I needed some humour in my life and so I thought this would be a slightly below-average humour filled show. Something to get my mind of the real life. I also like villain characters winning so maybe this is for me. Maybe some Yuri for good measure. I didn't really get any of these.
The story starts with our main character Catarina being an eight-year-old spoiled brat. She is a child of the duke of something. On this day Prince Gerald Stuart pays her a visit. They are walking in the garden and Catarina is hanging to Gerald. Catarina falls and hits her head. This brings back memories of other life she had in the modern world. She was reading a visual novel called Fortune Lover all night. Then she realises she has to run to school. The show doesn't show it but a car hits her. She is now in the world of Fortune Lover as the villainess how is doomed, if the visual novel's protagonist Maria goes for her fiancé, or cousin-brother, to either die or be exiled. As such Catarina must avoid her doom flags to survive as a teenager in the Magic Academy. She fails on the first doom flag as Gerald ask her hand in marriage and she accepts. She then deduces a plan where she starts to train her sword skills and her earth magic by farming. Fact that this character thought that her earth magic would develop should have been a bigger red flag for me.
Let's talk about the graphics of the show. Backgrounds are haze or imprecise. For example, a straight line on the pavement is dashed. This is fine as it makes the show look like a dream and helps characters to pop out. Characters themself look good when one or two characters are in close up. However, when this show has characters from a mid-distance away sometimes something may be off on the characters face. I think it is that the character face has suddenly too thin a line or eyes aren't level. There isn't a lot of GC in the show. Horse cart and water bodies mostly. Overall, I like the graphics.
The humour of the show comes mostly from Catarina doing something that other characters find odd. There is some running gags like Keith cock blocking Gerald. however, they aren't crazy enough. For example, when Gerald is taking Catarina to a lake Keith stops their cart ride. Cart stops, Catarina and Gerald wonder why, and Keith opens the door to ask is Catarina okay. This could be done funnier. Keith's voice could be heard before stopping the cart. Gerald could react cart stopping as if robbers were attacking. Gerald could mock Keith for thinking that Catarina isn't safe rather than just be silent. Now, humour in this scene comes from Catarina thinks Keith is childish and wants to become with them because of it. Some of the gags that Catarina does are funny but really only she and Mary do any kind of humour. Others are too much straight man. As such characters should drive the plot.
There are good character interactions. The openness of Gerald Keith rivalry has its moments. Where the story fails is character consistency and exposition. I'm going into spoilers now. In the visual novel, Maria can go for Gerald, Alan, Keith, or Nicole in a standard run. Catarina is an opponent in Gerald, or Keith runs as a bully. Alan's run Mary is the opponent (Alan's fiancée). Nicole's run his sister Sophia is the opponent. Yeah, they have a loving relationship. Even as an eight-year-old she almost meets the whole cast. Unlike Catarina in the visual novel Fortune Lover, she doesn't bully Keith, she makes Mary a friend as a fellow gardener, Gerald isn't forced to be her fiancée (it is another way around), she fixes Alan's and Gerald's relationship, and she makes a friend out of Sophia as fellow book lover which then means Nicole will sleep easier. Some of these happen because Catarina steals important scenes from another character and such continuum of the story changes. This leads to everyone really liking Catarina. Liking so much everyone wants her hand in marriage. This is the shows drive. How does this character really feel about Catarina and why? The show does not understand this. There are two episodes almost back to back that explain why characters love Catarina. How is so oblivious that she needs it to be explained two times!... Catarina maybe... but first Sophia. She explains the character consistency problem. So, what is her character?
Sophia was born with white hair. Even though described by the show as being beautiful she was ostracized has her hair colour gave rise to the superstition that she was a bringer of the dead. Not bad symbolism. Her brother Nicole is extremely handsome but silenced. Nicole is only one of the interacts with Sophia (besides their parents and servants). Because of this, there is a loving relationship between the two of them. Catarina comes into the story by stopping the bullying of Sophia. Sophia and Catarina then bond over books and becoming friends. That was her character going into the Academy. After Maria is integrated into the harem of obliviousness (which really is just this noteworthy) we learn that Sophia is the reincarnation of Catarina's previous life's friend. This gives something interesting to the character. Maybe, she just wants to be friends with Catarina and she is different from the rest of them. This was hypothesis was least supported with the showing her reacting after Mary multiple times. This could have indicated she was just trying to match Mary. We know that Mary is over the heels about Catarina. But no, it is told that she loves her. However, it gets weirder. Her plan to get with Catarina is to get her brother to marry her. This is never shown. The problem is that when Sophia helps Nicole it could be that Sophia wants just to help her brother to get with her BF. It does not indicate that Sophia wants in Catarina's pants. Also, since Ascart siblings have a loving relationship does this mean that Sophia wants a threesome? Going back on reincarnation bit only comes up at last episodes when Catarina is in a coma and Sophia kinda pulls her out of it... It is more like the spirit of Catarina's previous life friend says Catarina to get up and Sophia was there I guess... Never in this show fact that Sophia is reincarnation really matter. It is there because it is too dark of the show if Catarina's previous life friend has to live without meeting Catarina again.
On Catarina herself, she is a dumb dumb character. She reads visual novels but doesn't understand when someone in point-blank range says a line she knows that character would say to the boy she loves. How is that possible?! Does she actually read visual novels or not? Furthermore, she never wonders when Mary tries to indicate that it is okay to like girls. She has never read a yuri visual novel? In the first episode, she says that she doesn't want to marry eight-year-old Gerald because her spirit is a "seventeen-year-old otaku chick". I liked that writing takes note of this fact. Then later when they have grown up Gerald dances with Catarina and she blushes when Gerald "goes for a kiss". Are you or are you not attractive to Gerald? This repeats later with Nicole. Why do you blush at them if you think you are too old for them! Even with the period, I think they would be barely legal! Why did you bring up the age difference if you going to ignore it?
I think I can still go on with problems of character writing. What is the motivation of Sirius to cause Catarina's coma? The answer is there isn't one or shows hand ways "because Catarina is so nice to everyone" around but that makes no fucking sense. Sirius uses black magic that can bend people's emotions. Sirius was secret love interests in the game which would kill you if you failed to get him. His backstory is that the Dieke family had an ill son I think... but he needs a new body. So they grab Sirius', an illegitimate half-brother, and try to do a body swap with dark magic. This ritual kills half-brother's mother. While the ritual is processing... I don't know... The show indicates that it was done... Sirius' mother orders the dark mage to be killed. A year later Sirius still has some of his half-brother's memories which then informs him that his family is a bunch of dicks. So he wants to revenge on his family through Catarina... That makes no sense. Show insist that Sirius hates Catarina because she had a better life than him? I honestly don't know. I don't know how Catarina relates to a revenge plot, I don't even know what is Sirius revenge plot. But it turns out that Sirius has dark magic because the spirit of the black mage is with him... What the fuck does he have against Catarina? Why hasn't black mage just made Sirius kill her mon while she was sleeping? Or, why didn't he tell Gerald, and Alan about his mother's dealings? Show some black magic and ask them to go arrest her mon. Because at the end of the day that is what happens. So Sirius gave up on revenge to get it in the end anyway. What was their plan?
I didn't end up liking My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!. The show ends on a teaser for the second season which is officially confirmed. I don't know I want to know how bad of a train wreck the second season is. The first season didn't have good characters so why would the second season have good characters.