I’m in Love with the Villainess is a show that wastes no time in getting to the heart of what it wants to be. In fact, this show probably breaks the record for how quickly someone gets transported to a new world and immediately accepts their circumstances. This anime tells the story of Rae, who finds herself transported into her favorite dating game for reasons that the show isn’t concerned with elaborating on. However, it’s not her favorite because of the handsome prince characters she is supposed to romance. Instead, she likes the game because of the side character Claire, who exists to bully the main character. Now that everything is real, she can finally make her dream of giving Claire a happy ending a reality. When I say she wastes no time, I absolutely mean it.
The hall for the Crunchyroll premiere was packed, and I got the impression that this was the show most people were looking forward to. I knew nothing about the source material or its popularity before the release of this anime adaptation, but given the audience’s reaction, I can see where the appeal lies. Rae is an interesting character, blending the earnest directness of a shonen protagonist with a deceptive edge. She uses her knowledge of the world to her advantage, positioning herself for maximum interaction with Claire, regardless of how Claire treats her. I’m not sure if the show was trying to suggest that Rae is secretly a masochist, but her excitement about the bullying and her justification for finding it infatuating was funny.
The audience laughed multiple times throughout the two-episode premiere. While I’ll admit our protagonist treads the line between obsession and borderline stalking, I was impressed that I didn’t grow to dislike her. I don’t know what this means for the rest of the show, as I have concerns about Rae potentially violating Claire’s boundaries, but that’s something we’ll have to see in the future. Despite its bare-bones presentation and somewhat generic character designs (though one could argue that the generic presentation is intentional since the show takes place inside a dating sim), I’m in Love with the Villainess was entertaining. Nothing in the show was as funny as the entire hall clearing out after the two episodes before season three of Rent-A-Girlfriend started playing. Take that as you will.
I’m in Love with the Villainess will stream on Crunchyroll in October.