I'm in Love with the Villainess

Alt title: Watashi no Oshi wa Akuyaku Reijou

TV (12 eps)
Fall 2023
3.772 out of 5 from 1,821 votes
Rank #2,450

The world turns upside down when a corporate drone wakes up as Rae Taylor, the heroine in her favorite otome game, Revolution. Rae is elated at the opportunity to court Claire François, the game’s villainess and the object of her affection. Armed with her knowledge of the game and events to come, Rae sets out to make Claire fall for her. But how will the villainess take Rae’s romantic advances?

Source: Crunchyroll

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I wanna preface this by saying I have no clue as to what constitutes for a good BL/GL show. I usually don't watch those kinds of shows unless under recommendation by a friend, and even then, chances are it'll stay stuck on my never ending pit of planned shows to watch. That said, this show has other tropes on top of being an Isekai-GL show, and I feel at least qualified to judge the show based on those tropes, and other general stuff that is included in the contents of this show. And these contents are...pretty half-baked. The setting, while good in theory, feels pretty sloppy in practice. It's not inherently bad, but everything it does is placed under the context that it's an ikemen dating game, and presumably, a visual novel one. That in itself is fine, but then it does worldbuilding and...I kinda feel like it gets too bloated in the details? Like the amount of exposition to explain this kinda stuff makes it feel like I'm not in a game but in a general fantasy setting. It almost makes me question the validity of the game's contents with what's being explained. Is it a dating sim? Or an RPG? Or a puzzle game? Or hell, is it an MMO? It just feels all over the place without adding as much to the worldbuilding, only being there to progress the narrative. Not even Nasu's Fate series felt this needlessly deep in the lore. The story itself feels bloated as well, and a bit confused in whether or not it wants to be driven by a narrative or by it's characters. By the half-way point I was left confused as to what the show wanted to BE. Was it a GL show? A SOL show focusing on this magic school? An action show? It focuses a lot on it's magic and has a lot of action scenes. A romance show that focuses both on hetero and gay relationships? A political show that focuses on the disparity between classes and how it might affect people in this age of magic? I don't know, and I'm not sure the show knows either, as I don't think it makes any effort to connect these things together in a cohesive enough narrative. Example: In episode 3-4 (I don't remember specifically but it's early on.) the characters talk about the Rae's sexuality, but it doesn't particularly lead anywhere, and the arguments regarding that scene were divisive and led to nothing but shouting wars. It doesn't make mention nor expand on how Rae's advances to Claire could be deemed as annoying, nor the implications of prejudice against homosexual relationships, especially between commoner and high class, nor how Claire's prejudices could be deemed as bad (it is implied, but in a terrible manner like Claire is gaslit into thinking it's bad, even though Claire has been hounded against her own will by Rae.). It just kinda ends in a segue in how Rae will sacrifice her own chances of a relationship with Claire just so she can make her happy, showing her selflessness, a topic that would come back in the end of the season. The thing is though, even if the show made the scene's message that homosexuality in this setting is frowned upon and that Rae should be careful, it would make no sense under the context that it wasn't implied upon in earlier episodes. Nor would it make sense that Claire has prejudices against a homosexual relationship because for one, the show made it clear she's in love with a boy, two, Claire has been hounded time and time again by Rae, and three, she herself hasn't shown any prejudice towards Rae whatsoever, just discomfort. So this leaves this seemingly divisive scene...with absolutely nothing. It's just a disjointed, non-cohesive scene that adds nothing, because it can't, and unfortunately, that's something that's going to repeat itself. Speaking of characters, unfortunately it doesn't get better here folks. The side characters, while inherently without fault, lack substance. Given the setting is an otome game...the show does absolutely everything in it's path to not make you interested, given the subversion of it's setting focusing on GL. To it's credit, the caricatures/personalities of the characters aren't bad, but they never feel anything more than that. They just feel like reactive sort of characters that are reactive only for the sake of the narrative and that's...frankly disappointing because it has shown that it can make side characters with depth, but doesn't expand on it. Rae herself feels stale as a protagonist as well. While I find her back and forth behavior with Claire cute, and her love is full of compassion, she herself doesn't feel compelling as a character. Her encyclopedic knowledge and unnatural competency in problem solving and as a fighter (despite she herself having no experience in combat in her past life) make her feel like a Mary Sue, and she herself doesn't face any conflict that affects her heavily, until the final few episodes, which I find especially hilarious, given the Mary Sue feels heavily inadequate...against another newly introduced (and pretty terribly written) Mary Sue. Claire herself doesn't feel like much a character aside from her trope as an ojou-sama. While yes, she does develop somewhat as a character, her development at times doesn't feel natural, especially in the halfway mark. Her romance subplot at the end is pretty much forgotten because the show reminded itself that it's a GL show, and therefore needed to focus on that. And it's so weird at the end for Claire, because she feels so static for no reason. She has no individual agency whatsoever while two of her closest friends are fighting against one another, and it just comes off as weird and terribly executed. It's character assassination, and it sucks because it really feels like it invalidates any development for Claire, and by extension, Rae too. Overall, I think this show would've greatly benefitted from having 24 episodes instead of 12. Perhaps it gets better as it goes along,but with how the show is structured, it doesn't allow itself to show how it gets better, and that's shown with how sloppily the show ended. There is of course sequel bait in an after credits scene, but I feel like it's a band-aid solution rather a true conclusion. I can't say much besides that. If you turn off your brain, you might enjoy it for what it is, I know I certainly did, since I found myself enjoying the back-and-forth dynamic Rae and Claire have. But if you're like me where your brain can't help but think, you'll find a disjointed mess from a show that's trying to be too many things, but never one thing that it's really good at. Which is a shame. People often refer to a "Jack of all trades, master of none" to something or someone that isn't focused on one specialty, but they often forget the rest of the quote, omitting what follows after. A jack of all trades, master of none, is better than a master of one. Unfortunately, this show isn't better in this case.

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