So I’m fairly sure this anime is more aimed at a female audience. But as the bronies will tell you, it doesn’t matter – if a show is good it will attract people of all ages and gender.
My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! (Yes that is the title, and I’ll be referring to it as Villainess for the sake of my sanity from now on) is an adaption of the light novel series written by Satoru Yamaguchi and according to Wikipedia (don’t normally do this but wanted to show the genera) a reverse harem romantic comedy Isekai (yes it’s another Isekai).
Katarina Claes (or Catarina Claes depending on the translation) is a spoiled selfish hard to deal with child of a noble family. One day when being introduced to a potential future husband Geordo Stuart who she fawns over, she trips and hits her head to the point she receives an X shaped scar on her forehead, but more importantly she suddenly gets memories from a past life, where she was a Japanese school girl who loved to play an Otome Game (female lead dating game basically) Fortune Lover. Then realizes to her horror that she has been reincarnated as the villain of that game and in that game Katarina dies in the bad endings and gets exiled in the good (hence the title of the show).
This obviously brings about a change in the young Katarina. For one, the memories of her old life (referred to as monkey girl since she loved climbing) as well as her attempts at preventing her own doom result in her being a completely different person than the villainess she would have been had she not hit her head. Yet she is so fixed on the idea of things playing out in the game she never realizes that she prevented those dooms long before the point of the game where the school year at the Magic Academy starts. Also she inadvertently makes all the characters fall for her, including the lead from the game, and yet doesn’t notice because she still thinks of events as if she was the same person in the game rather than the person she is now. A fact which has resulted in her being referred to by fans as Bakarina. Fortunately unlike some other Isekais (cough… Sword Art Online …cough) this isn’t because she’s apparently perfect but because of the actions she does through the show and her genuinely kind personality, as well as a few quirks that people find endearing.
The cast consists of the characters that were in that Otome game, the conquerable male characters, the romantic rivals for each of them and the playable character Maria Campbell. For the first 3 episodes we see Katarina during her childhood meeting said conquerable characters and rivals and we see how her new personality ends up helping these people to which is why they do fall for her.
This show was the main series I went to during the lockdown, and it helped me get through it. What is a very good comedy series (thanks to the lovably dense Bakarina) also got very emotional for me at times. Twice did I end up breaking into tears, and I managed to hold those back during Inside Out. This show brought me great joy and many other emotions and I can enjoy its dub too. There is also a spin off manga that takes place in a timeline where the lead gets memories of her past life just as she goes to magic school but it’s a fair bit more of a downer, so warning if you want to hunt that manga down.