villainess?”
Of course though, that’s just me. Nice review!